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Bebop Spoken There

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

Archive quotes.

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

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

Coming soon ...



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

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

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Ten albums by Sinatra and a few associated memories. Part Four

6. No One Cares. Capitol 1959. Arr. Gordon Jenkins. this and 7. Only the LonelyCapitol 1959 arr. Riddle bring us back into Wee Small Hours' territory. The two albums are inextricably shared despite the different arrangers. No one ever sang a saloon song like Frank and only Billie could match him for emotion. Brilliant as Ella was, although she could probably out-swing either, when it came to laying your heart on your sleeve she was a distant third. Neither Frank or Billie went down the yellow brick road that Norman Granz paved for Ella with the songbook series - in fact, Sinatra and Granz were considerably less than friends.

Friday, May 14, 2021

SNJO, Martin Kershaw/Anthony Braxton: Where Rivers Meet - May 14

(Photo © Derek Clarke)
Prior to this evening's performance Martin Kershaw described Anthony Braxton's music as 'visual', the composer thinking in terms of shapes and colours. The SNJO's Where Rivers Meet in-house artist Maria Rud agreed, adding, the American's work could be considered 'architectural'. Kershaw suggested Braxton's work made for a perfect alliance of sound (the SNJO) and vision (Russian artist Rud).  

Album review: Alex Conde - Descarga for Bud

Alex Conde (piano); Jeff Chambers (bass); Colin Douglas (drums); John Santos (perc.) + Sergio Martinez (Cajun/Djembe); Mike Olmos (trumpet); Jeff Narell (steel pan); Jose Luis de la Paz (guitar). 

The problem is how to pay tribute to a legend whose own versions have set the benchmark way beyond the reach of any mere mortal?

Spanish pianist Conde met the problem head on and came up with a solution that respected both tradition and innovation - add a touch of Latin!

Norman Simmons (1929 - May 13, 2021)

Daryl Sherman posted this lovely memory on Facebook of pianist Norman Simmons who passed away yesterday aged 90. Re-posted with her kind permission.

"I first met Norman Simmons at Michael's Pub in the mid '70s. He was already a hero. I'd learned every song on "Portrait of Carmen" and even a couple of his piano licks. I think our different quirky sides, sense of the ridiculous and love of great songs seemed to meld into a long friendship.

Through the years I didn't get to see or hear Norman nearly as much as I'd have liked. Whenever we'd cross paths on a gig together or he was playing in town, we'd always laugh and reminisce about "the old days at Alexander's Dept Store" and Michael's Pub stories.

Ten albums by Sinatra and a few associated memories. Part Three

5. Come Fly With me. Capitol 1957 arr. Billy May. For this one Sinatra opted for Billy May to knock out the charts which he did splendidly. A few years previously May had lead a band with the most identifiable sax sound - the slurping saxes was the descriptive name given to them - since Glenn Miller. He later broke up the band and sold the name to fellow trumpet player Ray Anthony who then led two bands!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

SNJO, Konrad Wiszniewski/Dewey Redman: Where Rivers Meet - May 13

Thursday, the second of four concert performances featuring a member of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. This evening's soloist, tenor saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski, would be playing the music of Dewey Redman with artist Maria Rud once again ringside to capture the moment. 

Paul Towndrow arranged this evening's programme for hi fellow reedsman Wiszniewski and what a set it turned out to be! The first of three Redman compositions - Dewey's Tune - flew from the off, soloist and ensemble cookin' like nobody's business, Wiszniewski's sustained upper register attack a thing of beauty, only Pete Johnstone's piano solo offering any respite.  

Album review: Doug MacDonald - Live in Hawaii

Doug MacDonald (guitar); Noel Okimoto (vibes); Dean Taba (bass); Darryl Pellegrini (drums).

Four great players, seven fine tunes (two originals), a responsive audience - what could go wrong?

Nothing!

Although based in South California, and born in Philadelphia, MacDonald actually began his career in Hawaii playing with legends such as Trummy Young and Gabe Baltazar so that when he returned to the island for this one off concert in Honolulu it was almost a triumphant homecoming - maybe they even adorned him with a lei! If they didn't, they should have done as both he and his sidemen deserved that traditional Hawaiian show of affection.

