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Bebop Spoken There

JD Allen: "...art in itself is now a luxury that you need a lot of finances to do." - (DownBeat October 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.
Ann Braithwaite (Braithwaite & Katz Communications) You’re the BEST! --

Postage

13,822 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 1239 of them this year alone and, so far, 66 this month (Oct. 18).

From This Moment On ...

October

Mon 18: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 18: Zoë Gilby Quartet @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. Blaydon Jazz Club.

Wed 20: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 20: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 20: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 20: Jeremy McMurray & the Jazz Pocket Orchestra @ Middlesbrough Town Hall. 8:00pm.

Thu 21: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 21: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Bar Loco, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra.
Thu 21: Alter Ego @ St James' & St Basil's Church, Newcastle 7:30pm.
Thu 21: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 21: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 22: Mick Shoulder Quartet @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. Quartet featuring Alex Clarke (BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year finalist).
Fri 22: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 22: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 22: Paul Edis Trio w Ruth Lambert @ St Cuthbert's Centre, Crook. 7:30pm.
Fri 22: Michael Feinstein @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Fri 22: Peter Morgan Trio @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sat 23: Mary Coughlan @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 23: Têtes de Pois @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 24 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 24: Musicians Unlimited @ South Durham Social Club, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 24: Voices of Virtue Gospel Choir @ The Globe, Newcastle. 4:00pm.
Sun 24: Milne Glendinning Band @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Album review: Chick Corea - Akoustic Band - Live

Chick Corea (piano); John Patitucci (bass); Dave Weckl (drums) + Gayle Moran Corea (vocal on You're Everything)

One of the frustrating things about albums distributed by Proper Distribution is that they don't attach any accompanying blurb meaning that one has to read the album notes. To do so usually requires some form of Jodrell Bank powered magnification. This isn't helped by the pastel shades and miniscule text used by the designers of the 'artwork'.

Of course one could go a-googling but, to me, that's a bit like cribbing in an exam and one never did that did one?

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone - Sept. 30

Stormy weather meant that the Holystone had their heating full on – it was very comfy!. The band played two enjoyable sets considering they had a couple  of “deps”. A smashing pint of Deuchars helped the home made chips go down well for lunch. I don’t think that today's Deuchars has any relationship to the VCJ's original banjo player Pete although the ancestral  line (via takeovers) is there.

In the absence of a reed man, David Grey (trombone & vocals) worked well with Mick Hill (trumpet). The line-up was completed by Paul Grainger (bass), Laurie Brown (drums) and leader Brian Bennett (banjo) - John Taylor.

Preview: Jamie Cullum @ Sage Gateshead - Saturday (Oct. 2)

One of the first casualties of the pandemic was the cancellation of Sage Gateshead's jazz programme scheduled to run from March last year.

Popular singer, songwriter, broadcaster and jazz pianist Jamie Cullum who had been scheduled to appear on April 29 of that year will, at long last, perform at the venue this Saturday (Oct. 2 - 7:30pm). Cullum always puts on a good show which is why the tickets are going rapidly and  a sell-out looks a near certainty so, if you have been procrastinating, now's the time to book as tomorrow may be too late. Lance.

PS: if you bought tickets for the original concert they are still valid.

Scarborough Jazz Festival: Saturday Evening - Sept. 25

Okay it wasn’t Alphonse Mouzon or Dizzy again, but it was a choice that had to be made. Some local – north east – loyalty or a Nikki Iles Orchestra threatening some ‘serious’ guests. We weren’t having fish and chips (again) on my sixtieth birthday and we tend to eat late but, in the end, it came down to we’ve seen Zoë Gilby many times and will hopefully see her many more times.

The threats were real: Gareth Lockrane on flute and fluty things, guitarist Mike Walker, I hadn’t seen since a stunning performance at Southport, saxophonist Julian Siegel since the Partisans at Pizza Express, and many more.

Like much of the festival, it was postponed from last year and she spotted the irony that it was to be called the ‘face to face’ tour.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Live from Emmet's Place #71 - Sept. 27

Seamus Blake (tenor sax); Troy Roberts (tenor sax); Emmet Cohen (piano); Russell Hall (double bass); Jonathan Barber (drums)

Wow! The two tenors of Seamus Blake and Troy Roberts, this was old school stuff, swinging non-stop. Emmet Cohen sure does have a contacts book! Host Cohen at the Steinway, Russell Hall, bass and guest drummer Jonathan Barber (Hey! Where's Kyle, Kyle Poole?).

