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Farewell Blues

R.I.P. HRH Queen Elizabeth ll (1926 - Sept. 8, 2022).
R.I.P. Trevor Tomkins (1941 - Sept. 9, 2022).
R.I.P. Gordon McGregor (Sept. 11, 2022).
R.I.P. Ramsey Lewis (1935 - Sept. 12, 2022).
R.I.P. Pharoah Sanders (Oct. 13, 1940 - Sept. 24, 2022).
R.I.P. Sue Mingus (April 2, 1930 - Sept. 24, 2022).

Bebop Spoken There

Larry Klein: "- in a certain way - Leonard [Cohen] is the greatest songwriter ever." - (Jazzwise October 2022)

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!

Holly Cooper, Mouthpiece Music: "Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"

Postage

14602 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 880 of them this year alone and, so far, 80 this month (Sept. 26).

From This Moment On ...

September

Wed 28: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 28: Battle of the Bands @ NE Volume Music Bar, Yarm Lane, Stockton. Doors 6:00pm. Tickets: £5.00. adv., £6.00. on the door. Participants inc. Milne Glendinning Band.
Wed 28: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 28: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 28: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 28: Black is the Color of My Voice @ Alnwick Playhouse. 7:30pm. One woman stage play (the life & times of Nina Simone).
Wed 28: Laura Jurd @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 29: Ushaw Ensemble @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 1:15pm. Free.
Thu 29: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 3:00-5:00pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 29: Czajka & Puchaz + Mark Solborg + Anthropology @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Thu 29: ‘58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:30pm.
Thu 29: Peter Morgan Trio @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 30: Adam Johnson @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 30: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 30: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 30: Pete Churchill & Noel Dennis: Exploring the Jazz Metaphor in Leadership & Management @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 2:30-4:00pm. Workshop.Tickets: £3.30 (inc. bf). A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: FILM: Bird (Dir. Clint Eastwood) + Swing Bridge (in the bar) @ Forum Cinema, Hexham. 6:30pm.
Fri 30: Orphy Robinson + Maniscalco-Bigoni-Solborg + Nicole Mitchell + Binker Golding-Alexander Hawkins-John Pope-Paul Hession @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle (7:00pm). A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: Ushaw Ensemble @ St Mary’s Church, Holy Island. 7:30pm.
Fri 30: Alter Ego @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. CANCELLED!
Fri 30: King Bee @ The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club, Independent, Sunderland. 9:00pm. £22.50. DJs + King Bee.

October

Sat 01: Dale Storr @ St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. £10.00.
Sat 01: Nicole Mitchell & Alexander Hawkins @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 01: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Pete Churchill. £25.00. Enrol at: www.jazz.coop.
Sat 01: Orphy Robinson (in conversation); Beck Hunters w John Pope & Laura Cole; Daniel Levin; Black Top w Mariam Rezaei @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 6:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 01: Simon O'Byrne @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Solo guitar & vocals.
Sat 01: King Bees @ Grainger Market, Newcastle. 9:00-9:45pm. A Great Market Caper multi-bill event. Superb Chicago blues band. Doors: 6:30pm. Tickets: £10.00. + bf.

Sun 02 RUTH LAMBERT TRIO @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 02: Helena Anahita Wilson @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sun 02: Smokin’ Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm.
Sun 02: Zoë Gilby Trio w Noel Dennis + John Garner & John Pope + Dilutey Juice @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. £7.00.
Sun 02: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 02: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 02: Lindsay Hannon's 'Tom Waits for No Man' @ Three Tanners Bank, North Shields. 6:00pm. Free.
Sun 02: Celebrating the Life & Music of Pharoah Sanders @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. £8.00. on the door. Feat. Sue Ferris, Paul Gowland, Tom Atkinson, Jude Murphy, Jeff Armstrong.
Sun 02: Shifa + Bex Burch & Leafcutter John + Farida Amadou @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.

Mon 03: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 04: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Durham. 7:00pm. Free (to reserve a table phone 0191 386 5556).
Tue 04: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Dean Stockdale, Paul Grainger, Tim Johnston.
Tue 04: Blue Jazz Quartet w Rivkala @ The Ship Isis, Sunderland. 7:30pm. Free.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Bryan Spring

One of my all time favourite British drummers is  Bryan Spring. A musician that I heard several times during the late '70s and early '80s. Then, somehow, he seemed to slip off my radar.

