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Bebop Spoken There

George Wein: "He [Chick Corea] said, 'George, you keep playing. It's good for you'" - (DownBeat April 2021).

Archive quotes.

The Things They Say!

Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

'606' Club: "A toast to Lance Liddle of the terrific jazz blog 'Bebop Spoken Here'"

The Strictly Smokin' Big Band included Be Bop Spoken Here (sic) in their 5 Favourite Jazz Blogs.

Postage

13,073 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 492 of them this year alone and, so far, 47 this month (April 9).

Bar Manager Required

The Jazz Co-op are looking for an experienced bar manager who can be available to start when The Globe reopens in May.

Preference will be given to a suitably qualified person who lives relatively near to The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD.

Interested parties please follow this link.

Coming soon ...

April 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at The Holystone.

May 20 Maine Street Jazzmen are back at Sunniside Social Club.
May 23: Vieux Carré Hot Four are back at The Spanish City.

June 2: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club.
June 7: Jazz in the Afternoon are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sunday Night @ The Globe: Harry Keeble Quartet live stream - Jan. 31

Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Mark Williams (guitar); Andy Champion (bass guitar); Abbie Finn (drums).

(Screenshot by Debra Milne)

Harry announced that this was their debut gig and they  certainly got off to a flying start with all four at the top of their game. As leader and frontman, Harry displayed confidence both when talking to the invisible audience and blowing sheets of sound on tenor. Mark Williams gave us shreds of sound when let off the leash whilst Abbie was relatively subdued tonight although, when the call came, it was answered to perfection.

Album review: Melbreeze - I Love Paris

This is one of those albums that, upon first hearing, you either love or hate - there's no in-between. My initial reaction leaned towards the former and I was tempted to switch off midway through the first track when I heard what they were doing to Autumn Leaves. And yet I didn't, there was a certain compulsion about it that kept me listening.

The following day, I couldn't get it out of my mind. It's like when you meet someone who may not be the most beautiful/handsome person on the block, not even the most intelligent one, but still you find that person in your thoughts to the exclusion of all others.

Today I decided I must play the album again - perform a sort of musical exorcism.

Victor Feldman meets Flanagan and Allen

Scrolling through the TV channels this afternoon I landed two thirds of the way through a Flanagan and Allen film - Theatre Royal. And, lo and behold, there was a young, and I mean young young Victor Feldman playing a kick-ass drum solo. This was a 1943 film which put him at 9 years old. In the cast listing, his billing read Victor Feldman and his Orchestra.

Seemingly, in the earlier part of the film, there were also appearances by Jimmy Skidmore, George Shearing, Ted Heath and Jiver Hutchinson. I'll have to watch out for this one next time it's shown.
Lance

PS: The image is of Vic a couple of years earlier indicating that, by the time of the film, he was a hardened pro! 

Sadly, he died in 1987.

An Apex Blues Sunday Service for Jimmie Noone - Jan. 31

Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals)

Facebookers topped one hundred as Adrian Cox began today's live stream Sunday Service from Toulouse Lautrec, London. A Jimmie Noone special, kicking off with It's Tight Like That. Taking lessons from Lorenzo Tio, Noone would go on to work with Freddie Keppard, King Oliver, Kid Ory and many others until his death in 1944.      
 
A request for Earl Hines' My Monday Datea great tune said Cox. And another great tune - Sweet Lorraine - featured Adrian's great vocals. Cox's informal style makes these weekly live streams and today our host told a marvellous story about a desperate Stan Kenton who simply had to hear Noone in a Chicago club on the South Side. The place was packed, refused admission, Kenton went round to the back door and insisted he must speak with Mr Noone. Minutes later Noone appeared at the door. After some negotiation, Noone found him a space at a table occupied by one other person. The other person turned out to be Maurice Ravel!   
 

Awakenings - " Dexter's Tune " Tommaso Starace Duo - Sax/Piano


I have put together this video of the the composition  'Dexter's Tune' from the Motion Picture 'Awakenings' starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams, written by Randy Newman.
  
This recording features myself on alto sax and Michele Di Toro on piano from the Duo album From a Distant Past.

I hope this music and video brings cosiness to your day. 
Tommaso.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Caro Emerald live streaming from Amsterdam - Jan. 30

Caro Emerald (vocal); Jeroen Vierdag (bass); Wieger Hoogendorp (guitar); Gino Groeneveld (perc.); Pyke Pasman (keys).

