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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.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Album review: Monocled Man - Ex Voto

Rory Simmons (trumpet, keys, producer); Chris Montague (guitar); Jon Scott (drums) 

Eddie Condon called his wonderful autobiography We Called it Music. In a later book: Eddie Condon's Treasury of Jazz he titled a chapter on the more modern styles of his day as They Called it Music.

This album definitely falls into the latter category! 

Robin Sunflower @ The Railway, Stockport - Oct. 17

Robin Sunflower (harmonica); Adrian Ingram, Aiden Mintz (guitars); Nick ? (bass guitar)

Robin Sunflower started playing Harmonica during the 80’s with the legendary bluesman Victor Brox and his Blues Train, later forming his own groups one of which was the Woodbank Street Band which appeared at the Edinburgh Festival six years running, four years at Marlborough Jazz Festival and other festivals in Ireland and France.. He also does gigs with the Jamaican-influenced band Baked A La Ska, a unit that contains many of Manchester's top musicians.

Vula Viel @ The Globe – Oct. 17

Bex Burch (gyil); Ruth Goller (bass); Jim Hart (drums)

Touring the UK and then onwards to dates in Denmark, Vula Viel’s German-registered tour van had arrived at their northernmost destination, the Globe. The arriving full house, though, was caught up in the deflated efflux from Newcastle United’s eventful but unsuccessful first renaissance attempt, up the road at the soon to be re-branded St James Park.   As well as their continental connections, with Jim Hart based in France, and Ruth Goller hailing from the Süd Tirol, the band’s name (meaning “Good is Good”) and musical DNA are from even further afield than NUFC’s controversial sponsor, namely Ghana.

Tonite! Zoë Gilby is coming to Blaydon!

This evening (Monday) award-winning vocalist Zoë Gilby will be at the Black Bull on Bridge Street in Blaydon. Zoë, along with Mark Williams, guitar, Andy Champion, bass, and drummer Richard Brown, will be helping to celebrate Blaydon Jazz Club's emergence from the long, dark days of the pandemic. It's an eight o'clock start, £7 at the door (actually, see Blaydon Jazz Club supremo Roly Veitch at the bar!). There has been jazz in Blaydon for nigh on forty years, do try to get along (buses and trains run up and down the Tyne Valley and on into Newcastle). The plan is to be done and dusted by ten o'clock or shortly after. Support your local jazz club! Russell

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Jumpin Jive - Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers


A clip from the 1930's film Stormy Weather featuring the Nicholas Brothers dancing with the Cab Calloway Orchestra - sure got the edge on Strictly!

More vintage 1930's jazz here. Lance

Sunday Service: Adrian Cox & Nils Solberg with Kate Daniels - Oct. 17

Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals); Nils Solberg (guitar, vocals); Kate Daniels (vocals)

Another in Adrian Cox's ongoing series of Sunday live streams. This afternoon our man was joined by Nils Solberg and Kate Daniels. The early part of today's sermon fell victim to the frailties of the internet - frozen screen etc. After a while things settle down - for a while! - enabling our clarinetist's large online following to enjoy an hour or so of top class jazz. Cox and Solberg shared vocal duties. Mid point in the set vocalist Kate Daniels joined the boys to sing a couple of numbers. Ms Daniels sat between the two principals to sing What a Little Moonlight Can Do and They Can't Take That Away from Me. What we heard sounded just fine, although Daniels would have been heard to better effect on a mic. 

Jo Harrop's the tops...again!

Hurry, dash out to the newsagent! The Observer (Sunday 17 Oct.) is essential reading. In today's edition jazz writer Dave Gelly gives the thumbs up to Jo Harrop's new album The Heart Wants. Mr Gelly concludes his review thus: Sheer perfectionRussell  

Triptych @ Sage Gateshead - Oct. 16

(Photo by Russell)
Paul Edis (piano, keyboards, clarinet, flute); Paul Susans (double bass, bass guitar); Rob Walker (drums, percussion, keyboards); Lisa Delarny (live visuals)

Some ticket holders in Sage Two booked for this Triptych concert more than eighteen months ago. It is said patience is a virtue. Post-lockdown the two Pauls - Edis and Susans - took to the stage with Rob Walker to play three long form compositions without a break over the course of ninety minutes. Visual artist Lisa Delarny worked unobtrusively from the back of the hall to create real-time artworks projected onto a screen high above the on-stage musicians. 

