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Bebop Spoken There

John McDonough (reviewing Bright Red Dog’s In Vivo): “When you improvise on nothing, that’s what you get”. - DownBeat August 2021

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

13,508 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 926 of them this year alone and, so far, 90 this month (July 27).

Saturday, July 31, 2021

From This Moment On

JULY 
Sat 31: Boys of Brass @ Brandling Villa, South Gosforth, Newcastle. 8:00pm. 
Sat 31: Lindsay Hannon @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Lindsay previews new, original material.
Sat 31: jakTar + Johnny Richards @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 8:00pm. JNE promotion.

AUGUST 

Sun 01: Vieux Carre Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.              

Sun 01: Jeffrey Hewer Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Leeds College of Music graduate guitarist (Masters, Jazz Performance & Composition).

Wed 04: Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting @ Bobik's, Punch Bowl Hotel, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Cross-genre improv night. 
Wed 04: Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis' Jack Johnson album @ Cluny 2, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Online booking at: www.ticketweb.uk.

Thu 05: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Thu 05: Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis' Jack Johnson album @ Forum Music Centre, Darlington. 7:30pm. Online booking at: www.ticketweb.uk. 
Thu 05: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.

Fri 06 Leeds City Stompers @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. 
Fri 06: Guy Swinton Quartet @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Downstairs. 
Fri 06: King Bees @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Upstairs. Chicago blues. 

A rendezvous with Rendezvous Jazz

Like so many bands, Maureen Hall’s Rendezvous Jazz has been side-lined over the past 17 months. However, drummer/vocalist George Davidson informs me that they are under starter’s orders next Saturday (August 7) at the Red Lion, Earsdon (8:00pm – 10:30pm). As I recall, in pre-pandemic times, this was a monthly gig so, presumably it remains so.

Reminiscing in (and out of) Tempo by Andy Hudson. Part Five - The JVC Years

Of the hundreds of events and TV programmes that I produced, the essential ingredient for success has always been the quality of “The Team” and this was no better demonstrated than in the JVC Jazz Parades.

For the eight years that I was at the helm, I never encountered a more joyous, hard-working and successful bunch.*

When we started, there were extra complications in “importing” musicians in that US trade unions required an “exchange”. Whereas we wanted BB King, Miles Davis, Ray Charles etc the US did not want Ball, Barber, Bilk, Tracey, Rendell and their like…but they did want Rolling Stones, Elton John, Wham, and other mega names. My ultimate Mr Fixit, Brian Theobald, who worked out of his Ronnie Scott’s Club Office had evolved some Byzantine formula that was able to trade MAN-DAYS as they were called when there was little PC pressure. What Ella made of her Man-day gig at the Festival Hall we never knew.

Aycliffe Radio. Jazz Time Playlist

The Programme will now REPEAT ON TUESDAYS 8.00-9.30 STARTING THIS TUESDAY (I hope)

Playlist for Sunday 1st Aug and Tues 3rd:

Jimmy Giuffre/Bob Brookmeyer; Chris Barber; The Modern Jazz Quartet Ft. Jimmy Giuffre; 

Requests: Wayne Shorter; Chet Baker; Shorty Rogers; Peruna Jazzmen; Teodross Avery.

Clare Teal; Spyro Gyra; Art Tatum Lionel Hampton Buddy Rich; Fats Waller; Amy Winehouse; Dario Ronchi; Peggy Lee; Marion Williams; Miles Davis w George Coleman; Nubya Garcia.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Louis Armstrong on the Beeb

As the 120th anniversary of Louis Armstrong's birth draws ever closer - Wednesday 4 August - the BBC commemorates the occasion with programmes scheduled across radio and television. In the early hours of tomorrow (Saturday, 3:00am, Radio 2), Satchmo By Satchmo: the Louis Armstrong Tapes is a repeat of Paul Sexton's documentary first broadcast in 2011. Over on Radio 4 at three thirty in the afternoon King Louis the First of Britain charts Armstrong's love affair with the British. Fellow trumpeter Byron Wallen looks at Satchmo's first visit to these shores in the 30s and many subsequent tours down through the decades. 

