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Bebop Spoken There

Howard Roberts: "The guitar is caught right in the thick part of the piano keyboard, right in the register where pianists do most of their work, and, boy, it gets like a can of worms in there if you're both not careful." - (Down Beat June 29, 1966).

Simon Allen: “I started saxophone at secondary school when I was 12 and got to Grade 8 when I was about 15.” – (Jazzwise February 2014).

Bebop Spoken There Archives.

Today Saturday July 26

Afternoon
- St. Augustine's, Larchfield St., Darlington DL3 7TG. 12.30pm. £10.
Monthly, back August 2 w. Rachel's Dream.
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Evening
TBA (Solo jazz), Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle. 0191 2399924.
Class food class solo jazz.
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GILLIGAN & HANNON - Jazz Café. 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 9pm. FREE!
Duo set by Peter and Lindsay - The earth may move!.
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JOHN BRETT BAND - Saltburn Cons. Club, 8.30pm. Free.
Could this be THE JOHN BRETT? (Return to Saltburn please - keep the change)
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RENDEZVOUS JAZZ - Sandpiper, Farringdon Rd., Cullercoats NE30 3ER. 8.30pm £3.
Monthly back August 2.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gilad Atzmon and Strings - The Sage, Gateshead.

Gilad Atzmon (alt/sop/clt), Frank Harrison (pno), Yaron Stavi (bs), Eddie Hick (dms). Sigamos String Quartet. This was more than just a re-creation of the legendary Bird with Strings albums from the 1950s - it was much much more. Admittedly Gilad paid lip-service to Charlie Parker inasmuch as he faithfully re-produced the themes and the string voicing was more or less as per the original but in-between he was very much his own man. He soared with Birdlike fluency on numbers such as "Just Friends", ""Everything Happens To Me", "I Didn't Know What Time It Was", "What Is This Thing Called Love" and "April In Paris" or "April In Gateshead" as he re-titled the Vernon Duke classic. However, there was also the other trademarks we have come to expect from Gilad - the World Music blasts on soprano and clarinet, the ethnic chanting and the humour. Let's not forget the humour. His laid back delivery was worthy of any stand-up comic. "Charlie Parker was born in Hartlepool." Pause for the audience to digest this preposterous statement then, "He wasn't born in Hartlepool, he actually came from Kansas City but it doesn't matter. Hartlepool, Kansas City, they're both the same!" The inevitable political edges also crept in but what counted above all else was the music and his fantastic alto playing. The Sigamos Strings - 2 violins, viola and cello - led by Ros Stephen did what was asked of them expertly and professionally joining in the spirit of things by adding their voices to some of Gilad's Turkish incantations. Drummer, Eddie Hick, was superb and piano and bass filled in the cracks. It was one grand evening. Earlier, in the Barbour Room, a jam session saw Claude Vanner, Ben Gilbert, Lawrence Blackadder and some students from the afternoon workshop with Gilad strut their stuff. Harley Johnson played "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise", Fiona Littlewood and Nicola Weaver did "Doxy" and my good friend Ann Alexander, making a rare departure from the world of Folk, sang "Summertime". Photos from Jam Session.
Lance.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nany Swing - C'est Magnifique

Fabienne Dondard (Acc/vcl), Phillips Gugnier (lead gtr) Bernard Anthérieu (rhythm gtr/clt), Jérome Nicolas (ten/clt), Yves Buffetrille (bs).
Close your eyes and you're in a club on the Left Bank or maybe a waterfront café in Marseilles. Open your eyes and, providing the music's still playing, you're still sipping a cognac and nodding your head appreciatively in time to the music. When the music stops you're back in the Saville Exchange - a converted old church in North Shields.
Nany Swing are one of the better kept secrets of the jazz world - surely they cannot remain a secret for much longer? I'm reminded in many ways of when WASO arrived some 30 years ago - so different to anything else in the contemporary traditional world.
Despite difficulties in getting from Nimes to Marseilles to Paris to England due to fog and disappearing luggage - giving promoter Mike Durham such concern that he had the Rae Brothers on standbye - Le tout ensemble gave it 110%.
Tonight's gig saw a new tenor/clarinet player in Jérome Nicolas as well as a different bass player. Jérome has liberated himself from the Bechet vibrato - something few French reedmen manage - and is clearly in the Artie/Benny bag. His tenor playing sits comfortably in the swing era with a nice clear sound and a lot of drive.
Lead guitar and rhythm guitar push things along nicely whilst the bassman - who reminds me of WASO's former bassman - keeps the ship steady.
La Chanteuse Fabienne sings delightfully in French even though I haven't a clue what the words mean! The effect thus is of another instrument. Fabienne is also an ace button key accordianist.
So it isn't all totally jazz? So what? It's pretty damn close most of the time and when it isn't it's still fine by me.
The whole experience can be repeated at Gosforth's Trinity Centre tomorrow (Saturday).
Lance

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jon Taylor and Jim Birkett Jump Start Blaydon.

Jon Taylor (ten/flt/harm/vcl), Jim Birkett (gtr), Jeremy McMurray (pno), Andy Champion (bs), Bill Shield (dms).
Good, honest, straight down the middle swing from Leeds based Jon Taylor. From the opening "Zing Went The Strings of my Heart" to the penultimate "Cheek to Cheek" Jon Taylor dug in and swung out on tenor, flute. and blues harp.
His sax playing relates to the tough tenor school of Ike Quebec, Arnett Cobb or Budd Johnson whilst his fluting had overtones of Roland Kirk. Amazingly this was the first time I'd heard him and I was impressed.
"Autumn Leaves" jumped! They didn't 'drift by my window' they jumped and how. Jon indulged himself (and us) with some growly overblowing flute that turned the French chanson almost into a Chicago blues!
The blues theme predominated in "I'm Just a Lucky So and So" with gravelly vocal and wailing blues harp.
Not to be outdone, Jim Birkett 'Bent it like B.B (King)' and the result was some classic blues playing.
Jim was on form throughout as, as always, was Andy Champion. On piano Jeremy gave it 'what for' with the inscrutable Bill Shield rock steady.
"Harlem Nocturne' - a request from the lovely lady on the next table to us - was played à la Bostic (Earl). Unfamiliarity perhaps slightly hampered this one for 'the boys' but Jon drove it home like as though he was on a King record date.
No such hesitation with two former waltzes played in four. "Charade" and "Tenderly" saw sparkling solos all round. This was bootiful playing - stompology at its best.
The encore - another request - "Moonlight in Vermont". Jon remarked on how requests are always for ballads and it's true - most people can relate to a ballad more than an up-tempo swinger.
The band tonight did both brilliantly with our local boys mixing it on the same level as Jon which is a very high level indeed.
Come back soon.
Lance.

Gateshead 2010

The program has been announced and the tickets are on sale for this the 5th Annual Sage Gateshead Jazz Festival. The whole shebang runs March 26-28, 2010. Too many names to list so just visit the venue's website. It would be wrong of me to say that there is something there for everyone but there is certainly everything there for someone.
Lance.

Tonight at Blaydon...

...sees Jon Taylor and Jim Birkett performing with the Blaydon Jazz Trio. Described as a 'bluesy/jazz player' expect some wailing blues harp and some earthy sax and flute from Jon. The ever versatile Jim Birkett will no doubt be firing chords from and to the hip on this exciting evening of jazz/r & b and good old fashioned swing.
Worth a fiver of anyone's entertainment budget.
Lance.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Harley's Street's Ahead

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Barrie Ascroft (pno), Mick Danby (bs), Eric Stutt (dms) + HARLEY JOHNSON.
Harley kicked for home tonight with as good a trio set as I've heard since he first arrived at the Chilli earlier this year.
Ably aided and abetted by Eric and Mick, the 'precocious pianist', to quote Dave, laid down a benchmark that will be very difficult to follow in the years to come.
Tonight he cut the umbilical c(h)ord that tied him to Monk and, instead, dipped his toe into the Gasbook - in his own inimitable manner.
"You and the Night and the Music" opened the set with an explosive keyboard flourish that soon settled into a comfortable groove and the small, mainly attentive, audience knew it was in for a treat. "Some Day My Prince Will Come" ranged from moments of probing, ethereal, beauty to triple forté grandioso passages.
"Milestones", despite some confusion early on nevertheless came through in the end. "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" had the opening melody played on bass by Mick Danby making for an unusual version that worked. "Love For Sale" swung with an almost Peterson-like ferocity and the final "Blue Monk" was like no other "Blue Monk" I've ever heard. Harley knocked 7 shades out of a tune he knows backwards and at times plays backwards. This was Galaxy Grabbing!
The interplay with Eric was semi-telepathic and they gelled. Eric is a very underrated drummer and tonight everything fell into place.
Likewise Mick Danby - he did the business and did it good. Tonight was, and I use the term advisedly - a Milestone.
Earlier Eric and Mick along with Dave and Barrie played a sound opening set, Nice to hear Dave playing more open horn these days.
Good that Norman is back after surgery and congrats to Chris Finch on winning the raffle - pick up the CD next time.
Lance.