Is he still playing? I found this picture among my archives which I think came from a Newcastle Jazz Festival gig at the then Newcastle Playhouse.

Any ideas of the concert and, more importantly, is he still active? Lance

B Sharps Quartet Plus One @ the Railway, Stockport - August 30.

(© Jim Pritchard)
Jim Collins (baritone sax); Lana, Leo (alto sax); Robert (soprano sax); Pip (tenor sax).

This group was announced by Jim Collins as the B Sharps Sax Quartet Plus One. The other members were, I believe, all ex students of Stockport's music schools. 


Jim frequently plays at the Railway with the Freddy Garner Quartet and  occasionally guests in guitarist Steve Oakes’  unit. He can also be seen in the sax section of the many big bands that work throughout the north west.

I had never previously heard him play baritone sax but I was impressed with the really big sound he got out of the Yamaha horn.

Cullercoats - what's in a name?

Jazz in the Afternoon is an institution. It seems like the Monday afternoon session has been running since the early days of jazz way down yonder. For many years it has made its home at Cullercoats Crescent Club. A decent pint, pulled pork with wedges (a favourite) and some jazz, it's a canny way to spend an afternoon in Cullercoats.Now, changes are afoot on Cullercoats Bay. The usual suspects remain on board - Brian, Dave, Herbie and Ian - but from now on they're calling themselves Harmony Brass! Join the boys every Monday at one o'clock. If you play an instrument or sing, you're more than welcome to sit-in. 

Quirky fact...Cullercoats is unique, there isn't another Cullercoats anywhere on the planet! Russell

Album review: Tracye Eileen - You Hit the Spot

Tracye Eileen (vocals); Dennis Luxion (piano); Paul Martin (bass); Linard Stroud (drums) +

Jeremy Kahn (piano); 
Stewart Miller (bass);
Steve Eisen (reeds);
Raphael Crawford (trombone);
Victor Garcia (trumpet);
Jon Deitemyer (drums)

The third album by the Chicago based vocalist is an impressive take on a selection of GASbook classics.

Her soulful, bluesy renditions bring to my mind Nina Simone, Dinah Washington, Nancy Wilson among others - but only in spirit - in actual performance she is nobody's clone.

T-A-B @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle - August 30

Tom Atkinson (guitar, vocals); Jack Courtney (trumpet, flugelhorn); Sue Ferris (tenor sax, alto sax, flute); Deon Krishnan (bass); Jeff Armstrong (drums) + Russ Tippins (guitar)

Billed as music by King Crimson, John McLaughlin etc, it was that, and more, much more. Tom Atkinson's band of rockers and jazzers is an occasional get together and when they do meet up it's a blast! Atkinson doesn't say much, he lets his guitar - and his band - do the talking for him. From King Crimson - was it Starless? - to a set-closing classic (more King Crimson), this Bridge Hotel gig was a high-octane, rockin' night out.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Album review: Helena Kay's KIM Trio - Golden Sands

Helena Kay (tenor sax); Calum Gourlay (double bass); David Ingamells (drums); Peter Johnstone (piano)

Since being voted as Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year in 2015 and the recipient of a Peter Whittingham Award in 2017, Helena Kay has never been far from these pages and justifiably so. Whether in bands led by Tommy Smith, Issie Barratt or the bassist on this album - Calum Gourlay - the tenor saxist has never been less than impressive.

Vibe-ology! Radio 3

Free jazz good guy Corey Mwamba is to present a three part history of the vibraphone on BBC Radio 3. Starting on Sunday (September 4), The Voice of the Vibraphone looks at the history of the instrument and its many practitioners. From Red Norvo to Walt Dickerson, Mwamba has selected recordings of the instrument. Its rich history can be traced back to the 1920s. Tune to Radio 3 at 11:00pm for what should be a fascinating hour. And on the subject of Mr Mwamba, tune in eleven hours earlier at midnight (Saturday night/Sunday morning) to hear Corey on his Freeness programme paying tribute to cellist Abdul Wadud (who died earlier this month). Russell  

BSH interviews Mike Farmer (part six)

BSH: All over the country, London, Leeds, Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle amazing young musicians are emerging and incorporating traditional modern jazz values into their own contemporary visions. Are there any young players in your patch that we should look out for?

Preview: Tonite! T-A-B @ The Bridge Hotel

Tom Atkinson (T-A-B, that's the Tom Atkinson Band) plays King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Tony Williams and some original music. Sounds good? It is! Atkinson, no mean drummer, will be playing guitar on this evening's gig at the Bridge Hotel. 