Opening with Lockjaw Davis' Hey Lock! this could have been Lockjaw and Johnny Griffin, as it was, we were listening to Canadian Blake and Aussie Roberts. Tremendous blowing. That Old Devil Moon maintained the pace, the tenors jousting, Cohen dazzling, Hall soloing too. 

Paul Hartley Quartet @ The Railway, Stockport - Sept. 28

Paul Hartley (guitar); Phil Nicholas (trumpet); Ken Marley (bass); Eryl Roberts (drums).

Thankfully the torrential rain that this area experienced had stopped and quite a few jazz fans turned up at the Railway to hear Phil Nicholas, a fine trumpeter who north east residents may have seen at Sage Gateshead playing with Nearly Dan. He has a nice sound and right from the opening number, Clifford Brown's Sandu, he established his bebop credentials.

RIP Dr Lonnie Smith

Names are confusing. There was Bill Evans and Yusef Lateef who was also called Bill Evans. Ray Brown played bass with Oscar Peterson and drummer Ray Brown played with the Tyne Valley Jazzmen.

Lonnie Liston Smith knocked me out when he played a great gig at Hoochie Coochie but I never got to hear Dr. Lonnie Smith live and now I never will. 

The good doctor, who died yesterday (Sept. 28) aged 79 was universally acclaimed as the man when it came to funky, soulful Hammond B3 playing. As Nigel Price tweeted: "Farewell to the grooviest of them all, Dr Lonnie Smith. Someone who remained utterly hip throughout his entire life".

Amen. Lance

Rolling Stone obit.

Scarborough Jazz Festival: Saturday Afternoon - Sept. 25

Having over-indulged in gypsy jazz a few years back, Djanco featuring violinist Andy Aitchison signified my return after a couple of years rest. Gypsy jazz seems to have a community which thinks it’s the greatest style of jazz, or even the only style of jazz, while others find it passé and a bit of a novelty, which may be why it has a general appeal to jazz muggles. I’m somewhat agnostic but think it adds variety to a festival, though I think a Saturday afternoon slot is about right.

Sunderland’s Brand New £18M Venue Announces Programme

(Press release)

THE Fire Station in Sunderland is delighted to announce the opening of its brand-new Auditorium on 10 December and has today unveiled Firestarters - its red-hot launch programme of shows and performances.

The opening of The Fire Station’s auditorium is a pivotal moment in Sunderland’s cultural renaissance, bringing acclaimed national and international artists to the city as well as providing a platform for local and emerging artists to shine.

Tickets are now on sale for the stunning new £18m venue’s opening programme which will run from December this year to next June and features more than 40 artists and performers – with yet more to be announced.

Marsden Jazz Festival is bringing back live music this October!

(Photo © Liz Baker Photography)
 (Press release) 

The Yorkshire-based jazz festival is returning with it’s 29th annual event, bringing world-class live jazz to the village of Marsden. 

September 2021

After a tough 2020 which saw the first-ever cancellation of Marsden Jazz Festival in almost 30 years, the award-winning festival based in Marsden WILL be returning in just under a fortnight!

Taking place over the usual second weekend in October (8th-10th this year), the festival is going to be ‘simpler and safer’ with most events happening outdoors and extra safety measures in place for indoor spaces.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Album review: Mark Kavuma & The Banger Factory - Arashi No Ato

Kavuma, by now, surely needs no introduction. One of the most exciting and lyrical trumpet players to arrive on the UK scene for many a long year. His list of achievements are too many to list here - link.

Arishi No Ato - Japanese for After the Storm - is an interesting mix of modes that vary from the hard swinging to the reflective to the, to be frank, boring. Having raved over Kavuma's previous albums and his livestreams from Ronnie's this is less than I expected and, whilst there are moments to cherish they are too few. Apart from Kavuma's trumpet playing and Mrakpor's vibes there isn't a lot to get excited about. I wouldn't call it a damp squib but nor is it quite the banger I expected - not one for your bonfire night party - Lance

Pope @ Ye Olde Cross, Ryton - Sept. 24

(However, after the session in Holy Cross Church,  the day’s musical festivities were not over, but continued nearby in Ye Olde Cross pub, with the Newcastle Improvisers Orchestra - editor)

----- 

The theory behind this grouping, the Newcastle Improvisers Orchestra, at least in its original conception as it was once explained to me, is that anyone can do it – we all have improvisational musical potential. I agree to an extent, but it has to be said that, in practice, this sort of session does tend to attract the more technically capable participant.

