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Bebop Spoken There

John McDonough (reviewing Bright Red Dog’s In Vivo): “When you improvise on nothing, that’s what you get”. - DownBeat August 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.

Postage

13,508 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 926 of them this year alone and, so far, 90 this month (July 27).

From This Moment On

Wed 28: Ragtime Rewind Swing Band @ Assembly Rooms, 40 North Bailey, Durham DH1 3ET. 9:20pm. £8.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event (www.durhamfringe.co.uk).

Thu 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone North Tyneside. 1:00pm.

Thu 29: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.

Sat 31: Lindsay Hannon @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Lindsay previews new, original material.

Sat 31: jaktar + Johnny Richards @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 8:00pm. JNE promotion.

August

Sun 01: Vieux Carre Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.

Sun 01: Jeffrey Hewer Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Leeds College of Music graduate guitarist (Masters, Jazz Performance & Composition).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Times They Are a Changin' - Chris Hodgkins Steps Down - Christine Allen too!

Jazz Services issued the following press Release:  (Also this one re Christine Allen.)
After 29 years at the helm, Chris Hodgkins has taken the decision to retire and step down as Director of Jazz Services Ltd.
Throughout his tenure at the head of the organisation, Chris has been instrumental in the development of Jazz Services as a resource for the music, championing its cause and offering his advice to anyone who required it.  Among his many successes, he helped to establish the National Touring Support Scheme with Debbie Dickenson, which has enabled the careers of hundreds of artists over the years, along with the organisation’s Rural Touring Support Scheme (with the National Rural Touring Forum), the Jazz Promoters Award (with the PRS for Music Foundation) and the Online Music Business Resource, which offers free career advice to anyone who needs it.

Johanna Graham Quartet CD Launch @ Pizza Express, Dean St., London Sunday May 25.

Earlier last month I gave a rave review to a début album from Cornwall based singer Johanna Graham -Review here.
Don't just take my word for it...
"We are delighted to introduce the Johanna Graham Quartet, Cornwall's best kept secret, to Dean Street for the launch of their début album 'Don't Let Me Be Lonely'. Expect creative and innovative interpretations of well known standards and stylish jazz renditions of some unexpected pop classics, alongside captivating, self penned new compositions." Pizza Express Jazz Club.
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Films and Live Music at the Side Cinema.

The Side Cinema, The Side, Newcastle - near Quayside - is currently running a 6 week series of Films and live music. All are on Thursdays commencing at 7.30pm admission £8. Tomorrow's program, the 2nd, may be of interest to our site visitors.
DATE: 22 MAY
FILM: BLACK CAT WHITE CAT
(1998) 127 minutes, Emir Kusturica
A riotous mix of farce, romance and crime. Set within a community of Gypsies it tells a story of dodgy deals, family ties, young love and magical occurrences. Crammed with spectacle, incident and the music of Emir Kusturica’s famous travelling gypsy band.
MUSIC: SIDE CAFE ORKESTAR
 Live music from Side Café Orkestar. An affectionately prepared blend of East European Gypsy tunes, complete with raucous and badly pronounced Serbian vocals, and Gypsy Swing.
Lance.

Colin Aitchison and Franco Valussi July dates

Our man in Hong Kong is visiting the north east in July. Along with another HK resident, Italian clarinettist Franco Valussi, trumpet/trombone player Colin Aitchison will be joining the resident bands on the following dates in July:

Jam Session @ Jazz Café May 20.

Peter Gilligan (piano); Paul Grainger (bass); Paul Wight (drums) + Paul Edis (piano); Lindsay Hannon (vocal); Paul Gowland (alto); Stuart Finden (tenor); Fiona Finden (tenor/vocal); Kath Lowdon (vocal) + ?.
(Review by Lance)
A jam session (any jam session) is a many varied thing. One week no one turns up, another week maybe a few wannabees flexing their developing chops and some weeks the big hitters are in town.
Last night was just such a night at the Jazz Café!
The '3 P's in an ipod' that form the resident trio ie Messrs Gilligan, Grainger and Wight (mega fash. new haircut) got the groove going with the familiar and always hypnotic All Blues. The feel good factor was there. Laura, What's New? and other standards followed, Gilligan successfully coping with the piano's tonal idiosyncrasies - he may go down in history as the guy who found the lost chord!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

BBC Jazz Generations

This year’s BBC Young Musician competition introduces a jazz strand. The Jazz Final is on BBC 4, Friday 23 May (7:30 pm). There is a north east connection, tune in to find out who wins!
Stay tuned to BBC4 as there is a documentary about Nat King Cole (9:00 pm) followed at 10:30 pm by Jazz Divas Gold
There is a further instalment of the Young Musician competition on Jazz Line-Up, 6:00 pm, Radio 3, Saturday 24. Over on BBC 4 Jazz Legends in Their Own Words (7:00 pm) screens archive material and at 8:00 pm there is more from the vaults…Jazz 625 at the BBC

Lyric from Gordon Phillips.

YOU JUST DO WHAT YOU LIKE
Oh, yes, you told me the money’s there;
But you’ve been spendin’ without a care.
If you did what you said,
But you don’t.
You just do what you like.
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Throwback Jazz

Love this latest addition to the genres - Throwback Jazz.
"In case you weren't aware, these are boom times for throwback jazz in New York City: mostly small-group, predominately pre-swing, with a bounce and pedigree that once would have put it under the Dixieland heading. Along with an accomplished class of musician-scholars now in their 50s and 60s — veterans of more than one cyclical burst of Jazz Age nostalgia — this movement has lately had an infusion of precocious youth and fresh enthusiasm, with an eager, style-conscious audience to match."
Read the full article in the New York Times.
Lance.