It's an eight o'clock start, a fiver at the door. Joining the Main Man... Sue Ferris!... Jack Courtney!... Deon Krishnan!... and drummer Jeff Armstrong! Tonight (Tuesday 30th) is the first of two concerts, tomorrow (Wednesday 31st), same line-up, Atkinson reprises his Miles Davis Jack Johnson set featuring some great, high-velocity trumpet playing by Jack 'Banjo' Courtney. 
Russell    

Monday, August 29, 2022

A library list.

My first encounter with British jazz in book form, was Humphrey Lyttelton's I Play as I Please. Now, a lifetime later, I'm reading it again. Following on from Simon Spillett's masterful work on the life of Tubby Hayes - The Long Shadow of the Little Giant - it occured to me that, between these two extremes, the need is there for an all encompassing record of jazz in Britain.

I know there have been several previous attempts and, although BSH and LJN have been frontrunners in attempting to do this online, I can't think of an actual coffee table tome that has yet to become the definitive work. Perhaps, given the enormity of the subject, we need sturdier coffee tables.

Robin Sunflower/Adrian Ingram @ the Railway, Stockport - August 28

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Robin Sunflower (harmonicas); Adrian Ingram (guitar); Haydn Minnet ( guitar); Nick Lunn (bass guitar)

A lot of tunes were played tonight by this unusual combo who covered material by Duke Ellington, Freddie Hubbard, Horace Silver, Toots Thielemans and some standards. Almost all of the tunes featured vocals by Robin who, due to a back problem, performed sitting down in a rather comfortable looking easy chair. This did not impede his harmonica work as he sounded as impressive as ever when he took a solo.

Preview: Tango Jazz Quartet @ the Globe - Sept.4

(Press release) 

The Globe proudly present Tango Jazz Quartet a wonderful and creative collision of Argentinian Tango and Jazz roots.

This showcase is a unique musical fusion of Tango and Jazz, a fascinating journey from the origins of traditional Tango to the innovative proposals of Astor Piazzolla’s music.

Tango Jazz Quartet magically captures the harmonies and the improvisation of jazz to blend them with the melodies and rhythms of tango. The striking contrast between the vibrant and playful “milongas”, the romantic “tango-waltzes” and the electrifying music of Piazzzola will not leave anyone in the audience indifferent.

Preview: Lewis Watson to play the Black Bull!

Three weeks tonight (Monday 19 September) the great Lewis Watson will be at the Black Bull, Blaydon. One of the foremost tenor saxophonists of his generation, it's a rare treat these days to hear Lewis in concert.

The Newcastle-based saxophonist will be joined at the Black Bull by guitarist Mark Williams, bassist Mick Shoulder and drummer John Bradford. A recent one hour performance at the Lit & Phil drew a full house. At the Black Bull on Bridge Street you'll be able to sit back and listen to two sets of Lewis in full flow. It's a rare treat, a rare occasion, eight o'clock start, seven pounds at the door, it's a Blaydon Jazz Club special, don't miss it! Russell 

BSH interviews Mike Farmer (part five)

BSH: Many years ago, I stayed at a hotel in Rawtenstall and, as I was having dinner, I heard a tenor sax warming up. Turned out it was Don Rendell and there was a local jazz club in the adjoining room. Can you remember the place?

Mike: If it was opposite a railway station that may have been the Rhythm Station which was run by Denis Dundon who I saw at Morley Green Club when Greg Abate did the gig there with Dave Newton recently. Denis was also at the Railway when Greg played there with the Paul Hartley trio. I think Greg stayed at Denis Dundon’s place in Rawtenstall. The Rhythm Station featured many top jazz acts and I remember seeing Danny Moss there. Danny showed me his Link mouthpiece which was very small and I was impressed by the big sound he got. I saw Houston Person play there but I didn’t go there too often as at the time I worked nights at a hotel and had a rather unreliable car and was also short of money. I’ve been trying to find more info about the Rhythm Station but without success.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Album review: Saxtivity - No Deal

Frank Griffith (alto sax); Rick Halliwell (tenor sax); John Padfield (soprano/alto sax); Phil Shotton (baritone sax)

There's no better sound than that of a precisionly executed sax section, rich harmonies and matched vibratos. No, there's nothing better than a sax section apart, that is, from a saxophone quartet.

The latter incorporates all of the attributes of the former but also adds a more contrapuntal approach that is beautifully demonstrated on this excellent album.