Music Icons: Jazz Rock (Sky Arts)

I have watched this so you don’t have to. I watched it live and recorded it in anticipation of repeatedly enjoying a half hour of electronic Miles, Mahavishnu, Weather Report and Return to Forever amongst others. I had always understood that these were the keynote artists in Jazz Rock not least because Stuart Nicholson in his excellent 1998 book Jazz Rock, told me so. But no, not according to Sky Arts. The most important acts in the genre were in fact Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers and Boz Scaggs. Now, at a push and with a firearm pointed at my head I can just about accept Steely Dan as one of the fraternity, and indeed, they get a few mentions in Professor Nicholson’s book, but we’re not letting the others in the house and we’re certainly not elevating them to the medals podium.

Steve Pimlott @ The Tallyrand, Manchester - July 29

(Steve & Uli @ the Railway 2014)
Steve Pimlott (tenor sax); Uli Elbracht (guitar); John Sandham (double bass); Erryl Roberts (drums).

The Tallyrand, a small narrow pub located at 1030 Stockport Road, Levenshulme, Manchester M19 3WX, is named after a French diplomat who came to Levenshulme in 1793 to avoid execution. It puts on a mixture of cultural events including plays, films, blues and tonight hosted the modern jazz of the Steve Pimlott Quartet. 

Michael Connelly, Black Ice and all that jazz.

I'm reading Michael Connelly's 1993 police procedural novel The Black Ice featuring LA cop Harry Bosch. However, when Bosch is on the case police procedure doesn't always quite follow the rules.

Apart from Bosch's pursuit of killers, dealers and other miscreants, his love of music and jazz in particular never fails to shine through.

Holmes may have solved his cases with a pipe or three of opium but, had Sherlock and Harry been contemporaries, Harry would have busted him!

Autumn in Newcastle (Fenham to be precise)

Details have been released of the forthcoming autumn jazz series at St.James' and St.Basil's church in Fenham. These gigs are in addition to the summer garden series and are a continuation of the Thursday evening series from 2019 but with the change to free entry.

19th August   Abbie Finn Trio 
16th September   Nicola Farnon Trio
21st October   Alter Ego

All Thursday evenings starting 7.30pm.
Doors open 7pm.
Free entry. Donations welcome. Bar.
Face masks optional.

Happy Birthday Charlie Christian: An organ-ized celebration - July 29

(Screenshot by Russell)
Facundo Tarella (clarinet); Fernando Montardit (guitar); Lucas Ferrari (organ); Eduardo Porfirio (drums) + Gus Lerado (piano); ? (vocals)

Yesterday, July 29, marked the birth of Charlie Christian all of 105 years ago in 1916. If the occasion escaped some in America and here in Europe, it didn't go unnoticed in Argentina. An organ-ized celebration in Buenos Aires streaming on Facebook featured a Goodman-style quartet which, later in the proceedings, would briefly be augmented by a pianist and an unannounced, off-screen vocalist. 

Album review Barry Altschul’s 3DOM Factor - Long Tall Sunshine

Barry Altschul (drums and cymbals); Jon Irabagon (tenor, soprillo sax, alto clarinet); Joe Fonda (bass).

Well, it’s been a while since I listened to any free jazz so when this one arrived in the post I took my teeth out, sat up straight and prepared to hang on for the ride. And it is a ride, the music is, at times plaintiff and exploratory, at others declamatory and celebratory. The trio is an open, stripped down format that allows every note from all three protagonists to land clearly, especially the drums which cover the spectrum from delicate to explosive.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Wild One, you dig?

Freeview television regularly offers 'another chance to see' films classic and not so classic. Great Movies Classic! seemingly screens The Wild One every five minutes (it was on again today - July 29). 

It's well worth watching for the now dated jive talk between Marlon Brando's Johnny, Lee Marvin's Chino and co. as they enjoy antagonising 'square' townsfolk. The 1953 soundtrack features a who's who of the West Coast scene - Maynard Ferguson, Bud Shank, Shorty Rogers, Herb Geller, Shelly Manne and more. Go Daddy-O! Russell

Album review: Sam Blakeslee & Wistful Thinking - The Long Middle

Sam Blakeslee (trombone); Chris Coles (alto sax, effects pedals); Brandon Coleman (guitar); Matt Wiles (bass).