RIP Willie Garnett

The death has been announced of saxophonist and big band leader Willie Garnett. Father of Alex Garnett - himself a top saxophonist who did duo gigs with his dad - Willie was a legend of the London jazz scene running his own big band and as part of Rocket 88 which featured Charlie Watts. He is best remembered by myself as part of the Charlie Watts Big Band that practically blew the roof off Fulham Town Hall. The ten saxes that that swung Flying Home like it had never been swung before or indeed since had Willie as one of the three altos - Pete King and Ray Warleigh were the other two - fast company!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Michael Connelly - The Concrete Blonde (book)

The Concrete Blonde is the third in Michael Connelly's series involving Los Angeles cop Harry Bosch. This one came out in 1994 and is, in the main a courtroom drama where Bosch is accused of shooting an unnamed man suspected of being The Dollmaker - a serial killer who tarts up the corpses of his female victims with lipstick, mascara etc.

It's a compelling read with all sorts of twists and turns before truth will out.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga - Love For Sale (Official Music Video)


Lady G and Tony B? don't mock - this is the real deal. Their previous collaboration - Cheek to Cheek - pointed the way and this is the fruition. I look forward to hearing the complete album. A jazz great and, Tony isn't bad either! - Lance

Preview: Sunday @ The Globe

(Press release)

Jazz North East are bringing Vula Viel to The Globe on Sunday! Vula Viel are a jazz group from London, playing music based on the sound of the gyil, a wooden xylophone from West Africa, fused with elements of electronica and minimal music.

Tickets are available on our (Globe) website - link.

Excuse me...are you a musician?

Strolling along Euston Road the other day, a voice from behind said: Are you a musician? Looking over my shoulder, a woman wearing a face mask was walking briskly by. No, I replied. Why do you ask? Pointing at my t-shirt she said: Oh, I thought you might be a musician. Ah, my Danish Radio Big Band t-shirt, picked up many moons ago at the band's concert at Whitley Bay Playhouse. On that memorable occasion the band's special guest was none other than valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer!

The woman behind the mask? Jacqui Dankworth! We stood and chatted for a couple of minutes recalling Jacqui's concert appearances 'up north' at Durham's Gala Theatre and Sage Gateshead, my memories of Wavendon. And off Jacqui went, an early morning rehearsal ahead of her.  Russell

Billie Holiday on the Beeb - Friday Oct. 15

Why not go in search of Billie Holiday this evening? BBC Television is once again screening James Erskine's documentary film Billie: in Search of Billie Holiday. First shown on BBC 2, tune to BBC 4 this evening (Friday) at 9:00pm - Russell  

Preview: Michael Feinstein @ Sage Gateshead (Oct. 22)

(Photo  from Sage Gateshead)
It was back in 1994 when cable television finally arrived on our street. Suddenly, over night we had trillions of channels to choose from. That most of these channels were rubbish is neither here nor there as there was one weekly programme that shone like a beacon above the rest. I think it may have been on NPR but I'm not sure. What I am sure about was the performers and, in particular, singer, pianist, music historian, author Michael Feinstein.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Album review: Kristian Borring - Out of Nowhere

Kristian Borring (guitar); Rick Simpson (piano); Mick Coady (bass); Jon Scott (drums).

The Danish guitarist is no stranger to BSH, he's had several albums reviewed within these hallowed (virtual) portals and all have impressed those of us with ears for the real deal and this truly is the real deal.

Recorded in London in prepandomic times the musician met up in Nick Taylor's Porcupine Studios to cut 8 sides as we used to say before sides became tracks before becoming downloads before becoming whatever next. Being somewhat of a Luddite, I opted for a CD which duly arrived in several pieces - well it had come from Australia - so rather than wait for an Antipodean replacement, I went for the download option.

