Total Pageviews

Bebop Spoken There

Stan Kenton: "Bands with guts will play what they like; a tonal picture of the American way of life...everyday sounds put to music. In two years time no one will remember what "Home on the Range" was like." - (Down Beat November 19, 1947).

Bobby Sanabria: “Many young players today are technically brilliant but lack historical perspective.” – (Jazz Times November 2014).

Bebop Spoken There Archives.

Today Friday November 28

Afternoon.
RENDEZVOUS JAZZ - Black Horse, Monkseaton. 1pm. Free.
Classic jazz.
-----
NEW YORK BRASS BAND - Gala Theatre, Durham. 1.pm. £4.
Heard them a couple of years back at the Cumberland - great band from, actually, OLD York!
-----
Evening.
STOCKDALE, STRONG & SHOULDER - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 9pm. £5 (£3 before 8.30pm.)
If you say Piano, guitar, bass then the Oscar is yours.
-----
GAVIN LEE TRIO - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm (doors?) £5.
Vintage blues night is what they do say.
-----
AMJAZZ EXPERIENCE - Black Bull, Etal, Cornhill on Tweed. TS12 4TL. 7.30pm. 01890 820200.
Jazz on the Border - save Hadrian building another wall (joke) great modern quartet.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Farewell to Ottilie Patterson

Legendary jazz singer Ottilie was laid to rest this week in Co Down, it was in complete obscurity. She was 79, and was buried in her native Comber after dying on June 20 in Ayr, Scotland, where she had lived in quiet anonymity for the past 30 years. She rocketed to stardom in the 1950s as a vocalist with the Chris Barber Jazz Band, marrying Chris in 1959 while they were touring and subsequently recording extensively together. Her death has gone unreported in the national media and music Press, mysteriously it seems to have been Ottilie's own wish that there would be no fuss over her death. Obituary.
Gordon Solomon.
Check out - http://youtu.be/dH-XfMecQnk

Benjamin Moussay Trio @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. June 28.

Benjamin Moussay (piano/keyboards), Arnault Cuisinier (double bass) & Eric Echampard (dms).
Tyneside has hosted a succession of French musicians in recent weeks and the latest visitors - the Benjamin Moussay Trio - went down a storm at the Literary & Philosophical Library. Contemporary perhaps yet there was a retrogressive sweep to pianist Moussay's musical palette. The spirit of Satie was evident in his playing, some likened him to Jarrett, we heard a blues and as Moussay turned to the Fender Rhodes it was Bitches Brew period Miles (Corea, Zawinul et al). Arnault Cuisinier's arco bass playing was most effective and drummer Eric Echampard was in his element in the up tempo numbers. CD sales went off the scale - every last one of them sold - and the likeable Moussay was only to happy to sign copies for his many (new) fans. Russell

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Al Di Meola and Peo Alfonsi @ Union Chapel London BluesFest 2011

Al Di Meola, Peo Alfonsi (gtrs).
No disputing Di Meola's ability - is he the fastest jazz guitarist around? Maybe, maybe not, but he's a contender and the Union Chapel congregation certainly gave him their blessing after his duo set with the Sardinian guitarist Peo Alfonsi.
This was an unusual gig for a blues festival in that the only element missing from their varied program was the 12 bar format!
Nevertheless, the duo were nothing if not dynamic with moments of lyrical tenderness interspersed with dramatic surges of intense heat emerging from the two nylon strung miked up acoustics.
Difficult to describe the music stylistically - improvised world jazz may be close!
Di Meola has technique to spare and he doesn't use it sparingly!
Alfonsi is less volatile - apart from the explosions that erupted with the abrupt climax of most pieces - and he proved in his own solo feature that he is no mere 'second banana' but an important voice in his own right.
As was the case last night a good crowd ovated on their feet and the encore got the loudest roar of the night. Pound for pound I don't think even Andy Murray drew that much applause!
The tune that did the trick was Azzura.
It was a good gig that didn't quite hit the heights of the Roy Hargrove concert the night previous.
Enjoyable though.
Lance.
PS: Good to finally meet up with Sebastian Scotney of LondonJazz.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Roy Hargrove Quintet @ Union Chapel, Highbury. London BluesFest 2011

Roy Hargrove (tpt/flug); Justin Robinson (alt); Ameen Saleem (bs); Sullivan Fortner (pno); Montez Coleman (dms). It had been a traumatic day. Delayed train, a heatwave that became a wetwave and a few other inconveniences...
...enter Roy Hargrove. Suddenly all else seemed trivial as the notes peeled from his horn with a bell-like clarity. Aided by the amazing acoustics of the octagonally shaped chapel this was surely the finest trumpet sound I'd ever heard live!
The phrases simply rolled out - no cracked notes from this the coolest looking dude on the planet.
When he switched to flugel for Midnight Sun the results were electrifying and played with such passion.
Alongside, Justin Robinson played post-Parker bop alto full of ideas and no little technique. They played non-stop sans intermission. Roy didn't even announce the tunes but went effortlessly from start to finish. And what a finish as the two frontliners marched around the aisles challenging Gabriel to come and jam.
The crowd responded with a foot stamping standing ovation. Needless to say the band responded each soloing then leaving the stage until only bassist Saleem was left. Saleem, like Fortner and Coleman were the perfect rhythm section with Coleman driving them relentlessly forward as well as soloing with an amazing display of swing and dexterity. Fortner too played some crazy things on piano and Roy, when not reaching for the stars, sang Never Let Me Go.
One thing though - if you're going to the Al Di Meola gig tonight - take a cushion as those pews are damn hard!
Photos.
Lance.
PS it was Doors 7:00pm and start 8:30pm - presumably the same tonight.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Things We Did Last Summer (or maybe it was a few summers ago!)

Just been listening to The Things We Did Last Summer. What a tune - what a lyric! Who cannot relate to those words? The leaves began to fade, like promises we made, how could a love that seemed so right go wrong? The things we did last summer I'll remember all winter long. There's many versions, Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Carmen McRae, Sammy Davis, Helen Merrill (a beaut!) but my personal fave is Jackie Paris which I've posted on Facebook. Instrumentally they've all had a crack at it - Lou Donaldson, Sahib Shihab, Kenton et al but none can compare with this version by Fats Navarro recorded at a 1949 JATP concert. This is trumpet balladry at its best. Click here. Lance.

Time for a Fix!

Don't get me wrong - I love Newcastle and the North-East but I like a break and, rather than sunbathe on some undiscovered shore, I like to spend a few days (and some dosh!) in our capital city. So, tomorrow I head south.
It's the London Blues Festival although there seems to me to be as much jazz as blues on offer but what's in a name anyway?
Tomorrow night I will be listening and reviewing American trumpet ace Roy Hargrove at Union Chapel (Highbury and Islington on the Victoria Line or number 30 bus.)
Hargrove has won numerous Down Beat polls so I'm looking forward to hearing him for the first time live.
The following evening, at the same venue, guitarist Al di Meola struts his stuff. I recently reviewed Al's latest CD so I know to expect some very interesting material. Both gigs kick off at 7:00pm so I may even manage to catch Yots at The Spice.
Lance.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

VOTNJO w. HENRY LOWTHER

John Warren (cond./comp/arr); Henry Lowther (tpt/comp/arr); Graham Hardy, Kim Macari, Chris Caulfield, Gary Nicholas (tpts). Alex Leathard, Keith Norris, Caroline Norris, Chris Hibbard (tmb); Rod Mason, Andy Bennett, Lewis Watson, Sue Ferris, Niall Armstrong (reeds). Paul Edis (pno); Andy Champion (bs); Mark Williams (gtr); Adrian Tilbrook (dms).
The VOTNJO never fail to delight. The personel may vary slightly but you can bet the money I lost on the Northumberland Plate yesterday (£2) that the replacements will come up with the goods. Like for example the young trumpet player - a Leeds grad. - Kim Maccari. Didn't matter that the star was a trumpeter or that she was in a section of good hornmen - Kim held her own. If there is ever a Northumberland Plate for trumpet players the odds on Kim will be pretty short!
It was a good day for the ladies - Sue Ferris blew one of the best tenor solos I've heard from her and that was the first solo of the night!
But, this isn't a band for soloists - although they are plentiful - it's the compositions, the arrangements, the light and shade that John Warren or Henry Lowther produces from them. A rhythm section that any big band (delete 'big') would die for made this a memorable evening.
Oh and in case you think I'm selling Henry Lowther short - he was marvelous! It was a night when the musical earth moved... Photos. Lance.