Jazz at the Lit and Phil.

After a recent meeting with Claire Delamore regarding the possibilities of incorporating some jazz into the Lit and Phil's calender of events we talked about the library's extensive music collection and the amount of jazz it contained. As a result, Claire sent the following which I am sure is of interest to North-east jazz enthusiasts.
Lance.
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The Literary and Philosophical Society (Lit & Phil) in Newcastle is the largest independent library outside London and its music collection is one of the most extensive in the North East, with over 7,000 CDs covering jazz, folk and classical music, as well as DVDs, CD-ROM sheet music, LPs, 78s, and around 6,000 scores and miniature scores.
Our CD collection covers all the jazz genres, including music by Art Blakey, Ronnie Scott, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Fats Waller, Thelonious Monk, Stan Getz, Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Parker, Curios, Liane Carroll, Jan Garbarek, Matthew Shipp and many, many others.
Why not call in to browse the collections?
We're open to all and our city-centre location makes us easy to get to - we're just a couple of minutes walk from Newcastle Central Station.
For the latest additions to the CD/DVD collection and other information, visit our website at http://www.litandphil.org.uk/ or contact the Lit & Phil Library, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE, Tel: (0191) 2320192, Email: library@litandphil.org.uk.
Our friendly staff will be happy to help with any enquiries.
Claire Delamore
(Music Librarian)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cluny Double Bill a Game of Two Halves

Alister Spence Trio: Alister Spence (pno/electronics), Joe Williamson (bs), Tony Buck (dms).
Bevan, Morris, Lash and Buck: Tony Bevan (sop/ten/bs sax), Joe Morris (gtr), Dom Lash (bs), Tony Buck (dms).
Driving home, Art Pepper was playing on the car stereo - "Fascinating Rhythm". It was so relaxing after what had gone before at the Cluny that it was difficult to reconcile the fact that the both came under the heading of music.
Perhaps that is what is so wonderful about music - its sheer diversity.
Take tonight; two bands almost as far from each other as they were from Art Pepper yet still sailing under a flag of convenience called jazz.
First up to the plate was the Alister Spence Trio. Aussie Alister writes music for the movies and the impression gained was that tonight's program was ultimately aimed at a big(gish) screen soundtrack. One could almost say, that this is the love scene, this is the car chase, this is the fight, the guy falling off a cliff etc.
Spence is a talented pianist - no doubt. He has been likened to Paul Bley but there was some Cecil Taylor in there too. I think he's still evolving. That his direction isn't my direction is as much a criticism of myself as it is of Alister. Williamson on bass had some clever tricks with the bow which I've seen Andy Champion do better but when he did get around to a semblance of normality he was okay.
Drummer Buck played with both bands - more...
Bevan, Morris, Lash & Buck were a different teapot of turbot. When Bevan tuned up I was impressed - some bands forget although I suspect that, with this outfit it doesn't matter too much.
They went for the jugular from the off blowing an opening number that lasted over half an hour.
Bevan stretched out on tenor, curved soprano and bass sax. He has an incredible techique although in situations like this it is a licence to blow unhindered by chord progressions and other obstacles. At times he made the big instrument sound like a piccolo - at other times a wind-powered musical buzzsaw.
The ensembles were Bedlamic - if the leader of the previous band ever has to do a soundtrack for a film called "Nutcase Convention" he could well find his inspiration here - after a few minutes I was ready to audition for the lead role.
Why do contemporary bands take so much of their material from the sounds of the farmyard?
Buck had no problem in being passed from one band to the other giving the skins the thrashing of a lifetime. Lash too had some frenetic moments that rocked the boat yet through it all one man stood alone withstanding the slings and arrows around him - Joe Morris on guitar.
Joe, from Connecticut, mixed it in the meleé and emerged unscathed and able to play some of the most musical, nay even lyrical, solos of the session.
I left slightly shell-shocked yet, I must confess, there were moments of excitement that are still circulating the adrenalin around a couple of hours later.
Lance.

Rebecca Parris Live at Chan's

Hil requested this emotional rendition of "I Have The Feeling I've Been Here Before" by her stateside friend Rebecca Parris. OMG it's got me dewy-eyed! Nice one Hil.

Coming Soon - Customs House Big Band/Ruth Lambert - Open Rehearsal @ New Crown Hotel.

That popular bandleader, bass trombonist, raconteur - the King of Swing - Peter Morgan informs me that... Next Tuesday, at New Crown Hotel, South Shields, the Customs House Big Band have an open rehearsal starting at 8:00 pm. The format is as previous - First set: rehearsal to iron out the creases and try out new numbers. Second set: Performance, including a few numbers from Ruth Lambert.
That's next Tuesday Nov. 3 @ New Crown Hotel, South Shields. 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm.
Admission Free.
Sounds good.
Lance.

Ted Williams - Jazz Photographer. RIP

The death of Jazz Photographer Ted Williams on Oct 13 is worth recording if only for this magnificent shot of John Coltrane. You can almost hear the sheets of sound cascading from 'Trane's tenor.
For details, access to more photos and Ted's obituary click here.
Lance.

You want a minimalist drum kit Martin?

Click here for some more Hong Kongery from the China Coast Jazzmen. Thanks to Colin Aitchison for this latest gem from behind the bamboo curtain. Lance.

Tonight at the CLUNY

Not 1 but 2 bands - well, to be precise, maybe 1.75. Paul Bream - old Schmazzmo himself - states that Tony Buck drums with both bands. However, the official Schmazz postcard quotes Toby Hall as drummer with Australians - the ALISTER SPENCE TRIO - Alister on piano, Joe Williamson, bass and Toby Hall (or TB) on drums. You can hear a sample here. BEVAN, MORRIS, LASH & BUCK are Tony Bevan on tenor and - wait for it - BASS SAX! From the US of A, Joe Morris on guitar, Don Lash is on bass and the aforementioned Tony Buck, also from "down under", is "up and over" and definitely on drums. Tickets are £10/£8 (unwaged)/£5 (studs. and means tested benefits). Or £7/5/3 depending where your info comes from. Sounds like a good, albeit confusing, night is in prospect in this Schmazz/Jazz North-East co-promotion. Lance.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Corner House

Peter Wright (tpt), Lawrence McBriarty (tmb), Barry Soulsby (clt), Brian Bennett (bjo), Brian Sibbald (bs), Fred Thompson (dms/vcl).
What can I say about the "Viet Cong" that hasn't been said a thousand times? They plough their chosen furrow and do it very well.
Personally, I prefer the sound they get on standards rather than the stomps, rags and cakewalks the New Orleans pundits seem to prefer. On numbers such as "Love is Just Around The Corner", "Glad Rag Doll", "All Alone" they get an almost Dixielandic sound as opposed to their usual New Orleans lilt. The latter was much in evidence on "It Happened in Monterey" (the late Brian Fisher used to refer to the song as, "It Happened to Monte Rey a long time ago!")
Lawrence blew some shouting trombone throughout whilst Barry flitted around adding the essential top end.
Brian Sibbald, one of the unsung heroes, had moments of glory in a couple of trumpet/bass duet interludes with Peter that came off quite well - "Davenport Blues" being one of them.
Fred Thompson rowed the band along and didn't sing "Winin' Boy Blues".
Brian Bennett, as ever, was his usual debonair self announcing the numbers, both musical and raffle, with great aplomb. He also played banjo.
Lance.

Minimilist Drumming

I love this quote from Martin Drew: "It's amazing how big a kit can become when other people carry it for you! Conversely, it's interesting how small a kit can become when you have to carry it all by yourself!"
Check out Martin's website from the previous post.
Lance.

Martin Drew Comments...