Miles Davis died 30 years ago today

Miles Davis died thirty years ago today (28 September 1991). Other than Louis Armstrong, it could be said that Miles Dewey Davis is the most famous jazz musician of all time. For those in striking distance of Tyneside on October 14 there is an opportunity to see Louis Malle's film Ascenseur Pour L'Échafaud (Lift to the Scaffold) starring Jeanne Moreau and featuring Davis' celebrated soundtrack. The Star and Shadow Cinema on Warwick Road in Newcastle (tickets) is the place to see the film. Russell

Success Breeds Excess! A Study in Frustration

Since BSH took its first tentative steps into the world known as the internet or the web or, in my case, the great unknown, what became a retirement plaything turned into a massive (non-profit making) blog recognised all over the globe (and of course The Globe) which culminated in the Media Award at the 2018 APPJAGS and the site's current high standing in world wide jazz blog ratings.

The downside to all this is that my email inbox is daily inundated with pitches by the equivalent of  what, in the old days, we would call song pluggers!

Album review: Sinne Eeg & Thomas Fonnesbæk - Staying in Touch

Sinne Eeg and Thomas Fonnesbæk keep in touch. Collaborators across a number of projects, their voice and bass duo is one of them. BSH's reviewers have waxed lyrical about several of Ms Eeg's albums (duo with Fonnesbæk, small group and big band recordings). Is Staying in Touch deserving of similar, fulsome praise? 

Sinne Eeg's lower register vocals are seemingly pitch perfect. Whatever the material, from standards to original compositions, the Dane's command of a lyric and the English language cannot be faulted. 

Scarborough Jazz Festival Day One - Sept. 24

(Steve T w. Hans Koller)

A destination for many childhood holidays and adult short-stays, Scarborough is always like coming home and is one of my favourite festivals. Beyond the Spa it’s a town in trouble, but we know a thing about that in the north east too.

It was at Scarborough that I first heard Rob Luft and enquired as to who is this phenomenal guitarist. He was already a master virtuoso but also  a  very rounded musician with intelligent use of pedals and exemplary comping. As the senior co-leader, saxophonist Dave O’Higgins was cool and in full control, taking on one of the greatest musicians ever.

Different Pebbles, One Beach – presented by Auntie Joy @ Holy Cross Church, Ryton, Gateshead. Sept. 18

(Collage  © Ken Drew)
This was the introductory offering in what is planned to be “a short series of multi-media events”.

The afternoon began with the pealing of the bells. To maximise the sound internally, openings to the bell tower had been left ajar, including the alarmingly named “suicide door” – a small hatch high up near the roof. Thus, the bells felt very immediate and we could hear the cries of – presumably – the Tower Captain, John Robinson. There is obviously a considerable skill to these campanological changes of pattern.

The bells were soon joined by the keyboards of noted improviser Paul Taylor. Abstract musical shapes gradually displaced the ancient peals from the tower, as Paul moved into a solo excursion of many moods and textures…… deep organ chords (befitting a church) beneath a flow of upper atmospheric sound.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Picnic

Just watched the old movie classic - Picnic. Not really much in the way of jazz. In fact, the actual picnic scene is like Jazz on a Summer's Day without the jazz or, come to that, any non-caucasians, which is the way it was back then in 1955.

However, the classic dance sequence between William Holden and Kim Novak (neither of whom were known as dancers) showed more sensual chemistry in four minutes than Fred and Ginger did in all of their movies.

Mike Hall Quartet @ The Railway, Stockport - Sept. 26

Mike Hall (tenor, soprano sax); Richard Wetherall (piano); Ed Harrison (bass); Eryl Roberts (drums).

Another excellent Sunday evening at the Railway and, in spite of all the news about fuel shortages etc, the modern jazz fans were out in force to hear what Mike Hall had to offer.


He brought with him tonight that superb pianist Richard Wetherall who after a few adjustments to the house upright joined Mike, Ed and Eryl on the opening number a blistering version of Cole Porter’s Love For Sale. This was followed by the ballad You’ve Changed and by this time the room was full of both regulars and the occasional newcomer.