DVD Review: Low Down

Based on the turbulent life of jazz pianist Joe Albany, this award-winning film came out on DVD in 2016  and covers the relationship problems he had raising his young daughter Amy in a tough area of Hollywood populated by a collection of misfits, dope fiends and hustlers etc.  Directed by Jeff Pries who had a hand in making of the Bruce Webber film Let's Get Lost. However, this is not a documentary but a well-written story by Amy Albany herself which adds an air of authenticity to the proceedings.

Album review: Ferg Ireland Trio - Ferg Ireland Trio

Ferg Ireland (bass); Nathaniel Facey (alto sax); James Maddren (drums)

Lockdown dimmed the lights, regular jam sessions went the journey and a multitude of residencies disappeared overnight. One of the few positives in these strange times has been the proliferation of online performances, offering jaded ears the opportunity to hear other, less familiar voices in other places. 

One such voice, an occasional visitor to this part of the world, has proven to be an integral part of Kansas Smitty's sterling efforts to stream gigs into jazz fans' homes across the globe. 

Ten albums by Sinatra and a few associated memories. Part Two

3. Songs For Swingin' Lovers. Capitol 1956 arr. Nelson Riddle. I first heard How About You by Sinatra one Saturday afternoon on a radio show hosted by Jack Jackson (ask your grandparents) whilst lying in my pit (forces' jargon) at RAF Manby during those days when National Service was said to make a man out of you - just as well I didn't have a sister! However, I digress (I'm sure I've told this story elsewhere) but I jumped on my bike and pedalled the 20 miles from Louth to Grimsby in less than an hour (wind behind me) and purchased the album. That magical moment hearing Milt Bernhardt's now obligatory trombone blast on I've Got You Under my Skin, that flute intro to You Make me Feel so Young or those Harry Edison interpolations that had yet to become clichés, sealed it as my all-time favourite Frank. 

SNJO, Paul Towndrow/Ornette Coleman: Where Rivers Meet - May 12

(Screenshot by Russell)
Edinburgh's twelfth century St Giles' Cathedral served as a spectacular stage on this first evening of four dedicated to the music of four celebrated free jazz pioneers. Socially distanced members of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra took to the stage under the watchful eye of its founder, Artistic Director, Tommy Smith. This evening's focus would be on the music of Ornette Coleman. 

(Screenshot by Russell)
The term 'free jazz' is often used to describe, or simply categorise, Coleman's music. The abandonment of chordal and harmonic elements were considered to be 'free', yet Coleman produced many melodic tunes, 'tunes' being anything but a derogatory term! Alto saxophonist Paul Towndrow (SNJO, Brass Jaw etc) would perform three pieces composed by the American. 

Album Review: Larry Mindel – Love In Troubled Times

Larry Mindel (voice); Liam Stevens (piano); JJ Stillwell (bass); Callum Smith (drums); Ben Treacher (sax); Geoffrey Richardson (strings, woodwind); Rebecca Phillips, Francesca Raimondi (backing singers)

This is Larry Mindel's second album, nine original songs recorded in 2020 under the restraints of lockdown, covering themes of love, loss and longing, with lyrics which evoke a sense of various landscapes of the countryside, Suffolk, Australia, the Hebrides.


Mr Mindel began his musical life in the folk clubs of south east England and also the jazz venues of Soho. After a break he took up music again in 2004, sharing the songs he'd written with friends and performing regularly in England, Europe and the Antipodes. This CD was recorded using mainly acoustic instruments.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

NQ Jazz, in partnership with The Stoller Hall and The Yard, announce new live music dates for 2021, featuring Soweto Kinch, Norma Winstone, Mark Lockheart and more

(Press release)

Live jazz makes a triumphant return to Manchester with new concert series 

Featuring some of the biggest names in live jazz alongside rising stars 

Manchester venues The Stoller Hall and The Yard become new venue partners for NQ Jazz this year, with a range of COVID-safe lunchtime concerts, evening concerts and masterclasses 

The new programme will develop the jazz musicians of the future through partnership with Chetham's School of Music and RNCM Upcoming jazz musicians will showcase their music on a global stage with concerts and online streams

Manchester’s growing reputation for live jazz is set to be catapulted in 2021, with a line-up of established and emerging musicians and two new venue partners. 