Hi Lance Sincere thanks for your review of this gig (LCD @ The Corner House, Newcastle). Would you mind if I used it on my website, please? Laurence Cottle sent it to me. He's some player isn't he?!! The band only came about originally from a chat I had with Mornington Lockett about travelling about in these days of ridiculous petrol prices!! The three of us can all get in one car, thereby saving the expense of extra gas with extra cars. I instantly knew it would work musically, and it's nice to be vindicated. We really enjoyed the gig, especially as it included a 600 mile plus drive up and back! At my age if I can't enjoy the gig what's the point? Have a look at my website at www.martindrew.co.uk. I'm sure you'll find it interesting. Once again, many thanks and I'll look forward to talking with you either by email, telephone, message in the bottle, etc., etc. Martin Drew. (Photo courtesy of Adrian Tilbrook.)
Click here for free Lawrence Cottle downloads as mentioned in comments.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

GINA SOUTHGATE & SPEEQ @ NEWCASTLE ARTS CENTRE. OCTOBER 24

Newcastle Arts Centre hosted a preview evening of Gina Southgate's paintings produced as Artist in Residence at the recent On the Outside Festival staged at Gateshead Old Town Hall. The white wall gallery showed to great effect the numerous works created during the long-weekend residency.
Each painting evokes the immediacy of Southgate's response to events and demonstrates a command of her chosen medium. Her palette is invariably vibrant, the style distinctive.
The exhibition continues until 14th November.
Well worth a visit.
A following attraction was a free-jazz gig featuring SPEEQ in the recently refurbished performance space adjacent to the Arts Centre's Black Swan Bar.
SPEEQ are: Alan Wilkinson (saxophones), Hasse Poulsen (guitar), Luc Ex (bass) & Mark Sanders (drums).
The quartet, on a first ever short tour of England, played a one hour set. Sanders and Wilkinson are well known to Tyneside audiences; the former is, perhaps, the UK's premier free-jazz percussionist, the latter a hardblowing veteran of the music.
Their musical associates on this date were punkster Luc Ex playing a four string acoustic bass guitar (slung low, of course) and Danish guitarist Hasse Poulsen playing a Guild (!) acoustic six string guitar aided by a pedal board, electronic interventions and the occasional use of cymbal and drum stick to add grit and texture.
Ex propelled the quartet with repeated motifs, Poulsen surprised with a bizarre combination of a ''conventional'' improv approach, lascerating fusion scaling and Hot Club to swing chording! Wilkinson scorched, Sanders, with great invention, clattered and banged.
Thanks to Mike Tilley and colleagues for being such welcoming hosts.
Jazz North East's next On the Outside free-jazz offering is a co-promotion with Schmazz on Tuesday 27th October. The Cluny (Schmazz HQ) is the place to be to hear Bevan, Morris, Lash & Buck in a double bill with the Australian piano - led Alister Spence Trio.
Russell.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ruth Lambert CD Launch @ The Saville Exchange, North Shields.

Ruth Lambert (vcl), Mark Williams (gtr), Paul Edis (pno), Andy Champion (bs,), Tim Johnstone (dms), Graham Hardy (tpt), Graeme Wilson (ten).
The girl was nervous, this was a big one for her. Ruth and the team had put a lot of time and effort amid a blaze of local publicity in launching this, her second CD. If she fell flat on her face she'd be doing it in front of a lot of fans and friends - the worst place to fall.
Ruth didn't fall.
Instead, she emerged triumphant and unfaltering. Even in the opening bars of "Easy Street" - the title of the album - her voice never wavered.
It was a brave move to open with just guitar accompaniment but Mark Williams isn't just any guitarist. He fed Ruth the chords giving her the ideal cushion as well as playing a delicate solo of his own.
The applause that followed Mark's solo told Ruth it was going to be okay - the natives were friendly.
Throughout the evening it just got better and better - I doubt if I've ever heard Ruth sound so good. All but one of the songs on the new CD were represented as well as a few from her first CD and each one was on the money.
The encore - "Secret Love" - which Ruth dedicated to Russell had our boy beaming with delight!
The band, fluctuating in size and line-up from number to number, were never superfluous always providing solid content and meaty solos. Mark William's solo on "This Is Always" perhaps the instrumental highlight - sheer magic - although Paul's sensitivity on "Cry Me a River" didn't hurt either. But this was Ruth's night - a night when she moved her profile up a gear or three.
It's a great CD Ruth - every home should have one.
Sorry I couldn't make it to the Maggi Bank afterwards - I hope they rolled out the Red Carpet for you.
Lance.

Clare Teal @ The Theatre Royal, York. - October 22.

Grant Windsor (pno/MD), A.D. Chivers (Gtr, maracas, harmony vcl), Simon Little (bs), Ben Reynolds (dms) Clare didn't just walk on stage she "arrived" sylphlike and full of bounce with an easy, friendly manner that quickly won over the lively and appreciative audience. Throughout the performance and between numbers she treat the full house to little chats, regaling us with snippets of her career and bringing everyone into the spirit of the show. Everybody loved Clare - it was a pleasure to be part of a value for money evening. After kicking off with Fascinating Rhythm, Coffee Song, Get Happy, Love Hurts, and a polished Cheek to Cheek, there followed many faves which were too numerous to mention but I did think that she absolutely excelled in the Latin numbers. Particularly poignant was I Love You Porgy, and a tribute to Anita O'Day with Tea for Two. My personal fave was If I Were a Bell, and Cavatina also has to be mentioned in her tribute To Dame Cleo who is 82 next week. Her MD/pianist, Grant Windsor, from 'Down Under' excelled in his accompaniment as did the rest of her band.
A.D. Chivers, first of all I thought he was surplus to needs, but he grew on us providing a bit of "showing off" which actually worked fine, he had a good rapport with Clare. On drums, Ben Reynolds, sensitive, young, excellent, looked like Jamie Cullum. Bassist, Simon Little, was also excellent , especially when he used his bow on some numbers.
Incidentally as I was getting my jacket she walked past me so I was able to truthfully say "Fab show" and was rewarded with a dazzling smile.
Liz.

Journal Preview of Ruth's CD Launch

For a foretaste of tonight's CD launch at the Saville Exchange, North Shields by Ruth Lambert. Visit here for The Journal interview with Ruth and some tracks from the album. See you all there. Lance.

Laurie Brown Trio + Take it to the Bridge @ The Chilli

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Laurie Brown (vibes), Barrie Ascroft (bs), Chris Finch (pno), Eric Stutt (dms), Robin Douthwaite (gtr), Harley Johnson (pno), Dr. Steve Summers (ten).
A good one Wednesday night, with Laurie Brown's trio, not to mention Take it t0 the Bridge!
Jim couldn't make it so Barrie Ascroft did the bass duties for both bands, and was solid throughout.
At almost the end of his trio set, Laurie invited some of us to join him for "Yardbird Suite", and just at that moment, Dr. Steve Summers showed up with his tenor sax, and played the rest of the night!
So, with Robin Douthwaite on guitar, Dr. Steve on tenor, Barrie on bass, Eric on drums, the redoubtable Chris Finch playing for the night on piano, and myself, we finished the night in high spirits, and not only the drinks!
We also had an appearance from Harley Johnson, playing with his usual panache.
Harley will be doing the middle set next Wednesday as the Harley Johnson Trio, with probably Eric Stutt on drums and Jim Crinson (or Mick Danby) on bass, exploring the Great American Songbook. His own trio, will be making an appearance with us in the near future, so watch this space.
Dave 'The' Rave.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

LCD mindblowing @ Corner House.

Mornington Lockett (ten), Lawrence Cottle (bs.gtr), Martin Drew (dms).
My first thought when I saw the name of the band - LCD - was that this was going to be one of those "This next composition is one I wrote whilst running for the bus..." type nights.
I couldn't have been further from the truth!
I should have picked up the clue from Mornington's tee shirt - it had 'Blue Note' printed across front and rear and this was what it was - a contemporary Blue Note style blowing session.
All 3 musicians have technique to spare and woe betide anyone who crosses their path in a jam!
The last time I heard Martin Drew was at York when he was with Simon Spillett. Tonight, at Corner House, he was with another hardblowing hit 'em where it hurts tenorman in Mornington Lockett.
Apart from a couple of Pat Metheny tunes most were well known standards that provided the sax man with the perfect launching pad.
"My One and Only Love", "Autumn Leaves", "It Could Happen To You", "Yesterdays", "Donna Lee" were some of the tunes that the pianoless trio took to the cleaners and hung out to dry.
Michel Petrucciani's "My Bebop Tune" had an amazing cadenza-like intro from ML that was breathtaking. The same tune also saw some clever interplay between bass and drums.
The finale - "Just in Time" - was taken at tempo di Jenson (Button) which meant it was fast.
No prisoners and no pit stops.
Apart from ML there were some incredible happenings from Cottle. Playing a five string bass guitar he played chord patterns and intricate runs as if he were playing a fast action lead guitar. Martin Drew - is there anything left to say about Martin? The man is rock steady, he's deservedly regarded as one of the best kitmen around and tonight he didn't put a beat wrong.
A good night was had by all which wasn't as big an all as they deserved.
I'm not going to start preaching again save to ask the so-called moderns why miss an evening like this?
Having said that, the audience may have been small but it oozed quality in the form of bassists, drummers and a few saxy persons.
Lance.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Alexander Stewart & Alex Webb Trio @ Spice of Life. Special guests Denys Baptist & Abram Wilson