Preview: Indigo Jazz Voices Special Event With Guest Musicians -September 8 @ the Globe

Carrie McCullock; Jenny Lingham; David Edgar; Paul Close; Jen Errington (vocals) + Alan Law (piano); David Gray (trombone); Pete Tanton (trumpet); Paul Grainger (bass); Rob Walker (drums)

Remember the last Indigo Jazz Voices gig which was postponed because of illness? Well, all concerned are now fighting fit and raring to go.  September 8 is the new date when you can enjoy the singers with the trio of Alan Law, Paul Grainger and Rob Walker.

Promenading on Sunday: The South African Jazz Songbook

Today's BBC Prom (number 56 in the 2022 series) presents The South African Jazz Songbook. Featured performers include vocalists Siyabonga Mthembu and ESKA  (that's Eska Mtungwazi, pictured), Soweto Kinch (saxophone) and Theon Cross (tuba). Marcus Wyatt conducts the Metropole Orkest. This evening's concert, broadcast live on Radio 3 at 7:30, celebrates the music of Jonas Gwangwa, Abdullah Ibrahim, Dudu Pukwana, Johnny Dyani and others.  Russell

BSH interviews Mike Farmer (part four)

BSH: The Railway seems to be your regular haunt and features many good musicians including Dean Stockdale who seems to be constantly crossing the Pennines in both directions. What other venues do you occasionally visit?

Mike: Yes The Railway is my ideal jazz venue with all the things that make it so, such as great acoustics, a good choice of beer at reasonable prices, plenty of parking nearby, great bar staff, and a landlord who likes jazz. I go there as often as possible and the policy of free admission may attract some non-jazz loving people - they usually move to another room! Fortunately, some have become converts to the cause. Dean Stockdale likes playing here and his trio gigs always go down well with the Railway's jazz fans. 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Aycliffe Radio Jazz Time Sundays 6.30-8.00 (Repeat Tuesdays 8.00-9.30 p.m.)

https://www.ayclifferadio.co.uk/listen/

Playlist 28/08/22. (Repeated Tuesday 30/08/22)

 

BBC Jazz 625  George Lewis/Acker Bilk

John Bradford talks jazz and makes his picks: Buddy Rich, Sonny Rollins, John Schofield, Bill Evans, Ahmad Jamal, Ari Hoenig.

Requests: Shorty Rogers and His Giants.

Birthdays: Branford Marsalis, Lester Young, Charlie Parker.

Request: Ahmad Jamal (again).

Downbeats Critic Poll: Ambrose Akinmusire.

What’s on in the NE: Emma Fisk, River City Hot Six, Zoe Gilby.

BBC 625 Bill Le Sage and The Directions in Jazz Unit.

Album review: Petra Van Nuis & Andy Brown - Lonely Girl - I Remember Julie

Petra Van Nuis (vocals); Andy Brown (guitar).

There are some albums that, even before listening, you automatically sense that, going on past form, you're on a winner. Of course, going on past form doesn't always work out as expected - ask any punter!

However, when you have a vocalist and guitarist such as Petra and Andy performing songs associated with Julie London then you can rest assured that you're on the musical equivalent of an odds-on favourite.

Saturday evening viewing: Nina Simone: Live at Montreux 1976

Jean Bovon's 2005 TV movie, first shown on Sky Arts, pops up on BBC2 this evening. Montreux Jazz Festival founder Clade Nobs bagged an executive producer credit but Bovon's film is all about Ms Simone. Tune to the Beeb at ten minutes to ten to hear Simone sing Backlash Blues, I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free and other numbers. Russell     

BSH interviews Mike Farmer (part three)

BSH: Your name also crops up in Bill Birch’s Keeper of the Flame – a book that gives an accurate, historical perspective of the Manchester jazz scene in the post war years – would you agree?

Mike: I can’t recall when I first met Bill Birch. It was during the time when he was contacting jazz fans and trying to get his idea of a book covering the Manchester Jazz Scene become a reality. He decided to self-publish the project and he asked for an upfront payment of £20 from interested parties to get things rolling. I was one who thought it was worth a gamble and paid him the required £20. I was a bit sceptical at first but on meeting Bill I realised that he knew what he was doing and I’m so glad the book was well received upon completion.