You know how it is when you go to the opticians and they ask you to read the bottom line when, in actual fact, if you could read the bottom line you wouldn't be there in the first place? I mention this because the notes on the booklet make that bottom line seem like the top line - even a visit to Specsavers wouldn't have helped! As such, I'm unable to tell you much about the background to this, not unpleasant, album.

Johnny Richards + jakTar live in Newcastle this Saturday 31st July 2021

(Press release)

This Saturday 31st July at the Literary and Philosophical Society in Newcastle upon Tyne you can catch the brilliant Johnny Richards performing something of a post-album launch for the excellent 'Build A Friend' on New Jazz and Improvised Music Recordings.


Tickets will also be available on the door but we do try to encourage audiences to buy online in advance to help with seating plans and reducing the amount of cash handling. 

Upper East Harlem Block to be Co-Named After Iconic Art Kane Photograph 'Harlem 1958' on August 12, 2021

(Press release)

NEW YORK, NY (July 29, 2021) – Uptown Grand Central and Jazzmobile are thrilled to announce the August 12, 2021 celebration surrounding the commemorative street co-naming of East 126th street between 5th and Madison Avenues as ‘Art Kane Harlem 1958 Place.’ August 12th marks the 63rd anniversary of the gathering of 57 jazz luminaries in East Harlem for the shooting of the famed Art Kane photograph “Harlem 1958. Known alternatively as “A Great Day In Harlem,” the iconic photograph has become one of the most celebrated images in American history, capturing the vitality of jazz in the late 1950s. Dedicated to the preservation and furtherance of the jazz artform and the greater East Harlem community,  the celebration of this historic street co-naming event will take place from 2:00pm to 4:00pm EDT on Thursday, August 12th. Register for this free event here.  

Scarborough Jazz Festival: The Grand Hall, Scarborough Spa

(Press release)

The 18th Scarborough Jazz Festival will now take place across the weekend of 24-26 September 2021 at Scarborough Spa.

Original Tickets from September 2020 & February 2021 remain valid for the September 2021 Festival.

Alongside some of our favourite festival performers we have many new faces: the ground breaking pianist Fergus McCreadie; violinist John Pearce and gypsy jazz from Djanco.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Album review: Kevin Sun - < 3 Bird

Kevin Sun (tenor sax, clarinet); Adam O'Farrell (trumpet: 1, 10, 11, 12, 13); Max Light (guitar: 5, 8, 15); Christian Li (piano, Rhodes: 2,3, 4, 6, 9,13); Walter Stinson (bass); Matt Honor (drums)

An interesting tribute to Charlie Parker coinciding with what would have been the great man's 101st birthday by a player who took advantage of the lockdowns to immerse himself in all of Bird's known recordings. In his own words, Sun said, "It was a way to de-stress and take a break from the pandemic reality. Parker was like the James Joyce of modern jazz."

RIP Pete Stuart.

The obituaries are piling up and will be duly posted but, for those of us in the north east surely none is more sad than this one sent to me by drummer Ernie Jackson.

Very sad news. My dear old friend Peter Stuart passed away peacefully on the 22nd of July. He had been ill for a long time.

The funeral is on the 6th of August at Sunderland Crematorium at 9:30am. No flowers please by request. A great friend and a brilliant musician. RIP my old friend - Ernie Jackson.

Freddy Garner Quartet @ The Railway, Stockport - July 27

Freddy Garner (piano); Jim Collins (flute, tenor/alto sax);  James Adolpho (double bass); Erryl Roberts (drums) + Leo Sheldon (alto sax)

It had begun to rain when I set off for Stockport and, by the time I got there it was bucketing it down. Despite the terrible weather there was a large group of people waiting to hear pianist Freddy Garner, a veteran of the north west jazz scene, his style being similar to Hampton Hawes or Victor Feldman with bits of Bill Evans thrown in. 