Monday, May 19, 2014

ACV @ Bridge Hotel May 18.

Andy Champion (double bass), Graeme Wilson (tenor & baritone saxophones), Paul Edis (keyboards), Mark Williams (guitar) & Adrian Tilbrook (drums)  
(Review by Steve H.)
There is a variation of an old Ronnie Scott joke which goes something like this  ‘I use my mother-in-law as a bouncer - instead of chucking them out she chucks them in’. Well never could a word be spoken truer in jest as Andy Champion’s mother-in-law Hilary and husband John were the stand-in box office staff for this very well attended ACV gig.  

Chaka Khan & Incognito @ Hoochie Coochie May 17.

(Photo courtesy of Hoochie on F/b).
Chaka was an absolute top class blast - the place was packed out, and a wide age range too.  All very exciting.  We stood away from the front, by one of the pillars - so had somewhere for our glasses and stuff.  Free Bolly and a bottle of wine for me - consequently my head was a bit sore on Sunday!  I lost the top of my hearing too - and my knees were knacked from all the mad dancing.  All worth it - an unforgettable evening - she did all the hits, one after the other - and Incognito played along, all the tight, funky grooves, with plenty of brass and keyboard riffing.  Hoochie attracts such a good and friendly crowd - I can't wait for the next gig there.  And I like it that the DJ plays vinyl, and great classic dance tracks for a bit of a boogie - knees permitting!
Patti D.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Late Shows: Lawnmowers Theatre Company - The Glass Orchestra

(Review by Ann Alex).
You MUST see this: Put it on your bucket list for next year
It isn’t jazz as such, but it’s wonderful, magical music! A semi-circle of musical instruments, all made of glass, glasses of water of all sizes, large jars, glass tubes and tubs, a xylophone and glass blocks on a table.  To be tapped with drumsticks, fingers circled round water glasses to produce a rich ringing tone, or tubs thumped with the hands, to get a bass sound. A 15 minute performance of delight.  The first item was of interwoven tones, then came a piece with an amusing spoken commentary about a bus journey to the Metrocentre.

CD Review: Greg Spero - Electric.

Greg Spero (keys/synth/vocal); Junius Paul (bass); Makaya McCraven (drums).
The American musicians on this album could almost be regarded as Honorary Tynesiders having, over the past couple of weeks, played several venues not a stones throw away from the river. As  on the Chicago pianist's last visit, he wowed the audience with his playing - so genre encompassing as to make categories near obsolete. With an all American quartet it was a mind-blowing experience.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

CD Review: Kekko Fornarelli Trio - Outrush.

Kekko Fornarelli (piano/synth); Giorgio Vendola (bass); Dario Congedo (drums). Roberto Cherillo (vocal on one track).
An interesting album of originals by Italian pianist/composer Kekko Fornarelli. An explorative player, Fornarelli reflects, probes, reaches inside the structure of the piece to tell a story - a song without words. The themes cover landscapes from a train; the Platone myth of people cut in two; a love story; a line from Waiting For Godot; a tree about to be cut down and carried to a sawmill; becoming concious that all is defective: mass media, politics, art, relationships; Also an actual song with words sung by Roberto Cherillo. It's a dreamlike conversation between the real ego and a Utopian one.

Brazilian Music Educators Return to North East for Second Visit Sage Gateshead Shares Expertise and Experience in Exchange Programme

(Press Release.)
A group of Brazilian music and education professionals are spending time with Sage Gateshead, schools and community groups from around the North East to share expertise and experience, as part of a unique, music education exchange programme.
The team of 10 Brazilian musicians and educators from Santa Marcelina Cultura (SMC) are returning to the region a year after their first visit, to take part in a 10-day programme sharing music ideas and experiences with their opposite numbers at Sage Gateshead. The visit, from May 12-25, follows Sage Gateshead’s Learning & Participation team’s trip to Brazil in  October last year, where the North East group learned how SMC uses inclusion and excellence in music education in its work with around 13,000 young people in São Paulo.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Roger Beaujolais Quartet/Greg Spero @ The Recital Room, Newcastle University. May 15.










Roger Beaujolais (vibes), Robin Aspland (piano), Simon Thorpe (double bass) & Winston Clifford (drums) + Greg Spero (piano) 
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew).
Jazz North East’s presentation of the Roger Beaujolais Quartet benefited from the late addition of a short opening set by pianist Greg Spero. JNE’s regulars turned up as ever, Spero turned up in the nick of time, sat at the Steinway, composed himself and trusting  in the instrument, started to play.

Adam Stapleford – Drum Kit. Final Recital @ New Music Studios, Newcastle University. May 15

(Review by Russell).
A highlight of Tyneside’s musical year is the series of recital performances given by music students at Newcastle University. Open to the public, these occasions are always memorable – after all there is much at stake. Are the students terrified? Do they request a last meal? Do they say their goodbyes? If so, Bebop Spoken Here correspondents have yet to see any signs of terror, nerves or foreboding.

Pilgrim St. Set @ Hoochie Coochie. May 15.