Adrian Cox Trio with Miss Baby Sol @ Oriole, Smithfield Market, London - Oct. 13

Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals); Dave Archer (guitar); Ferg Ireland (double bass); Miss Baby Sol (vocals)

Smithfield Market isn't the kind of place you'd associate with a music venue. East Poultry Avenue, in the heart of London's meat market, with its cold store environment, forklift trucks and articulated lorries offloading consignments more or less 24/7, is home to Oriole. A cocktails-led basement venue, it is as discreet as they come. A nondescript doorway (it could be mistaken as the gaffer's office, perhaps the canteen) leads, via a flight of stairs, to a subterranean speakeasy offering cocktails and, well, cocktails. 

Emmet Cohen Trio @ Ronnie Scott's - Oct. 13

Emmet Cohen (piano); Yasushi Nakamura (double bass); Kyle Poole (drums) + Ruben Fox (tenor sax)

For more than a year Emmet Cohen has been streaming concerts on a weekly basis from his New York City apartment. Live from Emmet's Place has become required viewing. Now, as international travel has become somewhat easier, pianist Cohen is once again on the road. A European tour itinerary included a stop off at Ronnie Scott's. Turning onto Frith Street a queue stretched out onto the pavement for the first of two houses. The sense of anticipation was palpable, people had been waiting a long time for this moment.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Album review: Jeremy Monteiro & Alberto Marsico - Jazz-Blues Brothers

Jeremy Monteiro (piano); Alberto Marsico (B3); Shawn Letts (tenor sax); Eugene Pao (guitar); Shawn Kelley (drums + Miz Dee Longwood - vocals on 2 tks.)

Monteiro has been called Singapore's King of Swing - Marsico could equally have been called Italy's King Hammond and maybe he has. Together they're jazz royalty in any genre and the courtiers (sidemen) ain't bad either.

The unusual instrumentation works well, the chordal instruments don't step on each others' fingers, Letts blows walkin' the bar tenor and Kelley works out on Catastrophy.

Paul Hartley Quartet featuring Rod Mason at the Railway Stockport - Oct. 12

Paul Hartley (guitar); Rod Mason (tenor/baritone sax); Ken Marley (bass); Dave Walsh (drums).

As Paul Hartley explained in his introduction, it has been over two years since Yorkshire-based Rod Mason has appeared at the Railway and for this visit he brought with him both tenor and baritone saxes. 

Billy Hart Quartet @ Ronnie Scott's - Oct 12

Billy Hart (drums); Mark Turner (tenor sax); Ethan Iverson (piano); Ben Street (double bass)

As travel restrictions eased, veteran drummer Billy Hart flew across the Atlantic with his all-star quartet to fulfill an engagement at Ronnie Scott's. Hart has worked with just about everyone, from Miles Davis to Stan Getz, Marian McPartland to Wes Montgomery and a whole lot more. Here on Frith Street one sensed he had nothing to prove. 

Hart asked Ronnie's patrons if they had heard of him, saying he didn't know anyone in the audience! And with that, Hart's quartet opened with Ethan Iverson's tribute to fellow pianist Hampton Hawes, South Hampton. The composer's multi-layered piece set off in one direction before being swiftly redirected by the band leader's mischievous, propulsive drumming. And this was to be the pattern for a set of some seventy five minutes. If some in the audience didn't know Billy Hart, the man himself knew who he was and is! 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The ones that got away - part one.

These are just some of the ones that didn't make the cut - there are more to come. We try to give preference to those who send actual hard copies - I'm one of the last surviving Jazz Luddites. However, in no way does this detract from the albums listed below it's simply that with only a limited number of reviewers to call upon - so be it!

Actually, most of them are ok. David Angel's Out on the Coast is great but 3 CDs are a lot to listen to when the backlog is building up like traffic on the M25.

MUGGSY SPANIER - MANDY, MAKE UP YOUR MIND


As the Toon Army and Steve Bruce await the decision regarding the latter's future at St James Infirmary - sorry Park - this tune came to mind. Mandy* Make up Your Mind. Nice clarinet from Rod Cless. Has Adrian Cox featured him in his Sunday Sermons? Lance

*Amanda Staveley - already the media are calling her Mandy... Things don't look good for Stevie - the Leazes End don't think he's a wonder.