Listen to Lover Come Back to Me from Jazzmeia Horn's new album Dear Love

(Press release)

September 2021 welcomes the release of Dear Love, the brand new project by US jazz luminary, vocalist and composer Jazzmeia Horn. A winner of the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition and the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition,

Jazzmeia Horn is also a NAACP Image Award winning artist. Having signed to Concord Records, her debut album A Social Call achieved great critical acclaim, receiving a GRAMMY Award® nomination in the category of Best Jazz Vocal Album. Jazzmeia’s second album Love and Liberation, received yet another GRAMMY® nomination in the same category. Now Jazzmeia Horn makes a triumphant return with a big band orientated album – a notable departure from her previous work and a unique proposition, undoubtedly set to build on her compelling reputation as one of America’s most exciting and impactful jazz stars.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Bloggeration - my latest cuss word!

Some of our readers are having difficulties accessing BSH. Don't lose any sleep - I'm having problems too!

I'm not sure if it's Virgin, Google or me finishing off that bottle of plonk. Hopefully things will get back to normal which, in the world wide situation that we are currently in, means my problems don't amount to a hill of beans.

My assessment is that the Blogger hierarchy haven't heard of the old adage that says, that if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

In the mean time, email me if you are having any problems accessing the site. Lance

Preview: An Armstrong Special with Jamie Cullum (July 27)

Next week marks the birth of Louis Armstrong, all of 120 years ago. To commemorate the occasion, this evening's edition of Jamie Cullum's Radio 2 programme (9:00pm) celebrates the great man's achievements. The Jazz Show with Jamie Cullum features contributions from trumpeters Terence Blanchard and Sheila Maurice-Grey (of 2021 APPJAG Jazz Ensemble of the Year award-winning band Kokoroko).
Russell    

Jeffrey Hewer Quartet @ The Globe on Sunday (August 1)

The Jeffrey Hewer Quartet is an exciting and dynamic jazz band that performs original music and interpretations of jazz classics in a contemporary style.

Expect tunes by legends such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Joe Henderson as well as original music and arrangements inspired by the giants of jazz.

Led by guitarist Jeffrey Hewer, the quartet of guitar, bass, drums and saxophone brings an intense and lyrical sound as they explore musical soundscapes, bringing a joyful excitement and interplay to their music.

Details/tickets

Recipients Announced For 2021 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

(Press release)

The recipients of the 2021 Parliamentary Jazz Awards were announced on Monday 26th July at 19:00

The Parliamentary Jazz Awards are organised by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) with the support of PizzaExpress Live. The Awards celebrate and recognise the vibrancy, diversity, talent and breadth of the jazz scene throughout the United Kingdom.

The award categories reflect the ever-increasing scope of talent from within the UK’s jazz scene: Jazz Vocalist of the Year; Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year; Jazz Album of the Year; Jazz Ensemble of the Year; Jazz Newcomer of the Year; Jazz Venue of the Year; Jazz Media Award; Jazz Education Award; the Services to Jazz Award and the Lockdown Innovation Award.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Munch Manship Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - July 25

Munch Manship (tenor sax); Andrzej Baranek (keys); Grant Russell (bass); Dave Tyas (drums).*

I watched a news item on Sunday concerning an unexploded World War 2 bomb found in a building site in Goole, Yorkshire. The Army came in and blew it up, which was a quite spectacular event.

Another explosive event occurred at the Railway on Sunday evening when saxman Munch Manship together with a first-rate backing trio arrived ready to cook up a storm, and they did!

The Globe Wins! 2021 APPJAG Awards

Winners in bold type.

Lockdown Innovation Award

Liam Noble  - Saturday Lockdown Live Sessions 

Joe Stilgoe's 'Stilgoe in the Shed' 100 shows 

Adrian Cox's Sunday Service 

The Globe Newcastle upon Tyne


Jazz Vocalist of the Year

Claire Martin

Brigitte Beraha 

Georgia Mancio


Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year

Tony Kofi

Adrian Cox

Nubya Garcia

Nishla Smith Quintet & The Tenement Jazz Band @ The Globe Summer Festival - July 25

(Screenshot by Ken Drew)
Nishla Smith (vocals); Aaron Wood (trumpet); Richard Jones (piano);  Joshua Cavanagh-Brierley (bass); Johnny Hunter (drums).

