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Bebop Spoken There

Pat Thomas: “He’s definitely one to watch, he's going to be a breath of fresh air for the jazz scene. What I like is he [Xhosa Cole] plays like Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins - you don't hear anybody come from that. He knows tunes like "Fried Bananas" by Dexter Gordon and he can play free as well." - (The Wire September 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

13,698 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 1115 of them this year alone and, so far, 59 this month (Sept. 17).

From This Moment On ...

September

Fri 17: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 17: Rendezvous Jazz @ Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 17: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 17: Abbie Finn's Finntet @ Traveller's Rest, Cockerton, Darlington. 8:00pm.

Sat 18: Baghdaddies @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 18: David Gray Trio @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 19: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 19: Musicians Unlimited @ South Durham Social Club, Westbourne Road, Hartlepool TS25 5RB. 1:00pm. South Durham Social Club aka Steelworks or Steelies. New venue for Teesside's premier big band.
Sun 19: Hand to Mouth: Lindsay Hannon & Bradley Johnston @ St James' & St Basil's Church, Newcastle. 3:00pm.
Sun 19: Green Tangerines + Knats @ Punch Bowl Hotel, Newcastle. 3:30pm.
Sun 19: Alice Grace Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 20: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public)
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Celebrating TITTB's 20th anniversary & Dave Weisser's forthcoming birthday! Limited gig tickets (£1.00.). Free live stream. www.jazz.coop.

Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 23: Jeremy McMurray & the Jazz Pocket Orchestra @ Middlesbrough Town Hall 8:00pm. .
Thu 23: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside, Gateshead. 8:30pm. .

Fri 24: Sue Ferris Quintet @ Gala Theatre, Durham. 1:00pm.
Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 24: FILM: Jazz on a Summer's Day + Swing Bridge Trio (in the bar) @ Forum Cinema, Hexham. 7:00pm.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Andy Hudson remembers George Wein

GEORGE WEIN 1925-2021
(George Wein (r)  on his 90th
birthday w. Andy Hudson)

As the Americans say…"Way to go" and to learn that my old friend and business partner had died in his sleep at 95 was still a shock as he had an indestructible air about him.

I met him first whilst putting together the Jazz Festival in Middlesbrough, of which most say "Oh that one with Ella and Oscar in it".  Paradoxically the only 2 acts on that enormous bill that were not George’s were Ella and Oscar, All the rest were from the "Newport" stable for that summer. As I have said before in this excellent publication, it was George that took me out of the North East to work with him on festivals elsewhere.

Some of my most magic moments were in the company of George and a few that I outline here concerned his great loves, apart from his late wife Joyce and music- they were WINE and ART.

George had a wonderful villa on the slopes outside Vence (S. of France) which I was generously invited to stay in during the summer months. On one occasion he was entertaining his "wine club friends" - Joyce was cooking - and the house wine for the dinner was Château Lafite 29. I did protest that I would not impose on his gathering and would gladly go into a Vence Bistro to eat….Mercifully he wouldn’t hear of it and so  I joined in with  the club along with the Ertegun Brothers    (Nesuhi and Ahmet), Bobby Short and the famous French-American sculptor, Arman. I’d like to feel that the quality of the wine would have led to inspirational conversation, which it may have done the only lasting effect I recall was a next morning headache.

On another occasion George’s generosity stretched to taking me and the other guests at his house to a private 10 course dinner at the Chanticleer Nice which is what these days would be known as a Tasting Menu, the chef was Jacques Maximin, at the time one of France’s leading chefs who also was the chef for state functions at the Élysée Palace. We each had the privilege of asking the chef a question and I was able to get out of him the secret of how a delicious dessert was made which changed flavour as you ate from left to right……… Not telling!

George and Joyce loved art, sculpture and classical music, particularly opera. Once George told me that Luciano Pavarotti was staying with them in Vence and George who was far from shy started to play and sing Nessun Dorma. Luciano stood up approached the piano and just said…."George – you need to practice more."

They had a lovely house in Connecticut where during residence George liked to have his original Renoir (one of the ladies in red) to look at. When I stayed there we all had to go back to New York, so George asked if I would help him. "Andy can you carefully pick up  the painting from the wall and follow me? "So I trudged along with $20 million worth of painting solidly gripped and followed him into a closet in the laundry room. He instructed me to place the picture flat down on a cotton sheet and then proceeded to tip a load of un-ironed washing onto it.

Looking quizzically at him he said, "Pick that picture up from over there and put it over the fireplace where you took the other from" I turned it to look at and it was a not-too-good copy of the Renoir.

Georges’s advanced security thinking was that the would-be art thief would unlikely to be an art expert and would just be told to pick up the red painting over the fireplace.

Jackson Pollock (he of the spotty early 20th century) was a painter much admired by Joyce and George and they collected a number of them. I used to make George giggle by often enquiring "How’s your load of old Pollocks". George was sufficiently Anglophilic to understand the humour.

George’s first encounter with England came in 1944, where he was a private in the allied forces that invaded France on D-Day. He told me that, happily, he never fired a shot in anger, but did play the piano in the mess - adding that may have been why the Germans capitulated.

I have not here dwelled upon the impresario and jazz/blues/soul and also folk music that he promoted so effectively as that will be reported elsewhere abundantly. Here rather I focussed on an interesting intelligent generous man who I was proud to call a friend. On his last trip to Europe on the new Queen Mary flagship, he had a chauffeur drive him up to Newcastle (via 2 Michelin Restaurants - hey! you need a stop off!) just to have dinner with me, meet my new wife and have a chat. We often laughed about people described by that old Jewish epithet of – when he came into a room…it was like someone just left! George was the opposite of that, although he was small in stature when he came into the room it was closer to an invasion of warmth, humour and good feelings.

In the spirit of how they lived, all of George’s artistic and valued treasures will revert to the George and Joyce Wein Foundation which will be dedicated to music and education in America

A fantastic heritage from people of care and conscience.

RIP George

Andy

3 comments :

Lance said...

Andy, that was a wonderful tribute. It painted a beautiful portrait of a gentleman. It is my deepest regret that I was unable to meet him at Blaydon but your fond memories of George make me feel that I knew him and, like most of the jazz world, I will mourn his passing. Thanks Andy.

Roly said...

Agreed Lance. Very touching to read. What a remarkable man.

Mike Farmer said...

George Wein was a great promoter but he was also a fine jazz pianist. In 1973 I saw him play in Central Park NY leading a quintet that contained James Spaulding on alto sax and Roland Prince on guitar and he surprised me how modern he sounded. I also saw his all-star band at a Berlin Jazz festival which included Ruby Braff cornet, Larry Ridley bass, Don Lamond drums and the legendary Joe Venuti who brought the house down with his feature Sophisticated Lady. The last time I saw Mr Wein was during the Middlesborough Jazz Festival when I was having lunch at the Motel I was staying at. He walked in with three ladies and they sat at the next table to mine. I felt honored to be in the same room. He will be missed by all jazz fans and musicians. R I P.

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