A couple of gigs in August

This looks good. A recreation of Miles Davis' tribute to boxer Jack Johnson. Both were controversial figures in their lifetime and the original album - soundtrack to a screenplay about the boxer - received acclaim from most of the critics - Leonard Feather being a notable exception.

Apart from Davis, guitarist John McLaughlin also clocked up the plaudits so Tom Atkinson has some big boots to fill - he can do it!

Tickets: Cluny

Tickets: Forum

Lance

A (belated) book review. Gay Talese - Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and other essays

If I state that this is probably the finest piece of non-fictional journalism ever published I will probably be accused, as we BSH writers often are, of going over the top when we discover a new talent. Not that Gay Talese can be defined as new, the articles in this anthology date from 1961 to 1997 and Talese is still around - now aged 89.

The book isn't about jazz, nor is it totally about Frank Sinatra although that particular essay is one of the most astute observations of what life was like for those in and around the great man's day to day activities. It is universally regarded as one of the most influential American magazine articles of all time after it was published in Esquire magazine in 1966.

Ten albums by Sinatra and a few associated memories. Part One

Before I move on to the albums I must mention an EP from that earlier period  that had, and still has, a special memory for me.

I've Got a Crush on You. I'd met Marlene, my future wife only a couple of weeks before she was due to go on holiday to the Isle of Man with some friends from work. Whilst there, she bought me this EP, knowing already that I was a big Sinatra fan, and the title did my ego a power of good. The first line of the second part of the verse rather deflated that same ego - It's not that you're attractive...

However, I digress, let's get down to business!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Reminiscing in Tempo - That night in the Forge and Hammer.

Once upon a time, possibly around about 1960 there was a pub in Jarrow - The Forge and Hammer which, like so many pubs, is now long gone although the pub opposite, The Albion, is still braving the elements.

This story begins, as good mystery stories do, on a dark and stormy night. The late Jimmy McDowell and myself had ventured forth, braving the elements, knowing that local pianist, the late Ray Tones, would be doing his Erroll Garner impressions in the boozer.

This night he was playing out of his skull - he had to be - as will be revealed.

Jas Kayser at the Vortex - May 11

(Screenshot by Russell)
Jas Kayser (drums); Joe Webb (piano); Will Sach (double bass) 

A set of standards given an amazing full-on improvised workout. Three young, exceptionally talented musicians digging into the material, the opening numbers drawn from Ellington and the sixties' modern jazz canon - Money JungleComes Love and Joshua. Oscar, Erroll, the stride masters, a contemporary sensibility, pianist Joe Webb has got it all. Regular bass partner, NYC's Will Sach swung it like there was no tomorrow, and leading the trio, a product of Julian Joseph's jazz education programme and Berklee, Boston, USA, the fabulous Jas Kayser.

Ten albums by Sinatra and a few associated memories - Preview

To   even   attempt   to   reduce  Sinatra's  vast  output  down  to  a mere ten albums is asking the impossible!

The early singles with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, the Columbia sessions with Axel Stordahl and then...the Capitol dates with Nelson Riddle that rewrote the script for popular singing that has lasted to this very day and probably will do for ever more. 

Not that it was all Riddle. 

Billy May, Gordon Jenkins, Robert Farnon and Quincy Jones also chipped in.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Sam Leak Trio: Lockdown Livestream from Ronnie Scott's - May 10

(Screenshot by Ken Drew)
Sam Leak (piano); Simon Read (bass); Will Glaser (drums)

Many years ago, I visited the Lido, a very swish Parisian night club/cabaret. One of the acts was a guy balancing spinning plates on poles. He was running from pole to pole to ensure that he kept all his plates spinning. The next act featured the leggy chorus girls and I forgot about the plate-spinner... 