Back in 2013 I saw Caro at Sage Gateshead and it was an absolute knockout. A tremendous show that wasn't quite jazz whilst, at the same time, wasn't quite not jazz if you follow me. Tonight, along with a couple of thousand others (a figure that rose to over seven thousand), we waited in eager anticipation. We kept on waiting, and waiting. There was music playing, the images on screen were doing a three-legged dance and the sound was abysmal. Several gave it the thumbs down and left.

Kansas Smitty's play Heavy Weather - Jan. 30

Alec Harper (tenor sax); Will Barry (keyboards); Flo Moore (electric bass); Jas Kayser (drums); João Caetano (percussion)

(Screenshots by Ken Drew)

A recreation of Weather Report's biggest selling album from 1977. As on the recording, Birdland opened he show. Alec Harper on tenor playing Wayne Shorter's tenor sax and soprano sax parts, Will Barry working three keyboards - Joe Zawinul surrounded himself with more like three hundred pieces of hardware (slight exaggeration!). 

An excellent start to the evening. Wayne Shorter's beautiful ballad A Remark You Made sounded just right, broadly adhering to the original, just a touch of Kansas Smitty's collective personality shining through. Was Flo Moore, playing five string electric bass, quaking in her shoes at the challenging prospect of tackling Jaco Pastorius' Teen Town? Something of a test piece for bass players the world over, Flo came through with flying colours. At its conclusion, Will Barry rightly heaped praise upon praise on his band mate. 

Jazz Time Aycliffe Radio. This Sunday's Playlist

Playlist 31.01.21 (6.30pm-8.00pm)
Tribute track in memory of trumpet player Alan Smith.
Ted Heath Memories of You.
Tribute track in memory of pianist Junior Mance.
Dizzy Gillespie Quintet.
Keith Belton pianist and founder of the Tees Valley Jazzmen picks 5 tracks:
Sidney Bechet; Muggsy Spanier; Alex Welsh; and 2 tracks from Tees Valley Jazzmen featuring Alan Smith (see above) on trumpet.
Jeff Barnhart and His Hot Rhythm.
Marking Burns Night:
Evelyn Laurie. Scottish National Jazz Orchestra; George Chisholm.
Django Reinhardt; Oliver Nelson; Scott Joplin; Chick Corea; Yuja Wang.

Mike Dixon

Joe Webb live streaming from his European hideaway - Jan. 30

Joe Webb (piano)   

Joe began today's session saying he would be playing a few more tunes (eleven in total) rather than the eight or so he'd usually play during his weekly Saturday afternoon live stream. And a what a varied set list! First, Bill Evans, then Hoagy and onto Thelonious Monk and Keith Jarrett. Distinctive, individual voices, stylistically varied, all well within our pianist's compass.

Hilton Valentine (1943 - Jan. 29, 2021)

The sad news has broken that the former guitarist with Tyneside super-group The Animals passed away yesterday (Jan. 29) aged 77.

In their  sixties heyday, The Animals were arguably the earthiest, blues orientated, band of that era. Possibly even more so than the Rolling Stones and a lot of their success lay in Valentine's guitar lines, in particular on their chart-topper House of the Rising Sun.

When The Animals split up after a disagreement over royalties (the sheet music image offers a clue), Valentine enlivened the scene with a new band, The Alligators. Although they never achieved the heady heights of his previous band they did have a huge local following.

A legend - R.I.P.
Lance

The Johnny O'Neal Trio live streaming from Smalls, NYC - Jan. 29

Johnny O'Neal (piano, vocals); Mark Lewandowski (double bass); Charles Goold (drums)

Smalls Jazz Club live streaming gigs isn't news, this smallest of Greenwich Village venues has been doing just that since September 2007. Over the last thirteen years every performance has been documented. In association with partner venue Mezzrow's (which opened its doors in 2014), no fewer than 17,000 streamed gigs have been deposited in the archives. 

We're at 183 W 10th St., Johnny O'Neal is holding court. Gigging at Smalls is one of the ex-Jazz Messengers' regular engagements. This evening our pianist is working with buddies Mark Lewandowski, bass, and drummer Charles Goold. O'Neal seated at a Yamaha, bass and drums occupying the remaining floor space, a portrait of Louis Armstrong part of the backdrop. Straight in with a swinging take on Witchcraft. Excellent.       

