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Bebop Spoken There

Howard Riley: “When I started out playing jazz back in the late 50s, early 60s, if you wanted a gig you had to learn some standards.” – (Jazz Journal April 2017)

Eric Harland: “I love swing and I’m always going to swing but I also know that you can take a hip-hop groove and improvise with that just like you would with a swing pattern.” – (Jazz Journal April 2017)

Today Wednesday April 26

Afternoon.
Vieux Carre Jazzmen - Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.
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Evening.
Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. £1. 8pm.
Levee Ramblers NOJB - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Road, Springwell, Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:30pm. £3.00.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

THE RIVER CITY JAZZMEN-- REPRINTED FROM JUST JAZZ INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE. Part Three.

In the trumpet chair is Ray Harley. Ray learned his trade in the City of Coventry band before playing in the Mecca and Top Rank dance bands of the period. He became a devotee of small band jazz in 1990, playing in bands around Teeside, and has appeared in the Sacramento Jazz Festival on two occasions. ln 2001 Ray won the BBC Radio 2 Musician of the Year award for his playing in the Radio 2 big band competition with the Hartlepool based band, Musicians Unlimited. He joined the River City in 1996. Our clarinet and sax player is Bill Smith. Bill started gigging around Kettering in 1945 and moved up to Sunderland in the early 1950’s, where he played with Roy Fox and the Don Smith band. Bill first appeared on the Newcastle jazz scene in the mid seventies, playing with the Saratoga Jazzmen. He joined the River City in 1986 and has remained with them ever since. Bill also plays with the Darlington Saxophone Quartet, a favourite of his. The youngest member is Keith Stephen on banjo and guitar. He started off at 16 on bass guitar at school, then whilst at Wolverliampton Poly took up banjo and guitar before moving up to Newcastle and joining Brian Carrick’s band in 1991. He also played for some years in Marilyn Middleton Pollocks Chicago Hoods and finally became a permanent member of the River City in 2000. Keith is also a keen advocate of the music of Django Reinhardt and formed his Gypsy Jazz group which includes other members of the River City in 2003. He is also a constant member of the Lake Records All Stars run by Paul Adams. On Bass we have Bill Brooks, who has been interested in jazz since the age of eight! Bill started off by taking piano lessons, then later took up guitar and banjo. He played around the North East for a time until taking up the double bass in 1961 to join the Vieux Cane Jazzmen, staying for ten years. There followed a spell in the Saratoga Jazzmen before joining the River City in 1978. Bill regards himself privileged to have backed some of the best British and American jazz musicians over the years. Our drummer and vocalist is Fred Thompson. He first got involved with jazz in 1958 helping out on drums with various north-east bands, and has been kept busy doing mostly trio and quartet work over the years. He first tried singing in 1967, and, in his own words, “when nobody complained I just carried on”! Fred joined the band in 2001. Trombone player and leader of the band is Gordon Solomon. Like Bill Brooks, Gordon has been interested in traditional jazz from an early age, listening to his cousins large collection of records from the age often. He formed his first band while still at Grammar school in 1962 then joined the Pheonix Jazzinen in 1965, until leaving to join the River City in 1975. He also was one of the founder members of the infamous Newcastle Big Band, in which he played for four years. Gordon’s favourite bands include George Lewis and Wilbur de Paris. So what of the future? It is slightly depressing that, certainly in the North-East of England there seems to be no up and coming young musicians willing to listen to and learn to play traditional jazz music, regardless of whether it is New Orleans based or otherwise. I personally wonder where the bands will be in say ten years time, - lets all hope that there will be another revivalist upsurge as there was in the 1940’s. Gordon Solomon 2005. POST SCRIPT The band has been struggling to maintain a permanent membership for some time now, and this has meant that rehearsals and therefore playing arranged numbers had almost ceased. In fact most of our performances were basically “Jam Sessions”, and we all agreed that it was becoming difficult to keep up our enthusiasm. Combined with the fact that I found that blowing the trombone was becoming increasingly uncomfortable due to a hiatus hernia problem (something I’ve had all my life but not as bad as this!) I thought that it was wise to cease playing for the time being. I would certainly hope to get back into the local jazz scene sometime in the future.
Gordon Solomon 2010.

1 comment :

  1. Hi, I am wondering if anyone has the full recording of the concert recorded at the wheatsheaf hotel, in the early 80's.
    I was the drummer on that recording and all i have is the edited CD.

    ReplyDelete

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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.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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