Jambusters @ The Jazz Café

Photo: Andy Lee (fl); Colm Rooney (pno); Paul Grainger (bs); Omid Ramak (dms); Fiona Littlewood (vcl); Stu Findon (ten).
From Central Bar my feet were down-trodden and I was heavy laden having downed a pint of Bitter and Twisted in about 0.3 seconds outside of the record for downing a pint of Bitter and Twisted.
At the Jazz Café The Dambusters was the film of the week and it brought back a few memories - not least because I once met a guy who'd actually been on the raid.
As the film drew to it's question posing close (The chap who actually invented the 'Bouncing Bomb' that did the damage said that, had he known we would lose 56 airmen, he wouldn't have invented it.)
The credits rolled and the live music got underway.
Body and Soul was lugubrious - sorry guys but it dragged and the drummer who sat in didn't help.
Things picked up when Omid took over and Andy Lee blew some impressive flute on There Will Never Be Another You. Stu was good on tenor and Fiona did some nice chanting. Fi gets better every time I hear her.
Lance.

Ain't no time for jive @ The Central Bar - they were here last week and done gone and moved down the line...

Got my dates wrong - NTFJ was last week and I had no time for Rockabilly this week so I done moseyed cross the High Level Bridge and boogied on down the line to the old Jazz Café. Lance.

Tonight's The Night at the Bridge Hotel

An unmissable evening is in store tonight at the Bridge Hotel, Castle Garth, Newcastle.
Guesting with the Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra is trumpet player Henry Lowther.
This is a major coup for Splinter @ The Bridge featuring as it does a jazz legend with a band that is itself taking on the legendary mantle. Don't miss it. 8:00pm start entrance £6.
Lance.

British Modern Jazz Site

For those interested in British modern jazz from approx 1940-1960 British Modern Jazz from the 1940s... is well worth a visit packed as it is with biographies, discographies and general historical information. It is run by David Taylor whose knowledge and dedication appear to be second to none. Lance.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

CD Review: Serpent - Alex Garnett.

Alex Garnett (ten); Anthony Wonsey (pno); Michael Janisch (bs); Willie Jones III (dms).
Close your eyes and it could be a '50s blowing session by Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson or Dex 'cept...
... 'cept Garnett has also absorbed later saxophone gurus such as Joe Lovano and George Garzone and the end result is an intricate weave of those influences culminating in a sound that is totally today without straying too far beyond the jazz parameter.
Blueprint is aptly titled, a blueprint on how 21st century bebop should be played - looking forward with occasional over the shoulder glances.
Dracula's Lullaby is, not surprisingly, quite a sinister sounding ballad whilst Saluda Hakim is straight, no-nonsense, hard bop (Rudy Van Gelder would love this track.)
The Pimp has some driving tenor over a compulsive latin rhythm. Pianist Wonsey, incidentally, plays superb piano throughout and never less than on this track. His loping lines and punctuated chords keep the leader well fed with inspiration.Serpent is indeed serpentine the way Garnett twists and turns his way around the changes but, once again, dig Wonsey's solo as he sets up Garnett for the kill. Jones the Third also has his moment in the glorious sun.
Atonement is perhaps the most unusual track I've heard for a long time by any modern band.
Forget the title - it's actually The Saints!
However, these saints don't march in - it's more as if they'd learned the secret of turning the water into wine and they go boogieing in until, I guess, head office heard of the scandalous goings on and it becomes a more sombre mood - atonement in fact!
What a great disc! What a great band - not forgetting Michael Janisch on bass - a tower of strength.
Garnett and Janisch, along with Ross Stanley (pno) and Andrew Bain (dms) take to the road in September culminating in a CD launch at The Hideaway on Sept 14. Sadly this 'tour' doesn't reach the north-east.
Maybe one day... In the meantime, the CD - Serpent (Whirlwind - WR4615) - is due for release on Sept 5. Lance.

Friday, June 24, 2011

New Band to be unveiled on Saturday at The Sage

Eddy Bellis has a band, who play some interesting modern material. Including a lot of Jim Martin arrangements. They have been rehearsing regularly for a while, but are making their public debut on The Sage Concourse for an hour on Saturday (June 25) lunchtime at 12:00 noon.
Free.
Probable Lineup - John Hudson, Alan Marshall (saxes); Eddy Bellis (trombone); Kevin Eland (Trumpet); Roy Willis (Guitar); Alan Rudd (Bass); Colm Rooney (Piano); Paul Wight (Drums).
Lance.

Doctor's Dilemma

I must share this gem that I came across at a certain doctor’s surgery yesterday. I was watching the video they have in reception, which gives health advice. It said in bold letters: TACKLING DRUGS CHANGES LIVES Then I heard the soundtrack, which was Frank Sinatra singing I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Was this aimed at heroin addicts, or was it just an unfortunate choice of music? Has anyone else come across jazz related coincidences like this one?
Ann Alex

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bird Plays Benny - Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie's.

Olive Rudd (vcl); Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl); Mike Bird (clt); George Richardson (pno); Alan Rudd (bs); Mike Humble (dms). Rosie's never fails to surprise and delight, not least in the cosmopolitan comings and goings on the band stand!
Herbie recently jetted in from Turkey, last week Joe Errington blew in from Denmark and this week Mike Bird made the Trans-Pennine crossing from Wakefield to play in an Irish bar! Become a jazzman and see the world!
Despite the lack of trumpet, and possibly inspired by the Goodmanesque clarinet of Mike Bird, the band played superbly - today was an absolute gem of a gig.
Bird - a Swallow rather than the Pouter Pigeon he was in his pre-diet days - soared like an Eagle in the ensembles whilst morphing into a Kestrel for his solos.
As Dave Shepherd was to Benny Goodman so Mike Bird is to Dave Shepherd. For any clarinet player to assimilate the Goodman idiom isn't easy. To do it so well is nigh impossible - no wonder Mike practices, I'm told, 2 hours a day. I'd love to hear Mike with a Roly Veitch type trio.
Apologies for concentrating on the guest! Herbie was in blistering form today. On sliphorn, chromo harp and vox humana he simply took every tune to the cleaners and brought them back dirtier than they were before they went!
Rhythm section sound as a pound with George Ricco playing piano that - converted to currency - would have let Greece off the hook!
And Olive! Singing It's You or No One whilst looking in my direction was as exciting as when, as a 14 year old, I heard Doris Day sing it in Romance on the High Seas a.k.a It's Magic back in the midst of time.
Apologies to big band fan Tony - didn't get a chance to chat - hope you enjoyed.
Lance.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Slow Boat To China perhaps?

Mal Maddock posted this evocative photo of the Joe Loss band playing on a cruise ship. Doesn't it just bring back memories of a bygone era? The band, the dancers, the gowns... Malcolm has promised to send more details (not too much information Mal!) of the trip.
Also, as so many jazz musicians spent time on board the boats perhaps there are a few out there who'd like to add their memories?
Lance.

Radio 2's "Special" Day.

Well I made sure I was near a radio for the promised" Best of Sundays" live today on Radio 2. I did think that we would have had a flavour of those past days when entertained by Benny Green ,Alan Dell, and certainly some jazz...how wrong I was! Firstly Jacobs & Ball do not make good bedfellows, why on earth didn't they couple Desmond Carrington with Jacobs? he was there at his home studio in Scotland and the short interview he was granted was pathetically short.. Most of the stuff David selected was excellent, particularly Gordon Jenkin's This is all I ask, sung by Matt Monro, and later a cracking number from Mack & Mabel, I Won't Send Roses. The Michael Ball choices were mediocre to say the least...no quality sounds as far as I was concerned. You would have thought that for just this one hour Radio 2 would have given us the sort of listening that has been such a feature of past Sundays in the years of the great presenters.
Liz.