Friday, January 29, 2021

KSTV: Will Arnold-Forster Trio - Jan. 29

Will Arnold-Forster (guitar); Will Sach (bass); Will Cleasby (drums).

(Screenshots by Ken Drew)

The image on the KS website showed Giacomo Smith playing clarinet. At last a change from the trio permutations that we have had since Tuesday! Or so I thought ... Alas, just like last night, a change of programme - no Giacomo - so it was yet another trio.

Don't get me wrong, the trios have all been fine and relatively varied however ... 

Rico Tomasso remembers Keith Nichols - Jan. 29

This week's Popup Louis paid tribute to Keith Nichols. Rico Tomasso's planned duo session with Ewan Bleach changed somewhat upon the sad news of the death of Keith Nichols. Fellow musicians and friends of Keith, Tom Langham and Martin Wheatley, offered their services, making this evening's session a quartet affair.

Tribute or not, a few technical glitches momentarily delayed the start. Rico wanted to crack on with a couple of numbers. First, Tears, following up with Papa de Da Da (Bleach soprano sax, Langham on banjo). Thanks to multi-tracking, Bleach played soprano sax, bass sax and piano on Midnight, the Stars and You (later in the set Bleach would go on to play several other instruments!) with Langham singing. Rico unearthed a recording of Keith Nichols introducing (and playing piano on) The Mooch, Rico playing Cootie Williams' trumpet part. 

Album review: Ira B. Liss Big Band Jazz Machine - Mazel Tov Kocktail!

Big bands come and go and some stay. Locally, The Customs House Big Band, Strictly Smokin' Big Band, The Gala Big Band and Musicians Unlimited have achieved varying degrees of longevity curtailed only by the occasional pandemic.

Down in Southern California the Ira B. Liss Big Band Jazz Machine have been swinging since 1979. Liss, whose CV includes playing baritone sax with such luminaries as Rob McConnell, Louis Bellson and Thad Jones, initially formed the band purely as a vehicle for his students to get their chops together.

Playtime Livestream from Lockdown Programme

(Press release)

We have been live streaming all year… including doing remote improvs during lock down which have been a beautiful journey into new skills.

We are doing a series of them with some international and high quality guests. The next one is tonight (Jan. 29).

Link to previous streams (slow loading)

Tom Bancroft

Jazz Epistle Jonas Gwangwa dies at 83

Born in Soweto in 1937, Jonas Gwangwa played trombone in the famed Jazz Epistles alongside pianist Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim), trumpeter Hugh Masekela, saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi and others before going into exile to continue the struggle against the South African apartheid regime, and would later receive an Oscar nomination for Cry Freedom. Jonas Mosa Gwangwa b. 19 Oct. 1937, d. 23 Jan. 2021
Russell

Thursday, January 28, 2021

KSTV: Not the Concert by the Sea - Jan. 28

Deschanel Gordon (piano); Dave Archer (guitar); Ferg Ireland (bass).

(Screenshots by Ken Drew)

Well, it was billed as a playback session of Erroll Garner's famous recording - Concert by the Sea. However, either the tide must have rolled back or they couldn't find any telephone directories for Joe Webb to sit on* (not that he would have needed them) so it was back to last night's formula of piano, guitar and bass with Webb being replaced by Deschanel Gordon and Dave Archer the common denominator linking the two trios.

Album review: Tommaso Starace - The Power of Three

Tommaso Starace (alto/soprano sax); Jim Watson (piano); Laurence Cottle (bass guitar).

It was back in 2011 when Starace first made an impact on the BSH radar when he played a quartet gig at The Chilli. This JNE gig had been fraught with problems. Venues cancelling at the last minute, dates having to be changed, you name it, it happened. 

However, after Dave Weisser and the Take it to the Bridge crew agreed to step down and make the room available to JNE it was all systems go with the end result being one of those I was there moments.

Since that memorable night, CDs by Starace were, and still are, eagerly anticipated and they have never failed to delight.

Live streaming from Jack's Place - Jan. 27

Jamie Brownfield (trumpet); Andrzej Baranek (keyboards); Ed Harrison (double bass); Jack Cotterill (drums)

A live stream from the comfort of Jack Cotterill's rented studio. As it's a working environment the quartet was operating within government guidelines. Drummer Cotterill and trumpeter Jamie Brownfield are often to be found in pre-swing era style outfits, this evening they moved on fifteen or so years to play, for the most part, some swing-to-bop material in the company of bop-to-modernists Andrzej Baranek and Ed Harrison. 