Alexander Stewart (vcl), Alex Webb (pno), Gary Crosby (bs), Andy Chapman (dms) + Denys Baptiste (ten), Abram Wilson (tpt), Paul Pace, Rosemary, Jennie, Christine (vcls).
Was this a gig or was this a gig!?
Alexander Stewart is one of the best young singers I've heard in many a year. Okay, so he relates to Bublé and, by those musical genetics to Sinatra, nevertheless he is is his own (young) man.
He literally took The Spice apart with his versions of "Too Marvelous For Words", "Young at Heart" and a variety of other standards such as Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover". "I'm in the Mood For Love", "Love me or Leave Me", "Body and Soul" plus a few originals written by pianist Alex Webb.
When Denys Baptiste joined in on tenor it became a kickass evening. The highspot for me was "You Don't Know Me". Baptiste's tenor scorched the rooftops whilst Alexander turned it into a 2009 torch song.
Something else!
There were so many more gems throughout.
Paul Pace sang a couple then introduced three girls who each did their own thing. After Rosie and Jennie had sung and swung "East of the Sun" and "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" respectively, a lass called Christine raised the game with her take on "Anthropology" - wow Christine I love you!
Then, just when you thought it was all over, during Alexander's final set on came Abram Wilson who blew some terrific trumpet on "All of Me". Abram has gigs coming up at Canterbury, Milton Keynes, London and beyond so check him out - he is the business.
To make the night complete, I sat in a corner like that guy Jackie Horner and made conversation with a chap who was drinking his curds and whey. (So I'm mixing him up with Little Miss Muffet? Poetic licence!)
Guess what? He came from Durham! And he played tenor! We had a thing or two in common!
Nice to meet you Tom - we'll keep in touch.
Then there was my buddy the doorman - if Down Beat ever have a poll for Doorman of the Year you will be up there.
Super night.
Lance

NEW JAZZ VENUE IN YORK

THE PHOENIX, 75 GEORGE STREET!!!! Check out the house band: Ian Chalk - trumpet George Hall - piano Ed Jackson - bass Dave Cook - drums SUNDAY 25TH OCTOBER 20:30-23:00 - BE THERE! Anna.

Don't Miss Friday @ The Saville!

This Friday sees the eagerly awaited launch of Ruth Lambert's new CD at the Saville Exchange, North Shields. So far everyone who has heard the disc has raved over it and this is the chance to hear it live and to meet the star herself. The accompanying sextet ccomprises Graeme Wilson (ten), Graham Hardy (tpt), Paul Edis (pno), Andy Champion (bs), Mark Williams (gtr), Tim Johnstone (dms) - six of the best! To recap on the 'First Lady' see: THE NORTH EAST’S FIRST LADY OF JAZZ IS BACK WITH HER SECOND ALBUM Lance.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pizza Express off the menu

The night began at Kentish Town. Emerging from the underground I was set upon by a host of ticket touts offering me tickets for The Forum - I declined and instead headed for The Oxford - a pub that advertised Jazz by the Loop Collective. I climbed the stairs to an attic sized room that reminded me of the ill-fated Side Café ran by the North East Jazz Collective in Newcastle. Four guys were meandering around a sequence - at this stage they outnumbered the audience. Didn't hang around and returned to city centre. A 'Blues Jam' at The Spice didn't appeal either - too loud - so I decided to hell with cost Ronnie's here I come. Sign up - "House Full". So what? Pizza Express is just around the corner so Pizza it was. Entry proved difficult but I found some stairs that took me into the venue. This was it! Tommy Whittle, Enrico Tomasso, Mark Nightingale and others blowing "9.20 Special". Great sound. I settled down at an out of the way table and prepared to enjoy the jazz and order when the waitress arrived. Barbara Jay took to the stage and sang "Let's Face The Music and Dance" (I think!). The waitress approached and I decided perhaps a "Margherita" or a "Hawaiian" would suit my tastebuds. The question became academic. "Do you have a reservation?" I confessed that, since I had split with Pocahontas, I no longer had a reservation but that I would like to order a pizza. "No reservation - no Pizza".
I explained that I was Tommy Whittle's number one fan.
"No reservation - no pizza."
I added that I was also Mark Nightingale's number one fan.
"No reservation - no pizza." I didn't bother adding Enrico Tomasso - I could see the lady was not for turning so I turned instead - just as Tommy Whittle blew a scintillating blast on whatever it was he was blasting on. I too was blasting. Maybe next time.
Lance.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Good Music and Good Food @ The Cherry Tree Restaurant. Chris Hibbard & The Paul Edis Trio.

Chris Hibbard (tmb), Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs), John Hirst (dms).
I'd been planning a visit to the Cherry Tree Restaurant on Jesmond's Osborne Road since they began the Monday night jazz sessions last month. I'm sorry I waited so long.
It was both a musical and a culinary experience.
I'd heard Chris Hibbard with the VOTNJO and its offshoot "Splinter" so I knew he was a top calibre trombonist. However, never having heard him in a small group setting I was curious as to what would emerge.
What did emerge was some lovely full toned playing reminiscent of the rich dry sound guys like Kai Winding and JJ used to get. Poetry.
A mix of standards and jazz classics such as "I'm Old Fashioned", "I Love You", "Come Rain or Come Shine", "Black Orpheus" a Herbie Hancock (remind me Paul) "Secret Love", "Beautiful Love", "Little Sunflower" and so on - you've got the picture.
Behind Chris, Paul, Mick and John Hirst were their usual consistent selves. What more do want for a tenner?
Well what you get is a two course meal as well as the music.
The food is superb.
For starters I had Fresh Squid with Smoked Paprika and Belly Pork all served in a delicious Sherry Vinegar. Succulent was the word that sprang to mind. For my main course I chose Venison Ragu on Fresh Egg Pappadelle and topped with Parmesan Cheese - mmmmm - give the chef a knighthood
The third course is optional.
I opted.
Tart Bourgunion with Vanilla Ice Cream.
Good food, good service and good music - is there a better recipe?
Getting back to the music, during the interval Jackie Cowan, pianistic veteran of clubs, cruises and cabaret, played a couple of numbers and demonstrated that he hasn't lost his touch. "You Make Me Feel So Young" and a medley that included "The Way You Look Tonight" made for a contrast. Nice to hear you again Jackie.
Lance.
PS: For afters I called in at the Corner House where the Vieux Carré Jazzmen purveyed their brand of New Orleans fayre.

Jazz in the Afternoon @ The Crescent Club Cullercoats.

Iain McAulay (tmb/vcl), Derek Fleck (clt/ten/bjo), Brian Chester (pno/tmb), Bill College (bs), Jim McKeown (dms), + Barry Soulsby (clt/vcl), Teresa Armstrong (vcl), Doris Fenn (bjo).
Always an air of gaity about at the Crescent Club which shows in the music. Nothing to be taken too serious - just Goodtime Jazz with a degree of hokum thrown into the mix.
Brian on keys had some inspired moments behind Barry Soulsby and Derek Fleck on "Bueno Sera". I must admit to misgivings when the tune was announced but pleased to say that once they'd despatched the melody both clarinetists played good solo's as well as duetting impressively - their individual lines interweaving contrapuntally - Barry lithe and sinuous, Derek meaty and forceful. Barry exercised his vocal chords too.
Must of the vocal work was done by Iain - "Doctor Jazz" and various blues. Teresa too had her regular workout - this time on "Unforgetable" followed by "That's All".
As well as the music an old cycling buddy, Jim Fleming, was in so a few memories were exchanged. As I left, Derek was unpacking his banjo - this I insist was pure coincidence and had nothing to do with me leaving!
Lance

Jenson - you owe it all to Tom Cawley.

Jenson Button has to be congratulated upon winning the Formula One Drivers Championship but really it was all down to Tom Cawley's Curios.
In January, at the Sage, Gateshead, he dedicated a piece to Jenson who, at the time, was unemployed.
The rest is history.
Well done Jenson and Tom Cawley!
Details. Lance.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Shelly Manne @ The Blackhawk.