Tonight at the Spice of Life.

Our best wishes go to the Durham University Big Band who make a rare London appearance tonight at the Spice of Life which is just off Cambridge Circus/Charing Cross Rd.,
If anyone at the gig would like to send a review of the evening it would be appreciated.
7:30pm start.
Lance.

Tonight at the Bridge Hotel.

Jazz North East presents MAT MANERI & FRIENDS Mat Maneri (viola); George Burt (guitar); Corey Mwamba (vibes); Andy Champion (bass) 7.30pm. Bridge Hotel, Castle Garth, Newcastle NE1 1RQ. £7.00/£5.00 conc. Note: This gig is in an upstairs room inaccessible for wheelchair users.
Paul Bream supplied the following info on tonight's Jazz North East gig.
New Yorker Mat Maneri has made a string of ECM recordings both under his own name and with his late father Joe, and has revolutionised the sound of jazz fiddle with his combination of advanced microtonal techniques (playing “the notes between the notes”) and a fierce swing that harks back to the likes of Joe Venuti or Stuff Smith. The fact that he asked Jazz North East to arrange a gig for him is a massive compliment, and an opportunity too good to be missed. In sorting out the format for the gig, the first question JNE asked themselves was “Who would work well with Mat?”, and the first name on the list was Tyneside’s very own bass titan Andy Champion. Maverick Scottish guitarist George Burt was then added, along with the phenomenal vibes player Corey Mwamba. So, for this one-off gig, there’s a quartet drawn from the four corners of the globe – New York, Glasgow, Derby, and Low Fell. It doesn’t get much better than that. I haven’t got the first idea what will actually happen when the four of them get together, but that’s the joy of it: this is a gig for anybody who relishes jazz as “the sound of surprise”.
Paul B.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lennart Andersson @ The Jazz Café Sat June 18.

I hope you don’t mind me breaking convention, but I need to review my own gig!!!, but its not about me!
We had a terrific gig on Saturday at the Jazz Café, it was at its unpredictable best. A scratch band was created due to Steve Glendinning breaking a thumb (we wish him a speedy recovery, and I for one am keeping my head down and living the quiet life until this current vogue for broken bones is passed)! Jim Crinson was on bass, Mark Robertson on drums, and myself (Alan Law)on keys, we were marshalled by the great Lindsay Hannon on vocals.
After our first tune (an interesting, rather free form version of Autumn Leaves) we were approached by a rather blunt talking gentleman saying “I have a tenor saxophone with me.” Now, I am never averse to sitters in, but over the years, there has been a large variance in what is brought to the bandstand, and by then the place was filling up with an enthusiastic crowd. I think it took him one note to persuade me that this was going to be special, as he took a solo in the next number. He then called a couple of tunes, Ornithology, Body and Soul, that we played as a quartet. He sounded like a mix of Dexter Gordon and Zoot Sims, what a player! Who is this guy? He gave me his card and said “this, is very important” “I am Lennart”.
The nights excitement grew. Claire Kelly was in and had her pad, so our new quartet swung into some re-harmonised standards, which were extremely well received, incidentally Lennart looked at the concert charts once then played elegant rolling lines with no apparent effort and complete accuracy. After Claire's set, we spotted Zoe Gilby and Andy in the crowd, Zoe also had her pad, I began to wonder whether Ruth Lambert would turn up and complete the singing showcase we were being treated to.
After a wonderful set from Zoe, which included a particularly ballsy version of Nature Boy , we had a break.
The last set kicked off at around 12.30am to a packed Jazz Café, and we were treated to the three singers all taking scat solos to a crowd pleasing funk version of Summertime.The set ended with Lindsay singing a storming version of Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby? and a touching treatment of Don't Explain. Jim and Mark swung like hell, I thouroughly enjoyed myself, “the big three” were an inspiration, topped off with a world class mystery saxophonist. Zoe and Andy left late to a chorus of “we are The Champions.” Keith Crombie said “did you enjoy that Alan?”
Oh yeah!
Alan Law.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lennart Andersson w. Paul Edis Trio @ The Cherry Tree

Lennart Andersson (ten); Paul Edis (pno); Mick Shoulder (bs); Rob Walker (dms).
It was everything I expected it to be and more!
Thursday's session at Blaydon was great make no mistake about it yet tonight, possibly because of the compact, more intimate setting, the Getzian sound was even purer.
Lip service I know but when it is done so beautifully who cares?
The quartet opened with Don't Get Around Much Anymore and it became quickly apparent that the four musicians were as compatible with each other as the Salad of Heritage Tomatoes was with the Fresh Peaches, Organic British Feta and Purple Basil. Stella By Starlight is another delightful "dish" musically speaking.
The Gasbook was well and truly raided tonight with How About You, Misty, and The Girl From Ipanema as well as the classic Bop anthem Anthropology.
It occurred to me as I treat my taste buds to a generous portion of Wallington Hall Steak, Wild Ransom Butter, French Fries and Yorkshire Watercress whilst the band played Mobley's This I Dig of Thee that if I closed my eyes I would be in Birdland or maybe even Heaven! A kindly invitation to join Lennart's wife, granddaughter and partner for a drink elicited the info that they are now living in Hastings - Sweden's loss the UK's gain.
The second set began with my British Cherry Eton Mess and Rosewater Cream - words fail me - I'm afraid my vocabulary is incapable of describing the sheer delight of this dessert. The best I can come up with is that it was the culinary equivelant of Lennart's version of Only Trust Your Heart!
Body and Soul, Doxy, Stan's Blues, The Song is You, Wave and that most beautiful of Scandinavian folk songs - Dear Old Stockholm were some of the other pieces. Each one delivered immaculately. Also let us not forget to praise the sterling work put in by Paul, Mick and Rob. All were clearly enjoying themselves as they swung along effortlessly. Paul, in particular, was on top of his game with some fine solos.
It was a grand night for swinging...
Photos. (above one from Jerry Edis)
Lance.

A Special Night Tonight at the Cherry Tree.

Tonight at the Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond - tel 0191 2399924 - the big attraction is Swedish tenor saxist Lennart Andersson. Lennart played a tremendous gig at Blaydon last Thursday and I for one can't wait to see/hear him again. Accompanied by the Paul Edis Trio this promises to be another night of fine modern tenor playing (think Stan Getz or Zoot Sims and you will know what to look forward to.)
Coupled with the Cherry Tree's reputation for combining good jazz with good food this is inmissable - see you all there.
Lance.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Claude Werner Quartet @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle.

Claude Werner (ten); Lloyd Wright (gtr); Lawrence Blackadder (bs); John Hirst (dms);
What a superb session! The latest Splinter gig was one of the best yet.
There have been changes within the quartet Lloyd Wright in for Mark Williams and John Hirst for David Carnegie.
Huge shoes to fill but fill them they did without loss of momentum. It could be argued that Lloyd is the only guitarist around who could follow Mark and John likewise made the transition smoothly.
Lawrence steady, laid back and rock solid - he's an object lesson for cucumbers.
As for Claude what can one say? Adolph Sax never dreamt his invention could be used as creatively as this. The Chilean Ambassador for Jazz takes the tenor beyond Planet Sax to a distant galaxy where only the chosen few may enter. He floats like a butterfly but stings like John Coltrane.
The quartet are soon to release their second CD from which many of tonight's pieces were taken.
One of the tracks is titled Happy and that is just how I felt when I left.
Lance.