Caro Emerald to live stream this Saturday

(Press release)

This Saturday, January 30, 2021 at 8:00pm CET*, Caro Emerald will perform a livestream concert, available for free via her YouTube and official website.

Caro will be playing an acoustic set with bass player Jeroen Vierdag, guitarist Wieger Hoogendorp, percussionist Gino Groeneveld (Altin Gün, Jungle by Night), and Pyke Pasman (Jungle by Night).

Album review: Shai Maestro - Human

Shai Maestro (piano), Jorge Roeder (bass), Ofri Nehemya (drums), Philip Dizack (trumpet)

Early in the year perhaps, but a contender for album of 2021 already!   A sumptuous studio recording from the aptly named Shai Maestro, who is now firmly in the top bracket of international composer/pianists.  Maestro famously turned down a scholarship to Berklee in favour of tenure with Avishai Cohen (bass) and is now a star in his own right on the evidence of this remarkable recording from ECM.  

His previous ECM outing The Dream Thief (2018) was rapturously received, and his band here builds on the trio of fellow Israeli Nehemya and Peruvian Roeder with the addition of New York based Dizack on trumpet. Any fears that the interplay and nuance of the trio would be brassed off” are unfoundedDizack is a player of great subtlety and sensitivity, more in the breathy Arve Henriksen than Christian Scott mouldgiving this quartet an extra dimension and more gears than the already versatile trio.  

Preview: Harry Keeble Quartet live streaming from the Jazz Co-op (Jan. 31)

The Globe's doors are currently closed to audiences, but, thanks to Newcastle Jazz Co-op's volunteer staff, high quality audio-visual live stream presentations are helping keep both musicians and the venue afloat. On Sunday evening (Jan. 31) tenor saxophonist Harry Keeble will be live streaming from the Co-op's Railway Street HQ.

Harry, from the coastal town of Hastings, studied at Leeds College of Music (now Leeds Conservatoire) and it was there he met Abbie Finn. Harry and drummer Abbie hit it off, and now, as graduates, continue to gig together. Abbie first came to the attention of BSH as a promising talent at the annual Great North Big Band Jazz Festival and the Darlington Jazz Festival. Sitting in at Newcastle Jazz Cafe's competitive jam sessions enabled Abbie to make contacts with other musicians and, in time, Harry turned up (bringing something of Brecker, Rollins and Trane to the party) at the fortnightly Pink Lane sessions. Harry and Abbie made a big impression, more than holding their own, making many friends along the way. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Album review Laura Toxværd - Calling – Graphic Notation in 3 Parts

Laura Toxværd, Maria Faust (alto sax); Jacob Anderskov (piano and preparations).

The number on this album is NEWJAIM1 so I guess this this must be the first album of the admirable New Jazz and Improvised Music Recording label setup during the height of the current pandemic giving musicians the creative opportunity to be able to record whilst their live options are severely limited.

The album Calling – Graphic Notation in 3 Parts was recorded in February 2020 live from the Copenhagen Winterjazz Festival just before lockdown began there. The music is improvised using a graphic score developed by Laura Toxværd. Joining the composer are pianist Jacob Anderskov with whom she recorded a duet album some years ago and alto player Maria Faust.

KSTV: Will Barry Trio - January 27


Will Barry (piano); Dave Archer (guitar); Will Sach (bass)

(Screenshots by Ken Drew)

Not a lot I can say about tonight that hasn't already been said about these three fine players on other evenings, in different settings, at this most charismatic of venues.

It may now only be a studio recreation of the legendary Broadway Market bar but the ambiance is still there and, with the build up of a worldwide audience, there's a sense of community spirit about it.

The emphasis tonight was on drummer-less piano trios such as Ahmad Jamal, Peterson, Cole etc. and in Barry, Archer and Sach it would be a struggle to find three musicians more suited to the task.