Yesterday, as is my oft-time wont, I wandered lonely as a cloud in to South Shields' Market Place. After perusing the stalls I drifted out on a cloud clutching a piece of circular vinyl inside a square, cardboard envelope that had a design of some artistic merit on the front. It also had the words inscribed - "SHELLY MANNE & HIS MEN AT THE BLACK HAWK 1".
You've guessed it - it was a long playing record recorded in 1959 at the Black Hawk in San Francisco and featuring Shelly Manne (dms), Monty Budwig (bs), Victor Feldman (pno), Joe Gordon (tpt) and Richie Kamuca (ten).
A gem! And at only a quid, a bargain into the bargain.
Homeward bound, I took my seat on the Metro and perused the sleeve notes. As I read my jaw dropped and joy was replaced with sadness.
The reason for this change of mood? This was volume 1 and there were 3 other volumes which I didn't have - I'm a stickler for completeness.
The sadness increased when I played the disc. I wallowed in Joe Gordon's trumpet sound; so rich, so full and, even today, so modern. Richie Kamuca - a little bit of Lester Young and a whole lot of Richie. We've posted on Richie before and he is at his best here. Vic Feldman, great piano, Budwig sound and Shelly as good as they ever had on the West Coast.
Then it finished and I was left to dream and wish that I had the other 3 volumes. Would you believe but that, in my dreams, that new recruit to the angelic choir, Chris Connor, whispered in my ear?
"Try Spotify" she said.
You know what? All four volumes are on good old Spotty plus a volume 5!
Thank you Chris.
Lance.
PS: Okay, so maybe I'm romancing a little. I'll come clean and admit that Chris Connor didn't talk to me in my dreams.
PPS: It was Anita O' Day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Charity Event in Aid of Cystic Fibrosis

Not exactly a jazz gig but, with Brian Lynam of 'No Time For Jive' compering there's gonna be some good stuff around and a whole lot of blues.
Sax player James Vargas leads the entertainment which includes Val Dunmore, Ben 'E' Kings, Jade Thirlwell and Sheila Mallows. Comedian Derek Wade is also reputed to be giving out with the gags.
Tickets are £6 and £5 and the proceeds go to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust - a worthy cause.
It's on Thursday Oct. 22 @ Springs Health Centre, South Shields. 7:30 - 11:30 pm. Tickets from Springs Health Centre telephone 0191 4277888.
Lance.

THIS IS JAZZ - BY Annie O' Donnell (dedicated to Ron Mathewson who is the jazz master of glissando on the double bass)

falling over the chord into white notes dischords scream but if I wait in the suspended the other chords will come and carry me to resolution, resolved cadence improvise with the lies they've worn hackneyed words that have never played the voice that sings from the pit jazz was born in, from where the Spirit flew into wounds with a glissando from the hand of God to chase, to touch, to catch the note that beats in the heart so it runs like wild horses dancing with waves in the sea. That is Jazz. copyright Annie O' Donnell 2009

Memories are Made of This

Hi Lance, just caught the blog and saw photo of my old mate Dennis Healey on drums. He was a tremendous time keeper--so important for all the Shearing arrangements, but his Idol was Buddy Rich. I believe that I am the only one left from the band at 'La Dolce Vita', as Dennis, Ken Morrell, Derek Dixon, and Art Mowat are all gone--not sure about Bob Stephenson. Ah the memories!! Anne De Vere

Colin Aitchison and the China Coast Jazzmen. Sunday 11th October.

Normally known as the Ned Kelly’s Big Band, this approx. 14 piece band has been meeting here under the idiosyncratic direction of ex-Geordie Colin Aitchison for longer than even he would like to recall. But it’s as fresh and as much fun as it’s ever been, with an array of truly exceptional musicians from across the Hong Kong area, lined up in traditional Big Band format. Not only do the numbers trigger memories of the sins and sensations of youth for oldies, but they clearly resonate strongly with youngsters too, as demo’d by a couple of Aussie girls dancing on the benches and some impromptu modern dance on the tiny strip of floor boards in front of the band, which somehow manages to accommodate the larger than life Colin casting his magic spell over this great band.
Guest artists appear from time to time, all happy to expose themselves on the front line of battle with the massed troops of this eccentric body of musicians behind them, and tonight was no different with the hugely talented Phil Whelan dusting off his old clarinet and mixing it with the best. He acquitted himself more than honourably and earned a huge round of applause, which persuaded him to join the ranks and carry on playing for the rest of the gig.
After an evening of visits to the 40s and 50s the final set comprised a terrific Glenn Miller homage and the band excelled itself in its delivery of so many well loved numbers. It was humbling to think just what a talent that man possessed. He’d have loved this band; it’s just so infectiously joyous!
I can’t wait till the next gig. Don’t miss it on Sunday 8th November at 6.00pm.
Photos (They follow the Tim Garland set.)
Mark Monument

The Lighthouse Trio in Hong Kong.13th October 2009

Tim Garland (reeds), Gwylym Simcock (pno), Asaf Sirkis (perc.)
I caught the amazing Lighthouse Trio at the Luxe Hotel in Kowloon last night and can truly say they are the band to see at the moment. Not only do they play exquisitely, but with real passion and a sense of danger - always a must for me in any music - but this was vertiginous danger. Their rapport and ensemble is just so sorted, though they escape catastrophe in one mighty bound every time.
This is a fusion of virtuosic playing and 6th sense sensibilities that can only be heard to be believed. Tim Garland on bass clarinet and B flat saxes, Gwylym Simcock on the hotel’s Yamaha acoustic grand and Asaf Sirkis playing his eclectic array of percussion are musicians of supreme skill and talent of course, but as an ensemble it is hard to think of another which could reach the level of the bar they’ve set.
Much of the material was from their excellent CD “Libra” – an absolute MUST for discriminating music lovers. Tim’s original compositions presented a mix of inspirations, ideas and concepts, and the additional material ranging from a homage to The Beatles’ “Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night” to Miles Davies/Bill Evans’ “Blue in Green,” segueing into the outrageous “Tango,” gives you a clue to the soundscapes created.
The peerless Gwylym Simcock spent quite a while virtually inside the piano using it as an extra percussion kit and vibration chamber to create extraordinary and beautiful complementary sounds, but it was on the keys that he was, simply, stunning. In raging tempests of notes and rhythms, delicate little fragments and crazily soaring lines he extended the composition ideas to the farthest reaches of the imagination. Just when you thought it was out of control, Tim and Asaf joined him seamlessly with unison melodic and rhythmic threads; it was you who’d lost it, not them. Asaf Sirkis is clearly a unique percussionist in this field. The trademark Udu, his wonderful clay pot of a “drum+bass” was absent due to the dangers of transport and the sheer weight of the thing not being welcome on aeroplanes, but it was replaced by the novel Hang Drum, a kind of pentatonic steel pan but with a delicate ring of its own. It featured, exquisitely, in “Old Man Winter,” mesmerising the audience with its ethereal sound.
With such a creative guy in command of a percussion empire, expectations were high of course, but Asaf exceeded them within moments of putting hand and stick to skin and steel; his playing was dazzling, subtle, imaginative and compelling throughout the gig.
The Hong Kong International Jazz Festival has to be congratulated on selecting the Lighthouse Trio as the UK representative, and all credit goes to them for their choice; but surely not even they could have known just what a dazzling jewel they’d discovered. They do now. Fabulous stuff!
Mark Monument.

Proms 2009 re-visited

Have a look at this, Lance, it's terrific. Brian Bennett http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f93P5iF8OWs

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Century Ragtime Orchestra - Jazz at the Fell.

Jim McBriarty, Gavin Lee, Steve Andrews (reeds), Caroline Irwin, ? , (cor), Neville Hartley (tmb), ? (vln), Phil Rutherford (sousa), Keith Stephen (bjo/gtr), Pete Soulsby (dms).
Liverpool play Sunderland tomorrow without Stephen Gerrard. The New Century Ragtime Orchestra played Jazz at the Fell tonight without Caroline's cheerful chirping.
Our Fair Lady was recuperating from a sore throat and, as such, her activities were restricted to blowing second cornet.
Truly disappointing. However, troupers that they are, the Centurians still gave a fine performance of hot dance music from in and around the First World War.
Jimmy Mac supplied most of the vocals, including a spirited rendition of "Putting on the Ritz". Jim also played clarinet, alto and baritone. "Doing the new Lowdown" was another peppy number with an Hawkinsian solo from Steve that inspired the dancers to take to the floor.
It has to be said that, when it comes to dancing, The Fell outshines any of its peers. Apart from Mr and Mrs Pollard who are inevitably at the centre of any light fantastic tripping there was another couple who, I swear heavens to Betsy, were doing the Turkey Trot!
I can't criticise this band. It is what it is and it probably does it as good as if not better than any other band playing in this style. NCRO I take off my dark brown derby to you. Caroline, the Gee's Linctus is on me.
The moral of tonight's gig? Sunderland - don't take Liverpool, without Gerrard or t'other fellow, for granted.
Lance.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Zoe Gilby & Andy Champion @ Blaydon Jazz Club.

Zoe Gilby (vcl), Andy Champion (bs).
The singer who decides to do a number accompanied only by double bass walks a musical tightrope. The failure rate is high. Fortunately, the fall is cushioned by the safety net of having the comfort zone of a band to fall back on in the next number.
However, when the chanter elects to play a whole gig with only the bass for support then there ain't no safety net and disaster beckons with every note.
That no such catastrophe occurred tonight speaks volumes for Zoe and Andy performing only their second gig as a duo.
"Time After Time", "Comes Love", "Nice Work If You Can Get it," "Round Midnight", "One Note Samba" were just some of the mouthwatering gems Sir Andrew and Dame Zoe treat the Blaydon faithful to. "A Weaver of Dreams" - absolutely ravishing - "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" aaah - Roberta Flack, Clint Eastwood and the film "Play Misty for Me". I could feel the hair curling on the back of my neck as Zoe brought back memories of that scary film. Among it all Andy performed like an orchestra in support of his future missus. His solos were something else too.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was when Zoe introduced a song written by one of Bebop Spoken Here's contributers. I refer to George Milburn.
"Take It Easy ...But Take It." was given its world premiere tonight in Blaydon. Well done George we are proud of you it's got a clever lyric - it's a good song and Zoe and Andy did it justice.
In the final "West Coast Blues" Zoe ad libbed tributes to George, Roly who organised the gig, and to Bebop Spoken Here - nice one Zoe.
Lance.

Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie Malone's South Shields.

Mick Hill (tpt), Iain McAulay (tmb), Jim McBriarty (clt), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Tommy Graham (dms), Olive Rudd (vcl).
When I pass through the (hypothetical) bat wing doors of 'Rosie's' waterfront (ish) saloon I am drawn to evoke the memory of Earthquake McGoon's back in ole 'Frisco in the 1950's when the music was provided by Turk Murphy or maybe the Firehouse Five + 2. Not that I was ever in Mr. McGoon's establishment or indeed in Frisco - save in my dreams - but Rosie Malone's has that feel about it.
That feeling was amplified by today's edition of the Maine Streeters - a whole different ballgame! This was thanks to Mick Hill who added the vital missing ingredient - a trumpet in the front line.
They sounded great with everyone seemingly inspired by Mick's punchy lead that made for good solos all round.
Olive, needless to say, was in fine voice - with such good stuff going on around her, how could she not be?
Bill Shaw equated Malcolm Armstrong with Ralph Sutton and he wasn't far wrong. Iain McAulay blew some fine trombone and Jim was as urbane as ever on clarinet.
Alongside Malcolm, Alan and Tommy ensured that the ship stayed on course.
When Herbie went on holiday he left behind him a band. When he returns next week he'll find he has a BAND!
Lance.

Monday Date

Russell has kindly directed to me to an exciting new series on Radio 2.
Starting this Monday, October 19, at 11:30 pm, Curtis Stigers, no less, hosts a program detailing the rise to fame of Benny Goodman.
The six part series includes archive interviews with such as Peggy Lee, Buddy Greco, Artie Shaw and Lionel Hampton. Dankworth's in there too.
Should be well worth twiddling the cat's whisker on your crystal set. Alternatively BBC iplayer will do the biz.
Earlier on 2, the BBC Big Band do it at 10:00 pm whilst over on Radio 3 there's a lunchtime concert (1:00 pm) from Wigmore Hall by the trio Arthurs, Hoiby, Ritchie who perform a variety of compositions by New Generation artist Tom Arthurs.
In the evening, Jazz on 3 present a gig by US Sax player Darius Jones and his trio recorded live in New York. This goes out at 11:15 clashing with the Benny Goodman program on 2 - nice one BBC!
Lance.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

70 Good Reasons For going to the Chilli.

Alan Glen (pno), John Pope (bs), David Carnegie (dms).
Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Barrie Ascroft (pno), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms) + Harley Johnson (pno), Chris Finch (pno).
Once again Alan Glen, ably abetted by David Carnegie and John Pope, hit the spot as they laid down their marker on numbers such as "If I Should Lose You", "I Hear a Rhapsody", "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To", a version of "Easy Living" that was so evocative it was almost erotic!
"I Thought About You" - always a fave of mine - was given an unusual semi rock/latin rhythm that seemed to work.
As we have come to expect from Alan a couple of Bud Powellish boppers - "Bud's Bubble" and a one whose name escapes me. They swung like the proverbial.
Throughout, John Pope's bass playing was rocklike in ensemble yet full of subtle humour in his solos. His prowess continues to grow - he's a contender.
On drums, David, the undefeated champ, drove the trio forward - his inevitable workout at the end proving he had technique to spare.
For an encore - "Blue Monk".
As good a set as any Alan has laid down over the past year or so.
Earlier, Dave W - filling out a Miles Davis tee shirt that was lovingly created by partner Judith and daughter ? for his big 70 opened up with a powerful vocal on "On Green Dolphin Street" This was so gutsy it could have been re-titled "Down Green Dolphin Alley". "Five Brothers" swung along and I was delighted to hear "Some Time Ago" again. This is the waltz I heard - not so long ago - Frank Brooker and Dave Cliff play at Blaydon last week. Dave very thoughtfully dug it out of his pad so I could hear it again. thank you Dave. The set closed with "Whisper Not" and "Stella By Starlight".
After Alan's set, Harley sat in for a wild "Well You Needn't" - I hope he didn't fire that at the Blue Peter crowd! (Watch out for it in December.) It rocked it swung it was Monastic to the extreme. Eric had a brilliant exchange and Jim kept it all within the bounds of sanity.
Chris took over on "All The Things You Are" - not the best tune to be hit with in an unfamiliar key but he coped manfully.
If you examine the photo you'll gasp and then marvel at its rarity - Dave blowing unmuted!
The evening finished off with an over extended version of "Wave".
Pleased to see some new faces in the audience.
Lance.
PS: Dave's birthday coincided with that of Art Blakey so a belated many happy returns Dave.

Tribute to Gerry Mulligan - in Kent!

Memo to JNE. The Baritone Band sounds rather intriguing - if they ever hit the road, Chris, they may well be worthy of a Corner House gig. I'll nip down to the RAFA Club and check them out if you'll pay my expenses. 16 Oct 2009 - The Baritone Band-Tribute to Gerry Mulligan RAFA Club, Building No. 4, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TX Admission £10. 8.30pm start .
The Baritone band featuring Derek Nash, Alan Barnes and Andy Panayi in a tribute to Gerry Mulligan.
Plus Simon Woolf on bass, the outstanding Ralph Salmins (drums) and as a special treat the best trombonist in Europe Mark Nightingale.
Thanks to our Kentish Man, Willie the Lion Smith, for this info.
Lance.

A Grand Omission

In reviewing events at last weekend's On The Outside Festival I completely forgot to mention two of the stalwarts behind the scenes. Fred Grand and his partner Louise ensured musicians were transported from hotel to venue and back again, got them on and off stage to schedule and acted as sight - seeing hosts. Thank you Fred and thank you Louise.
Check out Fred's excellent blog www.africpepperbird.blogspot.com.
Russell.

RIP Al Martino

No one would ever charge Al Martino with being a jazz singer. Nevertheless, he could interpret a lyric and his repertoire included many great standards.
He played a significant role in my life inasmuch as he was the first American singer/musician I ever saw live. Early 1950's - Newcastle Empire. I can still recall him walking on stage wearing a dark blue tuxedo and opening up with "I've Got The World on a String" - it was also the first time I'd ever heard that song.
For that memory alone I am saddened but I'll remember him too for his part in "The Godfather".
Al Martino died, aged 82, October 13, 2009. He was a legend.

Lasting Tribute site. Obit. Lance.

TONIGHT @ THE CHILLI

It's time for the monthly visit by the Alan Glen Trio - that's the inscrutable Alan on piano - John 'The Hat' Pope on bass and David Carnegie - named after the concert hall because that's where he's heading - on drums. Dave Weisser and the Take it to the Bridge 'boys' will be around and, hopefully, so will Harley Johnson and who knows who else? To find out, get there for 8 PM. Lance. PS: Admission is but a mere pound coin - is that a deal or is that a deal?

Arthur Prysock and Count Basie

Another gem from Hil - Arthur Prysock singing with the Count Basie Orchestra.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Somewhere East of Suez...

Colin Aitchison sent me this link to his big band session in Kowloon. Lance.

Books in Bill Quay

Once upon a time, as all good stories used to begin, there were bookshops everywhere. New ones, old ones, rare ones, specialised ones.
Now there is Waterstones and Borders.
I've nothing against those two stores - they sell books and I love books.
However, buying a new book can never replace the thrill of discovering an unknown gem in a second-hand bookshop. Yet, because of the paucity of stores dealing solely in used books, another thrill has been added - that of finding a second-hand bookshop!
Okay, I know there is no shortage of charity shops selling books - Oxfam even have ones selling nothing else - but it always appears to me that the charity shops all have the same books on their shelves!
Therefore, it was with unmitigated delight that I came across Bill Quay Books. That's right a bookshop in Bill Quay - a suburb of Gateshead!
So what has this to do with jazz?
Nothing! except that they had quite a few jazz books in the Music and Biography sections - although they had two less after I left clutching copies of Robert Hilbert's biog. of Pee Wee Russell & Bill Milkowski's "Swing It!" - An annotated History of Jive.
This is a small oasis in the cultural desert check it out.
Lance.
PS: Most of the above remarks could also apply to second-hand record stores.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Curtis Stigers @ The Sage, Gateshead.