It was almost three years to the day - give or take a couple of weeks - when I first heard Nishla. It was in the old Jazz Café, now the Prohibition Bar, at one of the legendary Tuesday night jams.

Since then, apart from an occasional return to the area, Nishla is now firmly established on the Manchester jazz scene and the choice of her quintet proved to be a fitting finale to The Globe/Jazz Co-op's innovative Summer Festival that crossed the genres and set down the ground-lines for what, hopefully, next year will be even better - tough call!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Review: Blue Notes, Cold Nights (July 25)

From time to time there is something worth tuning into on BBC Radio 4 Extra. This afternoon (Sunday) a repeat of a programme first broadcast in December 2011 looked at African-American musicians who chose to base themselves in Scandinavia. In Blue Notes, Cold Nights blues musician Eric Bibb, himself acquainted with life on this side of the Atlantic, surveyed how the scene was way back and now. 

St. Cuthbert's Suite @ Sage Gateshead - July 24

Sat 24: Youth Ensembles present St Cuthbert Suite @ Sage Gateshead. 7:30pm. Composer Paul Edis conducts Folkestra, Jambone, Quay Voices & Young Sinfonia in a new arrangement of his St Cuthbert Suite. AVAILABLE ONLY AS A PRE-RECORDED STREAM ON YOUTUBE AT 7:30PM 

The above item appeared in yesterday's gig listing and no doubt many were kicking themselves for being otherwise engaged and missing out.

Well all is not lost. It can still be viewed on YouTube and is totally unmissable for anyone who appreciates a range of music across the genres.

Adrian Cox's Sunday Service with Joe Webb - July 25

Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals); Joe Webb (piano)

Minutes into this afternoon's Sunday Service, Adrian Cox's online congregation hit one hundred! Clearly clarinetist Cox is a hugely popular figure on the scene and, what's more, this week there was the added attraction of Joe Webb playing some rollicking good piano! 

The King Bees @ The Globe's Summer Festival - July 24

Michael Littlefield (guitar, vocals); Scott Taylor (harmonica, vocals); Dominic Hornsby (piano, vocals); Simon Hedley (double bass); Giles Holt (drums)

The Globe's Summer Festival was in full swing with the Sour Mash Trio approaching the end of their late afternoon set playing to an appreciative, largely standing, audience. Wrist bands issued at the door, ground floor and first floor bars open, yes, we were in festival mode. The 'new normal' is weird...punters standing at the bar. It'll never catch on! We were on Railway Street in Newcastle to hear some electric, electrifying blues. If anyone thinks 1950s South Side Chicago blues is a thing of the past, think again. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Alex Garnett Quartet @ the 606 Club - July 24

Alex Garnett (tenor sax); Deschanel Gordon (piano); Simon Read (bass); Matt Home (drums).

The last time I heard Alex Garnett was at the 606. That night he blew the subterranean roof off on alto, tonight he did it again on tenor. Quite a player!

This was one of those nights where sitting, watching, listening on the pc isn't quite the same. If my neighbours had had a  707 in their back garden I'd have asked them to fly me down to the 606 in time to catch the second (unstreamed) set but ... neighbours these days...

Nevertheless, on that first set the band hit the ground running with Junior Mance's Jubilation that told me everything I needed to know - this was going to be a cracker. If they ever bring back the good old free for all jam sessions I wouldn't bet against Garnett being the last man standing!

Aycliffe Radio: Playlist July 25 (6:30pm)

Billie Holiday; JATP Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald Roy Eldridge. 

David Bonner's choice: Sant Andreu Jazz Band (Jesse Davis & Wycliffe Gordon); Michael Philip Mossman feat. by WDR Big Band; Utrechtse Studenten Bigband ft. Adam Rapa & Tom Beek; James Morrison auditioning for The Big Phat Band trumpet section.