Until lockdown that is when I suddenly found myself in the role of, metaphorically speaking, keeping the plates turning. For plates read livestreams ...

Orchestra fills the Cathedral with colour and expression

(Press release)

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra presents its most ambitious, multi-dimensional event to date taking place online from May 12 to 15.

Where Rivers Meet celebrates the blues-driven, unfettered expression, spirit and excitement of jazz’s 1960s revolutionary “New Thing” through music and live visual art filmed in the architecturally striking setting of Edinburgh’s 12th century St Giles Cathedral.

Album review: Amber Weekes - 'Round Midnight Re-Imagined

Hazel's Hips - a bump and grind number written by Oscar Brown Jr. got me fascinated from the off to the extent that I was thinking about those hips of Hazel more than I perhaps should have been! Incidentally, Weekes' performance is dedicated to a thwarted romance between the then unknown Sidney Poitier and her Aunt Dolores who, at the time, was waitressing at a luncheonette he frequented. 

Summer Samba - as nice and frothy as it usually is with the bonus of a violin solo by Mark Cargill who also did the string arrangement.

Live from the Flat: Chopin in Jazz - May 9

(Screenshot by Russell)
Rossano Sportiello (piano); Felix Moseholm (double bass); TJ Reddick (drums)

Live at the Flat in Greenwich Village is Rossano Sportiello's regular 'gig'. Today's live stream, #31 in the series, presented Chopin in Jazz. Joining our NYC resident Italian pianist, two bright young things from Juilliard, Danish bassist Felix Moseholm, and TJ Reddick, a talented student drummer who has already worked with Wynton Marsalis. 

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Sunday Night @ The Globe: Not Now Charlie - May 9

(Photo by Debra M)
Jamie Toms (tenor sax); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); Richard Campbell (keys); Liam Gaughan (bass guitar); Dave McKeague (drums).

These Sunday night sessions at the Globe continue to go from strength to strength, not just in quality, but in variety. That variety was very much in evidence during tonight's set by Not Now Charlie. Indeed, there was a variety of variety in the tunes themselves all of which were composed by Jamie Toms who, apart from blowing fine tenor introduced each number informatively, explaining the background to the quirky titles.

Curtis Fuller (1934 - May 8, 2021)

(Photo by Lance)
Another one of the all-time greats of modern jazz trombone left us yesterday. Curtis Fuller will be remembered for many recordings, not least of which was his contribution to John Coltrane's Blue Train album on Blue Note.

That was but one of his many great achievements which included the Basie band, The Jazz Messengers as well as a couple of sessions I just happened to catch at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 1983.

Adrian Cox's Sunday Service: Artie Shaw - May 9

(Screenshot by Russell)
Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals)

Another Sunday Service, mugging up on his subject during the week then going for it at one o'clock is Adrian Cox's modus operandi. This afternoon, a sixty minutes' survey of the career of popular bandleader and virtuoso clarinetist, Artie Shaw. As usual, our host's online audience made its presence known by way of non-stop comments. Do they have time to actually listen? 

Gerald Cannon Quartet live streaming from Small's, NYC - May 8

Justin Robinson (alto sax); Rick Germanson (piano); Gerald Cannon (double bass); Willie Jones (drums) + Michael Rörby (trombone) 

Gerald Cannon hails from Racine, Wisconsin, home to one of America's two annual Bix Fest celebrations. Meeting Milt Hinton proved pivotal and in time the lure of New York City would set him on a career path working with some of the great names in jazz, including touring with McCoy Tyner (in 2008 Sage Gateshead was on the itinerary). 

This Saturday evening set list at Spike Wilner's place ranged across original composition to a Thad Jones' chart to a couple of standards - You Don't Know What Love Is and Peri's Scope - to a 'rhythm changes' finale with guest, trombonist Michael Rörby joining the party. Russell

The Van Gelder Studio Organ (May 16)

Rudy Van Gelder recorded a vast number of musicians, releasing hundreds of albums in the process. John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and countless others booked studio time at the now historic New Jersey shrine. Now, in the age of the online gig, a rather tasty-looking live stream is in the offing. 