I felt very lucky to be asked by Bill to attend the book launch at the Cinnamon Club in Bowdon, Cheshire and to appear on stage as part of a band comprising Iain Dixon alto, Mark Chandler trumpet or flugel, Pete McGuire valve trombone, Jack Massarik guitar, Frank Toms and Les Chisnall alternating on piano, Dave Green bass, Caroline Bowden drums and myself on tenor sax. William Ellis took some great photos of the band and I often wonder if anyone recorded this lineup.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Album review: Jakob Dinesen Quartet - Unconditional Love

Jakob Dinesen (tenor sax); Jacob Artfed (guitar); Felix Moseholm (bass); Jeff 'Tain' Watts (drums).

Dinesen is highly regarded in his homeland of Denmark and his forceful tenor playing combined with his gentle lyricism on the more balladic moments  is proof of just why. 

A cool, almost Getzian sound, combined with the more contemporary approach of the post Coltrane school, Dinesen probes, searches, explores many avenues seeking perfection. He doesn't succeed, no one ever has - music is the most infinite of the arts. Nevertheless, there are moments when he comes close to the ever moving goalposts.

Suzanne Fonseca Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - August 21

(© Jim Pritchard)
Suzanne Fonseca (trombone); Jim Faulkner (guitar); Gavin Barras (bass); Danny Ward (drums).

This was the second time I have seen Suzanne's quartet with a guitar in the line up and who better to fill this role than Jim Faulkner? Jim's a musician whose sound and playing style is ideal for this band. 

The opening number, In A Mellotone, is a good tune to start with and a relaxed mood was established. It was good to see Danny Ward on drums and his brush work was just what was required. By the end of the number the room had filled up and, as well as the regular Sunday night jazz fans, there were a few new faces which is always good to see.

R.I.P. Joey DeFrancesco

Just heard the sad news that jazz organist and trumpet player Joey DeFrancesco died yesterday (August 25) ironically, the same month that he was voted (as ever) top organist in the DB Critics Poll.

He appeared at the 1994 Newcastle Jazz Festival with John McLaughlin and Dennis Chambers on drums. What a coupling that must have been!

Another two marriages made in heaven occurred in 2011. One when he married Gloria, and one where, alongside David Sanborn, he appeared at The Barbican as part of the London Jazz Festival. That was a night to remember and recalled HERE

BSH interviews Mike Farmer (part two)

BSH: Favourite musicians that you’ve heard live and, again, anyone that you found didn’t live up to expectation.

Mike: I think I tend to favour saxophonists when asked for my favourite musicians whom I’ve seen live - and there are many - but I  would put Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Sonny Stitt, Stan Getz and Archie Shepp in my top five. Then Bob Mover, Lou Tabackin, Ronnie Scott, Don Menza, Clifford Jordan, Brew Moore, Greg Abate, Anthony Braxton, Lanny Morgan, Sam Most, Sonny Rollins, Paul Gonsalves, Lucky Thompson. 

Then brass players that I like include Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Benny Green (trombone) Miles Davis, Ira Sullivan, Red Rodney, Maynard Ferguson, Jo Hunter, Shake Keane.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Album review: Billy Drummond & Freedom of Ideas - Valse Sinistre

Billy Drummond (drums); Dezron Douglas (bass); Micah Thomas (piano); Dayne Stephens (saxes).

Drummond's opening words on the album notes are both joyous and sad. "Thank you for purchasing and listening to this recording. In these times, when music is basically free of charge, it's nice to know that purchasing a musician's work is still important to you". The sadness comes on a day when many households are reported to be  facing poverty yet NUFC, courtesy of their Saudi paylords, are able to fork out close on sixty million squid for a foreign footballer and heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury demands five hundred million of the same to come out of retirement. The world has truly gone mad!

Mike Farmer Quartet @ Creative Space, Didsbury - Aug 23

Mike Farmer (tenor sax); Jim Faulkner (guitar); James Adolpho (bass); Phil Bennett (drums).

Modesty  forbids our man out west from reviewing this gig. However, if it was as cool as Mike's writing then it must have been a swingin' affair - Lance

Photo © Jeff Pritchard.   

BSH interviews Mike Farmer (part one)

BSH: Mike, your reports on jazz in the northwest and the Railway in Stockport have drawn a lot of interest regarding the scene over there. However, before you tell us more about what’s going on in your neck of the woods, tell us about how you got into jazz. In other words, how it all began.