The New Golden Age.

There was a time, from the 1950s onwards, when it seemed as though the UK was overrun with top class sax players. Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott, Don Rendell, Tommy Whittle, Jimmy Skidmore, Keith Bird, Art Ellefson, Kathy Stobart, Barbara Thompson, Bogey Gaynair, Danny Moss, Don Weller, Bobby Wellins, Pete King, Joe Harriott, Johnny Dankworth, Harry Klein, Ronnie Ross and John Surman to mention but a few.

Then, one by one, most of them died and we began, once again, looking to America but, over there too, most of the masters were, figuratively speaking, six foot under.

Why Aye, it's Soznak! - July 24

(Photo by Russell)
If it's Saturday it must be Soznak at Monument. Well, that used to be the case, come rain, come shine. Then along came the pandemic and the band didn't venture into Newcastle city centre in yonks. Now, they're back! The photo shows Jude (on the left) belting out Good Times and Let's Dance with bandleader Paul (on the right of the picture in canary yellow t-shirt) bagging a seat on a hot summer's day. Russell

Review: The Road to Rock 'n' Roll

Bobby Rush turns eighty eight this year. In a programme broadcast on the BBC World Service at lunchtime today (July 24), the veteran blues musician gave us a guided tour of the chitlin' circuit, interviewing many of its now legendary performers. Black American musicians cut their teeth on the tough gig-to-gig, town-to-town days and nights on the road in segregated America. 

Rush offered to demonstrate how to play and sing the blues, the Homer, Louisiana born survivor singing the line: She left me for the garbage man

Preview: The Chitlin' Circuit & Dexter in Denmark

Two programmes worth catching this weekend on BBC Radio. At noon today (Saturday) on the World Service The Road to Rock 'n' Roll looks at the touring circuit in the States and the many stars who honed their skills gigging from town to town. Tomorrow (Sunday 25), over on Radio 4 Extra at half past three, Eric Bibb presents Blue Notes, Cold Nights,(first broadcast in December 2011) telling the story of Don Cherry and Dexter Gordon who lived and worked for many years in Denmark.  Russell

Billy Taylor remembered

Billy Taylor was born one hundred years ago today (July 24). A professional career beginning with a job working with Ben Webster would see the one-time Birdland house pianist share a stage with a 'who's who' of the jazz world - Bird, Dizzy, Miles et al. Tomorrow's edition of Jazz Record Requests (BBC Radio 3, 4:00pm) pays tribute to the great man.
Russell

Friday, July 23, 2021

Rico's Popup Louis - July 23

Rico Tomasso (trumpet, flugelhorn vocals); Will Barry (piano)

A last Popup Louis before the summer break found our host Rico Tomasso once again working with 'the wonderful Will Barry at the piano'. This evening's streamed session from Rico's kitchen featured a return visit by 'the wonderful' Will Barry, our duo would play everything from Earl Hines to Nat Cole (Oscar Moore). Perhaps it was the summer heat but the audio didn't sync with the picture. In this year and more of the live stream we've become accustomed to technical glitches to such an extent that they're easily dismissed from the mind, it goes with the territory. 

Hot Club du Nord @ The Gala, Durham - July 23

Emma Fisk (violin); James Birkett (guitar); Dave Harris (guitar); Bruce Rollo (double bass)

As Emma Fisk reminded us, it had been eighteen months. Eighteen months since the regular Hot Club du Nord line-up last took to the concert platform. On another sweltering day, when people could have been sunning themselves in a pub beer garden, it was gratifying to see close to one hundred socially distanced fans filling the Gala Theatre's main auditorium. 

Mercury Awards Nominations - Jazz

The nominations have been announced today for the latest Mercury Awards - whatever they are!

The jazz joust appears to pit Floating Sounds, Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra's Promises against Nubya Garcia's Source.

The former is described as A collaboration between Sam Shepherd, musicians with a neuroscience doctorate, jazz legend Pharoah Sanders and an orchestra that produces an elevated suite of electronica and ambient sounds. By contrast, Garcia tells the story of her Afro-Caribbean heritage via a joyous stew of reggae, dub, calypso and soco.