Preview: Scotland's Makar on Bessie Smith (Jan. 30)

Scotland's Makar, or national poet laureate, Jackie Kay, talks to Kate Molleson about the life and legacy of blues singer Bessie Smith on BBC Radio 3's Music Matters (Saturday, 11:45am, repeated Monday, 1 Feb, 10:00pm). Kay has a long association with BSH's home patch, first as a published author with Bloodaxe Books, and latterly as Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.  
Russell

Jazzing around from Middlesbrough to Jesmond via Montreal by Peter Wardle

I was brought up in Middlesbrough and my early memories were of the austere post war period - ration books, shortages, blackout curtains, fogs, etc. My earliest memories of music were from listening to the BBC Light Programme, 78's played on an old windy-up gramophone and my mother playing piano in the front room. My mother encouraged me to learn to play the piano but I was too busy kicking a ball around the local parks. I have always regretted not listening to her advice. My earliest experience of live music was performing in gang shows on the stage of the Middlesbrough Empire. I was fascinated by the activity of the pit orchestra. All my family attended the Woodlands Road Methodist Church and I enjoyed, and still do, the singing of hymns.

I don't recall going to any live music events other than brass band concerts playing in Albert Park. My introduction to jazz music was some 60 years ago watching the film Jazz on a Summer’s Day. Stand out performances I still remember were from Anita O'Day and Jimmy Giuffre on tenor with valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer. I have been a jazz fan ever since!

New Year, New Lockdown, New Music (2) with Paul Edis - Jan. 26

(Screenshot by Jerry)

We've been here before. During 2020 Paul Edis' Ballads Before Bed became required late night listening. Now, in the early weeks of the new year, our London resident pianist has resurfaced with a fortnightly (Tuesday) series focussing upon new, original material, some rarely performed pieces from an ever-expanding songbook.

Eleven compositions in something like one hour, each one placed in context: an arrangement for a youth jazz ensemble, a number, possibly performed in concert on one occasion only, in the company of a visiting American post bop alto saxophonist, a tune written in twenty minutes and so on. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

KSTV: Adrian Cox Quartet live stream - Jan. 26

Adrian Cox (clarinet/vocals); Dave Archer (guitar); Noah Stoneman (piano/organ); Ferg Ireland (bass).

(Screenshots by Ken Drew).

You've got to hand it to Smitty's, they offer the best of jazz in many of its various forms and, equally, it could be said, so does Adrian Cox.

I can think of few clarinetists who come across as being as much at home with the music of Johnny Dodds or Buddy de Franco. Cox doesn't copy, he just absorbs the elements of their playing into his psyche. Ed Hall's up in there too. It must be crowded. Maybe that's why he wears a cap to stop them escaping.

Tonight was faultless. A choice selection of standards and a few vocals that didn't hurt mixed with some fine piano, guitar and bass. One of those sessions that just demands that you to sit back and enjoy - with or without a glass of South Australian Sauvignon Blanc in your hand.

Album review: Cowboys and Frenchmen - Our Highway

Ethan Helm (alto sax/flute); Owen Broder (alto/baritone sax); Addison Frei (piano); Ethan O'Reilly (bass); Matt Honor (drums).

"The flute player is called Ethan and the bass player is also called Ethan."
"Oh really?"
"No, O'Reilly!"

I began this review with that old chestnut just to be different as the album itself is quite different - in the nicest possible way, I hasten to add.

The difference is in the form of some video footage (which can be purchased separately) that I had a reviewer's privilege of being able to watch whilst at the same time listening to the band playing live at SubCulture in NYC. The film was shot in those pre-pandemic days when the band were touring and gigging across the United States.

New Year, New Lockdown, New Music (2)

Paul Edis presents the second of his solo piano live streams tonight at 8:00pm. To watch on YouTube click on this link.
Paul, whose recent trio album Snakes and Ladders has been receiving rave reviews, will be playing a mix of standards and original compositions.
Lance

Monday, January 25, 2021

Antonio Forcione live stream from Ronnie Scott's - Jan. 25

Antonio Forcione (guitar); Matheus Nova (acc. bass guitar); Jansen Santana (perc.).

(Screenshots by Ken Drew).

Difficult one for me. It really needed a guitar specialist to elaborate on the technical aspects which, at times, were quite amazing. Forcione is a brilliant and possibly unique guitarist in the way he merges the music of so many cultures - Italian, African, Brazilian, Spanish, Portuguese, Cuban - and presents the end product as jazz. Which it most certainly is, possibly subtitled world jazz.