Mike: This would be when I was about fourteen and used to attend Moseley Hall Grammar School Cheadle and met two brothers John and Richard Rushton who were jazz fans but were also very good pianists who liked Bud Powell in particular. Bill Birch also went to Moseley Hall about the same time but I only found that out years later during one of our meetings to discuss his forthcoming book. I left school at fifteen as I found most of the lessons extremely boring and started a job right away at the Royal Automobile Club in Manchester. On the same bus to work every day were Alan Hare the well known big band leader and John Mayall who at the time was an art student. 

Creed Taylor (May 13, 1929 - August 23, 2022)

Grammy award-winning record producer Creed Taylor made a name for himself working for the Bethlehem record label. Taking a job with Impulse!, Taylor signed John Coltrane to the label. It was at Verve where he hit the big time by introducing the sound of bossa nova to America. In 1967 Taylor established CTI Records. Creed Taylor died on Tuesday, August 23, he was 93.  Russell 

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Black Swan Jam Session - August 23

Steve Glendinning (guitar); Paul Grainger (bass); Abbie Finn (drums) + Harry Keeble, Paul Gowland, Steve Summers (tenor sax); Haaruun Miller (alto/soprano sax); Esther Coombes (alto sax/clarinet); Nigel Greenwood (flugel); John Weaver (trumpet); David Gray (trombone);  Martin Waugh, Michael Young, Martin ? (piano); Ben Davies, Joe Steels (guitar); Sid White, Michael Mather, Felix Parkin-Christie, Bailey Rudd, Stefan ?, (drums); Jan Spencelayh, Kate O'Neill, Kay De'Ath (vocals).

There appeared to be more musicians than listeners in the audience although some of the musicians were also listeners as they awaited the call to arms.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Tune In to Curtis Stigers - five o'clock today (Tuesday)

(© Lance)

On this afternoon's edition of In Tune presenter Sean Rafferty will be joined by Curtis Stigers. The American singer and sometime saxophonist will be in BBC Radio 3's studio ahead of his  third and final night (two shows!) at Ronnie Scott's this evening and an appearance on Friday at this year's Rye Jazz and Blues Festival. Stigers the popstar has had a life-long love of jazz and in recent years has performed at many prestigious jazz clubs. Tune in at 5:00pm to find out what he's currently up to.   Russell

Knats cancel Hoochie gig!

The "Grand Finale" of Knats' monthly residency at Hoochie Coochie due to take place this Thursday has, I'm sad to report, been cancelled and as such means that we may never hear their like  again as they go their separate ways to the more southerly halls of higher (musical) education.

The event, which was to have featured Knats and two other bands (see poster) was cancelled at short notice due to "unforeseen circumstances" reported on Facebook as "devastating news".

Monday, August 22, 2022

Newcastle Jazz Festival - Photo Update

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
Festival photos by Malcolm Sinclair.

Thursday to Sunday shots.




Newcastle Jazz Festival (day four): Emma Rawicz - August 21

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
Emma Rawicz (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute); Dean Stockdale (piano); Andy Champion (double bass); Dave McKeague (drums)

The festival's closing concert performance featured Emma Rawicz, recipient of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group's 2022 'Newcomer of the Year' award. An APPJAG award could/should generate much welcome publicity and Ms Rawicz arrived on Tyneside with quite a reputation to live up to. It begged the question: Would she meet expectations? The house trio for the occasion - Messrs Dean Stockdale, Andy Champion and Dave McKeague - met Rawicz earlier in the day for a one-off rehearsal ahead of an early evening set. A Royal Academy student headlining a jazz festival, no pressure...

Newcastle Jazz Festival (day four) - Lindsay Hannon/Knats - August 21

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
Lindsay Hannon's Tom Waits for no man

Lindsay Hannon (vocals); Alan Law (keyboards); Paul Grainger (bass guitar, double bass)

The fourth and final day of this year's Newcastle Jazz Festival began with a set devoted to the songs of Tom Waits. Vocalist Lindsay Hannon is an admirer of the veteran American songwriter and in a new collaboration with pianist Alan Law the duo's performance won warm applause. In fact, the duo quickly became a trio as Paul Grainger picked up his bass guitar to join them on Heart Attack and Vine. PG would remain on stage, switching to his more usual instrument, double bass. Hannon's seemingly photographic recall of a lyric is truly impressive, it's as if our vocalist is able to immerse herself in the world-weary world of T. Waits. 