The Stuart Fowler Quintet: Blue Mitchell's The Thing to Do + jam session @ Central Bar, Gateshead - Oct. 11

Stuart Fowler Quintet: Stuart Fowler (trumpet); Jamie Toms (tenor sax); Alan Law (piano); Mick Shoulder (double bass); John Bradford (drums)

Another jam session, a Monday evening at that! Would people turn out? Only one way to find out, head to Central Bar at the Gateshead end of the High Level Bridge for a half past seven start. Arriving in good time to order a pint of a more than acceptable porter, a nod to some of the musicians in the downstairs bar, let's take a look upstairs...

Dottie Dodgion (Sept. 23, 1929 - Sept. 17, 2021)

Dottie Dodgion, singer, drummer and reluctant trailblazer passed away on Sept. 17 just six days short of her 92nd birthday.

She wasn't the first female drummer but she was certainly the most enduring holding down a regular gig until March 2020 when Covid stepped in.

Although I never heard her play an article in the March 20, 1969 issue of DownBeat has a photo of Dottie playing a gig with Al Cohn and Zoot Sims. The article also gives an insight into her bubbly personality. After quoting Billy Higgins, Tootie Heath, Mickey Roker and Ginger Baker as being among her favourite drummers when asked about Buddy Rich she replied: "He plays good for a man."

Monday, October 11, 2021

Album review: Nicolas Meier World Group - Magnificent.

Nicolas Meier (various guitars, glissentar); Kevin Glasgow (bass); Richard Jones (violin); Demi Garcia Sabat (perc.)

I struggle to cope with single CDs and, when landed with a triple CD album, I know how the camel felt when that extra straw was added.

So I will be as honest as a politician and confess that I shirked away from my responsibilities and didn't play all three hours of the album - life's too short and I've still got a few million pages of the NUFC/Saudi takeover agreement (the abridged version) to go through - so I opted for disc 3 (Stories) that seemed to have some familiar tunes on it.

Familiar tunes in an unfamiliar way!

Richard Wetherall Trio @ the Railway, Stockport - Oct. 10

Richard Wetherall (piano); Ed Harrison (bass); Eryl Roberts (drums).

One thing that I have noticed about jazz events at the Railway is that most of the four or five piece bands that play there get through maybe ten to twelve numbers. However, this Sunday evening the piano-led trio of Richard Wetherall played a total of fifteen tunes! A varied selection containing a couple of Strayhorn ballads, bebop classics by Miles, Monk, and Parker plus some numbers with a strong Latin influence.  At the start of the concert Richard mentioned he had already played two gigs one of which was in Marsden. Yorkshire but during the first tune tonight, a fast Make Someone Happy he showed no sign of the tiredness that he’d referred to previously.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Preview: Indigos Are Back At The Globe! Thursday Oct. 14 @ 7:45pm

Good news! The Indigo Jazz Voices have survived the Pandemic and are back in better voice than ever!

Five talented singers, performing individually, with a wide selection of songs, including Night And Day; That Old Devil Called Love; Corcovado and They Can't Take That Away From Me.

So don't let anyone take it away from you, but get along to the Globe next Thursday to hear Carrie McCullock, David Edgar, Jenny Lingham, John McNulty and Jen Errington do their stuff.

And what's more, they are accompanied by the superb Alan Law on piano.

Admission is only £5 cash on the door, which is a bargain. Ann Alex

Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle - Oct. 10

Dean Stockdale (piano); Mick Shoulder (bass); Abbie Finn (drums).

A tried and tested first set of standards that reminded those who haven't caught Dean's live gigs or streams just how good he and his trio are. I was in the latter category tonight after last night's transport problems - blame it on the bus a no show - so tonight I took up the armchair option rather than having to fork out for another taxi.

Aycliffe Radio Jazz Time - Sundays- 6.30-8.00 (repeated Tuesdays 8.00-9.30)

Listen to Aycliffe Radio live by clicking this link.