CD Review: Sue Maskaleris – Love Is The Key

This CD comprises ten original, catchy, Brazilian-influenced jazz songs. The general 'feel' of the music is unusual, a sort of 'West Side Story' meets jazz solos. I say this because there was something of a musical theatre element to the singing, and a feeling that a good time was being had by all concerned.

Sue Maskaleris hails from Short Hills New Jersey, and she played piano and violin as a child, and later studied arranging and composition. McCoy Tyner met Ms Maskaleris at an NYC gig and became her mentor – he said that she had 'a touch like Bill Evans.' Her bands have performed at The Blue Note, Birdland and at jazz festivals such as the Lincoln Center, and she has also performed abroad in Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland, and England.

Ten MORE Underrated Jazz Musicians. Part Four

10. Bob Mover  (1952 - )

A sax and flute player that I saw live when I was in New York City for three days in May 2001 prior to joining the Charlie Parker Tribute Party on the QE2. 


I'd noticed a small piece of paper attached to the window of a disused restaurant that said "Jazz In the Basement tonight - Bob Mover". As it was on Lexington Avenue and just round the corner from where the Hotel I was staying, I thought I’d check it out.  I’m glad I did, as it turned out to be a fantastic night of bop and standards by Bob Mover’s quartet plus a very good singer - Jean Blackstone.   During the interval I asked Bob who he had played with and he told me Chet Baker and Charlie Mingus. He also mentioned playing in the UK at the Bass Clef which was run by Peter Ind.      

As far as I know, Mover is still in the land of the living and has made a few records but so far I have not yet managed to track any down. Mike Farmer.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

KSTV: The Meters - May 8

(Screenshot by Ken Drew)
Artie Zaitz (guitar); Peter Daley (organ); Flo Moore (bass); Femi Koleoso (drums) + Giacomo Smith (alto sax)

The Meters defined the groove. From the mid-sixties through the seventies and beyond, the New Orleans' rhythm machine set the standard. This evening's session at Kansas Smitty's sought to bring something of that groove to the party. 

(Screenshot by Ken Drew)
Guitarist Artie Zaitz, in the region a couple of years ago with Moses Boyd at DJazz, welcomed online viewers from 'Streamsville'. A good line, we've been living in Streamsville for a year and more! The quartet, later to be augmented by Giacomo Smith blowing alto sax, locked, limpet-like, on to a groove, and for the next hour simply wouldn't let go. Bass and drums couldn't have been better - Flo Moore, heard at Sage Gateshead a while ago, laid down killer lines matched only by the brilliant groove merchant Femi Koleoso. Completing the line-up, recent Kansas Smitty's recruit, organist Peter Daley, setting the place alight with some smokin' lines of his own. 

Wild Card featuring Leo Richardson & Graeme Flowers livestreaming from the 606 Club - May 8

(Screenshot by Lance)
Clement Regert (guitars); Andy Noble (B3); Leo Richardson (tenor sax); Graeme Flowers (trumpet); Eric Ford (drums).

It began with a disappointment, Sophie Alloway was ill and couldn't make the gig and a last minute dep was recruited. Eric Ford didn't have Sophie's blonde tresses, in actual fact he didn't have any tresses at all, but he did have comparable technique and he slotted in well with the rest of the pack (Wild Card, pack, get it?).

This was yet another super 606 Club session. Some great grooves, some hard blowing as well as some tender moments that made the 90 minutes seem to flash past in under an hour and a half.

Sunday night @ the Globe - Not Now Charlie

Sunday night's popular livestreams at the Globe continue tomorrow (May 9) with a rare appearance by the strangely named but nevertheless exciting contemporary quintet Not Now Charlie featuring Jamie Toms (tenor sax); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); Richard Campbell (piano); Liam Gaughan (bass guitar) and Dave McKeague (drums). All top notch players guaranteed to make this yet another special evening at the Jazz Co-op H.Q. Lance

Click here for tickets and further info.