Richard Burns (trumpet); Gary Turner (tenor); Paul Edis (piano); Paul Susans (bass); Rob Walker (drums).
Russell was drinking Beaujolais (Roger) along at the Uni so it was left to me to drink the Fosters - as if! - at Hoochie. No, good old London Pride does it for me at this venue as does the Pilgrim Street Set led by Aussie trumpet player Burns, hence the Fosters reference.
This is an ace band with in demand players which, as the leader pointed out in that Crocodile Dundee drawl of his, creates problems. "How ya gonna get guys like this  - gigging 24/7 - together at a moment in time to rehearse?"
How indeed?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

CD Review JC Sanford Orchestra Views From the Inside

(Review by Russell).
JC Sanford is a co-founder of the composer’s federation, Pulse, with Darcy James Argue and Joseph C. Phillips. Living and working in Brooklyn, Sanford has NYC’s Downtown scene on his doorstep. His sixteen piece ensemble comprises musicians from the spheres of classical music and contemporary jazz. The writing embraces French impressionism, a cinematic sweep across a 20th/21st century North American landscape (the 1925 silent film Ben Hur to subversive, unsettling quasi-nursery rhymes) to big band jazz post-Gil Evans to the jazz of today.

Joe Stilgoe - Songs on Film - Sage Gateshead May 14.

Joe Stilgoe (piano/vocal); Tom Mason (bass); Ben Reynolds (drums).
(Review by Lance).
Without reaching the highs of my last two gigs (Greg Spero @ The Bridge/Jason Isaacs @ City Hall) Stilgoe's trip down the aisles of bygone Odeons and ABC cinemas was, nevertheless, a pleasing enough experience. Leading his musicians on stage with a torch - presumably to simulate an usherette - he immediately launched into a medley of cartoon themes, some of which I recognised some of which I didn't.

CD Review: Jeremy Fox - With Love

Dr. Jeremy Fox (arranger, conductor, producer, engineer) Various vocalists; also ...
Daniel Strange (piano); Rene Toledo (acoustic and electric guitars); Geoffrey Saunders (bass); Michael Piolet (drums). Complete list of players, including strings, go to: 
(Review by Ann Alex.)
This CD is a fine compilation of (mostly) jazz standards, arranged by Jeremy Fox, and sung by acclaimed vocalists who have won Grammys and other awards.  Says Dr. Fox ‘They had the innate ability to make this music come alive – with integrity, with passion, with positive energy, with love.’   I cannot add anything to that, except to outline each track.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

2014 Parliamentary Jazz Awards in full:

 Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Christine Tobin
Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Arun Ghosh 
Jazz Album of the Year: Troykestra ‘Live At Cheltenham 13 Jazz Festival’
Jazz Ensemble of the Year: Beats & Pieces Big Band
Jazz Newcomer of the Year: Phil Meadows
Jazz Venue of the Year: EFG London Jazz Festival
Jazz Media Award: Jamie Cullum
Jazz Education Award: Issie Barratt, National Youth Jazz Collective
Services to Jazz Award: David Redfern
Special APPJAG Award: Chris Barber.

Jazz Café June Listings

Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, near the Central Station     
NE1 5DW      tel: 0191 222 9882  open Tuesday – Saturday from 11am 
TUESDAY  3rd JUNE 8pm - free admission
Tuesday Jam
Pete Gilligan piano, Paul Grainger bass and Paul Wight drums welcome sitters-in and listeners.

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CD Review: Lee Konitz; Dan Tepfer; Michael Janisch; Jeff Williams - First Meeting Live in London Vol. 1.

Lee Konitz (alto/soprano); Dan Tepfer (piano); Michael Janisch (bass); Jeff Williams (drums).
(Review by Lance).
I've heard Lee Konitz live on three occasions: Newcastle City Hall on Sept. 12, 1958, Corner House, Whitley Bay, on Dec. 22, 1975 and Pizza Express, Soho, May 19, 2010. My original review of this latter concert can be read here and, four years on, my thoughts are pretty similar to what they were then albeit with more understanding, having now a greater knowledge of the circumstances (it really was a "First Meeting" for all four musicians as a quartet). No rehearsal plan, or preconceived notion of the music's end result. Under Mr. Konitz's instruction, anyone on the bandstand could simply start playing a melody, and the rest of the band could follow. Or not. Thus, on Body and Soul it's Konitz (soprano) and Tepfer whilst on All the Things You Are Tepfer drops out leaving Konitz (alto) to blow with the other two. The final Outro has Kontiz blowing alto with only drummer Williams for support.
Apart from Konitz, Tepfer and Williams are outstanding and Janisch, on whose Whirlwind label the album is being released, is his usual inventive tower of strength.
At times the playing is quite free (Volume 2 when it emerges is reported to contain the more freer stuff.)
Konitz was 82 when these recordings were made and it's a testament to his timeless thinking that resting on his laurels wasn't an option - but then it never was!
First Meeting - Live in London Volume 1 will be released by Whirlwind (WR 4638) on June 10.
Lance.

Greg Spero Radio Interview

Greg Spero and his musicians were interviewed on Radio Cumbria yesterday (Tuesday May 14). Follow the link. It's about one hour 30 minutes in and lasts for half an hour.
Thanks to David Gosling for this info.
Lance.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01y79m5

Jazz @ Blaydon - James Birkett - Bradley Johnston Jazz Guitar Duo - Sunday May 18.

Once in a while a very young musician comes along who clearly has a special talent. When it happens its a lovely thing to see them progress. Such a case is guitarist Bradley Johnston, a product of The Sage weekend school and now studying for his music degree. This young artist is paired with his mentor, James Birkett, and together they play a complete cross section of jazz guitar history - from Django to Metheny.
Black Bull, Bridge St., Blaydon NE21 4JJ. 8pm. £5.
Roly

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Chaka Khan @ Hoochie May 17 - tickets NOW GONE!