Opening with an unaccompanied Heartbeat it became obvious that this man's technique was his own as he played some fantastic things with both hands on the fretboard faraway from the soundhole.

Album review: John Pope Quintet - Mixed With Glass

John Pope (double bass); Jamie Stockbridge (alto sax); Faye MacCalman (tenor sax/clarinet);  Graham Hardy (trumpet/pocket trumpet); Johnny Hunter (drums).

Having seen this band a number of times live and being a big fan it was with some excitement and trepidation when I placed their inaugural CD Mixed with Glass into the player. I needn’t have worried within just a few bars I knew this album was a winner and that it was going to deliver the musical experience I had hoped for.

The CD was recorded over a weekend in October on the New Jazz and Improvised Recordings label partially set up to compensate for the cancellation of the 2020 Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music.

Album review: The QOW Trio

Riley Stone-Lonergan (tenor sax); Eddie Myer (bass); Spike Wells (drums).

The QOW Trio assembled, originally, to explore their love of Sonny Rollins’ piano-less trios of the 1950s but expanded their interest to encompass other big voiced tenorists with a full phat sound. The best sax trios have a rhythm section that pushes and prods the leader on and never allows the listener to wonder if there should be another horn or a pianist in the band. You need a monster bassist and a propulsive drummer, just like the QOW Trio. There is occasional space here, but the sax echoes into it and there is no sense of anything missing. This is music for the middle of a pandemic, recorded in one afternoon, where the band have shut out whatever lockdown we were in at the time and have convened to just blow. Cobwebs have no chance.

The Glenn Crytzer Quartet in the year 1931 - Jan. 24

Glenn Crytzer (guitar, vocals); Mike Davis (trumpet); Ricky Alexander (clarinet); Andrew Hall (double bass)

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, written in the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash, opened this week's NYC Sunday afternoon session by the Glenn Crytzer Quartet (2:30 EST, 7:30 GMT). Band leader Crytzer is well versed in all aspects of the live stream, ever the genial host, songs from 1931 in the spotlight. All of Me with Crtyzer taking a first vocal along with a rarely heard verse for good measure, followed by Just Friends, clarinetist Ricky Alexander soloing fluently. 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Emma Fisk's Hot Club du Nord live streaming from The Globe - Jan. 24

Emma Fisk (violin); Bradley Johnston, Dave Harris (guitars); Bruce Rollo (bass). 

(Screenshot by Russell)

What is there to say about The Quintet of the Hot Club de France that hasn't already been said? Come to that, what is there left to say about Emma Fisk's Hot Club du Nord?

Both bands have more or less exhausted superlatives and, although the music may date back to the years either side of WWII, it somehow retains its relevance today - particularly in the hands of Emma and her trusty crew. 

I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me - the opening number. Emma, Brad, Dave and Bruce - you'd better believe it as myself and 95 others watching certainly are! 

Jimmie Noone in "Block Busters"


Reading Russell's review of this week's Sunday Service by clarinetist Adrian Cox I note that in next week's SS Cox pays tribute to Jimmy Noone.
Noone, who died in April 1944, made an appearance earlier that year in a B movie, Block Busters, with The East Side Kids a.k.a. The Bowery Boys. In the above clip, Noone and his band can be seen playing Apex Blues and Boogie Woogie.

He really was a nice clarinet player.
Lance

Album review: A second review* of The Royal Bopsters - Party of Four

Jazz vocal group, The Royal Bopsters, have just produced their second release - Party Of Four - which also includes veteran vocal bopsters, Bob Dorough and Sheila Jordan as well as bass giant Christian McBride on selected tracks. 

A master class of vocal jazz artistry, The Bopsters project vocalese in tight, intricate harmonies on a disc containing drama and  multi-layered harmonies that draw much inspiration from classic vocal groups of yore. These include Lambert, Hendricks and Ross (The Bopsters' 2015 debut CD, included guest spots from both Ross and Hendricks), the Hi Los, and The Manhattan Transfer. POF exudes  a deeply swinging  amalgam of vocal virtuosity with precise but fully breathing arrangements that effectively combine the yin and yang of this discipline.