Newcastle Jazz Festival (day four) - The David Gray Flextet/Ben Gilbert Trio - August 21

The David Gray Flextet: David Gray (trombone, vocals); Alan Law (piano);  Adam Sams (guitar);  Paul Grainger (bass); Michael Mather (drums)

It’s always showtime with David Gray in the house. He strutted his stuff, singing, dancing, and blowing trombone in front of Alan Law and Paul Grainger (fresh from their earlier set with Lindsay Hannon) while Adam Sams and Michael Mather completed the line-up. 

There was funk, wailing guitar solos, stomping Latin rhythms, a bass solo on a Mingus tune that silenced the room and, as a complete contrast, David sang the theme tune from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! A well put together set that saw each member of the band strut their stuff too, which they did admirably, and as always, no one enjoyed themselves more than David "Showtime" Gray. 

For the Elders; Pure Imagination; Ecclesiastics; Cyclops  plus two originals by David, Angular Momentum and Silver Orcas.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Aycliffe Radio Jazz Time

 Jazz Time Sundays 6.30-8.00pm (Repeat Tuesdays 8.00-9.30 p.m.) 

https://www.ayclifferadio.co.uk/listen/

Playlist 21/08/22. (Repeated Tuesday 23/08/22)

Requests: Louis Jordan. 


Requests from the Bishop Auckland Ben Gilbert gig. Django Reinhardt, Gerry Mulligan & Chet Baker Septet; (and from Ben Gilbert) Fred Hersch, Daniel Herskedal. (and from Tony Eales) Tubby Hayes/ Jimmy Deuchar.

Newcastle Jazz Festival (day three) - August 20

(© Pam)
Jo Harrop (vocal); Jamie McCredie (guitar) + Graham Hardy (trumpet).

A third gig in two days for this most delightful of duos with packed houses at all three. After the glowing reviews by Sylvia and Jerry of their previous two performances they have left me with nothing to say other than to concur and say absolutely! The applause after and during each number was positively thunderous - or it may have been the rain stotting down on the roof - probably both!

Oh and, as a bonus, Graham Hardy guested on a couple of numbers - this was Christmas come early! I Fall in Love Too Easily and Fine and Mellow were the pieces enhanced by his presence.

Ivo Neame in a brewery: Newcastle Jazz Festival (day three) - August 20

(© Pam)
Ivo Neame Quartet: Ivo Neame (keyboards); George Crowley (tenor sax); Tom Farmer (double bass); James Maddren (drums)

Pianist Ivo Neame arrived in town as the headline act on day three of the 2022 Newcastle Jazz Festival. Throughout the afternoon the Tyne Bank Brewery was all but 'all seats taken'. Packed lunches and an in house menu fed the throng and, of course, this being the home of the Tyne Bank Brewery it was a case of a 'jazz-up in a brewery'.* Professor of Jazz Piano at the Guildhall, Neame (Phronesis, Marius Neset) presented his regular quartet: George Crowley (tenor sax), bassist Tom Farmer (most adaptable is Farmer, gigging with Joe Webb one day, Neame the next) and drummer James Maddren.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

St. Cuthbert’s Feast: Jo Harrop and Jamie McCredie @ St. Cuthbert’s Centre, Crook - August 19

(© Jerry E)

Owing to Covid restrictions and periods of exile (voluntary or enforced) I have not been to many live jazz gigs since early in 2020. Tonight’s gig could not have been a better choice to get back into the swing: one of my favourite singers at one of my favourite venues. It was, in the words of the opening number, So Nice to Come Home to.

The reality more than lived up to the expectation: St. Cuthbert’s, Crook, has some of the friendliest regulars anywhere in Bebop-land, not to mention crisps, nuts and candles on every table and pizzas and a raffle at half-time. Meanwhile Jo and Jamie, both on top form, served up two sets of infinite variety to the delight of a packed and attentive crowd.

Blue Note Nights - JazzMain on the Fringe @ The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh - August 17.

Nick Gould (tenor sax); Steve Grossart (piano); Iain Harkness (bass guitar); Kevin Dorrian (drums)

Wednesday night was to be a Blue Note Night at the Edinburgh Jazz Bar as JazzMain prepared to play their third and final concert on the Fringe. The omens were good, two sell out concerts and a long queue on Chamber Street when I arrived 30 minutes early. The international flavour of the fringe evident as I queued with a young couple from India, a visitor from Spain, and another from Sweden. The Jazz Bar runs a tight ship over the Fringe (affording lots of choice) and when saxophonist Nick Gould welcomed the audience at 8.30pm prompt, all seats, and standing room, were taken.