I can understand why the Vieux Carré Jazzmen didn't make make it - they flunked their neuroscience doctorate! Lance

Album review: Trineice Robinson – All or Nothing

Rejoice! Another fine singer doing jazz and soul with a lovely alto tone and expressive presentation.     

This is Ms Robinson's debut album, issued after already making her mark as an educator, researcher, author and scholar. She hails from Oakland, California, sang in church, then gained qualifications in jazz studies and education. She has taught and developed resources for singing in jazz, gospel, pop and other styles, as well as keeping up her own schedule as a singer. She is especially interested in finding ways to express the experience of black American people through song.

The Harry Keeble Quartet @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - July 22

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

Harry Keeble graduated from Leeds College of Music (now 'Conservatoire') a couple of years ago. The amiable tenor saxophonist has been making his mark on the jazz scene sitting in at jam sessions, gigging with drummer Abbie Finn and now, fronting his own quartet, there is a recently recorded digital download EP to enjoy. To celebrate the release of The Beacon, the HKQ played a launch gig at Prohibition Bar.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Album review: Dave Miller Trio - The Mask-erade is Over.

Dave Miller (piano); Andrew Higgins (bass); Bill Belasco (drums).

Well, I hope the title of this album turns out to be accurate and life gets back to a degree of normality. However, although I've got my fingers crossed and sent a prayer to him down there, time alone will tell.

Should the unthinkable happen and we're once more sentenced to a life of lockdowns, quarantines, self-isolation and all the rest then, at least, this album will provide some comfort. In fact, even if everything was hunky dory listening to the Dave Miller Trio would make it even hunkier and dorier. 

Preview: Tonight! Harry Keeble Quartet EP launch

This evening (Thursday 22) at Prohibition Bar in Newcastle, tenor saxophonist Harry Keeble launches his recently recorded EP. The Beacon features original compositions performed by Harry's A-list band; guitarist Mark Williams, bassist Andy Champion and drummer Abbie Finn. Harry and Abbie met at Leeds College of Music and since graduating they've continued to make a big impression on the regional jazz scene and beyond. Mark and Andy, themselves graduates of Newcastle College, run their own bands and are in great demand locally and nationally. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Johnny Hunter Quartet @ Creative Space, Manchester - July 20

Johnny Hunter (drums); Kyran Matthews (tenor, soprano sax); Joshua Cavanagh-Brierley  (double bass) Adam Fairhall (keys).

It was a hot sunny evening when I arrived at the Slug and Lettuce to hear the music of the late great pianist Mulgrew Miller performed by the Johnny Hunter Quartet.

Although it was only 8:20pm, already, there was a good crowd in the upstairs room,  maybe due to the Creative Space being inactive for the past 16 months. The doors to the balcony were open which cooled things down a bit and the band started at 8:45pm with the first of two sets finishing at 11:00pm.

Zoë Gilby & Paul Edis @ Ronnie Scott's - July 20

Zoë Gilby (vocals); Paul Edis (piano)

Mid-summer, temperatures nudging 30°, the capital city appeared to be as busy as ever. An early morning Azuma - first stop King's Cross - arrived bang on time, not to the minute, rather, to the second. A good start to the day. Things couldn't get any better, certainly not worse, could they? 

The plan...hit the art galleries, browse - and almost certainly buy something from - the bookshops, go to the pub then on to Ronnie's. The masterplan was to take in two gigs at Ronnie's, the early evening show 'Upstairs @ Ronnie's' and, later in the evening, the second house in the main room. The latter event featuring pianist Emmet Cohen's NYC trio hit the buffers when uncertainty over travel/quarantine regulations forced a postponement.* The former event, an edition of the weekly Braziliance session Upstairs @ Ronnie's, presented two north east of England born and bred stars of the British jazz scene. APPJAG award-winning vocalist Zoë Gilby travelled down from her Tyneside home to meet up with her London based friend and master pianist, Paul Edis. 