Earl Okin @ Ronnie Scott's - Sept. 26

Earl Okin (guitar, piano, vocals); Paul Morgan (double bass); Michèle Drees (drums, guitar, vocals)

Earl Okin is a singular talent. Musician, raconteur, wit, Okin performs on the international concert stage and comedy club circuit. This lunchtime engagement at Ronnie Scott's found him working with bassist Paul Morgan and drummer Michèle Drees. 

A near capacity audience - jazz fans, jazz fans with a sense of humour, luncheon types, others with nothing better to do - listened, laughed, laughed and listened to a master performer at work. James P Johnson's If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight) opened the show. Self-deprecation is a big part of Okin's stage persona: a would be, if not unlikely Casanova, a story teller. Peer behind the the facade and you'll discover a musician of not inconsiderable talent.  

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music: Spinningwork @ Newcastle Arts Centre - Sept. 25

(Collage  © Ken Drew)
Cath Roberts (baritone sax); Tom Ward (alto sax); Olie Brice (bass); Johnny Hunter (drums)    

As explained by Johnny Hunter in the first intro of the evening, like many modern relationships, this one began on the internet. During lockdown, tech wiz and alto player Tom Ward had managed to create a utility to enable the quartet to practice together seamlessly via the web. The band's first actual in person rehearsal was the afternoon of this gig.

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music: Silent Music / Seeing Sound - Sept. 25

(Collage © Ken Drew)
Jo Ganter (Visual Artist): Raymond MacDonald (Composer, Saxophonist); George Burt (Guitar); Andy Champion (Bass)

The opening event of this year’s Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music comprised an exhibition of graphic scores with accompanying live performance in the Newcastle Arts Centre Gallery.

The Roaring Twenties @ Cadogan Hall - Sept. 25

A concert long in the planning, the pandemic put paid to the original date in September last year. In the intervening period, the show's MD, Keith Nichols, sadly died. This evening's Cadogan Hall concert would take the form of a tribute to Mr Nichols. 

The concert hall in London's Sloane Square is a regular host to Richard Pite's Jazz Repertory Company presentations and this event attracted a near capacity audience. One notable absentee from the line-up was cornetist Andy Schumm, thanks to ever-changing regulations concerning international travel, our American guest stayed home in Chicago. 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Sunday Night @ the Globe - The David Gray Flextet - Sept. 26

David Gray (trombone); Alan Law (keys); Adam Sams (guitar, bass clarinet); Paul Grainger (bass); Michael Mather (drums)

In my childhood I was taken to see, over the years, orchestras conducted by Beecham, Sargent, Barbirolli and, more recently, John Wilson. They all had one thing in common - they could, with a flick of the baton, a barely recognised hand movement or the raise of an eyebrow, bring in the strings or the brass or a crescendo or a diminuendo. That's what conductors do, it's their job.

David Gray has all of these attributes, albeit with a smaller ensemble but, like all good leaders, he knows what he wants and he gets it without the use of a baton.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED NOW - Help to run events at The Globe

(Press release)
Why we need volunteers

The Globe is a music venue owned and run by a community cooperative. The Globe has developed an ambitious programme of music of many genres including jazz, folk, rock, blues and classical. It also hosts dance, comedy and other spoken word events, and runs a comprehensive learning programme with opportunities for players and singers of all abilities.

 

 

We employ some staff but we could not do all the things we do without a dedicated team of volunteers offering some of their time and expertise for free. They help to run the business and keep our customers and staff safe and enjoying what we do.

Aycliffe Radio Playlist - Sunday Sept. 26

RIP Keith Belton

Keith Belton founder, leader and piano player of the Tees Valley Jazzmen has passed away. He has been an immense figure in the NE Trad world for many years. We will be paying tribute to him on Jazz Time Aycliffe Radio on Sunday Sept. 26 @ 6:30pm - 8:00pm (repeat Tuesday @ 8:00pm - 9:30pm.)

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Livestream @ the 606: Brandon Allen Quartet - Sept. 25

Brandon Allen (tenor sax); Carl Orr (guitar); Lawrence Cottle (bass guitar); Ian Thomas (drums)

606 on a Saturday night is like The Globe on a Sunday night - a guaranteed evening of great jazz. Tonight at the former venue, Allen blew some blistering tenor which was no surprise given his past performances both here and on record. 