Aycliffe Radio Jazz Time Playlist - Sunday May 9 (6:30pm - 8:00pm)

John Coltrane Quartet; Chris Barber + Lonnie Donnegan; Chris Barber + Van Morrison; Don Ellis; Nina Simone; Lydia Stephenson.

Selection by Kinky  Jeff and the SwingersJaco Pastorius; Timothée  Robert; The Champs; The Don Ellis Orchestra; Maynard Ferguson. 

Joseph Robichaux & New Orleans Rhythm Boys; Charlie Barnet; Scott Joplin; Dinah Washington; Art Tatum Lionel Hampton Buddy Rich; Michael Brecker Quartet. 

Mike 

Album review: Francesco Amenta - Midtown Walk

Francesco Amenta (tenor sax); Cyrus Chestnut (piano); Kimon Karoutzos (bass); Gary Kerkezou (drums)

At one time, if I'd said that an Italian, an American and two Greeks met up in a recording studio you'd have been waiting for the punchline - well here it is!

They made beautiful music!

Ten MORE Underrated Jazz Musicians Part Three

7. Von Freeman (1923-2012)    

A musician who operated mainly in the Chicago area where he was held in high regard by his fellow jazz artists young and old. His father gave him a sax when he was seven and he gained a musical education at the famous DuSable high school as well as by sitting in at the many jam sessions that were happening in the locality. A good example of his quirky note-bending style is to be found on the Atlantic recording  Doin’ It Right Now with John Young, piano Sam Jones bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums. I really like his version of Sweet and Lovely on this LP. I did see him live when he played at Nice Jazz Festival once with his son Chico but what sticks in my mind is his solo rendition of the Sinatra hit My Way. He had that big Chicago tenor sound and he remained active until he expired at 88 years old.

Friday, May 07, 2021

Album review: The Complete Louis Armstrong Columbia and RCA Victor Sessions 1946 - 1966

To describe this limited edition* collection of seven CDs as indispensable is somewhat of an understatement. The sheer majesty of Armstrong's playing is surely enough to convince anyone who came into jazz from the pointy end that there was more to Satchmo than What a Wonderful World!

Of course there will be many, such as myself, who have at least two, if not all three of the original albums on vinyl. Satch Plays Fats and Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy are justifiably rated as two of the greatest jazz albums ever recorded although the jury is still out on his collaboration with Brubeck, Lambert-Hendricks-Ross and Carmen McRae - The Real Ambassadors.

Ten MORE Underrated Jazz Musicians Part Two

4. Leo Wright (1933-1991)

Anyone who heard this fine musician live or on record would have been impressed by his distinctive sound on both alto sax and flute. Plus his incredible technique. Just listen to his work on Dizzy Gillespie’s recording of Gillespiana, one of the greatest albums of all time in my opinion. In 1963 he re-located to Europe being based in Berlin and appearing at various Jazz Clubs in France, Germany, and Sweden etc. He was also to be seen playing in the all-star Berlin Dream Band which during the Berlin Jazz Festival backed  Stan Kenton, Gil Evans and many more. He also was involved along with fellow altoist Herb Geller in the running of a Jazz Club on Bundesalle, the Jazz Gallery. He later moved to Vienna where he died from heart failure.

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Luke Smith: Livestream from Ronnie Scott's - May 6

(Screenshot by Ken Drew)
Luke Smith (keys); Richie Garrison (tenor/soprano sax); Sid Gauld (trumpet/flugel); Charlie Allen (guitar); David Mrakpor (bass guitar); Josh McNasty (drums) + Joy Rose.

A pleasant surprise, I say surprise as, having led a sheltered life, I was unfamiliar, apart from Smith, with the musicians and, with me, unfamiliarity often breeds contempt. Not so tonight, tonight was a nice groovy mix of funk, jazz, rock and related genres that, as the night progressed, dug deeper and deeper into my soul.

Ten MORE underrated Jazz Musicians Part One

1. Mike Osborne (1941-2007)

I first heard Mike Osborne when he was in Mike Westbrook’s band during a gig at Manchester University and he had an awesome sound on alto sax that made everyone pay attention. I think it was in the early 70’s that a friend of mine told me he had booked Osborne to play an afternoon gig at an art gallery and would I be interested in fixing a gig for him for the evening.. I managed to book a room at the Black Lion in Salford and the event went down very well with Osborne blowing up a storm backed by just bass and drums. In later years he played in mainly small groups but became inactive due to failing health and died much too young.