Rick Laird dies at 80

Born in Dublin in 1941, in his teens Rick Laird went to live in New Zealand with his father, before moving on to Australia where he began gigging around town. Harbouring ambitions to move to America, Laird was persuaded to try London. A period of study at the Guildhall led to the plum job of house bassist at Ronnie Scott's. Unsurprisingly, in next to no time, he compiled an impressive cv - Sonny Rollins*, Sonny Stitt, Ben Webster, all the guys who had engagements on Frith Street. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

If Gabriel ever needs a UK dep ...


It's too darn hot to post anything of substance so I thought I'd draw up a top ten list of British trumpet players that I've heard over the years and across the genres. To avoid controversy I've listed them in alphabetical order.

Bruce Adams. I've heard Bruce in small group settings with Alan Barnes - the way they bounce things off each other both musically and verbally is pure magic. Likewise, on gigs with SSBB and CHBB, he never fails to bring something extra to the table. The last time I heard him with Strictly Smokin' at the Globe it wasn't his first solo or even his first chorus - it was his first note! Good job they'd battened down the hatches! 

Preview: Zoë, Paul & Ronnie (July 20)

(Photo by Malcolm Sinclair)
Thinking about it, Ronnie Scott would more likely than not be amazed by the sheer number of talented British musicians currently plying their trade the length and breadth of the country. Yes, the American 'names' continue to be a big draw, but there is little doubt that many home-grown stars are more than capable of holding their own with all and sundry. Next week two such stars will be holding court at Ronnie Scott's.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Trefor Owen Quartet @ The Railway, Stockport - July 18

Trefor Owen (guitar); Andy Hulme (guitar); Dave Luckhurst (bass); Liam Byrne (tenor & soprano sax) + Mike Farmer (soprano sax)

Trefor Owen was born in Anglesey Wales and is a familiar name to many guitar enthusiasts throughout the UK and USA. He is a first-rate educator as well as being an excellent musician who has appeared alongside many notable guitar legends including Mundell Lowe, Jimmy Gourley, Howard Alden and Louis Stewart. He also ran the highly acclaimed North Wales International Guitar Festival.

The band played a selection of well-known standards plus two written by Wes Montgomery and a new one (to me) by Henry Mancini – Dreamsville.

Mike Durham's International Classic Jazz Party 2021: CANCELLED!

It makes me so sad to announce this, for a second year! We really can't see a clear way through to planning this weekend event in November, given its international complexities, and the ongoing uncertainties with travel and quarantine - plus, the continuing upward numbers of Covid cases. 

We'd remained cautiously optimistic until fairly recently - so, due to print deadlines you may well see advertisements for the event in current and forthcoming issues of jazz magazines. This has been a decision that we've taken jointly, just in the last few days. Our musicians have now been informed - so they can plan their diaries. 

For Sand Dancers* Only - Jazzin' around South Shields

(Fred Rowe)
Possibly the first ever jazz club I visited was the Wouldhave Restaurant on the sea front at South Shields. With the night club boom of the 1960s it became the Beach Club and then the Shoreline Club. It was the kind of place where even Hell's Angels feared to tread! However, back then, in the early 1950s, on a Sunday night it was a jazz club featuring the Rivermouth Jazzmen with Fred Rowe on trumpet, Bill Harper on piano as well as others whose names now escape me. Unfortunately, it didn't have a liquor licence so it was necessary to tank up beforehand then sprint across the road to the Sea Hotel for further sustenance during the interval.

JAZZ SUPPER WITH JEREMY MCMURRAY & THE POCKET JAZZ ORCHESTRA FRI 23 JULY 2021 - FRI 20 AUGUST 2021

(Press release)

MUSIC

Featuring some of the North East’s top musicians, The jazz outfit features pianist Jeremy McMurray, bassist Peter Ayton, drummer Paul Smith, Paul Donnelly on jazz guitar and saxophonist Mark Toomey with a repertoire that incorporates a mixture of lyrical melodies and rich harmonies from the great American songbook, to the full passion and fire that is associated with the bebop idiom. This is an experience you don’t want to miss! 

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