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Bebop Spoken There

Howlin' Wolf: “He [Charlie Patton] was a nice guy, but he just loved the bottle--like all the rest of the musicians. He was a great drinker.” – (DownBeat December 16, 1967).

Frank Zappa: “Those kids [US students] wouldn't know music if it came up and bit 'em on the ass.” – (DownBeat October 3, 1969).

Today Thursday April 26

Afternoon

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone NE27 0DA. Tel: 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Tees Valley Jazzmen - No.1 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL12 7NJ. Tel: 01388 665533. 12:30pm. Free admission.

Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society - Gateshead Central Library, Prince Consort Road, Gateshead NE8 4LN. 5:00pm. Fortnightly meetings, all welcome.

Evening

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Millstone, Haddrick’s Mill Road, South Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 1QL. 0191 2853229. 7pm.

Maine St. Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Holywell Lane, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5NJ. 8:30pm. Free.

Bearpark Trio - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm. £3 (£2 student/MU.).

New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees TS18 4AW. 8:30pm.

Tees Hot Club w. Kevin Eland (tpt); Donna Hewitt (sax); Graham Thompson (keys) - Dorman’s Club, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Tel: 01642 823813. 9pm. Free.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

CD Review: Ben Williams - State of Art

A significant first album with his State of Art, celebrated bassist Ben Williams has given us a mellow flame to curl up in front of in our misty autumn darkness.
A graduate of Juilliard and reflectively nurtured by mentors, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Wynton Marsalis, his devotion and generosity radiates out from the heart of the album like a Yuletide log fire, along with reflections of his heroes, Miles, Monk, Duke, Bird and of course, Mingus.
I liked that the album isn't all about ME, with 6 tracks out of the 11 by other composers/songwriters, all lovingly crafted by Williams the arranger. 
I have to say I loved The Lee Morgan Story, by rap emcee John Robinson with a beautifully sidewinding tribute trumpet played by Christian Scott. This is jazz as storytelling with a latin, hip hop feel - the tragic tale of a horn legend cut down on stage...."It was a gun that ended his life....." fired by his own girlfriend - he was only 33.  
Home, Ben's opening track is a nice dark continental groove, drifting into Brazil. Some great clippy guitar work from Matthew Stevens against the cool tenor of Marcus Strickland left me wanting more.
Meanwhile I wasn't so sure about the treatment of the Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson tracks (Part Time Lover & Little Susie), not enough content to do justice to his arrangement skills in my opinion, although the short bass intro for the latter, credited to Ben, is blissful.
Overall it seems that Ben is maybe over modest and needs to really dive into his own pieces with as much ingenuity and gusto as he's devoted to the other arrangements. 
Speaking of which, the treatment of Goapele & Jeffry Bhasker's Things Don't Exist is superb with the string quartet woven skillfully into the frame with Strickland's soprano and Gerald Clayton's piano sounding like an unlikely duet between Garbarek and Bill Evans. Then a fitting finale with John Blackburn & Karl Suessdorf's Moonlight in Vermont - a wonderful tone poem with Ben on evocative electric bass and the perfect way to say goodnight. 
Thanks for this Ben, a great start to an album career!
George Milburn.
Ben Williams - State of Art now available on Concorde Jazz label.

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Submissions for review

Whilst we appreciate the many emails, texts, messages and other communications we receive requesting album/gig reviews on BSH, regrettably, we are unable to reply to them all other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
Similarly, CDs received by post will only be considered if accompanied by sufficient background material.
Finally, bear in mind that this is a jazz-based site when submitting your album.
Lance

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

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