Album review: Susan Krebs with Mixed Remotions – Daybreak

Susan Krebs (vocals); Rich Eames (piano); Jerry Kalaf (drums, vibes); Domenic Genova (bass); Scott Breadman (percussion); Riner Scivally (guitar); Rob Lockart (woodwinds 1,2,5,6,7) Doug Walter (woodwinds 3,4)

This is the eighth album from Ms Krebs, a fine and experienced singer, who gathered a band of experienced and skilled musicians together to make music to combat the isolation of the pandemic. Most of the recording was done remotely, though that is hard to believe because the music has a feeling of immediacy.

Tonight at the Prohibition Bar - Knats

Good to see more and more jazz-influenced younger bands appearing on the scene and tonight, at Pink Lane's Prohibition Bar promises to be by one of the best. 

Knats impressed at The Globe as well as at an outdoor gig in Hexham. Four excellent young musicians who are making waves - Ferg Kilsby (trumpet); Josh Mitchell-Rayner (keyboards); Stan Woodward (bass); King David Ike-Elechi (drums) - are well worth checking out.

Take this opportunity to see the future in advance.

It's a jar on the bar gig so pay what you feel it's worth. First set 8:00pm - Lance

Pee Wee Ellis (1941 - Sept. 24, 2021)

The funkiest, most soulful tenor sax player on the planet has left us. Pee Wee Ellis died yesterday (Sept. 24) aged 80.

The world may remember him as one of the linchpins of the James Brown Orchestra in the 1960s as well as with other icons such as Van Morrison and the JB Horns but what I remember most vividly was seeing him live at Sage Gateshead with a band called Pork Chop and a few years later at Hoochie Coochie with the strangely titled Federation of the Disco Pimp. That was quite a night to remember - one of Hoochie's best which is high praise indeed.

A big man with a big sound who will leave a big gap in soul circles.

Sadly missed - Lance

More.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Jazz Information (September 1939 - November 1941)

Whether by accident or intent, Jazz Information published its first four page issue during the same week that the Second World War began and ceased publication in the month prior to Pearl Harbour.

In between those two momentous events Jazz Information, which could be seen as the blog of its day, published a weekly magazine printed in the backroom of the legendary New York record store, the Commodore Music Shop.

Sue Ferris Quintet @ The Gala Theatre, Durham - Sept. 24

Sue Ferris Quintet (tenor sax, baritone sax, flute); Graham Hardy (trumpet); Stu Collingwood (piano); Neil Harland (double bass); Rob Walker (drums)

The Gala Theatre's lunchtime concert series resumed a couple of months ago. Due to social distancing concerns the events took place in the venue's main theatre. Today it was back to how it used to be as a near capacity audience filed into the Gala's studio space to listen to the Sue Ferris Quintet. 

One change to the established line-up introduced pianist Stu Collingwood. The SF5 kicked off with Ellington's Just Squeeze Me. In the absence of a PA system, Ferris and co played it old school: the horns - Ferris, tenor sax and one number on baritone, Graham Hardy, trumpet - projecting to all four corners of the room, the familiar bass and drums combo of Neil Harland and Rob Walker providing a secure foundation.   

Perdido Street Jazzmen @ Darlington Market Place - Sept. 24

Frank Brooker (clarinet, tenor sax, vocals); Eugene Farrar (trombone, vocals); Brian Bennett (banjo); Phil Rutherford (sousaphone) 

I Can't Give You Anything But Love on a beautiful sunny September morning. Yes, morning! Darlington Borough Council continues to support cultural events as we slowly emerge from the dark days of the pandemic and this early bird session presented an on-street session by the Perdido Street Jazzmen. 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Album review: Matthew Stevens - Pittsburgh

(Press release)

He may not have known it before, but Toronto-born, New York-based guitarist Matthew Stevens, prized for his forceful, distinctive electric sound on Esperanza Spalding’s groundbreaking “Emily’s D+Evolution”, “Exposure” and the GRAMMY-winning 1’2 Little Spell’s, was an ideal candidate to make an album fully devoted to solo acoustic guitar: the intimate, unadorned, straightforwardly titled Pittsburgh.

Stevens’ previous two outings, Woodwork (2015) and Preverbal (2017), made use of steel-string acoustic as a vibrant textural contrast, notably on “Brothers” and “Our Reunion” (featuring Spalding as guest and co-composer). Still, a solo acoustic album seemed to Stevens like a ‘maybe someday’ prospect, if that. Then came the convergence of two major events — the COVID-19 pandemic and a fractured elbow.