Don't hang about, there aren't many tickets left for this - the gig of the century at any Newcastle intimate venue - already all the booths have been snapped up and there aren't many stand ups left. £175, and that's cheaper than what you'll pay at Ronnie's. SOLD OUT!
More info and booking...
Lance.

The Globe - One Giant Step(s) for Jazzkind.


Ken Drew took these photos on May 9 at the inaugural reception for shareholders of the Pink Lane Jazz Co-op at The Globe pub, recently purchased by the Jazz Co-op. First gig is scheduled for mid-July. In the meantime there is work to be done...
Lance.

Paul Skerritt Band @ the Cherry Tree May 12

Paul Skerritt (vcl); James Harrison (pno); Anth Ord (bs); Tom Chapman (dms).
(Review by John T).
When we walked through the door of the Cherry Tree last night we thought it was the band from last Thursday @ the Lit & Phil. On closer examination of course it wasn’t Lindsay Hannon Plus - it was them Minus i.e. John Pope and Lindsay who were replaced by Anth and Paul! This was the second visit of the Paul Skerritt Band to this venue. What a fantastic young male vocalist & his trio from Teesside. Something new for Tyneside, till now the land has been ruled by young female vocalists.

Preview: Joe Stilgoe: Songs on Film. Celebrating 100 years of Hollywood. Sage Gateshead, May 14 8pm. Tickets £20.

This show, specially devised for the EFG London Jazz Festival, sees pianist, singer and songwriter Joe Stilgoe pay tribute to 100 years of Hollywood cinema through the music that aided and abetted its legend. From ‘An American in Paris’ to ‘The Apartment’, from ‘Casablanca’ to ‘Catch Me If You Can’, Joe and his remarkable band perform songs written for, and inspired by, some of the greatest films over the last century, focusing on those that pushed the popularity of jazz and the standards of Gershwin, Cole Porter and Ivor Novello.
Joe is a singer, pianist, composer and entertainer touring constantly with his band and as a solo act. In 2011 he made his solo debut at the Edinburgh Fringe where his show One Hour! was a sell-out and garnered much critical acclaim. Last summer he released his second album ‘We Look To The Stars’ which immediately went straight to the top of the jazz charts while pulling in rave reviews from the national press.
(Sounds good to me - Lance)

CD Review: Felipe Salles - Ugandan Suite

(Review by Steve H).
One of the main reasons I can’t cope with wildlife programmes on TV is the ridiculous corny music that they use to accompany the various shots of a kangaroo feeding its young or a crocodile swallowing a man whole etc..  Well if they were to use a soundtrack like the music found on this album I might begin to reappraise my viewing habits.

Monday, May 12, 2014

More Deaths

In tonight's Shields Gazette the death is announced of Richard (Dick) Close. Dickie, as he was invariably known, was a fine pianist - not a jazzman but a capable club/lounge piano player. Dickie was 88.
I recall a gig I had at Hebburn Newtown Club in 1968. I'd booked Dickie for the gig but he put in a dep - his son Richie, then aged 15/16. The doorman wasn't even going to let him in the club - he had his music in his school satchel! When I discovered the situation I went berserk - until I heard him play!
In present day terms Richie was the Harley Johnson/James Harrison of his day. He went on to become accompanist for Tony Christie, and a much respected session musician, arranger and composer for ITV in Manchester.
Sadly Richie contracted Legionnaires Disease in Spain and died, aged 39, in 1992. I don't think his dad ever quite got over it. 

Snarky Puppy @ Sage Gateshead. May 11

Michael League (electric bass), Bill Laurance (keyboards), Cory Henry (keyboards), Mike Maher (trumpet & flugelhorn), Evan Weiss (trumpet & flugelhorn), Chris Bullock (tenor saxophone),  Mark Lettieri (guitar), Robert ‘Sput’ Searight (drums) & Nate Werth (percussion)
(Review by Russell/Photo courtesy of Sage Gateshead.)
Hall Two was buzzing. Level one all standing, rammed, the seated upper tiers rammed. A word of mouth phenomenon, the sneakered Snarky Puppy strolled out to a rapturous Sage Gateshead reception. Bassist Michael League’s jazz funk twenty somethings are mid-way through a European tour and they’re having a ball. Greeted by ecstatic full houses every night, the University of North Texas boys are living the dream and someone had tipped them off that Tyneside was the party capital of the universe!

Greg Spero Quartet @ Bridge Hotel May 11

Greg Spero (Clavinova); De'Sean Jones (tenor); Junius Paul (bass, bass guitar); Makaya McCraven (drums).
(Review by Lance/Photo courtesy of Ken Drew).
The four Chicago based musicians took to the stage one by one. The double bass kicked things off. A tall player, a tall instrument, a lot of sound. Junius Paul a genius of the genre. McCraven sat behind the kit and the groove was forming. De'Sean Jones, toting tenor (1946 Holton) had his say and the tension mounted. Finally, the Emperor himself entered the arena, took his place on the throne and, after twiddling knobs and pushing buttons, the quartet was complete. Lift off took place - destination unknown.

ACV @ Darlington Jazz Festival Sunday April 27.