The Sunday Service celebrates Johnny Dodds - Jan. 23

Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals)

Indigo Stomp from 1929, a Dodds' trio recording with Lil Armstrong (Hardin) and an unknown bass player, opened today's programme. Preacher Cox dedicated today's service to Keith Nichols, described by our host as 'a font of knowledge' when it came to early jazz matters. The Armstrong connection continued with Perdido Street Blues and a counter melody rendition of High Society (Cox saying we had to imagine a band around him). At this point no fewer than 112 Facebook parishioners were watching on.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Album reviews: Gemma Sherry - Let's Get Serious & The Songs I Love

Let's Get Serious: Gemma Sherry (vocal); Rick Germanson (piano); Paul Bollenback (guitar); Eric Wheeler (bass); Joseph Doubleday (vibes); George Coleman Jnr. (drums).

The Songs I Love: Gemma Sherry (vocal); Billy Woodman (piano); Mike Waite (bass); Patsy Gamble (tenor sax).

Gemma Sherry, a New York based Aussie singer began her musical career as an alto saxophonist. Her first idol was Art Pepper and, maybe it's with the advantage of hindsight, but her voice, for me, evokes the fragrant feeling of Art's early recordings. I hope she takes that as a compliment!

KSTV: Live Playback. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers "Buhaina's Delight" - Jan. 23


James Copus (trumpet); Daniel Higham (trombone ); Alec Harper (tenor sax); Will Barry (piano); Ferg Ireland (bass); Will Cleasby (drums)
.

(Screenshots by Ken Drew)

As on the Blue Note album, Backstage Sally  got the ball rolling (I wonder what became of Sally?) with the horns kicking ass from the off. Barry likewise and Cleasby adding a touch of Blakey's percussive power.

Not surprisingly, Wayne Shorter's ballad Contemplation featured Alec Harper who was in his usual fine form. Amazing how, over the course of these live streams, he's so comfortably stepped into the shoes of, among others, Stan Getz, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and, tonight, Wayne Shorter.

Aycliffe Radio Playlist for tomorrow (Jan. 24 @ 6:30pm)

(Press release)

Nina Simone Why?; Tees Valley Jazzmen.

Tom Stevens pick: J.J. Johnson & company; Buddy Rich Big Band; Syd Lawrence.

George Gershwin, Ella Fitzgerald; Louis Armstrong; Ben Webster; John Pope Quintet;  Al Jolson; Art Blakey + Terence Blanchard; Benny Green; Tees Valley Jazzmen - Ace In The Hole.

Tribute to USA and inauguration of the new President: American Patrol; Sydney Bechet; Wynton Marsalis Talking Democracy; JALC (Jazz at the Lincoln Center) with Wynton Marsalis; JALC + Wynton Marsalis.

Mike Dixon

There'll be some (radio) changes made (starting Sunday 24)

In its wisdom the Beeb decided to part company with Clare Teal. The presenter's Sunday evening jazz and big band programme on Radio 2 had already been halved from two hours to one and when her contract wasn't renewed it didn't take long for jazz singer Teal to be snapped up by the opposition. Starting this weekend, The Clare Teal Show will be broadcast on Jazz FM every Sunday at 7:00pm. 

Meanwhile, Newton Aycliffe's community radio station's Jazz Time is moving to a new time start time. In this year of the pandemic Aycliffe Radio presenter Mike Dixon has been online every Sunday at six o'clock. It can't be easy putting together a programme from home with the studio out of bounds, let's hope the new start time - 6:30pm - brings better fortune. Log on to: 
www.ayclifferadio.co.uk
Russell

Friday, January 22, 2021

The Summertime of my discontent

Despite what my friends and foes may think - I love George and Ira Gershwin's Summertime even though it may seem otherwise. My problem isn't with the song but the singers who have mauled it incessantly over the years. It's a song from a folk opera - Porgy and Bess - and is best heard in that context. I know there are many show tunes that have a life outside of their Broadway beginnings but I don't think Summertime is one of them. Instrumentally yes, vocally no.

Album review: Tricotism - Nostalgia

Craig Milverton (piano); Nigel Price (guitar); Sandy Suchodolski (bass).

Inspired by the early piano, guitar, bass trios of Oscar Peterson, Tricotism is much more than a mere cloning exercise, it's more a development of the format. Just as Peterson built on Nat Cole's pioneering efforts, so Tricotism have added their own take. The big difference being that this is a trio of equals rather than a leader and two sidemen. Interestingly, Peterson did revert to a more balanced trio with Joe Pass on guitar and Ray Brown on bass before returning to the piano, bass, drums set up.