Preview: Sue Ferris Quintet @ The Gala Theatre - tomorrow (Friday 24)

Multi reeds virtuoso Sue Ferris returns to Durham's Gala Theatre at lunchtime tomorrow. County Durham based Sue covers the reeds' waterfront. From small group to big band and everything in between, Sue never fails to impress. From Gerry Richardson's Big Idea to Musicians Unlimited, it's difficult to say which is Sue's best instrument. Tenor sax? She'll stand her ground with anyone. Baritone sax? Few, if any, can hold a candle. And then there's Sue playing flute, 'exceptional' is the word. 

Album review: Chet Doxas – You Can’t Take It With You

Chet Doxas (sax); Ethan Iverson (piano); Thomas Morgan (bass)

This CD arrived on the day that the government announced an increase in National Insurance to pay for social care in the UK. We now have the threat of fuel price rises and the end of the Universal Credit uplift. Not only can you not take it with you, you might not have it for very long in the first place!!

I hadn’t heard of Chet Doxas or Thomas Morgan before this CD, though I knew Iverson from his playing with The Bad Plus, a self-proclaimed ‘power trio.’ This is a drummer less group that creates space and the instruments can float, unanchored, between each other. The lack of the drummer seems to make the listener lean in that much closer, though that’s partly the result of some soft playing as well. The standard of composition and playing is such that you want to catch all of what’s going on. Closer listening is rewarded.

Dave Weisser's Birthday Party - The music. Sept. 22

(Pic by Russell)
David Gray (trombone, vocal); Stu Collingwood (piano); Paul Grainger (bass); Abbie Finn (drums).

Trombonist Gray is probably the coolest looking dude in the jazz world although his actual playing is hotter than the hobs of hell. In the course of a solo he can cover just about the whole history of jazz trombone from Kid Ory to Roswell Rudd and beyond - way beyond.

He demonstrated that tonight with his individual take on classics such as Autumn Leaves, and Beatrice as well as an original titled Silver Orcas which is about killer whales. Talking of killers, Erroll Garner's Misty contained one of the evening's many surprises - a David Gray vocal! The boy done good and it will be interesting to chart his progress in this direction.

Of course this wasn't a one man show. With the tried and tested talents of Stu, Paul and Abbie alongside him it was a very tight unit.

Happy Birthday Dave Weisser

Dave Weisser - the man is a legend! Over the years he has nurtured and provided the inspiration for many young and not so young musicians to find their way in the jungle we call jazz. He's done this, not just by his distinctive singing and trumpet playing, but also via the platform he's provided over the years for embryonic musicians to test and develop their burgeoning skills alongside seasoned players.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Alex Clarke Quartet @ The Railway, Stockport - Sept. 21

Alex Clarke (tenor sax); Paul Hartley (guitar); Pete Hartley (bass guitar); Phil Bennett (drums) 

On Tuesday evening if you wanted to hear some live Jazz, you had a choice of three events within a radius of ten miles in the Greater Manchester area. I decided to visit my usual jazz spot the Railway to check out the Alex Clarke Quartet.  I’ve seen Alex before, but only when she was sitting in at Wilmslow Jazz Club with musicians such as Gilad Altzmon, Alan Barnes and Greg Abate. I also recall an afternoon at one of Malcolm Frazer’s house parties when she sat in with Harry Allen.  She does not lack confidence!    

Jazz on film & television

Tonight (Wednesday 22) at 11:15pm on BBC 2 there is another chance to see Damien Chazelle's 2014 film Whiplash about a student drummer (Miles Teller) and his intimidating tutor (JK Simmons). It makes for compulsive viewing! On Friday evening at Hexham's Forum Cinema there is a screening of Jazz on a Summer's Day (see photo of the film poster advertising the classic movie, taken through the Forum's locked doors on a sunny autumnal day). After the film, make your way through to the cafe bar to catch a set by Swing Bridge Trio. Russell

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Vacuuming the Vinyl: Sarah Vaughan & her Trio - Swingin' Easy

Sarah Vaughan (vocals); Jimmy Jones/John Malachi (piano); Joe Benjamin/Richard Davis (bass); Roy Haynes (drums).