Curtis Stigers (vcl/ten), Scrapper Sneider (tpt), Mathew Fries (pno), Cliff Schmidtt (bs), Keith Hall (dms).
This was a well attended gig. The Sage wasn't sold out but there were enough punters to fill the average jazz club for six months maybe a year.
Having said that, it wasn't a jazz audience - it was a middle class, 30 +, crowd with not quite enough '12 o' clocktails' under the belt to totally stray from their comfort zone. As a friend remarked, "When they don't clap after a sizzling solo (from trumpet player Sneider) you know it's not a jazz crowd.
Nevertheless, let's accentuate the positive side of things.
It was an enjoyable evening. Stigers didn't blow much tenor but his voice always has a jazzy tinge to it and the final "Wee Small Hours of the Morning" was a worthy addition to the rota of fine singers who have sang the Dave Mann/Bob Hilliard classic - it's also on his latest album.
The opener, "The Beatles' "I Feel Fine" had moments verging on the edge of hard bop with Scrapper Sneider blowing some telling Clifford Brown inspired phrases. On piano, Mathew also 'fried'.
Perhaps the best number was a Tom Waits ballad - the title of which escapes me - Curtis really got inside this one.
"My Funny Valentine", one of the few standards, was marred by an irritating drum rhythm early on but built up to such a fantastic climax that all was forgiven!
Bob Dylan, Annie Lennox, John Lennon, Joe Jackson were all represented in Stigers' choice of songs and whilst it may not have been jazz for the purist there was enough hovering around the edges to send all but the mosted bigoted fan home happy.
Love to hear him and the band in a club.
Only regret is that he didn't lay "Going Back To Joe's" on us.
Oh yes - one other regret - car park charges! Plenty material there for singing the blues.
Lance.

A Tale of Misspent Youth

I was sitting in the pub after one of the free jazz gigs when Dave Clarke (D.Clarke of the Parish of Jazz North East) regaled all present with the story of how, in his youth, he and a friend hitch-hiked from Nottingham to Skegness to be at that unmissable concert featuring the one and only... Acker Bilk! Hoots of laughter eventually subsided whereupon I said 'I'll blog that one'. I resisted considerable sums of money not to disclose such potentially damaging information. I say 'Publish and be damned!'
Russell.

On The Outside Festival. Sunday Oct. 11 part 2.

A fifth and final evening session was to come but first it was time for a quick pint in the pub across the road.
Seven o'clock approached and it was time to return to Gateshead's most welcoming Old Town Hall for the finale which opened with Marilyn Crispell performing solo before being joined by Raymond Macdonald for a short duo piece.
The remainder of the programme was a cornucopia of delights. The sets, programmed by the musicians themselves, took the form of a series of brief duo and trio encounters producing highlight upon highlight. The last word, musically speaking, went to Marilyn Crispell and Chad Taylor. The perfect ending. The events of the three days were captured on canvas by Gina Southgate, Artist in Residence. Gina worked unstintingly alongside the musicians producing a series of paintings capturing the very essence of the world that is free jazz. Her work will be exhibited at Newcastle Arts Centre (Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne) from Saturday 24th October. All are welcome to attend the opening at 6.00.p.m. on the evening of 24th October. An alternative take on the events can be viewed online at www.musicfilmbroth.com . Many thanks to Mark for making available this invaluable resource. Thanks to Northern Rock Foundation for making a generous award, without which On the Outside would not be possible. Finally, many thanks to Sue Hurrell and collegues at Gateshead Arts & Libraries assisted by Charlie, Chris and countless others for making it all happen at such a great venue. Russell

On The Outside Festival. Sunday Oct. 11 part 1.

Day 3.
A festival on the scale of On the Ouside is a major undertaking with hiccups such as delayed arrivals at airport or railway station being nothing unusual. Early Sunday afternoon presented another challenge with the Tyne Bridge all but inaccesible due to major traffic jams to the north and south of the river.
This, the penultimate session, got underway shortly after the advertised start time of two o'clock with, inevitably, one or two latecomers rushing into the hall to hear the first set. Four musicians; one from Brazil, one from Germany, one from Scotland and one hailing from just around the corner.
South American cellist Marcio Mattos, a veteran on the free jazz scene, linked up with bass clarinetist Rudi Mahall (a vital presence throughout the weekend), Graeme Wilson (tenor and baritone saxes) and Guitar Rising Star (as 'Down Beat' would put it) Chris Sharkey. Mahall's sound is gutteral, insistent, urgent. Foot-tapping, in something approximating a syncopated style, he leads the ensemble first this way then that. Wilson, cool, detached, listening all the while, never wastes a note. Sharkey, Gateshead born, is a remarkable talent. Technique, style, vocabulary - he's got it all. A good start to the afternoon.
The second set presented the duo of New Yorkers Rob Brown (alto sax) and Daniel Levin (cello). Brown is, as they say, 'the real deal'. Gifted, with a disguised bop sensibility, he knows what to play, when to play it and crucially when not to. Levin is a quite sensational cellist with a dazzling technique (imagine Du Pre or Isserlis as a jazz or free jazz player) and a pork pie hat to boot! I'd venture to say this was the set of the weekend.
The following set saw one change to the advertised line-up with drummer Chad Taylor being replaced by Gunter Sommer. 'Baby' Sommer was joined on stage by the brilliant French bassist Bruno Chevillon, pianist Marilyn Crispell (possibly the stellar name at this year's festival) and 'Man About Gateshead' Chris Sharkey. Sommer and Sharkey traded, Crispell captivated, Chevillon conquered.
Andy Champion had a hand in determining the cast list for the afternoon's closing set. A long time admirer of French guitar virtuoso Marc Ducret, Andy insisited that he share the stage with him at some point. So, this was his opportunity in the company of Raymond MacDonald and Alan Tomlinson. Champion favoured a percussive approach with extensive use of the mallet. The session drew to a close with hand shakes all round.
Russell.

Update on Zoe Gilby and Andy Champion

This must have been a pretty good week for Zoe and Andy - the north-east jazz world's favourite couple. Not only did Andy's new band, AVC, play a storming debut gig at the Bridge Hotel on Thursday but basso supremo Andy also, I'm told, excelled in exalted company during the weekend's "On The Outside Festival" at Gateshead Town Hall.
He also found time to nip away and accompany Zoe on a duo set at Marsden (Yorkshire) Jazz Festival without missing a beat!
I'm told the couple did good at Marsden.
If you missed it the good news is that you should gan (go) along the Scotswood Road to Blaydon CIU Club on Thursday night where, at 8:30 pm, they do it all again in the "cosy lounge."
The bad news is that it is only a small room so get there early.
Lance.

Harry Allen - 43 today.

I love Harry Allen's tenor playing - it's straight down the middle swing and he's only 43! Makes me feel ancient.
So happy birthday Harry.
I also love this Facebook comment to Harry from that delightful diva Ann Hampton Callaway: "Have a sensational birthday, Harry - because we're all wild about you!"
Lance. PS: Come to think of it I am ancient...ish.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Jazz Messengers - A Night in Tunisia

Hil has pointed out to me that today was Art Blakey's birthday. Had he lived he'd have been 90. As it was he died in 1990. The anniversary of his death is on Friday - October 16 so let's remember perhaps the greatest modern jazz drummer and certainly the greatest hard bop band of them all. Lance

On the Outside Festival. Saturday October 10. Part 2

The Saturday evening session, the third of five across the weekend, was supported by several music students from Leeds College of Music. The first set they heard featured Gunter Sommer and Rudi Mahall. Well, you couldn't do better than to introduce students to the free jazz scene with characters such as these on stage. The set will will go down in history as one of the greatest to be heard in these parts. Too much to tell, not least the contributions of Chevillon and Fuhler, so if you see anyone you know who was there on the night, just ask them about it. How to follow it? Well, the authoritative playing of Rob Brown was called for and there he was on stage with MacDonald, Tomlinson and Wilson. The sets throughout the weekend are programmed by Paul Bream (and the musicians themselves). So, was this a master stroke or simply good fortune? A mixture of the two to be truthful. Paul says you never know what will happen on the night. The penultimate set of day two brought together once more Mahall and Sommer with cellist Marcio Mattos and the prodigiously talented Chris Sharkey. Guitarist Sharkey, hot foot from an engagement at the Marsden Jazz Festival, arrived in time to say he was really looking forward to playing this particular set. He wasn't disappointed. The eccentrics that are Mahall and Sommer were quite brilliant, Mattos a class act and Sharkey loved it! The sustained applause at the conclusion of the performance was well deserved. The second day drew to a close with an unusual proposition; five string players and Cor Fuhler. One observer suggested it could be 'string heavy'. The instrumentation was at the suggestion of pianist Fuhler (his alter ego performs as 'Cor Blimey' - yes, he is a wit!). The playing was engaging, strings singing as if they were reeds. Take a bow Messers. Champion, Chevillon, Levin and Mattos. Take a bow too Cor Fuhler.
Russell

On the Outside Festival. Saturday October 10.