Tales of the Unexpected @ The Jazz Café

On the back wall a screening of the Basie Band playing One O'Clock Jump segued into the Ellington Band with Gonsalves to the fore. This was followed by Harry James and Buddy Rich which in turn was followed (live) by Doug Fielder (ten) and Colm Rooney (pno) playing It Had To Be You. A certain period of adjustment was called for.
Enter Pete Gilligan who you may recall fell off a wall and broke his wrist. Undeterred, he took to the keys and played some fine one-handed piano - he later played one-handed drums!
One by one the usual suspects drifted in. Stu Findon on tenor and bass guitar, Paul Grainger on double bass and drums, Fiona Littlewood on voice and tenor. Harley Johnson on keyboard, Colm Rooney now on drums and later bass guitar. Matthew Office played guitar and of course looking good and sounding good Sarah Trevena played soprano.
A good crowd in too.
Lance.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Review: Twelve O'Clock Tales - Claudia Morris.

I must confess that, until this CD landed in the passage, I'd never come across Ms Morris. My occasional trips to The Spice not coinciding with hers and she having spent 18 years away from 'The business'.
In her previous incarnation, I gather, Claudia performed in the West End and with touring companies before giving it all up to raise a family.
Fortunately, now that family is up and grown, she is able to concentrate on performing and this is her second album.
It is delightful - debatable if it is all jazz but who cares for genre! The theatrical background occasionally creeps through which is no bad thing giving as it does an emphasis on the meaning of the lyric. The dramatic nuances in the verse to Lush Life being a case in point.
Frim Fram Sauce is a tasty morsel with a little scatting on the side and a nice trumpet solo.
The opening Taking a Chance on Love swings along with an arrangement that is reminiscent of those classic charts Marty Paich did for Tormé. These ones, by Simon Colam, do the same for Claudia. The accompaniment is packed with jazzmen (as well as a string quartet) and there are solos on most tracks.
My frequent moan is "Do we really need any more girl jazz singers?" On this occasion I'll answer 'Yes'! Lance.
PS: The disc is due out in August. To learn more or to hear a sample visit http://www.claudiamorris-music.com/

More memories of Johnny Heenan by Bill Harper.

I have to admit that I only very rarely worked with The Heenan (fortunately !!!) --- I couldn't stand having to "slip-in" the odd bar of 5/4, 7/8 or 9/8 as he "crossed the beat" when he was singing. But that apart, he always displayed incredible confidence or what Bruce Adams would describe as a "non-ferrous neck" (brass)!!! I recall a gig with Art. Mowat's Big Band at the George Washington Hotel with John up front as vocalist & MC. The gig was a Golden Wedding Celebration for the parents of an ex-muso, the name of whom I can't recall. When the interval arrived, we were approached by a young "flunkey" who said that sandwiches & coffee would be provided for the Band in one of the adjoining rooms. The young man was "easy meat" for John who promptly took hold of him & in his best withering manner said to him---"Sandwiches? Sandwiches? Young man we are guests of Mr.&.Mrs. So&So ,and as such,we will have the same as that which is being provided for all of the other guests so inform your kitchen immediately-- and while you are about it would you kindly bring me a wine list!!" The chastened flunkey fled but returned after a short time with waitresses & a full 4 course meal for the 15 members of the band & John promptly ordered 3 bottles of expensive wine adding that the cost should also be added to Mr. So & So's bill. When we questioned John about the change of menu, he replied that he had no idea what the food arrangements were for the band and that he barely knew the organiser anyway but why should he accept sandwiches & coffee when there was pheasant & good wine on the menu. I must admit on this occasion that it more than made up for the loss of the odd quaver here & there. Bill Harper

There's a dance pavilion in the rain...

...yes it seemed like Early Autumn in Heaton Park as the Chilli Road Band unleashed their brand of street funk on a rain sodden audience. This was part of the Heaton Festival and the weather didn't seem to deter the local residents who listened, occasionally danced and partook of the various stalls.
The band were undercover (ish) in front of the pavilion so we remained relatively dry as we swam out to Canteloupe Island for a Moon Dance but, unlike the final number, it was anything but Hot, Hot, Hot.
Still it went well the only sting in the tail being the change from light shower to torrential dowmpour as we packed the gear away. To make matters worse I exited by the wrong gate to where my car was parked which meant an even longer walk in the rain!
So apologies to John Hallam and Roly Veitch but I won't be venturing forth anymore today,
Lance.

Remembering Johnny Heenan by Anne (DeVere) Harper

I could tell you a lot but ... I shall recount one in particular. When I sang at Botto's with Malcom Saul's band we were asked to do a Hunt Ball at Piercebridge. The whole team went with Johnny acting MD. As we had to stay over night we trooped into breakfast next morning to be served by an old dear in full Carricks waitress dress and deaf as the proverbial (2 soups springs to mind). Johnny arrived and said to the old love 'Has Lord WHAA WHAA arrived yet?' She looked flustered and said she didn't think so, to which his nibs replied in his poshest tones 'Well, when he does please tell him that Mr Heenan is having breakfast and will be with him shortly'. The end of this little tale is when he persuaded Malcom to take the vibes out around the village and with John as Fanklin Engleman with a mike (unplugged) stopped passers by and asked them what their favourite tune was----Malcom did the honours!!!! Johnny was never short of cheek----the manager presented him with the bill for the band and John dismissed him with a lofty wave and said 'oh Mr Botto deals with that' jumped into his car and shot off!!! (hello BERTIE WOOSTER)
Anne Harper.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Three Tenors are in Town!

Suddenly we're surrounded by tenors - not the Neapolitan variety who serenade fat ladies but really classy saxophonists.
It began at Blaydon last night with Swedish Saxo-Prima Lennart Andersson. Lennart is at the Cherry Tree on Monday night and this gig is an absolute must for those who like their jazz on the marginally cooler side and their food served at just the right temperature.
Tomorrow (Saturday) has John Hallam at Gosforth's Trinity Centre - John also packs some baritone and clarinet heat.
Sunday sees Claude Werner, Chile's finest export, at The Bridge Hotel.
Yes a weekend of Wimbledonian quality (tenors/tennis - get it?)
To miss but one of these gigs will leave you reflecting on the 'What might have been...'
Trust me on this one!
Lance.
PS: And, whilst we're talking tenors, Colin Aitchison sent me this clip of the legendary George Evans - performing in the twilight of his years - with the Arthur Mowatt Big Band at the Corner House, Heaton back in 1984 (ish). The tune is Moonlight in Vermont and although it is a slightly lugubrious performance (I wish I could be that lugubrious!) the arrangement is good and George's harmonics at the end reach out into piccolo territory!

Review: Tommy Smith - Karma

Tommy Smith (ten/sop/shakuhatchi/synth); Steve Hamilton (pno/synth/tambourine); Kevin Glasgow (elec. bass); Alyn Cosker (dms).
Karma, although central to Buddhism actually predates the arrival of The Buddha and examines the cause of inequality - in personal characteristics as well as wealth and health - among mankind. This I learned from the album notes in case you're thinking I am displaying previously hidden depths!
Karma, the album, follows the beliefs with each track representing differing aspects of Karmic philosophy.
Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, but what it does represent is compelling contemporary jazz and there is certainly an indo-jazz feel about some of Smith's original compositions. This doesn't prevent him blowing almost to the point of no return (almost!) on tenor yet playing some lyrical soprano that wouldn't have been out of place in a Buddhist temple. Smith refers to this as his "Grunge Band" and there are moments where it has a sweaty cellar club late night groove going for it that merges imperceptably with the more mystical moments. On Star there is even an Irish influence. There are also Arabic and Japanese influences and - surprise - Scottish (McBuddha?)
Alyn Cosker, a long time associate of Smith, lays down the multiple rhythms demanded of him whilst Hamilton's piano and synth work add additional colour. Kevin Glasgow, one of the newer guys, is no slouch on six string bass guitar and is a vital and integral part of the group.
Repeated listenings to this CD have almost converted me to Buddhism!
The band embark on an almost nationwide tour next week beginning on June 24 in Aberdeen. I say 'almost' as, sadly, Newcastle/Gateshead are bypassed. This would have been ideal for The Sage or Gateshead Old Town Hall but instead we will have to make do with the next best thing and grab this superb CD.
Lance.