Listening to Alice Grace singing If I Knew Then (What I Know Now) at the Globe last Sunday prompted me to seek out the Sarah Vaughan album, Swingin' Easy, from which Alice drew her inspiration.

Sassy's album had been gathering dust (hence the heading) on the shelf for decades - for which I hang my head in shame - I should have been playing it non-stop forever (exaggeration!) it has surely got to be a contender in anyone's list of all-time great jazz vocal albums. It's up there with the Ella's, the Billie's and the Dinah Washington's.

It's an even busier old time this Sunday ...!

Further to the previous post, the Jazz Co-op have announced that the popular More Jam sessions are returning to the Globe this coming Sunday.

Their announcement on Facebook invites one and all to: "Come and play or just have a drink. Very relaxed. Admission is free but cash donations are very welcome. There will be a house trio to keep the music flowing. Experienced instrumentalists and vocalists welcome to step up. Repertoire is Real Book jazz standards.

Monday, September 20, 2021

It's a busy old time on Sunday...

This Sunday no fewer than six gigs across the region are vying for your attention. At noon the Vieux Carré Hot 4 will be at Spanish City in Whitley Bay. 

At one o'clock it's Musicians Unlimited at South Durham Social Club, Hartlepool.

At 4:00pm it's Jude Murphy and the Foundry Jazz Ensemble at the Exchange in North Shields. 

RIP Keith Belton

Alan Rudd has passed on the sad news the the Tees Valley Jazzmen's pianist and founder member Keith Belton died on Saturday Sept. 18 aged 82.

Keith was legend in north east, and particularly, South Durham traditional jazz circles and he will be sadly missed. Any attempt I made at an obituary, however well intentioned, would only be fragmentry. Fortunately this site - Grass Routes - does him proud. 

The above photo is taken from the Grass Routes site and shows Keith at the piano with his brother, the late Gavin Belton, on banjo.

He will be sadly missed and our condolences go out to his family and friends - may he Rest In Peace - Lance

Liam Byrne Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Sept. 19

Liam Byrne (tenor sax); Andrzej Baranek (keys); Anthony Ormishe Gavin Barras (bass).

This turned out to be another drummerless line-up but, due to the expertise of the musicians involved, the end result still swung and the tempos held solid. The opening number Just in Time got things going nicely and set the vibe for the rest of the evening and if I had to give a description it would be mainstream with a touch of modern bebop. Ten tunes were played, five in each set and one which went down well with the regulars was that much played standard Body And Soul. Baranek really took off on this followed by Byrne playing the final chorus and showing that he knows his way around the tenor saxophone.

Update on the Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society by Neil Todd

GJAS was formed early 1981 and this year is our 40th anniversary. Last August several of the committee discussed how we would celebrate the event and I have to say our plans looked quite exciting. Who would have guessed last August that we are still to some extent affected by Covid? Unfortunately our plans are on hold, so we will probably (hopefully) see a few things materialising in 2022.

Sunday Night @ The Globe: The Alice Grace Quartet - Sept. 19

Alice Grace (vocals); Mark Williams (guitar); Paul Grainger (bass); Abbie Finn (drums)

There comes a time in everyone's life when they have to eat their words and this reviewer is no exception. For example, on Thursday, after Nicola Farnon's gig at J's & B's, I wrote: "One thing is for sure, if I ever hear a better live version of Blame it on my Youth then I will truly know that I am in heaven".

St. Peter, open up those pearly gates because, after tonight's rendition by Alice, this is IT!

However, in fairness to Nicola, Alice didn't have to contend with the echo chamber that doubles as a church so, maybe it was a score draw. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Musicians Unlimited @ South Durham Social Club, Hartlepool - September 19

At long last, the return of Musicians Unlimited! Same band, new venue. Same crowd plus many more new faces! What's that about folk being reluctant to venture out?! South Durham Social Club on leafy Westbourne Road is the new place. A proper social club - ie don't expect to see a handpull on the bar - offering a concert room stage, things were set fair. 

