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Bebop Spoken There

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16233 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 115 of them this year alone and, so far, 59 this month (Feb. 23).

From This Moment On ...

February 2024
Tue 27: Meditative Soundscapes - Improvised Music @ Earthlings - Healing Cafe, Buckingham St., Newcastle NE4 5QR. 7:00-8:30pm. Feat. Johannes Dalhuijsen, Richard Herdman, Nick Bagnall & Michael Olatunji.
Tue 27: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm (7:00pm doors). £12.00., £10.00. (adv.).

Wed 28: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 28: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 28: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 29: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 29: Student Performances @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 4:00pm. Free. Inc. Olly Styles (saxophone).
Thu 29: ’58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:00pm. Free.
Thu 27: Student Jazz Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Thu 29: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Josh Bentham (alto sax); Graham Thompson (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 01: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 01: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 01: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 01: Wind Ensemble + Big Band + Jazz Combo + R&B Band @ Boiler House, Newcastle University. 5:30pm. Free.
Fri 01: Joseph Carville Trio @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Fri 01-Sun 03: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. From 8:00pm Friday. Weekend ticket: £20.00.
Fri 01: TBC @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Blind Pig Blues Club.
Fri 01: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. £10.00. Day 1/3. Musicians Unlimited + Festival Band.

Sat 02: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. 11:00am. £15.00.. Day 2/3. Senior bands in competition.
Sat 02: Frog & Henry @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm.£10.00. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club. Superb Anglo-American band!
Sat 02: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: TBC. £25.00. Enrol at:
Sat 02: The Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Repas7 by Night, 7 West St, Berwick TD15 1AS, 07900 627562. Tapas Specials from 5.00pm - showtime 8.00pm.
Sat 02: Durham University Big Band @ Durham Students' Union, New Elvet, Durham. 7:30pm. £8.00.
Sat 02: Tom Remon & Laurence Harrison @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sat 02: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. £3.00. The band’s 25th anniversary gig!
Sat 02: John Logan @ The Dyvels, Corbridge. 8:00pm. Rat Pack-style swing.

Sun 03: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. 11:00am. £10.00.. Day 3/3. School & Youth bands in competition.
Sun 03: Smokin’ Spitfires @ the Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm. £7.50.
Sun 03: Alan Law Trio plays Ahmad Jamal’s At the Pershing: But Not for Me & more @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 2:00pm. £10.00. The music of Ahmad Jamal.
Sun 03: Alice Grace & Ben Helm @ St Francis’ Church, High Heaton, Newcastle. 2:00-5:00pm. £12.00. (children free admission). A Children’s Society fundraiser. Two x 30 mins sets. Refreshments available, child-friendly event with participation of children encouraged!
Sun 03: Sax Choir @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00-5:00pm. Free (donations). Monthly workshop, all welcome (participant and/or listener).
Sun 03: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 03: ’58 Jazz Collective @ St George’s Venue, Park Road, Hartlepool. 3:30pm (refreshments from 2:30pm). £6.00.
Sun 03: Down for the Count: A Century of Swing @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:00pm.
Sun 03: SH#RP Collective @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 03: Remy CB @ Blues & Bourbon, Nelson St., Newcastle. 9:00pm. Free. Newcastle University music student Remy Coulthard Boardman.

Mon 04: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 05: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Joe Steels, Paul Grainger, Michael Mather.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Ant Law and Alex Hitchcock Quartet @ the Bridge Hotel - Feb. 25 (Take Two)

(© Ken Drew)

Some gigs make a big impression and lodge in your memory, for a host of reasons: the music, obviously,  but also the band, the audience, the venue, the vibe. This was one of those gigs!

Presented by Jazz North East, a return to upstairs at the Bridge Hotel as part of their policy to spread the love around great Newcastle venues. The event was pretty well sold out to capacity, and the reputation of the band could be measured by the stature of the many top north-east musicians in the audience rather than on stage for a change.

I was expecting a night of dazzling technique and clever composition, as all four virtuoso players are composers and band leaders and in their own right. I wasn’t disappointed in that regard, but what I wasn’t expecting was to be as shaken up and moved by the emotion and energy of a band in full flight, while also in full empathy with each other. 

Sensitively supportive ensemble playing, with uncannily precise unison playing, loose forms – solos merging into ensemble playing,  blending into a continuous, swirling and satisfying whole. If at times I didn’t know what was going on, or lost track of time signature or form, no matter - the telepathic musicality of the band swept us along in a rollicking helter skelter of varied grooves and textures.  

At the centre of the melodic maelstrom, the most remarkable rhythm section I’ve seen in many a year!  As the band trooped on, the statuesque Høiby dwarfed the diminutive Sun-Mi Hong. But any pre-conceived notions were soon dispelled as she delivered a masterclass of energetic but subtle drumming – roiling waves of sound interspersed with staccato offbeats,  and constantly shifting focus and texture.  Jasper Høiby, the renowned founder of jazz super-trio Phronesis, deployed his uniquely elegant rhythmic drive to great effect, propelling the band to ever greater heights. I last saw him at Sage Gateshead with Phronesis, but here he seemed a different character altogether: Nordic austerity replaced by jaunty smiles and hip wiggles, taking obvious delight in the playful interchanges between four master musicians. 

The twin leads of Law and Hitchcock took full advantage of such a platform and delivered a superb and under-stated reprise of numbers from Law’s recent album, Same Moon in the Same World.  Law’s subtle playing eschews the obvious plank-spanking motifs, preferring an array of seemingly relaxed effects and magical sounds conjured from the guitar.  

The high points of the night for me, apart from a drum solo which brought the biggest applause of the night, were the final two numbers: an “experimental” very tuneful new song Colours, and the stunning A Low Glow from the album to finish. Høiby changed up a gear for a solo here which was a sublime moment of musicality, transcending the physical limits the upright bass imposes on mere mortals. And in case we thought they were all about energy, groove and flying fingers, the elegiac Don't Wait Too Long managed to bring a tear to my eye as I gazed through the Bridge’s historic stained glass windows at the crescent moon and lit up trains passing in the night….

All in all, quite a night to remember and four names to watch whatever they do next. Chris K

1 comment :

Brian Bennett said...

Many thanks for your superbly written and detailed review, Chris. Although I wasn’t there you gave me a vivid impression of the performance, atmosphere and venue. Great stuff!

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