Playlist:

Dean Stockdale; Art Tatum; Abbie Finn; Emma Fisk Hot Club Du Nord; Gerry Mulligan Paul Desmond; Vula Viel.

Women in Jazz :

Bessie Smith; Lil Hardin; Billie Holiday; Peggy Lee/ Benny Goodman; Sarah Vaughan Clifford Brown; Ella FItzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Roy Eldridge; Mary Lou Williams; Nina Simone; Yazz Ahmed.

New Releases: Scottish National Jazz Orchestra; David Larsen.

Nikki Iles Jazz Orchestra.

Thanks to Russell Corbett for keeping us up to date with what's happening.

Nikki Iles Jazz Orchestra @ Sage Gateshead - Oct. 9

(Pic by Lance)
Gig of the year? Undoubtedly! Dig out your Roget's Thesaurus and look up "Superlatives" and select any word or phrase you care to. I particularly like "of the first water" which was originally a system used for grading diamonds. This session truly was a diamond of the first water.

What was, by all accounts, the same programme that has already been reviewed on BSH only a couple of weeks ago by Steve T at Scarby Jazz Fest - read here - found me in total agreement with him when he observed that Ms Iles had some "serious guests" - she sure did!

Saturday, October 09, 2021

Album review: Secret Sessions - HOOP

Tom Walsh (trumpet, flugel, keys); Nichol Thomson (trombone, keys, vocoder); Paul Booth (tenor sax, bass clarinet); Chris Allard (guitar); Laurence Cottle (elec bass); Ian Thomas (drums) + Steve Hamilton (keys tk 1); Miles Bould (perc tk 2); Ross Stanley (Hammond B3 tk 3).

The Secret Sessions project is Paul Booth's ongoing brainchild and Hoop is the second after last year's Fragile Eagle. The idea was to round-up a group of like-minded musicians to record together without giving them any advance information, other than the instrumentation,  as to who the others would be until they actually arrived.

Friday, October 08, 2021

Swing Manouche @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall - Oct. 8

Mick Shoulder (guitar); Danny Lowndes-Smith (guitar); Henry Palfrey (guitar); Ray Winning (clarinet); Paul Grainger (double bass)

The lunchtime jazz sessions at Bishop Auckland Town Hall (BATH) resumed today. It had been quite some time since the last concert in the (Stan) Laurel Cafe. In common with every other venue, the pandemic put a stop to all activities. In addition, a lengthy refurbishment programme delayed matters further. To celebrate the resumption of jazz at BATH, Mick Shoulder's Swing Manouche took inspiration from Django Reinhardt. 

Livestream: In the Moment with Ken Peplowski - Oct. 8

Ken Peplowski (tenor sax, clarinet)[ Houston Person (tenor sax); Ehud Asherie (piano); Peter Washington (bass); Willie Jones III (drums) 

There are moments when I want to duck down behind the parapets and chill out and listen to music that won't change the world. Ihis is one of those nights.

Peplowski has long been one of my favourite clarinettists - ever since I heard him in an amazing session at the Saville Exchange in North Shields with Marty Grosz. And here he is again on tenor and clarinet and as good a man (get it?) as I've heard on the latter instrument since that great session. Houston I know from his gigs with Daryl [Sherman] - if he's good enough for Daryl...

Album review: Scopes - Age of Reason

Matt Chalk (alto sax); Tony Tixier (piano, synth); Tom Berkmann (bass); Mathias Rupping (drums)

One of the things I hate about most of today's jazz is the lack of melodic, rhythmic and harmonic charm that comes from a band/soloist exploring a theme that doesn't grate on your musical sensitivities. 

Paradoxically, what I love about this album is that it doesn't incorporate the above ingredients except that it does! It does it in such a way that, whilst far removed from the old traditions, swings every bit as much as Goodman or even Bird did - they just do it differently.

The lessons of the past are all here but so is the future.

