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Bebop Spoken There

Charles McPherson: “Jazz is best heard in intimate places”. (DownBeat, July, 2024).

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Josh Weir: I love the writing on bebop spoken here... I think the work you are doing is amazing.


16611 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 1504 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (July 23).

From This Moment On ...


Thu 25: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 25: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Garry Hadfield (keys); Noel Dennis (tpt); Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Adrian Beadnell (bass).
Thu 25: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Fri 26: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 26: Bailiwick + Sleep Suppressor + Christie/Chan @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors 6:30pm). ‘Experimental evening of jazz, punk and jazz-punk’.
Fri 26: Nomade Swing Trio @ Repas7 by Night, Berwick. 7:30pm. Free.
Fri 26: Stuart Turner @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Fri 26: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Fri 26: Bold Big Band @ Old Coal Yard, Byker, Newcastle. 9:30pm. A Newcastle Fringe Festival event.

Sat 27: BBC Proms: BBC Introducing stage @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 12 noon. Free. Line-up inc. Nu Groove (2:00pm); Abbie Finn Trio (2:50pm); Dilutey Juice (3:50pm); SwanNek (5:00pm); Rivkala (6:00pm).
Sat 27: Nomade Swing Trio @ Billy Bootlegger’s, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sat 27: Mississippi Dreamboats @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 27: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Sat 27: Theon Cross + Knats @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 10:00pm. £22.00. BBC Proms: BBC Introducing Stage (Sage Two). A late night gig.

Sun 28: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 28: Miss Jean & the Ragtime Rewind Swing Band @ Fonteyn Ballroom, Dunelm House (Durham Students’ Union), Durham. 2:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Sun 28: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, Union Quay, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Nomade Swing Trio @ Red Lion, Alnmouth. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Jazz Jam Sandwich! @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 28: Jeffrey Hewer Collective @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 28: Milne Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Mon 29: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 30: ???

Wed 31: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 31: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 31: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Barbara Gracey Thompson MBE: 27 July 1944 - 9 July 2022

What follows is a personal tribute and not an obituary.  Barbara Thompson and her Paraphernalia provided my first introduction to jazz as a student in the late 1970s/early 1980s.  The Solent Suite at Southampton Guildhall was the venue. I can still picture the subterranean space, where I and a couple of student (and now lifelong) friends sat with our beers listening to Paraphernalia performing tracks from Wilde Tales.  After the gig a vinyl copy of the album (no CDs then) was duly purchased from what is now known as the “Merch” table.  I still have the disc.

My next encounter with the band was probably when I had moved to work in the north east in the old Royal Infirmary at Sunderland.  This is where I met my wife and she and I saw Barbara Thompson and Paraphernalia at the Darlington Arts Centre. This encounter provided my wife’s introduction to Jazz.

We later moved to the Tyne Valley and were able to see the band in Queen’s Hall, Hexham – the almost perfect small (but not too small) venue for jazz. The album du jour was Breathless, which I am listening to as I write.  On the inside of the CD insert, in red marker pen, are the treasured signatures of Barbara Thompson and Jon Hiseman.

It was a great shock to hear in 1997 that Barbara Thompson had developed Parkinson’s Disease, the effects of which she courageously overcame to continue composing and teaching.  Indeed, despite initially having to withdraw from playing, she was subsequently able to contribute to several recordings.

A poignant moment for me was the 2020 release of Journey to a Destination Unknown:  Barbara Thompson MBE – The autobiographical story of her musical life (ISBN 978-1-9163206-2-8).  This is a beautifully presented hardback book and gives a fascinating insight into Barbara’s life. I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in Barbara Thompson and her music.

Barbara Thompson MBE will be sorely missed.  In her lifetime she made a fantastic contribution to jazz and the musical life of this country and elsewhere.

Requiescat in pace. 

Hugh C

Link to Alyn Shipton tribute (see comment).


Jude Murphy (on F/b) said...

Oh hell, not unexpected I guess but very sad nonetheless. The Paraphernalia album was also the first jazz record I bought. An inspirational musician.

Richard Emmerson (on F/b) said...

I was at the Darlington Arts Centre gig. She was a fantastic musician and obviously very courageous at dealing with her illness. I love her playing in the David Jason series A Touch of Frost. She will be missed.

Chris Kilsby said...

A sad day, but the end of a fabulous career, not only as a player and composer, but as a genuine star. She and the amazing Jon Hiseman were surely the power couple of UK jazz: looks, talent, energy...the works. I saw then twice as a student in Sheffield in the early 80s, with a large and appreciative "cross over" audience, pulling people like me in from guitar blues/rock. These were the heady days of Weather Report and other bands who seemed to do their own thing, mixing jazz, blues, rock, just making great music. And she was in the vanguard: looking back, it doesn't get much better than she (and Paraphernalia) was!
Chris K

John Hudson (on F/b) said...

Saw/heard her in the early days with the New Jazz Orchestra and at the Torrington Jazz Club, North Finchley, with Art Theman. Progressed from there to become a top class, great musician......R.I.P.

Hugh said...

A warm tribute from Alyn Shipton:

Peter Bevan said...

I can only endorse these comments but thought Hugh and Richard might appreciate a note that the Darlington Arts Centre concert was in October 1986, part of our first Darlington Jazz Festival. I'll try and send a copy of the flyer to Lance separately.
There were too few performances in this area but I also have a note that I saw Barbara with Paraphernalia in February 1992 at the Dovecote Arts Centre in Stockton, then in October that year at the Inn Off The Park, Middlesbrough and finally at the Arc in Stockton in October 2000.
As well as the biography that Hugh comments on I'd also recommend the wonderful CD set, Barbara Thompson Live at the BBC, which was issued a couple of years ago. The 27 complete radio shows range from a superb New Jazz Orchestra set and a quintet with Art Themen to a host of performances by Paraphernalia showing how it developed over the years.

Hugh said...

Thanks, Peter: 1986, yes, that date would concur with when I was at the gig.

Steve Andrews said...

I remember we booked Barbara Thompson and her band at Washington Jazz Club (Biddick Farm Arts Centre). I can't remember the date, but I'm guessing 1980-ish. A very impressive and individual saxophonist who went on to have a great career, though sadly blighted by illness.

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