In the Mood for starters. Don't laugh, Miller handled by a top notch big band can be more than respectable. And this was more than alright! Cue applause, we'd waited so long to hear Teesside's number one big band. One wag wondered out loud: Do you think we'll get a few more bum notes than usual? Not a bit of it, the band sounded just fine, minus one of the reeds...Has anyone seen Sue? quipped MD Mick Donnelly. Tenor saxophonist and ace flautist Sue Ferris had driven to the wrong venue. Arriving at South Durham SC as Major Miller's number drew to a close could be seen as a good move! Ready in a trice, Sue took her tenor chair in time for Blues in the Night

Nearly Dan @ Sage Gateshead - Sept. 18

After a delay because of the Pandemic (I think I paid for my ticket in pounds, shillings and pence) the excellent Nearly Dan finally took to the stage in Sage Two to the delight of an expectant and fervent crowd robbed of live music for so long. The spirit and sound of Steely Dan, always on the jazz side of modern music, is alive and well, even though Donald Fagen remains the only touring member of the original band after the sad loss of Walter Becker - has it really been 5 years? frightening - in the capable hands of Nearly Dan.

Tonight @ The Globe - Alice Grace Quartet

Another fabulous jazz gig this Sunday night at The Globe, with an outstanding quartet featuring vocalist Alice Grace with guitarist Mark Williams, Paul Grainger & Abbie Finn. Venue tickets or livestream as it happens or any time after.

Advance booking preferred but not essential. More info.

Sunday Service: Adrian Cox & Joe Webb - Sept. 19

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

For this week's Sunday Service the theatre of operations shifted to Joe Webb's flat for a delightful duo set. Webb, of course recently played a couple of Tatum inspired gigs in the north east and, above the piano, hung a painting of Art Tatum lovingly painted by Joe's girl friend. It may not have quite the street value of the late George Wein's Renoir but I'm sure it is worth even more to Joe Webb.

Bennie Pete (Hot 8 Brass Band) dies at 45.

(Photo NY Times)
Bennie Pete, co-founder of the Hot 8 Brass Band, died on September 6. Sousaphonist Bennie toured the world with the street band from New Orleans, playing sold out concerts in Newcastle (Cluny, Riverside) and Durham Brass Festival.
Russell

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Mornington Lockett Quartet + Henry Lowther @ the 606 Club - Sept. 18

Mornington Lockett (tenor sax); Henry Lowther (trumpet, flugel); Gareth Williams (piano); Geoff Gascoyne (bass); Mark Fletcher (drums).

Another belter from the 606. When the above five musicians get together the sparks fly. The two horn players offer contrasting styles that complement (and compliment) each other. Lockett, the musical machine gun leaving no note unplayed. Lowther, the more reflective - he's Miles to Mornington's Coltrane - together they gel.

The livestreamed first set began as a quartet and an unusual choice - Mr Sandman. However, without the banal words, it's a good tune to blow on with Lockett cleverly incorporating The Chordettes' intro in between choruses prompting him afterwards to quote an imaginary Ronnie Scott quip: "That was a number by The Chordettes, next a one by The Red Arrows!"

Abbie Finn's Finntet @ Opus 4 Jazz Club - September 17

Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Graham Hardy (trumpet); Dean Stockdale (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Abbie Finn (drums)

It had been a long while. The last time Opus 4 Jazz Club met must have been something like eighteen months ago. Concerts cancelled, concerts postponed, concerts rearranged, a nightmare for the promoter, not much fun for the many musicians scheduled to appear, and the audience deprived of its monthly modern jazz club session. Now, mid-September 2021, we're back at the Traveller's Rest in Cockerton, Darlington. 

Dormans Jazz Club Every Thursday With Tees Hot Club And Guests

(Press release)

We are pleased to announce the return of the Jazz Club on Thursday nights starting October 7.

This evening will be in remembrance of our late Bass player Gerry Hughes, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Many of our regular guests will be making an appearance, paying their respects to Gerry including: Dave Archbold, Paul Dickerson, Kevin Eland, Donna Hewitt, Richie Emmerson, Josh Bentham, Mark Toomey and Gus Smith.

Admission is free  - start 9:00pm

Please visit Keith’s Tees Hot Club web-site  to connect to the Tees Hot Club on social media (Facebook,Twitter,Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and Linkedin).

Preview: Freeness at NFOJIM - midnight tonight!

Corey Mwamba's Freeness programme tonight at midnight is a Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music Festival special. This year's festival begins next week and in the run up to the multi-venue event, Corey presents some of the musicians who will soon be making their way to Tyneside. Pat Thomas will be playing the music of Duke Ellington and Tyneside's own composer-bassist Andy Champion (pictured) will be heard working with friend, and one time Tyneside resident, reeds virtuoso Graeme Wilson. Tune in at midnight, Radio 3Russell

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