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Bebop Spoken There

Jennifer Wharton: "People forget that the trombone is so glorious. It can be like going to church, or getting ready for battle. It can be a lot of things....For a longtime I was the only female trombonist in New York," - (DownBeat May 2021)

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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'"

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13,218 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 637 of them this year alone and, so far, 45 this month (May 11).

Coming soon ...

May 20: Vieux Carré Jazzmen at The Holystone (Indoors!)
May 20 Maine Street Jazzmen are back at Sunniside Social Club. 8:30pm start.
May 23: Vieux Carré Hot Four are back at The Spanish City.

June 21: Jazz in the Afternoon are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club. (Revised date).
June 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club. (Revised date).

Monday, February 01, 2021

Frank Griffith remembers Frank Toms (1937 - Jan. 27, 2021)

(Photo © John Ross supplied courtesy of LJN)

Having  known  and played  with Frank for 25 years (from 1996)  I found him open to playing any type of gig going and would do his level best to attend at a moment's notice - he  so welcomed a challenge.

Frank’s Mancunian accent and humour remained intact throughout his 83 years. We used to discuss classical music a lot and he recommended that I acquire Tchaikovsky’s Serenade For Strings which I duly did and found it a great source for learning about writing for smaller string ensembles.

We played a trio gig in 1998 with Peter Ind on bass at the Bell Inn in Hampton. In the middle of one of Peter's lengthy solos he suddenly shouted "Lay Out" at Frank, presumably because he preferred no piano comping at that point. Frank dutifully obeyed and got up from the keyboard and walked over and stood by me, chuckling away and showing no signs of being insulted or cheesed off at Peter. 

Another occasion was a last minute need for a pianist at a very short-lived venue in Shepherds Bush called The Blue Jay in 2003. A trio with myself and a  Sinatranic singer. Frank sailed through winsomely, accompanying me on a variety of standards that we both knew. His accompanying the singer was a bit more of a challenge as he had never worked with him before as well as the singer doing a less than usual repertoire. That, along with the singer making overly high demands on his pianist (largely down to his own self-importance on stage) did not even begin to flummox Frank, resulting in a top  show for the punters and trio alike.

RIP, dear Frank. Your unique musicianship and friendship will live eternally.

Frank Griffith

1 comment :

Mike Farmer said...

Just seen the sad news about the death of Frank Toms who was an important part of the Manchester Jazz Scene and who I first met when I started work at a rubber factory in Salford many years ago. He really knew how to play bebop piano and I spent a lot of time at his house in Failsworth listening to all the latest modern jazz records and also going to the jam sessions at the Lower Turks Head.We also went to Paris a couple of times and visited many great jazz clubs that featured legends like Chet Baker. Kenny Clarke etc. One year we rented a car in Spain and went on a wild road trip to Morocco crossing deserts and mountains. He later moved to Penn in Berkshire and became much in demand in that area and on the London Jazz Scene. R.I.P Frank-You will be missed.

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