Next Wednesday (June 22) BBC Radio 2 - 2day

BBC Radio 2 are currently planning for 2DAY, a special day of programming on Wednesday 22 June which is going to turn the normal schedule upside down, resulting in a 12 hour on-air celebration of the best bits of the network. including Jamie Cullum’s jazz programme, to name but a small selection.
Bebop Spoken Here has been asked to submit a few favourite memories of Radio 2 so here I go with mine.
Humphrey Lyttleton's The Best of Jazz surely set the standard for jazz broadcasting. Humph's impeccable taste made this essential Monday night fare. Still miss the music and his sometimes laconic comments. It has to be said though that, these days, Jamie Cullum also does a pretty damn good job.
And of course, thinking Humph, there's Sorry I'll Read That Again which I think set another high bar (and still does).
Sheila Tracy and the BBC Big Band provided more essential listening and the standard has been maintained by Clare Teal today.
Alan Dell, Benny Green, Russell Davies and the late Malcolm Laycock all kept lovers of jazz and quality popular music well served as did "Parky".
Full details of the 12 hour celebration which concludes with an hour long live broadcast by Jools Holland's All-star Band including Clare Teal and Jamie Cullum are on the link below and it would be interesting to hear other readers views on BBC Radio 2 past and present - long may it continue.
Lance.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lennart Andersson w. the Blaydon Jazz Trio @ Blaydon Jazz Club.

Lennart Andersson (ten); Jeremy McMurray (pno); Neil Harland (bs); Tim Johnston (dms).
This was my first hearing of Swedish tenor player Lennart Andersson and I'm pleased to say it won't be my last (he's on at the Cherry Tree in Jesmond this Monday). Stan Getz may be gone but Lennart is a more than adequate replacement. He's got the sound Lennart is no mere clone, he's his own man working within a Getzian spectrum which means flowing, lyrical, emotive playing.
From the opening How About You? to the stomping Cherokee the session never faltered and it wasn't just Lennart who set the stage aflame. Jeremy McMurray hung on in there and had some delightful moments of his own particularly on Thad Jones' 3 and 1.
Nice too to hear Lars Gullin's Merlin - it was such a lovely ballad it should have been entitled Marilyn!
With the impeccable Neil Harland on bass and the steady drive of Tim Johnston at the kit this was an evening to be remembered - if you missed him or even if you didn't catch him again on Monday at the Cherry Tree. Playing like this coupled with their legendary menu is a salivating prospect.
Brilliant evening.
Lance.
Posted by Picasa

Happy Homecoming for Herbie Hudson Maine St. Jazzmen @ Rosie Malone's.

Joe Errington (tpt/vcl); Herbie "Turk" Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl) Gavin Lee (clt/alt); George Richardson (pno); Alan Rudd (bs); Mike Hunble (dms); Olive Rudd (vcl).
The sound of surprise was to the fore today at Rosie's with Turk Hudson back from his Guinness Book of Records attempt (longest holiday ever). Our man was in fine form on slide trombone, vocal and Hohner 270. However, the big surprise was seeing Joe Errington on trumpet. The ex River City horn man was over here on vacation and slotted in nicely with the MSJ Gavin Lee blew some really earthy clarinet and impressed - his alto playing hit the spot too. The rhythm section were on the money and Olive was in good voice on Swing That Music, When You're Smiling and Doctor Jazz. Our girl also displayed political correctness when she sang Some of These Days changing Big fat mama to little sweet mama - Olive sure ain't no big fat mama!
Lance.
PS: Jim McBriarty is in and out of hospital with tests looming. Best wishes to you Jim.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Moonlighting in Vermont (Hotel)

Claire Kelly (vcl); Mark Williams (gtr).
Make no mistake about it - Ms Kelly is no longer the up and coming talent chasing her peers. Claire is moving ever closer to the front runners as tonight's set at the Vermont Hotel proved.
It wasn't easy despite having the best possible accompanist in guitarist Mark Williams alongside her.
It was a noisy environment - emanating from the mezzanine bar above. Their raucous laughter and loud conversations penetrated the room below threatening to destroy the delicate mood the duo created. To their credit it didn't faze them.
In truth there weren't that many in Martha's Bar where the gig was taking place which was a shame as the jazz world should have turned out en masse to encourage this girl who really is a comer.
Still, those of us who did make the effort enjoyed a choice selection of good tunes beautifully sung and beautifully played.
Lady Is A Tramp, I've Grown Accustomed To His Face, Stella By Starlight, Like Someone in Love, You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To, Summertime, My Funny Valentine, West Coast Blues, Taking A Chance on Love, Love Me Or Leave Me were just some of the songs they laid down.
A lot of good singers are looking over their shoulders!
Lance.

Konitz Condition Improving.

Lee Konitz, 83 year old altoist is reported to be on the mend after undergoing brain surgery in Australia. His concert last Thursday was cancelled and Lee underwent a brain operation in Sydney. His condition is said to be "hopeful".
Lance.

Lindsay Hannon's New Orleans Choir - an invitation to singers

Lindsay Hannon has mailed me to inform everyone that, I quote, My 'New Orleans Choir' will be the first act supporting Irma Thomas in Hall One on the 23rd July. The Sage advertised for an open audition choir to work with me for 8 weeks on songs including 'Aint misbehavin', 'Taint what you do', 'Basin st blues' & others. There's 60 joined so far but If people would like to join still they can. We're working every Tuesday night from 7-9 & the 26th of June 11-4, all in the Barbour room of the Sage. £60 full price,£48 for concessions. If they'd like more information they can contact sally.kat@thesagegateshead.org.
Lance.

Soul Rebels Brass Band 'up North' in July.

The exciting New Orleans outfit The Soul Rebels Brass Band are in the UK in July and start their tour at the Durham Brass Festival on July 13. They return to the region on July 24 for a concert at The Sage with Irma Thomas as part of The Sage's annual Americana Festival.
Check out the band and the rest of the tour here.
Lance.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Eyes Shut Tight @ The Bridge Hotel. June 12th

Paul Baxter (double bass), Johnny Tomlinson (keyboards), Gethin Jones (drums) & Tom Harrison (alto & soprano saxophones)
Just on eight o'clock and no sign of the band. Another pint of Alnwick IPA ordered and the conversation turned to possible last minute alternatives then someone said ''they're here!''.
The band had driven non stop from an afternoon gig in Hull and made it just in time. Without any fuss they set up in double quick time and were ready to go.
The material was bassist's Paul Baxter's with a few covers thrown in for good measure.
Eyes Shut Tight (EST) is a piano trio and on this occasion there was the added attraction of saxophonist Tom Harrison. Contemporary piano trios are ten a penny and it takes something extra special for them to stand out from the crowd. Pianist Johnny Tomlinson played with taste and sensitivity, bandleader Baxter smiled contentedly throughout and drummer Gethin Jones was a class act (yet another young drummer with phenomenal technique). Guest saxophonist Tom Harrison impressed on soprano then switched to alto and showed that this is his instrument - what a player! The material was largely mid-tempo fayre with an occasional chops-testing change of gear. A bop inspired blues was the highlight of the night and Baxter unveiled a suite of tunes - Evolution, How The Sun Rises and Cactai - which was well received.
Russell.

NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY MUSIC FESTIVAL AT KING’S HALL

.Newcastle University Saxophone Quartet (Monday afternoon June 13th)

(Jamie Stockbridge, Charlie Bayley, Nicola Thorne and David Mabbott).

I thought I was going to hear classical music at this free festival, which is on for an hour each day this week, and also in the evenings. However the final item of the concert turned out to be this saxophone quartet who treated us to some very tasty tunes.

They began with a tune by someone called Bill Hayes – I didn’t catch the title but it was something about wine. Then came Autumn Leaves, slow and fast by turns, with a high pitched climax towards the end. There followed Brubeck’s Blue Rondo a la Turk, from the Time Out album with short perky solos. Next came another title I didn’t catch, (was it London or Loudon?) by Thelonious Monk, a lovely deep slow relaxed tune. The performance ended with a 1940’s medley which rounded off the concert in lively fashion with a ride on the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

The four sax’s covered the range well, from the straight one (soprano?) to a deep one (baritone?) and, I presume, alto and tenor in between. (Sorry to sound so amateurish about this). The elegant surroundings of the King’s Hall didn’t detract and actually helped me to concentrate on the music more.