(This piece by Russell was accidentally omitted from the Tolstoyan review of last month's Darlington Festival - my fault, Lance.)
The contemporary theme continued with the arrival of ACV. Touring nationally, Andy Champion’s quintet hit the ground running as they charged, two at a time, up Dog Leap Stairs. A local Newcastle landmark, the stone steps - Dog Leap Stairs - link two of the band’s favourite watering holes - the Crown Posada and the Bridge Hotel. Try walking up the stairs sometime - half way up you could find yourself out of breath. Not these boys, they’re super human jazz players, trained to within an inch, they were in the Bridge in no time eyeing up the brews. 

Alan Glen Trio @ Salsa Café, Newcastle - May 10.

Alan Glen (Keys) Paul Grainger (D. Bass)  Paul Wight (Drums)
(Review by Kath Jobes.)
A damp night in Newcastle and we opted to pop in to the Salsa Café, knowing that others would be reviewing the French Night at the Jazz Café … and to be honest, I had parked just across the road, and it was raining... and as you may know dear readers, Kats don’t like the rain!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

French Jazz Night @ The Jazz Café. May 10











Gypsies of Bohemia: Jim Wallace (guitar), Matthew Whitaker (guitar & vocals), Frank Grime (double bass) & Sam Draper (drums)
Shamans Jazz Quartet: Claire Kahn (tenor & soprano saxophones, violin, vocals), Chris Bonno (electric bass), Amos Joseph (piano) & Fito Pierre (drums). 
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Mike Tilley). 
Mitry Mory meets Madchester or never the twain. The French contingent from the outskirts of Paris – the Shamans – opened the show at a well attended Jazz Café. A community, work-shopping band lead by electric bassist Chris Bonno, their set list comprised French popular song (George Brassens, Charles Aznavour), a standard (Autumn Leaves) and a Latin reworking of Minor Swing.

Jason Isaacs Big Band "Swing Sensations" - City Hall, Newcastle, May 10.

Jason Isaacs (vocal/tenor) + Steve Norman (tenor/vocal); the Fenner Sisters (backing vocals); Dorothy Ellis (vocal); The Ambassadors of Swing.
Darren Irwin (trumpet/MD); Dave Hignett, Mark Webb (trumpets); Don Failey, Dave Brock, Alan Brady (trombones); Sue Ferris, Lewis Watson, Steve Blythe (reeds); Stuart Collingwood (piano); Neil Harland (bass); Rod Sinclair (guitar); Simon Ferry (drums).
(Review by Lance).
The Ambassadors of Swing put us In The Mood for the world's most athletic, on stage, performer - Jason Isaacs. The ten foot tall (or thereabouts) singer bounded on to the stage well inside the Olympic record for bounding on stages and he did it Side Ways!

Very Sad News - Ron Pollard.


Just heard from Roly Veitch that Ron Pollard, organiser of the Gateshead Fell at the Legion Jazz Club died yesterday morning (May 10).
Such a shock - Ron and his wife Joyce have been strong supporters of jazz in the area for many many years and their often uphill struggle to keep The Fell Jazz Club afloat won them much admiration from fans and musicians of the traditional and mainstream persuasion.
Our deepest sympathy and condolences go out to Joyce.
In the photo (taken by Eddie Carson) the couple are seen celebrating their Golden Wedding at the club in 2011. As well as jazz Ron and Joyce loved dancing and were fortunate in being able to combine those two passions.
Rest In Peace.
Lance.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

R.I.P. Joe Wilder

American trumpet player Joe Wilder died yesterday (May 9). Although not a name that drops off many fans lips these days, Wilder did stints with many big bands including Lunceford, Goodman and Basie. Under his own name he recorded a number of pieces by Henry Mancini for the TV series Peter Gunn. He also did a lot of studio and Broadway session work. The Obituary in the New York Times sums Joe Wilder up with its heading "Elegance was his theme song."
Joe Wilder was 92.
Rest in Peace.
Obituary.
Lance.

Paul Edis Trio @ The Jazz Café. May 9

Paul Edis (piano), Mick Shoulder (double bass) & Adam Sinclair (drums)
(Review by Russell.)
Newcastle’s Jazz Café on Pink Lane continues to present the best in jazz and the monthly treat that is the resident Paul Edis Trio produced another five star performance. Regulars settled down for the treat, garrulous transients a peripheral distraction.

Pink Lane Jazz Co-op Launch @ Globe Hotel May 9

I don't know if all of the 200 shareholders were present but, at times, it certainly seemed like it! Pink Champagne and a buffet spread greeted the arrivals as did a form "to be filled in before you leave". I'd have preferred to have taken the form home and reflected upon the questions rather make than make rash statements and promises that even now have changed in the cold light of a pink champagneless morning. Nevertheless, it was good to have a tour of the building which included a perilous descent of the fire escape. In the meantime, John Rowland (tenor); Stuart Finden (guitar!); Ray Truscott (bass guitar) and Peter Ninnim (drums). were doing some nice things to In a Mellow Tone, Bright Mississippi and other numbers.
Dave Parker gave a welcoming speech and his Co-chair mini-skirted Minnie Frazer (which came first the name or the skirt? - I'll probably become the first shareholder to be expelled for a sexist remark but, in my defence, She wears it so well it would be churlish not to comment!)

Friday, May 09, 2014

Triptych @ The Lit & Phil. May 9

Paul Edis (piano & clarinet), Paul Susans (double bass) & Rob Walker (drums/percussion)
(Review by Russell/Photos by Jerry).
Three jazz gigs at the Lit & Phil this week – Wednesday evening, Thursday evening and today’s lunch hour set – perhaps accounted for a relatively low turn-out to hear Triptych. The trio of Paul Edis (piano), Paul Susans (double bass) and drummer Rob Walker have, in a short space of time, got something going with this new line-up. The set list combined standards, traditional songs and contemporary composition. The trick is in the approach and the arrangements of once familiar tunes.