Swing Manouche in the Land of the Prince Bishops

Mick Shoulder's Swing Manouche will be playing in Bishop Auckland Town Hall today (Friday) at one o'clock. And, what's more, tomorrow the band will be in Durham at Claypath Deli, seven o'clock start. The new Swing Manouche line-up comprises Mick Shoulder and Danny Lowndes Smith, guitars, Ray Winning, clarinet, and bassist Paul Grainger. Russell

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Central Bar jam session - Monday 11 Oct.

A new jam session, hooray! The Central Bar (pictured) on Half Moon Lane at the Gateshead end of the High Level Bridge is home to a new jam session. The first night is on Monday, 11 October. The evening will be in two halves, the first, beginning at 7:30, features a concert performance by a quintet of well known figures on the Tyneside jazz scene - Stuart Fowler ( trumpet); Jamie Toms (tenor sax); Alan Law (piano); Mick Shoulder (bass) and John Bradford, drums - playing the music of Blue Mitchell. At 9:00 the floor will be open to sitters-in. Admission £5 at the door. Russell

Album review: Lee Morgan – The Complete Live at the Lighthouse (Blue Note)

Lee Morgan (trumpet, flugelhorn); Bennie Maupin (tenor sax, flute, bass clarinet); Harold Mabern (piano); Jymie Merritt (bass); Mickey Roker (drums) + Jack DeJohnette (drums on one tk)

The postman struggled up the drive with this box set and two tiles were shattered in the hallway as it landed. I’m glad I ordered the 8 CD version as I understand that the 12 LP sets are delivered by donkeys liberated from their usual travails of carrying overweight Americans up to castles in Crete. It is a bit of a beast, but it’s also what you would have wanted from 8 CDs of Lee Morgan with a hot band raising the roof in Hermosa Beach, California in July 1970.

Hot Club du Nord: LIVE Concerts at Home @ King's Hall, Newcastle University - Oct. 7

Hot Club du Nord: Emma Fisk (violin); James Birkett (guitar); Dave Harris (guitar); Bruce Rollo (double bass)

The applause rang out across the nation as Hot Club du Nord played a LIVE Concerts at Home gig in King's Hall. The Armstrong Building venue has yet to readmit audiences. Today's livestream premiere performance was actually recorded yesterday in an empty hall save for Newcastle University's AV technicians on hand to ensure things ran smoothly. All that was required of Emma Fisk and the boys was to play - and play they did! 

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music 2021: Zoë Gilby & Andy Champion @ Newcastle Arts Centre - Oct. 2

(© Ken Drew)
Try as may, we were unable to attend every gig much as we'd have liked to. Fortunately, Ken Drew managed to, near enough, do it and this lovingly and professionally created collage gives a sense of the occasion.

A couple of F/b comments enhance that stamp of approval. 

Zoe and Andy, great to see them live, inspirational, exciting, fantastic.”

“Zoe and Andy were awesome. Just getting better and better by being soooo adventurous. What an amazing duo.”

Lance

DJAZZ: The Durham City Jazz Festival - 2019 recap


Sadly this was the last edition. See the following press release: 

Courtney Pine CBE To Receive The Gold Award at Jazz FM Awards 2021 with PPL and PRS for Music

(Press release)

It is announced today that legendary British saxophonist Courtney Pine is to receive the prestigious Gold Award at this year’s Jazz FM Awards with PPL and PRS for Music. Pine, one of the most celebrated UK jazz musicians of all time whose glittering three-decade career has included being awarded both an OBE and CBE for services to music, will collect the award in-person at the ceremony at Under the Bridge in West London on Thursday October 28th.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Steve Oakes Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Oct. 5

Steve Oakes (guitar); Andrzej Barenek (keys); Ed Kainyek (tenor sax); Gavin Barras (bass); Tim Franks (drums)

One of the things I like about Steve is his choice of tunes which cover many genres. He can handle tricky Chick Corea tunes, up-tempo bop themes and tonight we heard, as the opening number, that classic blues Stolen Moments from Oliver Nelson’s iconic album Blues and the Abstract Truth. If you don’t have this record in your collection you should seek it out. Another thing about Steve that I like is although he has a box of about half a dozen effects pedals, he has the good sense to not over-use them.