I’d recommend these concerts to music lovers in general. We were also so treated to wonderful piano (Beethoven, Chopin, and not a note of printed music anywhere). There was also an avant-garde (their description) piece by a tuba and trombone duo, which I thought defied classification, and could have been classical, or even Jazz North East ‘On The Outside’.

Ann Alex

Lennart Andersson to play extra gig.

As well as appearing at Blaydon Jazz Club on Thursday (June 16) tenor saxist Lennart Andersson is also at The Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond with Paul the Edis Trio on Monday June 20. So folk, you have two opportunities to hear this superb, Getz styled tenor player who has worked extensively around Scandinavia (with the top players), Spain as well as The UK with the likes of Alan Barnes, Dave Cliff, Dave Green, Clark Tracy etc.
Thanks to Roly Veitch for the above info. and the photo.
Lance.

Pseudonyms.

Idly reading the liner notes of an album by one "Buckshot La Funke" I recalled some of my favourite jazz pseudonyms ! Other contributors may wish to add their favourites and identify them! Art Salt.
Ferris Bender.
Izzy Goldberg.
Slim Romero.
Joe Chevrolet.
Charlie Chan.
From; Dave Brownlow.

Message From Mike Durham

Hi: just a reminder that the last jazz event of the season is on Saturday 18th June at 8.00pm, featuring the superb Lancastrian reedman John Hallam, backed by the Roly Veitch Quartet.
John plays lovely swinging clarinet, tenor and baritone sax and has a great liking for the classic 1930s repertoire of Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, Harry Warren, Jerome Kern, Rogers & Hammerstein and other great songsmiths of that vanished era. The backing trio of piano, bass, guitar and drums is made up of three of the region's best mainstream musicians, and the combination promises a very high-class and enjoyable evening. Tickets are £10 on the door or from 0191 285 6130
Trinity Jazz starts again after the Summer break on September 17th with a welcome return visit from trumpeter Rico Tomasso: if you don't have a copy of the September 2011-June 2012 brochure, pick one up on Saturday after the concert.
By the way, there will be twelve hours of free traditional jazz on offer at the Jazz Stage of the Mouth of the Tyne Festival (July 9th & 10th) from 12 noon to 6.00pm each day - Front Street, Tynemouth. Check line-up and band playing times at the Mouth of the Tyne website.
Best wishes for a great Summer!
Mike.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Preview: Claire Kelly @ The Vermont Hotel

Up and coming songstress Claire Kelly is doing a duo set with Steve Glendenning on guitar at the Vermont Hotel this Wednesday June 15. Claire impressed everyone with her recent performance at the Splinter "Singers Night" holding her own with the other more established names.

Tonight at the Cherry Tree

Tonight sees the return by popular request of swing violinist Emma Fisk. Emma, with the Paul Edis Trio, played a very well received session at the restaurant in February and tonight the same combination pay a return visit. For quality food and quality jazz the Cherry Tree is the place to be tonight.
Review of Emma Fisk's last visit to the Cherry Tree. Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond. 0191 2399924. 7:30pm. Lance. (Photo and review by Jerry E.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Of All The Gin Joints - Jazz Café Jam Session

There is an exotic ambience about Newcastle's Pink Lane. The narrow street with it's cobblestones and bars could be anywhere in the world. Pigalle, Tangiers or maybe Casablanca...
...Yes, Casablanca. The Jazz Café - Newcastle's version of Rick's Café Americain with proprieter Keith the world weary citizen of the world as portrayed by Humphrey Bogart in the film. "Call me Humphrey No-Go Kart" says Keith when I make the comparision.
The Jazz Café has survived against the odds for 20 years and, As Time Goes By, has seen many famous names pass through the doors. You almost expect to hear Keith say "Play it again Sam" He didn't (and neither did Bogart in the film!) because "Sam" or to be more precise Pete (Gilligan) had fallen off a wall and is currently in the Royal Victoria Infirmary with broken ribs and wrist so the keyboard stood silent.
We wish Pete well.
A video of Harry Connick jnr (one of the Jazz Café's past visitors) was showing until eventually musicians began to appear and soon Fiona Littlewood was singing Sonny Rollins' Doxy. Chris Finch played piano, Stu Findon bass guitar, Doug Fielder, tenor, Tim Knowles, guitar.
Lester Leapt In and Fiona sang and played tenor. Some microphone problems meant that But Beautiful was anything but beautiful. However, by Autumn (Leaves) the balance was restored.
Lindsay Hannon took over for They Can't Take That Away From Me and a blistering Watermelon Man. Senor Blues had some paintstripping tenor from Stu (Lindsay was now on bass guitar).
The audience too was increasing and more players were drifting in. Soon Alan Law would be at the keys and Matthew Office at the frets. Gaby was preparing to sing.
Yes, of all the gin joints in Pink Lane the Jazz Café is the place - you must remember this...
Lance.

Tonight at The Bridge Hotel

Tonight's Splinter @ The Bridge session looks good. Eyes Shut Tight are a Yorkshire band led by bassist Paul Baxter. Paul graduated from Leeds Music College which has a track record second to none and clips that I've heard of the trio (Richard Wetherell (keys); Kris Wright (kit)) indicate that this will be another success story for that particulas seat of musical learning.
It's contemporary and original but it's also accessible with keyboardist Wetherell having moments of delicate beauty.
8:00pm, Bridge Hotel, Castle Keep, Newcastle. £5.
Lance.

Mystery Big Band at Newton Aycliffe

The Rotary Club of Newton Aycliffe presents Big Band Jazz Night, tonight Sunday 12th June, at Newton Aycliffe Working Mens' Club (aka The Big Club), Sheraton Road, Newton Aycliffe. DL5 5NU. Admission: £7.50. & £6.00. Now you know as much as we do! Anybody know any more? Lance/Russell.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Priorities

Playing with the Bright Street Big Band at a tea dance today with the lovely Brenda Sokell doing the vocals was a special experience.
During the interval the inevitable stories abounded. Pianist Dick Straughan is about six foot eleven and his stories are even taller although this one sounds believable.
Old peoples home. Manageress announces that next weeks entertainment will be a live band and a pie and pea supper. She then asks if anyone has any questions?
One old lady said, "Mince or steak and kidney?"
Lance.

Count Basie on Jazz 625 - does anyone have a recording?

Jazz 625 - that groundbreaking BBC jazz series produced some remarkable tv jazz in the 1960s. None more so than the broadcast by the Count Basie Orchestra in 1965 and re-broadcast as recently as 2008. One of our site visitors is keen to obtain a video of the same - can anyone help?
Lance.

Claire Martin - OBE

Congratulations to Claire Martin who has been awarded an OBE for her services to music in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. Claire's Facebook reaction was OBE? - OMG!
Claire is due to appear at the Royal Albert Hall during the Proms season on September 7. As well as singing at home and abroad (inc Algonquin Hotel, New York) Claire, who is based in Brighton, also gives vocal tuition at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM).
Well done Claire.
Lance.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Impossible Gentlemen @ The Sage, Gateshead

Gwilym Simcock (pno/melodica) - pictured left signing CDs; Mike Walker (gtr); Steve Swallow (bs); Adam Nussbaum (dms).
Gig of the year so far, was the consensus of many and it certainly is a contender. I absolutely adored the CD but live! Within the intimate confines of Hall Two it was something else.
Like so many good things it began with a 'calm before the storm' feel as Mike Walker gently picked his way around his axe. Enter piano, increasing the tension, showing us the way. Bass and drums change gear and suddenly! - we've got lift-off. No problem here at The Sage - Houston.
Walker is a guitar deity - so says Mark Williams, himself not unknown among the guitarati A list. Walker can be sublime and smooth or rugged and rockfaced he knows exactly when to go into overdrive and he does it within an acceptable rate of decibels.
Simcock is a pianist with technique to spare. Jarrett, Hancock maybe even a touch of Czerny are all in a mix that comes out as pure Simcock. A phenomenal player.
Adam Nussbaum - a powerhouse behind the kit swinging, driving soloing adding his voice to the quartet keeping the ship afloat.
Steve Swallow - laid-back and understated during the first set he displayed more authority in the second with a couple of compositions and some tasteful soloing. A harmonic rock.
Four great musicians and an even greater band.
For the record Level One was full and Level Two was also populated. One chap I spoke to had travelled from Wrexham to hear the band. I'm sure he thought it was worth the trip.
Lance

R.I.P Johnny Heenan.