Katherine Stone Quartet w. Paul Gowland @ Ashington Jazz Club May 7.

Katherine Stone (vocal); Stu Collingwood (keys); Paul Grainger (bass); Steve Doyle (drums); Paul Gowland (tenor).
(Review/Photo by Peter S.)
The appearance of Katherine Stone and her Quartet drew a good crowd including members old and new. Ms. Stone, not long back after a lengthy engagement on "the high seas", had managed to get together a unique group of exceptionally good musicians. Although there had been little time to discuss arrangements before taking to the stage the group blended together seamlessly. This has always amazed me, how do they achieve that? It just goes to show how accomplished these musicians are. Three of them were appearing at Ashington for the first time and they expressed their enjoyment through the music they produced.

CD Review and Launch.The Lindsay Hannon Plus - The Spy". Lit and Phil. May 8.















Lindsay Hannon (vocal); James Harrison (piano); John Pope (bass); Tom Chapman (drums).
(Review by Lance/Photos by Ken Drew/CD artwork by Jim Sebright).
The Lit and Phil was buzzing, an air of anticipation hung in the air, as the audience assembled for this JNE assisted launch of The Lindsay Hannon Plus' CD The Spy. Many of us had been present for the live recording done late last year at the Bridge Hotel so we had a fair idea of what to expect and we got it - did we not!
A laid back double bass introduction interspersed with delicate  piano punctuations and tinkling cymbals led eerily, intriguingly, to Lindsay's smoky voiced take on the album's title track - The Spy. The Doors' classic has all the elements of a novel by Ian Fleming or John le Carré. The build up to the emotional, even violent vocal heights and the gradual release of tension.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The Virtuoso Jazz Trio @ The Lit and Phil

George MacDonald (clarinet); James Birkett (guitar); Tony Abell (bass); Bernice MacDonald (vocal).
(Review by Lance.)
The clarinet is the purest toned of all instruments and, arguably, the most difficult of the single reed instruments. No other wind instrument can be played with such clarity. Admittedly there have been many maverick clarinettists to whom clarity and purity of tone were low down in their priorities - Pee Wee Russell, Archie Semple, Jimmy Giuffre, local hero the late Stan Martin were some - and they all hold their own individual place in jazz history. However, and here I'm being subjective, the true masters of the instrument were, Buster Bailey, Barney Bigard, Artie Shaw, Buddy de Franco, Eddie Daniels and, of course, Benny Goodman.

Sad News.

Some of you will remember Don & Ann Grant who were regulars at the Blaydon Jazz Club till two or three years ago when health problems prevented them coming. I've just received the news that Don passed away after having been seriously ill for a few months. Ann is not in the best of health herself. Roly.
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Willard Scott was a keen jazz fan, saxophone player who became World Judo Champion in his age group (65) in 2005 at the world championships in Canada. A great friend of Tommy Moran and a true gentleman.
Lance.
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We had the sad news last Tuesday that trumpet player/vocalist and bandleader John Hubbard of the Victoria Jazz Band had passed away, The Victoria Jazz Band was one of the first bands in the early 1970's to play one night a week at Neds, plus it was The Victoria Jazz Band with John Hubbard & Keith Vitty who give me my first gig in Hong Kong, so I will be playing for him at Grappa's this Wednesday, 7th, May at 8-00pm in a tribute to John Hubbard, with the VJB, & with other well known guest musicians from Hong Kong who played with John over the years. R.I.P. Colin.

A rare chance to experience the world class acoustics of Hall Two in an intimate in the round setting with Scandinavian/British jazz trio Phronesis.

‘Life to Everything’ is the title of Phronesis’ forthcoming album, recorded live at last year’s EFG London Jazz Festival, and they kick off a national tour this month to support it, including a date at Sage Gateshead on 27 May.
This will be a unique opportunity to experience this exciting, fast rising trio up close and personal, as we will be presenting this performance in the round. Get a unique perspective on Hall Two’s intimate surroundings with a 360º view of the band.

Jazz Café Jam - May 6.










Peter Gilligan (pictured top left) (piano); Paul Grainger (bass); Jeff Armstrong (drums) + Ian Forbes (drums); Ann Alex, Katherine Lowden (pictured top right), Kath Jobes (vocals).
(Review by Lance/Photos courtesy of Mike Tilley).
A jam session sans horns is a rare phenomenon! Tonight, the only instrumentalist was the Grand Old Man of North East Jazz Ian Forbes who once again displayed his consummate percussive artistry. Jeff Armstrong too impressed à la batterie* albeit on a scaled down kit minus floor tom and small tom.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Preview: Snarky Puppy to storm Sage Gateshead

The jazz fusion era of the 1970s is experiencing something of a critical reappraisal, if not renaissance, and Sage Gateshead is set to welcome band-of-the-moment Snarky Puppy. On Sunday evening (May 11) the band led by bassist Michael League will hit the stage in Hall Two. Formed in 2004 (‘the band was all college jazz kids’ says League), the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based outfit calls on a roster of seventy five musicians and up to twenty seven of them have been known to take the stage! Over the years gospel and r & b influences have become part of the band’s sound in a 200+ gigs a year touring schedule. Expect to hear music referencing Tower of Power, Weather Report, Frank Zappa, Americana, Latin rhythms and pop. The GRAMMY Award-winners could have three guitarists on stage, perhaps three keyboards players, vocalists aplenty (Lalah Hathaway, daughter of Donny, could be in town). Jazz, funk, soul, League insists melody is key. Pat Metheny is a fan. Will Snarky Puppy’s Gateshead gig become that of folklore? Hall Two, Sage, Sunday, is the place to be to find out!
Russell.

Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. May 5

Derek Fleck (clarinet & tenor saxophone), Mick Hill (trumpet & vocals), Roy Gibson (keyboards), Bill Colledge (bass) & Fred Thompson (drums) + Barry Soulsby (clarinet), Doris Fenn (banjo), John Broddle (vocals) & Theresa Armstrong (vocals)
(Review by Russell).
Holiday Monday, decent weather, a (part) change in the old guard. Regulars Chester, Hallam & Rillands were excused duties to meet up with Don Fairley for a nice little earner at a Close House golf day. Derek Fleck - famous for fifteen seconds thanks to Jazz Record Requests - held the fort, though he too had been up Hadrian’s Wall country earlier in the day, returning to base in time to MC affairs.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Tobin on Tour

Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2014-shortlisted singer Christine Tobin returns to Tyneside in September when she presents her A Thousand Kisses Deep salute to Leonard Cohen at Sage Gateshead in the company of Phil Robson (guitar), Dave Whitford (bass), Huw Warren (piano and accordion) and Adriano Adewale (percussion).
Before that, however, Tobin will be passing through the area, travelling between a gig at the Lescar in Sheffield on May 21 and the opening gig of her first-ever Scottish tour in Aberdeen the following evening. The Scottish tour came as a direct result of Tobin winning a Herald Angel, one of the much coveted awards presented by Glasgow-based newspaper The Herald during the Edinburgh Festival every August for her performance of A Thousand Kisses Deep on the Festival Fringe.

Greg Spero May Dates.

Friday May 9th – The Continental, Preston 8.00pm tickets £8 see
Saturday May 10th – afternoon, The Fuse, Prudhoemusic masterclass from the band with students from the Fuse Arts Centre and Core Music.
Saturday May 10th - Dacre Hall, Lanercost 7.30pm tickets £10 from Brampton Post Office or from David Gosling on 016977 41829
Sunday May 11th – Splinter @ the Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne admission £6, more info  www.splinterjazz.co.uk

Firebird Quartet @ The Bridge. May 4









Ian Chalk (trumpet); Martin Longhawn (piano); John Marley (bass); Tim Carter (drums).
(Review by Lance/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew).
This was a stormer! Four York based musicians at the top of their game (and who's to say they won't get even better still - Longhawn and Carter are still just in their mid-twenties) delighted Sunday's Splinter audience with a program of originals and standards performed with much originality. Nature Boy done over a Cuban rhythm, Sonny Rollins' Blue Seven given an easy relaxed swing feel. Chalk has that beautiful fat sound personified by such as Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown and Freddy Hubbard. Tone wasn't sacrificed for technique nor vice versa - the perfect balance. On the Rollins piece the trumpet player used Chris Calver's pint glass for a growl chorus. Chris, who was sitting at the front table nearest the stage beamed with delight. The glass, I hasten to add, was empty!

Jeff Barnhart @ Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club May 3.

Jeff Barnhart (piano), Anne Barnhart (flute & vocals), John Hallam (ten/bar sax & clarinet), Nick Ward (drums)
(Review / photo by Ray)
Rather than stay at home & fret away our day worrying about the fate of the local football teams, we packed up our troubles & headed south for our monthly "jazz fix" with our friends at St Augustine's.
Entertainment was never likely to be in short supply with Mr Barnhart in town ....his musical knowledge & anecdotes together with his rather zany humour will always brighten your day - then there's that scintillating "stride" style which has you yearning for more...

Sunday, May 04, 2014

CD Reviews The Virtuoso Jazz Trio Summer & Autumn

George MacDonald (clarinet), James Birkett (guitar) & Peter Stuart (double bass).
(Review by Russell).
Concerts by the Virtuoso Jazz Trio are few and far between so it is a delight to have these 2006 performances made available on two CDs. The recordings - Summer and Autumn - were made on tour, the tunes a selection from the Great American Songbook. 

PG Allstars @ Salsa, May 3

Paul Gowland (ten/alt), Pete Gilligan (pno), Ray Truscott (bs), Steve Doyle (dms)
(Review/photo by Dave Parker)
This was mainstream jazz of the highest quality – as good as anything you might hear in a top London club, but this was Saturday night in a small bar on Westgate Road and free admission.  Geordie jazz lovers are lucky.

Dave Douglas and Uri Caine @ Leeds Assembly Rooms May 2.

Check out this excellent review by Steve Crocker of Dave Douglas and Uri Caine's concert at Leeds Assembly Rooms on Friday.
Link.
Lance.

CD Review:Mike McKoy - Ludwig Manhattan's Germaican Blues

Mike McKoy (narrator, vocals, guitars); Toni Belenguer (trombone); Vicent Coloques (keys); Matt Baker (bass); Ignacio Aguilar (didgeridoo/harmonica).
Let me say first of all that this is the most unusual work I've ever had to review! I'm not quite sure where to begin except to say that, whichever category it is allotted to it will be unbeatable!
Confused? I bet you are! Brilliant? You're darn right! So, let's have the Alfie (What's it all about?)
Imagine an all encompassing work that contains The Bible, The Decameron, Plato, Noel Coward, Charlie Mingus and a whole gang more of musicians, writers, philosophers and ladies of the night!