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music 2021: Hugh V Williams @ The Globe October 4.

(Pic © Ken Drew)
 Hugh V Williams (bass); George Crowley (sax); Devin Gray (drums)

So the end of another amazing festival which this year had something for everyone (even Lance and Russell). What a great cultural asset to the city of Newcastle this event is. It is a privilege to be able to sample such a wide variation of musical experiences.

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Album review: Jo Harrop - The Heart Wants

The northeast's favourite expatriate songstress has come up with another winner, this time an album of mainly self-penned lyrics set to music by an assortment of musicians including Paul Edis - another musician not unknown in these parts. 

I've been waxing eloquent about the quantity and quality of vocal albums released this year and The Heart Wants is way up there with the best of them.

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music 2021: Fergus McCreadie Trio @ The Lit and Phil - Oct. 3

(© Ken Drew)
Fergus McCreadie (piano); David Bowden (bass); Stephen Henderson (drums)

This was the third time I’d seen the Fergus McCreadie Trio and each time I have been more impressed than the time before and, given that I thought they were pretty amazing the first time, it emphasizes just how good this concert really was. 

The trio have been together for a while now and it really showed as they played as a completely harmonious unit. Definitely a ‘European style’ piano trio but with the added feature of a highland twist within the music. The whole performance had a wonderful flowing feel as the momentum built up to a fever pitch before subsiding into poignant, peaceful, passages before winding up again - simply mesmerising. 

Book review: The History of Jazz (3rd Edition) – Ted Gioia (Oxford University Press)

This newly revised edition of Ted Gioia’s book is the best history of jazz that I have read. Over 520 pages he covers the evolution of the music as it arose out of the swamps of Louisiana, met with various influences on the way, grew across the US, adapted to technological developments, exploded out of its linear narrative in the 1950s and 60s as it explored many different roads and became the many headed beast we know and love today.

We start in 1819 with slaves in Congo Square, New Orleans playing string and percussion instruments from their homelands. This music is Americanised (or American music was Africanised), meets with church music and French and Spanish influences, unique in the USA to New Orleans, and, by the time of the Civil War, becomes something that might be recognised as jazz. 

Monday, October 04, 2021

Album review: Lena Bloch & Feathery - Rose of Lifta

Lena Bloch (tenor sax); Russ Lossing (piano); Cameron Brown (bass); Billy Mintz (drums)

Russian born Bloch eventually made it to NYC in 2008 via Israel, Holland and Germany.

The music by her Feathery Quartet is delicate, introspective and as the group name implies - feathery. It's soulful and digs deep into themes of exile, loss and yearning all based on her experiences since leaving Russia.

Trefor Owen Quartet @ The Railway, Stockport - Oct. 3

Trefor Owen (guitar);  Liam Byrne (tenor sax); Andy Hulme (guitar); Ed Harrison (bass).

Anyone interested in guitar music will have heard of Trefor Owen, a tireless and enthusiastic presence on the jazz scene and also well-known as an educator in the UK and abroad.His current group includes in their repertoire standards from the GASB, originals by Wes Montgomery, and the occasional tune written by Trefor such as Ellen. 


Tonight the emphasis was on show tunes and we heard no less than three tunes from the pen of Henry Mancini, Dreamsville, The Shadow of Your Smile. and Days of Wine and RosesI enjoyed all twelve tunes played and so did the audience judging by their reaction.  

More Harry Bosch - Lost Light

I've mentioned Michael Connelly's novels featuring Harry Bosch in a previous post but this one - Lost Light* - is worthy of a special mention: "I came out of the memory [a murder case] and back to my dining room table as Art Pepper started playing 'You'd Be So Nice to Come home To' with Jack Sheldon on trumpet. I had at least two or three versions of Pepper performing the Cole Porter standard on disc. On each one he always attacked it, tore its guts out. It was the only way he knew how to play and that relentlessness was what I liked best about him. It was the thing I hoped I shared with him".