Day two...
Saturday dawned, bleary - eyed from being ensconsed the previous evening in one of Tyneside's great pubs to sup a post Festival pint (or three) in the company of musicans performing at the On the Outside Festival. The first set of the afternoon session featured three Europeans; the good humoured pianist Cor Fuhler, Geman Rudi Mahall (bass clarinet) and genial Scot Raymond MacDonald (alto & soprano sax) and one American visitor, the laconic Chad Taylor (drums). The set was just what was needed; one to wake the dead (perhaps not for those nursing hangovers!) Blistering stuff with Mahall in top gear from the off. The following set was, as they say, ''something else''. The delayed appearance at Gateshead Old Town Hall of percussionist Gunter 'Baby' Sommer was well worth the wait. Professor Sommer (he is indeed an academic) gave a stunning performance in two duo settings. First with Marc Ducret then Raymond MacDonald. Sommer, a striking looking character, is a visual treat. He gave a theatrical masterclass. Kansas City swing to avant improv with technique to spare. The theatrical side is straight out of the Han Bennink school of drumming. Guitarist Ducret enjoyed the experience as did reedsman MacDonald. The audience was enthralled. Set three pitted local hero Andy Champion against Americans Rob Brown and Chad Taylor. Alto saxophonist Brown is a formidable player, Taylor likewise, yet our boy Andy got in there and did the business! The final set of the afternoon introduced the unavoidably delayed French double bassist Bruno Chevillon. The Frenchman arrived at the venue straight from the airport having travelled all day (missing a connection along the way!) and I for one had been eagerly anticipating his participation. Chevillon is a long time musical associate of Marc Ducret and it was fitting that they were together on stage during Bruno's first contribution to On the Outside. A five piece gathering (Alan Tomlinson, trombone, Marilyn Crispell, piano and Graeme Wilson, reeds) gave Chevillon the chance to settle in with Tomlinson prominent from the outset. Ducret established the soundscape in tandem with Wilson and Crispell. Chevillon impressed from his first note. He produced a beautiful tone and showed a flawless technique. Russell.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

On The Outside Festival. Friday October 9.

The annual jamboree that is On the Outside got under way on Friday night at Gateshead Old Town Hall. Five sessions over three days, fifteen musicians - it makes for a lot of music with seemingly infinite permutations.
Tonight's session offered something for everyone. The first set featured two Americans - cellist Daniel Levin and drummer Chad Taylor joined by Raymond MacDonald, an affable Scot, playing alto and soprano saxophones. Brilliant, at times furious playing.
The second set was, for this correspondent at least, an eagerly awaited match-up; Gateshead lad Chris Sharkey and French superstar Marc Ducret (guitarists of the highest calibre) were joined on stage by Honorary Geordie Graeme Wilson (tenor and baritone saxophones) and piano virtuoso Cor Fuhler.
The outcome was somewhat surprising - the fireworks were kept in the box for another day. Sharkey stalked his pray but didn't attack and in turn Ducret held his foe at arm's length. Indeed Wilson and Fuhler ensured things remained civilised. A good set.
North east bassist par excellance Andy Champion was presented with a real challenge in being in the company of trombonist Alan Tomlinson and Rudi Mahall (bass clarinet). Tomlinson started with a brilliant solo piece and was then joined by Champion and Mahall for what was possibly the highlight of the evening. Champion was every bit the equal of his vastly experienced musical partners.
The final set was the heavyweight bout of the evening - Rob Brown (alto saxophone), Marilyn Crispell (piano), Marcio Mattos (cello & electronics) and Chad Taylor (depping for Gunter Sommer). Sound balance difficulties not withstanding this was a quality set.
More to come Saturday and Sunday.
See you there.
Russell .

THOSE PORTHOLE BLUES AGAIN

It’s Tuesday again and the sun in the Stella is shining. Yellow dust fills the dappled Porthole with a Golden Fleece and the jazz, hot jazz, belts out raging from this pulsating lounge. The saints and ghosts of ancient seamen go marching in. Let the liquid trumpet pour out, my legs slide to the floor with the trombone lilt. Cry me this river, lurch for the ferry. I will ping the dart of a blue note through your soul. I am only a poet, a saxophone with words, an improvising shantyman thanking the landlord for still serving me: despite all this poetry slurping, this lovely drivel dribbling from my wicked Geordie tongue. KEITH ARMSTRONG

Friday, October 09, 2009

'Basie'cally Gershwin & Porter - Customs House Big Band & Ruth Lambert

Paul Riley-Gledhill, Michael Lamb, Simon Dennis, ? (tpts); Mike Fletcher, Gareth Weaver, Chris Gurgit-Smith, (tmb); Peter Morgan (ldr/bs tmb); Jill Brett (alt/flt), Jim McBriarty (alt); Alan Marshall, Leah Tether (ten), Chris Kaberry (bar); Bill Brittainn (pno), Roy Willis (gtr), John Pope (bs), Ian Wynd (dms). Ruth Lambert (vcl).
There were a number of changes since I last heard the band at South Shields' Customs House - whether they were permanent or deps I don't know. Whatever, it didn't diminish the power of the band who, particularly in the Basie section of the program, displayed dynamic awareness.
Alan Marshall played some corking tenor solos and Jill Brett blew full toned alto as well as leading the section. Jazzman Jim McBriarty depped for 'Lainey' but didn't solo.
Chris Gurgit-Smith had a really beautiful trombone sound. Rich and meaty like the Milt Bernhardt of the Kenton and Riddle orchestras he excelled on "I've Got Rhythm."
Young Simon Dennis on trumpet had some exploratory solos that contrasted nicely with the Power of Paul Riley-Gledhill and Michael Lamb who leads his own big band at Cluny 2 on Oct. 30.
The rhythm section was first class with the ubiquitous John Pope, once he'd got miked-up, his usual tower of strength. Bill Brittain had some lovely intros to the Basie ballads as well as working out on "The Kid From Redbank." Roy Willis chorded effectively whilst Ian Wynd on drums booted things along.
Peter Morgan led from the front and kept the audience amused with his introductory spiel to each piece.
Which brings me to Ruth. The girl seems to get better each time around. The Gershwin/Porter songs could have been written with Ruth in mind so effectively did she interpret the clever lyrics.
In "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" she sang the rarely heard second verse.
Saint Patrick's Day,
Although I may,
Be seen wearing green with a Paddy,
I'm always sharp when playing the harp,
'Cause my heart belongs to daddy.
Though other dames
At football games
May long for a strong undergraddy,
I never dream
Of making the team,
'Cause my heart belongs to daddy.
Super Cole Porter, Super band and Super Ruth. Oh and let's not forget mister Superstar Gershwin - Ruth's emotive version of "The Man I Love" slid nicely into the Bill Holman up tempo chart of the same tune for an effective finale.
Can't wait to catch her again at her CD launch on Oct 23 or with the band when they return to the Customs House in March next year.
Lance.
PS: And - one more time for Count Basie.
PPS: And - one more one time for Peter Morgan.

ACV @ The Bridge Hotel 8th October - Take 2

A breath of fresh air blew through the northeast jazz scene last night - sometimes a zephyr of haunting harmonies from a bowed bass and Rhodes piano, then whisked up to a cyclonic spiral of gale force Strat - through The Rat - vying with the tenor 'til at last, together in a screaming high speed gust, they blew the hat off the cat!
Thank God the castle was built on Drummer Rock - no name running through these sticks, just a Biggles scarf strafed by a funky wind. Andy Champion's V-tet, ACV, 1st public offering, and what an offering it was, from 'Quins' Adrian Tillbrook (drums), Paul Edis (keyboards), Graeme Wilson (saxes), Mark Williams (guitars) and the man himself on double bass.
This was high jazz with altitude, aye, altitude! mostly Andy's own compositions, with the exception of Hackensack so beautifully, Monkishly fragmented you could feel the master's presence. Cryptic titles like, 'A Line Made by Walking', 'You add to my Stress', 'Without Bones' didn't disappoint, my personal favourite being what I can only describe, pretentiously, as a 3rd Stream tone poem, 'And You Do' - starting out as a Celtic prayer - bass and keyboards whispering in the misty dawn, asking forgiveness for the pitched battle to come, where Strat axe and tenor sax slice the air, scream blue murder and then, it's all over - the reprised lament takes us from the reddened field to a higher place: The Head of Steam opposite the Central Station to drink to ACV's further triumphs.
Only one word for this performance: 'Magic Darts'!
(For guitar anoraks looking at the photo, to let the Strat cool down, Mark picked up an 81 Gibson 347 for several numbers)
(Photo - thanks to Hilary Gilby)
(Door - thanks to Zoe!) George M.

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
PS:I don't care what your political views are - you can love or hate Cameron, Clegg, Milliband, Farage, Genghis Khan or Julius Caesar - just don't air them here!
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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