Deschanel Gordon live streaming from Kansas Smitty's - Jan. 22

Deschanel Gordon (piano); Will Sach (double bass); Will Cleasby (drums)
(Screenshots by Ken Drew)

Another Friday night at Kansas Smitty's, this week featuring the 2020 BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year, pianist Deschanel Gordon. Sammy Fain's That Old Feeling for starters. Was that the piano sounding a bit worse for wear? A tremendous second number, For the Hopeful, hints of a boppish Herbie Hancock, the composer D. Gordon, no less! Supporting our impressive award-winner this evening two of the many Kansas Smitty's Wills - W Sach, bass, and W Cleasby, drums. It Isn't compulsory to be named Will to get a gig at Kansas Smitty's but it sure ain't a disadvantage!

Rico's Popup Louis with Nick Dawson - Jan. 22

Rico Tomasso (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals); Nick Dawson (piano, bass synth, vocals)

I really don't know what to say said Rico Tomasso. Our host was, of course, talking about the death, yesterday, of musician and friend, Keith Nichols. Somewhat lost for words, Rico said he would pay fulsome tribute to Keith next week. Who Walked in When I Walked Out? as recorded by Ella and Louis opened this week's Popup Louis. Accompanying Rico and making a welcome return, pianist Nick Dawson. By way of a dedication to Keith, this evening's duo played (Rico singing) I Can't Give You Anything but Love, taking it at a slower tempo than usual, something Louis Armstrong did back in the 50s, said Rico.

Jason Moran: James Reese Europe - The Harlem Hellfighters: The Absence of Ruin.

(Screenshots by Ken Drew)

An emotional meditation by Jason Moran on James Reese Europe and the Harlem Hellfighters. The black American army unit attached to the French army in WWI. The band credited with introducing jazz to France and, ultimately beyond.

Moran cleverly integrated songs associated with the band and compositions of his own. The pianist made it work brilliantly not least with his own stride cum ragtime cum Cecil Taylor type playing. It was an eyeopener,

Despite the fact that most of the songs were over 100 years old - they had to be as Europe was murdered by one of his own band members in 1919 - the solos were very much of today and occasionally tomorrow.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Rachael & Alex playback Paul & Gerry. Two of a Mind @ Kansas Smitty's - Jan. 21

Rachael Cohen (alto sax); Alex Garnett (baritone sax); Will Sach (bass); Jas Kayser (drums).

(Screenshots by Ken Drew)

Another of KSTV's playback sessions. This time, recreating a recording made by Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan in 1962 with Alex as Gerry and Rachael as Paul.

A minor gem helped along, not least, by the two sax players' verbal interplay between tunes and the musical interaction when the chips were down. They bounced everything off each  other both in words and in music but when they got down to business it was the real deal.

Luca Manning live streaming from Ronnie's: a Tribute to the Iconic Jazz Divas - Jan. 21

Luca Manning (vocals); Matt Carter (piano); Seth Tackaberry (double bass, bass guitar); Tom Potter (drums)

(Screenshot of Luca by Russell. Full band shot by Ken Drew)

2020 APPJAG Jazz Newcomer of the Year award winner Luca Manning opened this evening's Iconic Jazz Divas show with Love for Sale. Manning's ace young band - Matt Carter, piano, Seth Tackenberry, bass, and award-winning drummer Tom Potter - swung like veterans. 

If I Knew Then, à la Sarah Vaughan, superb, followed by Underneath the Apple Tree, first known to our vocalist listening to Carmen McRae, pianist Carter excelling as soloist and accompanist. Manning loves Nancy Wilson and always includes Never Will I Marry - not a bad idea! 

Keith Nichols (1945-2021)

Pianist Keith Nichols died today (Jan. 21). A noted authority on ragtime and early piano styles, Nichols was born in Ilford, Essex in 1945. As a young child he played piano and accordion, becoming a national junior champion on the latter instrument. From running bands at school to becoming a world-renowned performer and scholar of 'classic' jazz, Nichols did it all with panache and a great sense of humour. 

To list Nichols' achievements would run to several pages, in summary: student years at the Guildhall, performing with and/or arranging for Digby Fairweather, Harry Gold, the Midnite Follies Orchestra, a first visit to America working with Dick Sudhalter (playing Carnegie Hall), and, one to dine out on, recording an album with Bing Crosby. 

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