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Bebop Spoken There

Rex Stewart: "Screwy chords and modern harmonies may be exciting to play, but they will never be bread-and-butter-music." - (Melody Maker April 24, 1948. From Colin Aitchison's amazing collection).
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Vasilis Xenopoulos: “I like playing jazz that has form, and structure. That’s what I’ve been doing for years and I like it.” – (Jazzwise July 2015).

Today Sunday July 5

Afternoon
MUSICIANS UNLIMITED BIG BAND - Park Inn, Park Rd., Hartlepool TS26 9HU. Free. 1pm.
Long established big band session on Teesside
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SMOKIN' SPITFIRES - The Cluny, Lime St., Ouseburn, Newcastle. 12.30pm. £6.50.
Charity fundraiser for the Bubble Foundation.
Monthly - Today's the day!.
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BAGHDADDIES Plus - Cumberland Arms, James Place St., Byker. 12 noon. Free.
All-day extravaganza with lots of bands and booze!
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BRADLEY JOHNSTON (Solo guitar) - Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 2AE. 0191 2399924. 1pm.
Quality food and great solo jazz.
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JAMES HARRISON - Vermont Hotel, Castle Garth, Newcastle NE1 1RQ. Tel: 0191 233 1010. 4pm-7pm.
Sundays are now solo piano with earlier start.
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AM JAM - The Globe, Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 3pm.
A jam aimed at encouraging the less experienced player giving listeners a chance to spot and encourage the stars of the future. Monthly - Back July 12.
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MORE JAM - The Globe, Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 3pm. Free.
C'mon and blow! Monthly - Back on July 26.
Evening.
COLIN AITCHISON FRANCO VALUSSI and STEVE ANDREWS - Black Bull, Bridge St., Blaydon NE21 4JJ. 8pm £5.
Monthly - Tonight an Extra Night!
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VIEUX CARRE JAZZMEN - Red House Pub and Farm, Hepscott Dr., Whitley Bay NE25 9XJ. 8pm. Free.
Happy Hour 8-9pm Many drinks 2-4-1!
Monthly - Tonight's the night!
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RENDEZVOUS JAZZ - The Globe, Railway St.,NewcastleNE4 7AD. £5. 7pm.
Last Sunday in the month series featuring local trad bands. (NOTE EARLY START!) Back July 26.
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POCKET JAZZ ORCHESTRA - Brasserie Hudson Bay,Windward Way, Middlesbrough TS2 1QG. Tel: 01642 261186. 7:30pm Free. Last Sunday in month - plus guests. Back July 26
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MAINE STREET JAZZMEN - Seaton Sluice Social Club. 8pm. £3.
Monthly - Back July 26.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When Harry (Connick jr.) Met Roly (Veitch).

Keith Crombie's 'Jazz Cafe', still going strong in Newcastle, is the stuff of legend. Someone should write a book about it. There are countless anecdotes.
One memorable event took place on the 11th June 1993. It was one of those experiences as a musician you never forget.
That evening we had a quartet playing there - Bill Harper pno, Clem Avery bass, Miles Nicholas drms and myself gtr/vcls. Miles was a great drummer who had recently completed the music diploma at Newcastle College, he later emigrated to Australia and I often wonder what happened to him. He had a wonderful ability to 'swing'.
Also present that evening was the very young Paul Booth (with dad Eric) - even then he was amazing.
Well the word had gone round that some of Harry Connick's band may be dropping in for a blow - they had a concert at Newcastle City Hall that same evening. There was a palpable air of anticipation and excitement. Would anything happen?
Well sure enough, later in the evening, some strangers with instrument cases began to appear. The word had gone round too as there was a big crowd  - it was buzzing.
After having a drink and checking out the place they were soon over to chat to the band and keen to play.
I remember first up was a wonderful bop altoist - a tall, handsome negro called Brad Leali. What a great guy he was - he just absolutely loved to play. He actually gave me his contact details and said if ever over in NY to look him up. A year or two later I was watching some American TV show and I saw his name in the credits as MD.
Brad was soon getting the others up to play - the entire saxophone section were there. I don't have the names unfortunately but believe me they were all fantastic - a brilliant baritone player in particular. All they wanted to do was play on all evening.
Some members of the rhythm section came too, among them the guitarist. He just had a brief sit in but we had a long chat about gear etc. His name was Russell Malone - he went on to fame with Diana Krall and now has an international career in his own right.
A bit later in the evening, and in the midst of all this frenetic activity, a hooded figure appeared. Someone trying to hide his identity or just being trendy? Yes - it was Harry.
Eventually he joined in playing some drums, some bass, some piano.  He didn't say much but was there quite a while enjoying the scene before slipping away back to his hotel.
But the sax section played on, and on, and on,  joined by Paul Booth who even then could hold his own.
No one wanted to stop - I remember it was about 2.30 am when things began to wind down a bit. Even then Connick's boys wanted to play on. Phew!
Over the next few days there was quite a bit publicity about it. I dont know who did it but there were photos and write ups in the local press with headlines such as 'Harry drops in for a jam', 'Jammin' with a legend' etc.
So there it was - a memorable experience at the good old Jazz Cafe. I've often wondered about Brad Leali, what is he doing now etc. He was such a lovely person and I think he was the moving force who made it all happen.
Roly.

3 comments :

  1. Hello Miles. What a surprise. Indeedy, still a local lad. Born in Blaydon, live in Blaydon - will probably pop off in Blaydon. Glad you are doing well - I heard you had a lot of success in Australia with the trio.
    Very best wishes and I wish you continued success.
    Roly

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good lord! That brings back a boat load of memories. Roly! How are you? Hi Lance too! That was an amazing, surprising evening alright. I remember some fantastic playing that night not least from you, Roly. Harry's players were wonderful and Harry was also a pretty handy multi- instrumentalist. He advised me (after doing a very passable Art Blakey impression on my drums for a few numbers) that I should get some Zildjian cymbals.... Which I dutifully did later.

    The evening seemed to stretch on and on and has always been a good story to trot out every now and then. Thanks for your kind comments. I went to Australia with Kyrie Miskin (trombone) and Duncan O Neill (guitar) both from the jazz course in Newcastle. We had a very successful busking band that turned into a bizarre indie pop band played all over Aussie radio and TV. Came back to the UK last year. In London writing scores for film and TV. Hope you're well, sir. Still Newcastle way?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Keith Crombie names the baritone player as Dave Schumacher and the tenor player as Jerry Weldon both of who can be seen/heard on YouTube as can altoist Brad Leali.

    ReplyDelete

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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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