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Bebop Spoken There

Gordon Beck: "No one has the answer to the eternal question: What is a genius?." - (Crescendo January 1989).

Today Sunday March 1

MUSICIANS UNLIMITED BIG BAND - Park Inn, Park Rd., Hartlepool TS26 9HU. Free. 1pm.
Long established big band session on Teesside
IAN HARRINGTON (solo piano) - Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 2AE. 0191 2399924. 1pm.
Quality food and great solo jazz.
SMOKIN' SPITFIRES - - The Cluny, Lime St., Ouseburn, Newcastle. 12.30pm. £6.50.
Charity fundraiser for the Bubble Foundation.
Monthly Today's the day!
AM JAM - The Globe, Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 3pm.
The AM (amateur) may attract the less talented and deter the more discerning listener. Hopefully not and should instead be regarded as a chance to spot and encourage the stars of the future. Monthly, Back March 8.
TBA - Forum, Darlington. £4/£2. 6pm.
MORE JAM - The Globe, Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 3pm. Free.
C'mon and blow! Monthly - Back March 22.
? - Saltburn Conservative Club, Saltburn by the Sea. 2-5pm. £3.
New Sunday afternoon venture down in sunny Saltburn. Also happy hour 3pm-5pm beer/lager £2 a pint!
TIPPING POINT - Bridge Hotel, Castle Garth, Newcastle NE1 1RQ. £6. 8pm.
Great to have Splinter back in action with exciting contemporary ensemble.
VIEUX CARRE JAZZMEN - Red House Pub and Farm, Hepscott Dr., Whitley Bay NE25 9XJ. 8pm. Free.
Monthly - Tonight's the night!
Happy Hour 8-9pm Many drinks 2-4-1!
MAINE STREET JAZZMEN - Seaton Sluice Social Club. 8pm. £3.
Monthly - Back on March 22.
Black Bull, Bridge St., Blaydon NE21 4JJ. 8pm £5.
Back March 15, 2015 with SSBB!.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

R.I.P. Derek Bridge.

(By Peter Ayton) (Photo courtesy of former BBC producer George Lambelle and BBC Radio Teesside.. Derek Bridge is  pictured at the rear in the centre. behind the seated George Lambelle.)
Derek was born in Brighton and, as a youth, went for lessons to the  same sax teacher as Barbara Thompson and indeed knew Barbara through this. As a young sax player he performed  in various palais  bands of the day - In particular The ‘Denis Langford Band’. Whilst playing  with these various  orchestras, he came to  blow alongside such notable musicians  as drummer/keyboard player Garry Husband  and the great tenor sax player, Red  Price.  Derek eventually went on to work and tour extensively  with Adam Faith’s  band .

His calligraphy  was second to none and he secured a job writing arrangements and parts for the famous ‘Pop Plan’ music publishers based in  in Leeds. 
Derek  met his wife Wendy and made his way to Redcar and eventually in Yarm. 
I first came across Derek when he became conductor and M.D for the Middlesbrough Musicians Union Big Band.  By this time he had become  a very successful instrumental teacher, proving to be very popular  amongst his  pupils/students with his lovely, superlative, relaxed  manner .
What will I personally remember Derek for!? Well   he was a great musician, had a wonderful sense of humour, and really ……just one of the nicest guys I ever met .  Thoughts go out to Wendy and family at this time.
Peter Ayton.
Derek's funeral service is to take place in the chapel of Fawcett & Hetherington Funeral Service, King George House,92 High Street Eston,TS6 9EG on Monday April 30 at 1.00pm prior to burial at Yarm Cemetery.


  1. Derek Bridge was the leader of Middlesbrough Big Band, also known as the Trade Union Band, because it was sponsored by the Musicians’ Union. It practised on Sunday mornings in the Trades Union Club, just off the roundabout at the top of Marton Road. It was a side street, but I forget the name. You turn left at the top of Marton Road as though going to Redcar Trunk Road and then turn sharp left. The band was significant because it contained senior members of the union with young musicians, many of which were still at school. It became one of the first big bands in the country to receive what we called “sensible” fees because the national big bands had so many members that the fees were impossible. The senior members of the band were known as “stiffeners” because they led by example and helped to produce a better, co-ordinated sound. Derek wasn’t the first leader of the band, but he took over soon after I started handling music. He was a great teacher of young musicians, both within the band and privately.

    I’m really sorry to hear of his demise. On a personal level, he was patient, quiet and a lovely performer as soloist and ensemble man. I know there will be many people saddened by his loss, because he played such a significant – if unsung – part in Teesside music circles.

    We recorded the band many many times, sometimes without a fee simply to allow the band to hear the recordings and learn from their mistakes. In return for this we were allowed use some of the recordings. There were many repeat recordings of specific numbers simply to give the lads the chance to hear their improvements. It was Derek, with the support of the union secretary Kath (surname has disappeared from the brain for the moment), who cleared the system of payments and which I was able to report within a chaotic music seminar in London some time later. Steve Race was there and fell about laughing saying the local radio was always in trouble, but usually in the right. When he came up to West Auckland for a County Durham seminar I was able to tell him we HAD won, so he pointed out that we still couldn’t afford HIS band. All of this down to the effect of Derek Bridge and Kath. I wonder how many people know!!!

  2. I was very sad to hear of Derek Bridge's untimely death. I had the privilege of working with Derek many times over the years both in education and as a fellow musician. He was a superb jazz clarinettist and saxophonist, arranger and educator who was always cheerful, encouraging and with a wonderful sense of humour. He was one of life's real gentleman who was held in high regard by both his fellow musicians and his past pupils, many of whom would keep in regular contact with him.
    You couldn't wish to meet a nicer guy, God bless him.

    Jeremy McMurray

  3. I first met Derek a little over 30 years ago when I was asked by MU secretary Kathy Moore to play with the MU rehearsal big band because they needed a regular drummer. We immediately became good friends and in the ensuing years worked together many times. My wife also worked with him on keyboards in his own band and when Derek would dep at Marton Country Club. Each gig was an absolute joy because of Derek’s humour, good nature and great musicianship. Apart from the many bands Derek ran he was also a great teacher - his past students must number in the hundreds and he was respected by all of them. At one school they simply called him “The Legend”. I last saw Derek late last year in hospital and his main concern to me was his walkman and the music on it. Derek really was one of life’s gentlemen and will be missed by many. Now he is working in that great big band in the sky-I hope they make him bandleader!
    Our thoughts are with our dear friend Wendy.
    Kevin & Michele O’Neill


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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.)
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!
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