Rather belatedly I'm afraid the death of Johnny Heenan has come to my attention. I don't know the exact date but the funeral is on Tuesday June 14 at the West Road Crematoreum, Newcastle at 2:00pm. Afterwards there will be a musical send off with Colin Haikney and friends at the Three Mile Inn Gosforth.
Johnny was such a larger than life 'Pal Joey' type character that I'm sure there will be many anecdotes rolled out. One that I heard was of Johnny and some friends on their way to a race meeting somewhere in Scotland which involved a ferry crossing. It was a bank holiday and there was a long queue and they realised that if they waited their turn to board the small ferry the race meeting would be half over. Bold as brass, Johnny drove to the front of the queue oblivious to the tooting horns and told the ferryman he was a surgeon on his way to perform a life-saving operation at the local hospital. The ferryman allowed him on board but, unknown to Johnny, he'd also phoned the police who insisted on escorting him to the hospital!
He was also a great singer and in later years did a lot of charity work for the Variety Club of Great Britain and other worthy causes. As recently as earlier this year he was involved in such an event at Gosforth Park Hotel.
He will be sadly missed and life will be just that little bit duller in the entertainment world.
I'm grateful to Ian Stocks for passing on the sad news.
Lance.

Dave Connolly Funeral Details

The funeral of trumpet player and bandleader Dave Connolly will take place on Monday June 13 at St Andrew's Church, Haughton Green, Darlington, DL1 2DD at 12:30pm and afterwards at The White Horse. Full details are on the Musicians Unlimited website. Link to the original post. Lance.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Preservation Hall Jazz Band in London next Friday

Should you chance to be in London next Friday (June 17) a visit to the South Bank Centre would give you the opportunity to catch the New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band who are appearing as part of Ray Davies' Meltdown Festival. Check them out here. Lance.

Back Street Jazzmen @ Rosie Malone's

Olive Rudd (vcl); Bill Watson (tpt); Neville Hartley (tmb/vcl); Gavin Lee (clt/alt); George Richardson (pno); Alan Rudd (bs); Mike Humble (dms).
Even by recent weeks' standards the Maine Street Mob were depleted - the BEF at Dunkirk had a higher percentage of survivers! - hence the slightly tongue in cheek re-naming of the band.
Sadly, it isn't all fun. Reedsman Jim McBriarty was taken to hospital yesterday with a bowel condition - diverticulum? - and Gavin Lee stepped in at the eleventh hour.
We all wish Jim a speedy recovery.
The deps abounded today and they did the job with musical precision - Bill Watson blew some modernish trumpet, Neville Hartley played tailgate and sang whilst Gavin, using that piece of antiquity an Albert System clarinet, evoked the spirit of Pee Wee Russell and Edmund Hall. Gavin also blew some pre-Parker alto with a wide vibrato that is so rarely used these days - sounded good.
Rhythm section were on top of it all whilst Olive - slightly over worked today - sang Tuxedo Junction, Hard Hearted Hannah, You Can Depend on Me, All of Me, It Don't Mean a Thing to mention but a few.
Herbie is due back next week - his 8 weeks of Turkish Delight diminishing rapidly.
Lance.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Q @ The Central Bar,Gateshead. June 7th

Q: Julien Desprez (guitar), Fanny Lasfargues (bass guitar) & Sylvain Darrifourcq (drums) Bebop Spoken Here is a jazz blog. Q's performance wasn't, by any stretch, a jazz gig, so hardcore jazz fans can switch off now. Those of a more open persuasion read on.
Q flew in from Paris with a box full of pedals, assembled them on the floor, did a sound check - it was loud, very loud - then went off to sink a beer or three in the downstairs bar of the Central Bar. The band's guitarist Julien Desprez is composer in chief and his left-field approach was, at times, percussive with a subtle blues undercurrent. Influences? Hendrix. Comparisons? Chris Sharkey.
Fanny Lasfargues played a heavily amplified five string acoustic bass guitar, slung low, punk gunslinger style.
Drummer Sylvain Darrifourcq visited Gateshead last year with Emile Parisien across the road at the Old Town Hall. On that occasion he stole the show with a sparkling straightahead performance. Last night's set was very different yet he once again gave a five star performance. Four weeks earlier in the same room Norwegian free jazz drummer Dag Erik Knedal Anderson gave a startling display of controlled power and last night Darrifourcq more than matched him. He sustained immense power for long periods with laser like accuracy, Lasfargues locked on to the rhythmic pulse and the duo deployed pedal effects one after another as Desprez's Fender Strat pierced the Gallic riot of sound.
This was dazzling, uncompromising music. The gig was a Jazz North East promotion and the next in the series on June 22nd features New York's viola/violin player Mat Maneri with friends Corey Mwamba, George Burt and Andy Champion at the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle . Russell

R.I.P. Nils-Bertil Dahlander

The veteran Swedish drummer died on June 6 in Mesquito, Nevada. He recorded and played with many of the greats in his adopted homeland and even changed his name to Bert Dale.
I recall vividly an LP he made with Teddy Wilson that showed he had had no problems in swinging behind that most elegant of pianists. He also recorded with Earl Hines.
This YouTube clip is a 1953 Swedish recording by his quartet of Undecided. In those days the Swedes were the front runners in Europe.
He was 83.
Lance.

30 Terrific Jazz Blogs (worldwide) and we're among them!

It's nice to hear that someone "Loves Your Blog" and that's just what Tracy Myers said when she E-mailed me to say that we were featured in the Guide to Online Schools list of the best jazz blogs under the heading of 30 Terrific Jazz Blogs.!
Admitedly we didn't make the Top Five like our friends at LondonJazz did - they came in at number 4 whereas we were "merely" included among the "Best of the Rest". However, apart from LondonJazz, I think we were the only other UK blog the majority being American.
Lance.

This Friday @ The Sage - The Impossible Gentlemen.

Friday night promises to by an evening to remember at The Sage when The Impossible Gentlemen take to the stage in Hall Two. The "Gentlemen" are; Gwilym Simcock (piano), Mike Walker (guitar), Steve Swallow (bass) and Adam Nussbaum (drums). An Anglo-USA quartet that has created ripples - nay waves - of enthusiasm among the jazz fraternity. For me this is an eagerly awaited event - all the more so after hearing their recent Basho label CD. Four brilliant, and at times spectacular, musicians. Creative and intense in their solos. The probing interplay between the four works because, in the words of Mike Walker, "When we made this recording we were thoroughly comfortable glad to be set in a room together with our instruments in hand. We trusted each other".
That feeling comes through on the CD and I'm sure it will be even more evident on Friday night at The Sage.
Lance.
Friday June 10, The Impossible Gentlemen, The Sage, Gateshead. 8:00pm. £16.50/£12.50.
0191 4434661. www.thesagegateshead.org.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Bird on TCM tonight

The Clint Eastwood directed biopic of Charlie Parker - Bird - is being screened on TCM tonight at 11:45pm. Thanks to Liz for drawing it to my attention. YouTube clip. Lance.

Tonight's Jazz North East gig at the Central Bar.