Archipelago - Echoes To The Sky NEWJAiM7 (CD + DL) June 2021

(Press release)

Faye MacCalman (tenor sax/clarinet/synth/vocals); John Pope (bass guitar/fx/vocals); Christian Alderson (drums/percussion)

Archipelago bring you ‘Echoes to the Sky’, released 25th June via New Jazz and Improvised Music Recordings.

The award-winning UK trio return with an expanded take on their genre-fusing sound, augmenting their core sax-drums-bass palette with voice, electronics and synth. Imagining new worlds where raw realities exist alongside surreal possibilities, ‘Echoes to the Sky’ is an album inspired by transformation, loss and a sense of hopeful mystery. 

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

XPQ: Vasilis Xenopoulos-Nigel Price Quartet live streaming from Guildford Jazz - May 5

(Screenshot by Russell)
Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor sax); Nigel Price (guitar); Dario Di Lecce (double bass); Winston Clifford (drums)

The Boileroom is a music, arts and community venue Guildford Jazz calls home. This evening's concert featured XPQ, a quartet co-led by tenor saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos and guitarist Nigel Price alongside regular bassist Dario Di Lecce and ace drummer Winston Clifford. The set would draw upon XPQ's 2017 album Sidekicks comprising tunes written by famous saxophone-guitar collaborations.

Album Review: Lauren Lee – The Queen of Cups

Lauren Lee (vocals, piano, keyboard)

Lauren Lee is a native of St Louis who now lives in New York, and this is her third album as a leader. There are six original songs, two standards, and two instrumentals, Metheny's Unity Village and Shorter's Footprints. Ms Lee's intention was to get people to rethink the nature of jazz on piano and vocals.

Album review: Tom Ollendorff – A Song for You

Tom Ollendorff (guitar); Conor Chaplin (bass); Marc Michele(drums)

A tenner says I can get through this review without using the word Metheny or any related adjectives.

This is the first work I’d heard by Tom Ollendorff, though Conor Chaplin is known as a character in the Laura Jurd Universe and has visited the north east as part of a number of bands over the years.

This album is one of two halves. It opens well with the title song which is a showcase for each musician to show their chops. After a rippling solo Ollendorff comps behind Chaplin’s bass, with Michele’s drums skittering and splashing cymbals in support. The problem then is that neither Spring or Not In These Days generate much of interest and Etude 1 feels like an intellectual exercise.

Book before seven o'clock! Vasilis & Nigel live streaming tonight (Wednesday 5)!

Vasilis Xenopoulos and Nigel Price will be live streaming a gig for Guildford Jazz at 7:30 this evening. Register by 7:00 at www.guildfordjazz.org.uk, tickets £10.00. Vasilis and Nigel will be joined by Dario Di Lecce and Winston Clifford. Be quick!  Russell

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

This Thursday's Grifftides

This week my "Grifftides - Jazz Under Arrest" show will have a clarinet with big bands theme. Tracks from Artie, Benny, Pee Wee, Buddy, Peps, Phil Woods, Acker... the lot. Thursday at 9:00pm, UK, on www.mykindamusic24.com DIG THE SOUNZ..... Frank

Album review: Ojoyo - Ojoyo Plays Safrojazz

Yesterday Hebburn Town won the FA Vase, so it seemed like more than coincidence that the opening track on this album, which arrived today, should be called Station Road Strut - Station Road being one of the main streets in Hebburn. That this particular Station Road is actually in Cape Town and was originally recorded in 1996 doesn't make it any less of a coincidence!

Don't miss the premier of Parallels this Thursday

(Press release)

Don't forget to book your free ticket for Parallels by Moss Freed - this Thursday at 5pm.

This will be a very special opportunity to watch this piece performed by Alexander HawkinsMaria Chiara Argirò and Elliot Galvin.