Saturday, May 03, 2014

A Fine Way to Treat a Steinway!

Watched The Great American Songbook on BBC 4 after reading Steve Andrews' comments on F/b. Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I must say that I didn't get a kick out of Jamie Cullum bringing his foot down on the keyboard of the grand piano - I bet he doesn't do that at home!
Lance.

Greg Spero - coming to a venue near you!


I'm getting confused - easily done these days - but it seems to me that Greg Spero and his Stateside quartet are due to appear at just about everywhere which, let's face it, is an absolute coup for the region. So, for my benefit as much as yours, the ace Chicago pianist is doing the following dates:



May 10: Fuse Media Centre, Prudhoe (Workshop).
May 11: Bridge Hotel, Newcastle - (Quartet session).
May 12: Fuse Media Centre - (Quartet session).
May 15: Recital Room, Newcastle Uni. 8pm - (solo set in support of Roger Beaujolais).
May 17: Dacre Hall, Lanercost, Cumbria - (workshop with quartet.)
There may be others!
Details for most of these gigs can be found in the LH column. Those who remember Greg's last appearance in the area will be ticking off the days in anticipation!
Lance.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Cheltenham and more on BBC Radio

Saturday 3rd May Jamie Cullum (Radio 2, 3:00 pm) presents highlights of this year’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival including Get the Blessing (the band’s Jake McMurchie played Schmazz at the Jazz Café earlier this week). Geoffrey Smith’s Jazz (midnight Saturday 4th, Radio 3) celebrates Billy Strayhorn’s contribution to the success of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. On Sunday 4th Clare Teal (Radio 2, 9:00 pm) broadcasts live from Cheltenham with guests Lianne Carroll and Billy Cobham. Holiday Monday (5th) on Radio 3 (11:00 pm) Jazz on 3 presents an exclusive set from Stephan Crump and Mary Halvorson and there’s more from Jamie Cullum at Cheltenham in his regular Radio 2 slot on Tuesday 6th (7:00 pm) including Jason Rebello and another sighting of Get the Blessing.  
Russell.           

CD Review: Holly Hofmann - LOW LIFE The Alto Flute Project

Holly Hofmann (alto flute); Mike Wofford (piano); John Clayton (bass); Jeff Hamilton (drums) + Anthony Wilson (guitar on  4 tracks). (Review by Lance.)
I think I'm correct in saying that this is the first album I've heard where alto flute is featured exclusively. Not an easy task. The alto flute - like the bass clarinet - isn't an instrument for grandiose flourishes. It has to be nurtured, coaxed, almost made love to to release its full potential. That Holly Hofmann succeeds is perhaps not surprising given her mastery of the standard concert flute.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

School Reunion, Shelly Manne & Bireli Lagrene.

School reunion - it had been awhile since the last one and I looked forward to meeting up with those guys and gals who were part of my formative years. I went for the number 27 bus only for the driver to ignore my gesticulations for him to wait whilst I crossed the road - fingers were directed in his direction! 
Standing at the bus stop awaiting the next 27 I suddenly realised that, not only was it raining but it was also cold. To make matters worse, the zip on my leather jacket had ceased functioning and I was far from warm. I vowed that when I reached Newcastle I'd go to the nearest charity shop and purchase a sweater or something to prevent my body temperature dropping into the danger zone.

Global Jazz

It’s Ours!
At noon yesterday Pink Lane Jazz Co-op Ltd became the owners of The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 7AD.
We believe that The Globe is the first music venue in the UK to be owned by a co-operative, certainly the first to be owned by a jazz co-op.  We now have over 200 members.
Yesterday was also International Jazz Day.  How appropriate!
We’d like to say a big thank you to all the people who have helped to make this possible including those who have invested or lent us money, those who have given us their time and expertise free of charge, the other jazz and arts organisations that have supported us and the many people who have promoted us through social media and mainstream media.
There’s a bit of refurbishment to do before The Globe will be up and running on both floors.  We will keep you informed of progress.
Thank you all
Minnie Fraser and Dave Parker
Co-chairs of Pink Lane Jazz Co-op Ltd

Zoe Gilby Interviews Ian Chalk

Zoe Gilby interviewed Ian Chalk of the Firebird Quartet who are this coming Sunday's (May 4 - 8.15pm) Splinter @ The Bridge band. Zoe's questions are in blue.
Tell us a bit about your band. How it formed? band line up and their influences?
The band in its current form was created about 4 months ago.  Previously I had a quartet for 4 years (Ian Chalk Quartet) which, although fun to play in and they guys were great, wasn't really going in the direction I wanted to go.  So the decision was made to create a quartet to perform contemporary jazz with best the musicians I could find to force me to up my game and they've certainly done that! The name of the band was changed to reflect the new start ....'Firebird Quartet' (and to remind people of our Sunday night residency at The Phoenix in York).

CD Review: Bobby Avey - Authority Melts From Me.

Bobby Avey (pno); Miguel Zenón (alt); Ben Monder (gtr); Thomson Kneeland (bs); Jordan Perison (dms).
(Review by Lance).
An hour long suite, composed by Avey who found his inspiration in events surrounding the Haitian Revolution and built his masterpiece around the rhythms found in Haitian Vodou drumming, Such is the complexity of the rhythmic foundation that it seems incredible that only one drummer is behind the wheel. Perison's your man if you get a gig in Port au Prince (or anywhere else come to that!)

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