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Bebop Spoken There

Vadim Neselovskyi, Professor of Jazz Piano, Berklee College of Music: “Every pianist has to deal with a very complex left-hand part at some point. This is the essential pianistic experience – to split your brain into two halves and execute two very different tasks at the same time.” – (Down Beat September 2017).

Roscoe Mitchell: “To me, improvisation is trying to improve your skills so you can make these on-point compositional decisions. That takes practice.” – (Down Beat September 2017)

Archives

Today Saturday September 23

Scarborough Jazz Festival - Day two of three.
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Evening
Bradley Johnston (solo guitar) - Cherry Tree, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 2AE. 7:30pm. No cover charge.
Rockafellas - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.
Tobie Carpenter Organ Trio - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. £10.
Thin Man + Jon Gordon - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. Free.
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Nikki Iles & Stan Sulzmann - Great Hall, Hexham Abbey, Hexham NE46 3NB. 10pm. £10/£8.
Pat McMahon Trio - Tannery, Gilesgate, Hexham NE46 3QD. 01434 605537. 9pm. Free.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band @ Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester - June 25

(Review by Russell).
They flew 6000 miles to play two concerts. A capacity audience at this first concert greeted this Los Angeles supergroup with wild applause, all before a note was played. The Wigan International Jazz Festival sought the services of this greatest of big bands for some fifteen years and now, finally, we were about to hear the band live, in concert. Festival Director Ian Darrington introduced the band in simple fashion; Welcome the best big band on the planet.
Cameras flashed as the Big Phat Band strolled onto the stage, the best big band on the planet. MD Gordon Goodwin acknowledged an ecstatic audience as the band’s British premiere began right on time. The eighteen-piece Big Phat Band, comprising of Los Angeles’ A-list film and recording studio session musicians, exuded a casual air, their collective CV simply amazing. Boy, this lot could play!
The ensemble cookin’, the first of a raft of stellar soloists, sauntered to the front of the stage. Tenor saxophonist Brian Scanlon blew into a mic, and blew and blew. This elicited the first of innumerable bursts of applause. Fellow tenor man Kevin Garren followed…anything you can do. Sal Lozano – a Hollywood name, for sure! – tore it up on alto and soprano, and later would feature on a legendary number playing clarinet. Tower of Power energy, a dancing samba, a swinging rhythm section, the Big Phat Band reigns supreme. Goodwin introduced several new numbers, standing in front of the band, moving to a Yamaha grand, then a Yamaha Motif XS8, then out front once more. 

Trombones often take a back seat, not with this band! MD Goodwin brought all four ’bone man out front – Andy Martin, Charlie Morillas, Francisco Torres and bass trombone Craig Gosnell – to joust in a rapid-fire slide exchange. Up top, the trumpet section was having a ball. Goodwin teased the audience: Okay Wayne Bergeron, right? No! Bergeron was nowhere to be seen. Depping for the legendary trumpet ace (‘depping’ is an inadequate term!) on these British dates was recent Royal Academy graduate,  all of twenty-three years of age, Louis Dowdeswell. MD Goodwin could not have been more effusive in praising Dowdeswell for taking on the lead trumpet role, and, let it be known, nailing it. The RNCM audience showed its appreciation, the applause deafening.

Sunset and Vine…evocative isn’t it? Well, Goodwin isn’t enamoured of this particular Los Angeles’ interstate. He’s written a new tune and called it…Sunset and Vine. For the listener, another superb big band chart. The rhythm section, a section to die for, indeed all sections, were all over it. Jamey Tate, reading the parts, smiling, is what you could call a ‘proper’ drummer. One imagines the scene out in LA boasts such talents in numbers. Well, it was a privilege to hear this particular talent. Joey DeLeon, the other half of the percussion unit, is sure to be in demand out on the West Coast. Joey and Jamey were simply outstanding. A new favourite bass player (as of yesterday!) is Kevin Axt. A bass guitarist of taste and facility, equally adept as a double bass player.

Rhapsody in Blue. An old warhorse to some, to Gordon Goodwin a masterpiece, in his opinion, Mr George Gershwin the greatest composer of them all. Sal Lozano’s clarinet soared into the blue sky over LA/Manchester. Goodwin’s interpretation of this timeless composition engendered vociferous applause. The audience couldn’t be more animated, could it?

Hunting Wabbits. Never in a million years did your reviewer think this number would be heard live, right here in our own backyard. June 25, 2017, it happened. The Royal Northern College of Music’s auditorium was packed to the rafters, tonight’s (Monday 26) second performance will, no doubt, be equally thrilling. Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band had one last tune for us. Goodwin suggested he and the band knew one more tune. The Jazz Police. Can you believe it,

 The Jazz Police? Live, right here, on our doorstep! Exhilarating, and, memorably, guitarist Andrew Synowiec tearing it up.  Please note, this evening’s concert sold out several months ago. If you want to catch the band live, next stop Los Angeles. So, this RNCM gig was a good ’un? Aye, not bad, ‘canny good’, as we say here in the north east of England, the land of Bebop Spoken Here.              
Russell.
Gordon Goodwin (MD, piano & tenor sax), Louis Dowdeswell, Bob Summers, Dan Savant, Willie Murillo (trumpets); Brain Scanlon (tenor sax & flute), Jeff Driskill (tenor sax & flute), Sal Lozano (alto sax, soprano sax, flute & clarinet), Kevin Garren (tenor sax & flute), Jay Mason (baritone sax, bass clarinet & flute); Andy Martin, Charlie Morillas, Francisco Torres, Craig Gosnell, (trombones); Andrew Synowiec (guitar); Kevin Axt (double bass & bass guitar); Jamey Tate (drums); Joey DeLeon (percussion)

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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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