There's more Art Pepper in the next chapter. Connelly certainly knows his jazz - I wonder if he ever wrote for DownBeat? Maybe, one day he'll do reviews for BSH - fat chance! - Lance

*Lost Light: Orion books (2003) - ISBN 978-1-4091-5695-6

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music 2021 - Pat Thomas plays the music of Duke Ellington + Alina Bzhezhinska HipHarp Quartet @ The Lit and Phil October 2nd


Pat Thomas (solo piano)

(All pics © Ken Drew)

Pat Thomas’s solo tribute to the music of Duke  Ellington was a masterclass of free improvisation. First performed at London’s Cafe Oto in 2019 to mark the 120th anniversary of the Duke’s birth. On Saturday night he left a captivated audience at the Lit and Phil spellbound. Thomas sees Duke not only as one of the great composers but also as one of great improvisers. The Ellington songbook was placed on the Lit and Phil’s grand piano and Thomas leafed backwards and forwards through the book during  the entire recital.  

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music: Jam Session @ The Black Swan - Oct. 3

(Pics by Russell/collage by Lance)
Paul Grainger, John Pope (bass); Harry Keeble, Graham Easthope (tenor sax); Abbie Finn, Johnny Hunter (drums); Jacob Barker (guitar); Ferg Kilsby (trumpet); Thomas Egglestone (trombone); Elliot Hayes-Clare (bass guitar).

After Zoe Rahman I needed sustenance and a chance to reflect upon her stunning performance. A pork pie and a pint in the nearby Split Chimp geared me up for the jam session at the Newcastle Arts Centre.

Earlier, the Abbie Finn Trio had played a set that has been reviewed by Russell and I looked forward to what, hopefully, will be a precursor to the return of the popular Tuesday night jams scheduled to re-start on Oct. 26.

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music: Abbi Finn Trio @ The Black Swan - Oct. 3

Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Paul Grainger (double bass); Abbie Finn (drums)

The Abbie Finn Trio served as an hors d'oeuvres to the afternoon jam session at this year's Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music. The main performance space in the Black Swan enabled a modicum of social distancing to be observed as sitters in and punters alike made their way in to the room. 

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music @ The Lit & Phil: Zoe Rahman - Oct. 3

Zoe Rahman (piano)


(© Ken Drew)
Another solo piano recital by yet another outstanding contemporary pianist that delighted the crowded room.

Inevitably comparisions were made with Robert Mitchell who kick-started the series on Friday and in that respect it was a score draw - a very high scoring one at that. Both pianists are very much classically influenced although Rahman tends to use jazzier voicings in her selection of chords.

I didn't catch all of the titles, not least because Zoe didn't announce all of them! She did promise to pass on the info to anyone who wished to know but, by that time they were queuing up for CDs as if they were jerry cans full of Esso unleaded.

David Gray & Mark Williams @ Prohibition Bar - Oct. 2

David Gray (trombone); Mark Williams (guitar)

The name is Gray, David Gray...the name is Williams, Mark Williams. In the wake of the latest 007 box office blockbuster, David Gray and Mark Williams cashed in with a couple of Bond, James Bond numbers. On a rainy evening on Pink Lane, Prohibition Bar was doing steady business. A trombone-guitar duo isn't the obvious combination for a Saturday night out, but when the calibre of musician on stage is dynamic trombonist David Gray and guitar maestro Mark Williams, you're onto a winner.

Jamie Cullum @ Sage Gateshead - Oct. 2

(Photo courtesy George Milburn)
Jamie Cullum (piano, vocals); Rory Simmons (trumpet) + Tom Richards (tenor sax, baritone sax, clarinet, keys, perc.); Tom Varall (guitar); Loz Garratt (bass, bass guitar); Brad Webb (drums); Marc Henderson & Aisha Stewart (dancers, backing vocals).

My apologies for not getting all of the names straight away but when you're on your feet clapping, whooping and hollering and in the dark, it's impossible to make legible notes but, at a time like this, who keeps score? However, I did manage eventually so now amended. 

The concert, held over from the cancelled 2020 jazz festival, was three levels full - I guess nobody cashed in their tickets after the cancellation and why would they? This was the blast to end all blasts!

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