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Number 22 in World Jazz Blog Rankings

Number 22 in World Jazz Blog Rankings

Bebop Spoken There

Alan Luff: “The general view is that Ella’s songbook recordings are the supreme exemplars of sophistication, fine diction and creative voice in the wide field of popular music.” – (Jazz Journal May 2017).

Steve Voce: “Most of us have been crashed into by cretins who walk along the road absorbed in the screens of their mobile phones.” – (Jazz Journal May 2017).

Today Wednesday May 24

Afternoon.
Vieux Carre Jazzmen - Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.
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Evening.
Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. £1. 8pm.
Levee Ramblers NOJB - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Road, Springwell, Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:30pm. £3.00.
Chris Sharkey Trio - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm. £5.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Joshua Redman @ Jazz en la Costa, Almunecar, Spain, July 21

Joshua Redman (sax) , Aaron Goldberg (piano), Reuben Rogers (bass) and Gregory Hutchinson (drums).
(Review by JC). 
Almunecar is a very pretty coastal town on the Costa Tropical in Southern Spain. One thing it's famous for is being the town where Laurie Lee ended up after his epic walk through the length of the country in 1936 with just a fiddle and a loaf of bread in a knotted handkerchief on the end of a stick as luggage. Unfortunately, he arrived in the middle of the Spanish civil war and things were a bit dangerous as the next town along was on a different side to Almunecar, so eventually he had to be rescued by the British navy. He later wrote about his adventures in his book As I walked Out One Midsummer Morning.
Although it is not reported whether Lee played jazz on his fiddle, Almunecar's other claim to fame is that it has hosted a stylish and quirky jazz festival for over 25 years. The location of the concerts must be one of the coolest and most idyllic around as they take place in wonderful tropical gardens beneath an old floodlit castle. The gardens are full of palms and banana trees and there are pieces of interesting sculpture dotted here and there. The open stage sits underneath the castle in front of much tropical greenery and the musicians are sometimes accompanied by squawky scat from cockatoos and parrots as they fly by. And it wouldn't be a total surprise if a ring-tailed lemur was to swing down from the trees and have a quick thrash on the drums ('Yo! lemur' as a recent visiting American musician might say, hopefully not too many times).
There are rows of seats in front of the stage for people who just want to listen to the music, while further back there are tables with red lights (like an old style al fresco Ronnie Scott's) for those who want to drink, talk and also listen. It all works perfectly.
As well as the Joshua Redman Quartet, this year's programme offered Tord Gustavsen from Norway, Dave Holland, singer and composer Zara McFarlane and Charles Lloyd, amongst others. Not a bad selection.
Redman and his colleagues were in great form going straight into one of his own tunes played at full volume and pace. Surprisingly the second tune was Summertime ('but not as you know it, Lance'). This one included a brilliant, fifteen minute piano solo from Aaron Goldberg which crossed summertime with wintertime, Greenwich Mean Time, time after time and the space/time continuum to dismantle and reconstruct the original tune. The drummer had something to say about this as well. When Redman came back in for his second solo he played a number of beautiful Coltranesque phrases to return to the original tune, as well as managing some exuberant leg kicks.
Impressively, Redman did his best to make his announcements in Spanish although sometimes it drifted into Spanglish and bits of French but the local crowd appreciated it, even if it meant I couldn't understand most of it. So, picking up on the few words I could hear, it appeared that the next tune was written by a rock band from New York, but turned out to be another fiery jazz piece with no discernable rock features as far as I could tell. A number of what seemed to be classical inspired pieces followed with incredibly elegant solos from both Redman and Goldberg on piano. As the night went on the pieces became more musically complex with one number having a long and intricate bass intro before the rest of the band took on the theme and developed it further. For one tune the piano player retired from view and Redman played an extended solo intro, which included both more leg kicks but also, in amongst the torrent of notes, what sounded like double bass sounds. I looked at Reuben Rogers to see if his hands were moving but they were still resting on top of the bass, so they had to be coming from the saxophone.
This was one of those red-hot, but at the same time, cool bands who play with what appears to be such effortless technique yet still seem to be really enjoying themselves. The crowd (and the cockatoos) loved it and the band played an encore to a standing ovation. The happy crowd then drifted off quietly into the balmy night for a glass of wine and some tapas at a bar down by the beach. Nice.
JC

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Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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