Newcastle Jazz Festival (day two): Northern Monkey Brass Band and Harry Keeble/Mark Williams Duo - August 19

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
Graham Hardy, Alastair Lord (trumpets); Jamie Toms (tenor sax); Mark Ferris, Keiran Parnaby (trombones); Phil Rosier (tuba); Adam Sinclair (snare drum); Brendan Murphy (bass drum)

After Thursday night's session at the Bridge the action, and some of the musicians, moved to the Black Swan for a night of contrasting music with the NMBB rocking the joint with their take on contemporary New Orleans' marching bands.

And march they did! Making their usual grand entrance from various corners of the room they eventually reached the stage amid a cacophonous, but not unpleasant, wall of sound.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Jo Harrop and Jamie McCredie @ “Jazz At The Lit And Phil” - August 19

(© Pam)
Jo Harrop (vocals); Jamie McCredie (guitar)

The capacity audience today would, I presume, have been made up of those of us lucky enough to have heard their album Weathering The Storm and those who were coming new to this partnership. The former had their expectations matched (and then some) while the latter were astounded and delighted. As I left CDs were being sold, always a sign of a growing fan base.

Harrop and McCredie are obviously totally confident of each other’s ability and sensibilities. They each have a wealth of experience gathered before they started playing together in this format and that feeds through into their interpretations of some standards. It might  be Lover, the Rodgers and Hart classic, but not as we know it. This vocal  was upbeat to say the least showing the sheer versatility of Jo Harrop’s voice with McCredie producing  yet another stonking solo to match.

SSBB photos from last night.

 THEY'RE HERE!

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Newcastle Jazz Festival (day one) - Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ the Bridge Hotel August 19

Michael Lamb (MD), Pete Tanton, Gordon Marshall, Dick Stacey (trumpets); Jamie Toms, Dave Kerridge, Keith Robinson, Steve Summers, Sue Ferris (reeds); Chris Kurji-Smith, Keiran Parnaby, Mark Ferris (trombones); Chris Gray  (bass trombone); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); Graham Don (piano, keyboards); Michael Whent (bass guitar); Guy Swinton (drums); Alice Grace (vocals)

Tonight, the Third Newcastle Jazz Festival returned with a BANG! It has built from an initial, one day, six band session, to a four day extravaganza that looks surely to evolve. Comparisons with the original NJF, as have been made elsewhere, are ludicrous. When my good friend Andy Hudson was bringing in top American stars there were Arts Council grants, sponsorship from local radio and other supportive sources.

Tonite! The SSBB opens the 2022 Newcastle Jazz Festival

Tonight's the night! The superb Strictly Smokin' Big Band featuring the fabulous Alice Grace will be holding court in the upstairs room of the Bridge Hotel (overlooking the Tyne next to the High Level Bridge). It's a seven o'clock start, all done by about 9:15pm, free admission. Arrive early or risk being turned away! Small room, big band...WOW! Russell       

Album review: Dave Sear - I Always Thought My Thoughts Were Me

Dave Sear (trombone); Percy Pursglove (trumpet); Elliott Sansom (piano); James Owston (bass); Jim Bashford (drums).

Dave Sear graduated from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2016. Now, in 2022, he's a member of the faculty of that prestigious establishment teaching jazz trombone and, on the strength of this album, there's no one better qualified.

He also composed six of the tracks as well as arranging Brubeck's In Your Own Sweet Way and Joe Henderson's Inner Urge bringing a freshness to them that offers a contrast to the originals.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Liam Byrne Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - August 16

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Liam Byrne (tenor sax/soprano sax); Tom Kincaid (piano); Andy Hulme (guitar); Ed Harrison (bass).

This was an interesting session and I think I think I would be right in describing the band as a mainstream jazz group. There was no drummer involved but it swung well and the tempos were tight. Tom Kincaid has not played at this venue for some time and I was pleased to see him using the house upright on this occasion. Whoever tunes this piano does a pretty good job and the overall sound of this group was just right for the size of the room.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

An evening listening to Tubby

To escape from what was once a pleasure and has now, with the occasional exception, become a chore - no, I'm not talking about marriage - but listening to CDs that I don't want to listen to other than for review purposes, I decided to have an evening listening to what I wanted to listen to.

This in itself presented a problem. Where to start? Armstrong, Basie, Ellington, Parker, Billie, Ella, Rollins, Trane, Mingus ... Then the answer came in a flash - Tubby Hayes!

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