After a long day, what could be better than to put on your headphones, grab a brew and let the outside world melt away...

RIP Johnny Duncan.

(Photo by Brian Bennett)
Just received the sad news that north east bass player Johnny Duncan has died. Johnny, who was quite a character played in many bands, large and small, over the years and will be sadly missed. More details will be posted as they become known.

Rest In Peace. Lance

Monday, May 03, 2021

Jas Kayser live streaming from Ronnie's - May 3

(Screenshot by Ken Drew)
Jas Kayser (drums); Mark Hurrell (tenor sax); Christos Stylianides (trumpet, electronics); Jamie Leeming (guitar); Daisy George (double bass); João Caetano (percussion); Ava Joseph (vocals)

Groove, that's Jas Kayser and co. We know drummer Jas from her many appearances at Kansas Smitty's playing a wide range of material. This evening the music heard at Ronnie's presented another side to the Berklee graduate. Mostly original charts, percussive grooves to the fore courtesy of Jas and sometime Kansas Smitty's rhythm buddy, the impressive João Caetano, the equally impressive Daisy George on upright bass, and the horns - Mark Hurrell playing tenor sax and trumpeter Christos Stylianides - adding colourful flourishes, Stylianides revisiting Miles' ethereal, plugged-in period. 

CD review: Tony Bennett - Five Classic Albums

Avid Jazz has a reputation for releasing/reissuing top quality, often historic, recordings. Invariably, the Watford based label will release a two-disc CD comprising three, if not four, albums complete with original liner notes. A recent addition to the catalogue is a bumper package - Tony Bennett Five Classic Albums. Presented in chronological order, the recordings, made over a five year period (1954-1959), illustrate Bennett's career-long ability to position himself as a singer of popular song and to work with A-list jazz musicians as a supreme interpreter of the Great American Songbook. 

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Sarah Moule & Simon Wallace livestream - May 2

(Screenshot by Lance)
Sarah Moule (vocals); Simon Wallace (piano)

A Sunday night without my livestream fix from The Globe made for a Gloomy Sunday, to quote a song title. I'd stuck my head around the [virtual] door at a couple of venues but, to quote another song title I had to shake my head and say, But Not For Me.

Out of town were the people I knew, what to do, what to do, what to do? The outlook was decidedly blue. But the age of miracles hadn't passed and, suddenly, I heard her there and, on 'good old' Facebook, the sun was shining everywhere!

Ronnie's Lockdown Sessions: Empirical - May 2

(Screenshot by Ken Drew)
Nathaniel Facey (alto sax); Lewis Wright (vibes); Tom Farmer (double bass); Shane Forbes (drums)

Empirical's four members have been writing new material in this prolonged period of isolation. This evening's Ronnie Scott's live stream session offered the quartet the opportunity to play together for the first time in thirteen months.Their new compositions would feature prominently.

Dave Sockett enthuses over Zoë Gilby's Aurora.

Zöe Gilby (voice); Noel Dennis (trumpet/flugel); Mark Williams (bass); Andy Champion (bass); Russ Morgan (drums).

I think you've all managed to create a lovely melodic, rhythmic and intriguing cd; with clever and insightful lyrics helping to explore the songs and potential themes. You manage to really use words and phrases sparingly, but with powerful and multiple meaning and effect. I also thought your use of expressive sound and emotion from your voice was beautifully realised. The themes of creation, love, time, change, adventure, movement, being present and spirituality were all there.

The Sunday Service: The Music of Joe Darensbourg - May 2

(Screenshot by Russell)
Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals)

In Ascona, Switzerland for a rare live gig opportunity, this week Preacher Adrian Cox chose as his subject clarinetist Joe Darensbourg. The American wanted to write a tune about his home state Louisiana, so, he came up with Lou-Easy-An-I-A. Cox picked up his clarinet to play it, singing into the bargain. An excellent start. Shortly after the one o'clock downbeat close on one hundred fans were online. Three tunes in, Cox's live stream was interrupted by the arrival of not one, but two, giant-size Swiss Rolls, courtesy of his host. Yum.

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