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Bebop Spoken There

Chris Batchelor: “At [Sage] Gateshead, Ashley [Slater] asked the audience how many of them had seen Loose Tubes before: it wasn’t the majority.” - (Jazz Journal October 2015).

Mundell Lowe: “In the States, that's where jazz is--out in the schools. Not in the cities; they couldn't care less about jazz” – (Crescendo November 1975).


Today Tuesday October 13

Mosaic Jazz (Playing a celebration of American music) - Bell and Bucket, 37 Norfolk St, North Shields, Tyne and Wear NE30 1NQ. 1pm.
Rendezvous Jazz - Red Lion, Front St., Earsdon NE28 9JU. 1pm. Free.
Robert Cray Band - Sage Gateshead. £29.50/£39.50. 7:30pm.
Charles Gordon/Ken Hewitt Trio - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Newcastle. 7.30-10pm. Free.
Gavin Lee’s Dixieland Band - New Inn, 29 Church St., Durham. DH1 3DN. 9pm. Free.
Advanced Jazz Course - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 6pm.
Alter Ego - The Fox Inn, West End Tce., Hexham NE46 3DB. Donations. 8.30pm.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

FOUR PODS OF PEPPER @ Trinity Center, Gosforth. Saturday April 10.

...and the show must go on...
Thomas Spats Langham (gtr/bjo/uke/vcls), Martin Litton (pno), Matthias Seuffert (reeds), John Carstairs Hallam (bass)
Out of adversity springs forth inspiration. Norman Field the regular clarinet player could not make the concert for family reasons, bass-saxophonist Frans Sjostrom was stricken by a sudden bout of gasto-enteritis and, to rub salt in the wound, only a moderate turnout by Trinity standards (but would have been ecstatic with this number at Blaydon) was not the best of starts for this concert. But no need for dismay – the boys turned up the heat and delivered a memorable performance to an extremely appreciative audience.
Talk about entertaining folk and diversity of repertoire. What a delight!
At the centre of it all was Spats Langham a singer immersed in the style of Crosby, Bowlly etc. He combines this with a host of anecdotes about that golden era. Add virtuoso tenor banjo, driving acoustic guitar (on a tiny unmiked parlour guitar at that) and a dash of ukelele and you have a unique performer, a walking treasure trove of a bygone age. 
Memorable features were Pickin’ by Harry Reser, demonstrating remarkable banjo technique and speed of hand, a delightful vocal version of Ghost of St Louis Blues inspired by Emmett Miller, a very unusual song Night Owl inspired, I think, by Ukelele Ike, Waller’s I Wish I Were Twins plus plenty more goodies.
Martin Litton is known for his impeccable mastery of early piano styles – blues/ragtime/stride etc and there was plenty evidence of that tonight but some lush chord voicings particularly on his intro to Sophisticated Lady gave us a clue that he is a player also at home in more modern styles when appropriate. Martin was featured on James P Johnson’s Carolina Shout and gave an exquisite rendition of Bix’s In a Mist.
Norman Field is a much loved player but not bad to have Seuffert as a ‘dep’. He has an international reputation and you can see why. Very fine tenor/alto sax in the pre-bop rhapsodic style but with modern, immaculate technique and an attractive soft, liquid tone. Combine that with virtuoso clarinet and you have quite a player as his features on the aforementioned Sophisticated Lady, My Ideal (on tenor), Wolverine Blues and Hoagy’s Jubilee on clarinet, testified.
All credit to our own John Hallam who stepped in at the last moment on string bass. He coped admirably with  the material. Playing in essentially a ‘two beat’ style interspersed with runs and fills he produced a nice, natural sound and contributed fully to the evening’s proceedings and with a nice solo on the final number, Happy Feet.
A totally enjoyable evening from start to finish.

1 comment :

  1. The feature for Litton - I think it might have been Caprice Rag not Carolina Shout.


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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: I look forward to hearing from you.

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