Q: Julien Desprez (guitar); Fanny Lasfargues (bass guitar); Sylvain Darrifourcq (drums) Tuesday 7th June - 8.30pm - Central Bar, Half Moon Lane, Gateshead NE8 2AN. £7.00, £5.00 concessions. Note: This gig is in an upstairs room inaccessible for wheelchair users.
Paul Bream caught Q live at the French festival 'Jazz Sous Les Pommiers', and says: "They really blew me away - almost literally, in fact, because this is a band that takes no prisoners. After listening to their performance, I felt I had to give them another plug. The comparisons with John Zorn's legendary thrash-jazz trio Naked City are not mistaken, but whereas Zorn dealt in short sharp fragments, 'Q' develop the maelstrøm of their sound over longer shape-shifting improvisations. The linchpin of the trio is Fanny Lasfargues, who coaxes an extraordinary array of sounds from her bass guitar, while Julien Desprez subjects melodic phrases to treatments that make Jimi Hendrix sound like Bert Weedon. Meanwhile leader Sylvain Darrifourcq maintains a drive from the drums which is at one level a sheer barrage of noise, yet which contains within it a mass of intricate and responsive detail. What they serve up between them is a tornado of creative energy. I don't want to mislead anybody - this is not a band for the fainthearted, with a full-on intensity that rarely eases off. But their performance last week left a room full of 'seen-it-all, heard-it-all' European promoters shaking their heads in wonderment. It would be great to see a similarly large and enthusiastic crowd at tomorrow night's gig."
Paul Bream.
-----
After reading the above, folk are either going to be clammering to get in or clammering to get out!
Lance.

Monday, June 06, 2011

One Guy Named Mo. Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond

Roly 'Mo' Veitch (gtr/vcl); Rod Sinclair (gtr); Neil Harland (bs); Paul Smith (dms).
It was billed as Mo Scott and her Trio but Mo was, metaphorically speaking, under the doctor" so "Mo" Veitch aka Roly stepped into the breach once more dear friends.
I've heard Roly in duo situations with Jim Birkett and I've heard Jim Birkett doing likewise with Rod so I guess this completed the 3 x doubles' scenario.
It seemed to work well and all four musicians gelled as effectively as the Pressed Ham & Parsley Terrine, Crispy Oxenrig Free Range Eggs and Dandelion. That was my starter. I didn't recognise theirs but Roly's vocal on Lotus Blossom (Strayhorn?) was a tasty item indeed. Roly knows a good tune when he hears one and Polka Dots and Moonbeams is one of the best. However, as this is a story in song that starts with a boy and girl meeting at a country dance that was being held in a garden and concludes with them being shacked up in cottage full of lilac and laughter it seems a bit pointless, after the solos to tell the tale all over again!
To draw a parallel my Wallington Hall Rump Steak with Wild Ransom Butter, Yorkshire Watercress and a mountain of French Fries was delicious but I wouldn't want the same again a few minutes later!
The two guitars contrasted stylistically and sound-wise yet still gelled perfectly. Roly, smoother, more gentile, Rod crisper, more volatile yet each one enhancing the other's qualities if you follow me. Lot's of other good numbers including Mercy Mercy Mercy, My Buddy, Say It Isn't So, Skating in Central Park. I couldn't think of a tune to link up with my British Cherry Eton Mass in Rosewater Cream until Roly sang Till There Was You! Summed up my desert perfectly!
One thing about the Cherry Tree - the audiences are usually appreciative yet, apart from a select few are invariably not from the core jazz audience (if there is such a thing) - the mixture of good jazz and class cuisine for less than the price of a concert at The Sage seems to me to be a good deal.
We choose to listen and we have to eat - where's the problem?
Lance.

Keith Stephen Trio w. Caroline @ Ashington Jazz Club June 1

Caroline Stephen (vcl); Keith Stephen (gtr/bjo); Roly Veitch (gtr/vcl); Bruce Rollo (bs).
A good turn out for the return of Keith Stephen's Gypsy Jazz Trio with Caroline Stephen (formerly Irwin) and what a good evening we had. The members also welcomed Lily Veitch, Roly's mother, who at 90 is an amazing lady, with a passion and enthusiasm for Jazz and an inspiration to all who are in their Autumn years.
Through-out the evening The Elephant was haunted by the ghosts of Django and Piaf, who would I think, have applauded the tribute to their unforgettable talents. Roly provided two untitled originals so I have taken the liberty to name them Roly's Tune and Roly's Calypso. A member suggested "Name that tune". Not very imaginative but the melodies were excellent.
Caroline's vocals mature with every performance. Showing complete confidence she has developed into a most entertaining artiste. C'est Si Bon, Happy as the Day is Long, I Get The Blues When it Rains, I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Running Wild and La Vie En Rose, were all executed with great skill and animation. An audience pleaser!
The trio of Keith, Roly and Bruce Rollo play together in superb harmony and with perfect understanding.
We enjoyed marvelous solo improvisation from all three and it was wonderful to hear Bruce on bass featured on Indiana. As always his Slam Stewart slapping bass style sounded as if there was a duo. How does he do that?
Roly sang Oh What a Little Moonlight Can Do (- 00-00).
As we moved into the second half with After You've Gone and Bie Mir Bist du Schoen (Excuse the German spelling) little did we know that there would be further treats along the way. Keith brought out his banjo and played a melody which to me had a Greek sound which was new to our ears it was warmly applauded.
Caroline, performer extrordinaire, produced a Kazoo and with banjo gave us If it Don't Fit, Don't Force it which caused much laughter, certainly more risque that her version earlier of Over the Rainbow She also added Stupid Cupid with great guitar support.The floor was invaded once again by two young dancers in the French Style which was warmly received. There were other numbers in this long programme and we got good value for money.
Part two began with After You've Gone and the night ended with You Meet a Lot of Very Nice People in Your Dreams.
After the show we all would definitely remember this night for its quality and variety and the nice people of Ashington JazzClub look forward to seeing them again. See you next month when Maine Street Jazz and Olive take the stand.
Photos.
Peter S.

Be-bop - East Side Torpedoes

Came across this YouTube clip of the East Side Torpedoes live which might click a few memories of a great band. Sadly some of them are no longer with us. Lance.

Tonight at the Cherry Tree.

Roly Veitch steps in for Mo Scott, in the company of (Rod Sinclair (gtr); Neil Harland (bs) & Paul Smith (dms), tonight at the Cherry Tree Restaurant, (9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond tel 0191 2399924).
Look forward to a night of good food and some good vocals with some good guitar playing - sounds like a good night.
Lance.

Scarborough Jazz Festival Program

The news this morning that the Spa Complex at Scarborough has been officially opened reminded me that this year's Jazz Festival brochure is out and it looks a very tasty program indeed.
Running from Sept 23 to 25 and compered by Alan Barnes the full details can be found on the Festival website.
Lance.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Legohead @ The Bridge.

Lloyd Wright (gtr); Jon Proud (bs); David Francis (dms). Another fine set from this popular trio - they always have a good following and justifiably so. Lloyd Wright explores the fretboard thoroughly producing sounds and phrases that can be exquisitely tender and laid back or wildly outré and mindblowing.
Jon the bass (guitar) is eclectic in his choice of notes - as the anchor man in a trio he has to be - and provides the perfect foundation for Wright's fanciful flights.
David Francis, the consumate professional - he was driving the 16 piece Customs House Big Band on Friday - tonight he effectively adapted his style to suit this smaller unit without any loss of impetus.
Most enjoyable.
Lance.
PS: In between the Green Festival and the Bridge I popped into the Jazz Café where the usual suspects were jamming. Unusually Colm Rooney was on drums and Alan Law on bass guitar - not their normal instruments.
Pete Gilligan and Doug Fielder completed the line-up and they kicked off with Now's The Time a.k.a. The Hucklebuck. Autumn Leaves followed before I departed.

Blog Archive

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.

Posting a Comment

Posting a comment.

1) Click on comments (at the foot of the posting.).

2) In the window that appears Click on...O Name/URL.

3) Type your name in the box (URL is optional).

4) Click on Publish your comment..

5) Type the jumbled word verification if asked.

Alternatively, email me - lanceliddle@gmail.com.

Subscribe!