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Bebop Spoken There

Curtis Stigers: “I’m a jazz singer. I’m not a saxophonist. When I stand in front of a band like the Danish Radio Big Band or Ronnie Scott’s, I usually tend to leave the instrument on the stand.” – (The Northern Echo 20 July 2017)

Tamsin Austin, Director of Performance Programme, Sage Gateshead: “SummerTyne is our largest festival and we absolutely love it!” – (The Northern Echo 20 July 2017)

Today Saturday July 22

Afternoon
SummerTyne Americana Festival 2017 - Sage Gateshead. Day two of three. Details. From 12 noon all day.
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Evening
Steve Glendinning (solo guitar) - Cherry Tree, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 2AE. 7:30pm. No cover charge.
The Hookahs - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.
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Big Chris Barber Band - Alnwick Playhouse. 7:30pm. £21.50/£20.50.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Matthew MacKellar’s Farewell Jazz Party @ the Jazz Café - July 13 (Upstairs)

(Review by Russell)
At the conclusion of the opening downstairs’ set (see BSH Editor-in-Chief’s review), fed with crisps and sausage rolls and watered (the bottled variety), your correspondent dashed upstairs to catch a set by the Early Bird Band (BSH Editor-in-Chief’s entourage arrived in the their own time). Dr Edis brought along a liquorice stick and took his place alongside the Earlier Birders as they opened with Four. The regular line-up (more or less) made the gig…James Metcalf (trumpet); Ben Lawrence (trumpet); Matthew Downey (guitar); Phillip Grobe (keyboards), Alex Shipsey (bass) & Dylan Thompson (drums). Matthew Downey featured playing his Gibson on Nature Boy and Blues Walk capped a short, sharp set with the young man of the moment – Matthew MacKellar – replacing the impressive Dylan Thompson for one last blast with the Early Bird Band.

Multi-band events such as Matthew’s jazz party tend to have a pecking order. Whether by accident or design the Francis Tulip Quartet topped the (upstairs) bill. The phrase ‘eagerly anticipated’ was never more appropriate. Three quarters of the band cut their musical teeth playing in Jazz Attack or Jambone or the aforementioned Early Bird Band – Francis Tulip (guitar); Michael Dunlop (bass guitar) & Matthew MacKellar (drums) – and they were joined by Joel Brown (keyboards). Tulip is studying at Birmingham Conservatoire, Dunlop at Guildhall, London, and MacKellar is soon to take Berklee College of Music by storm. Brown is a lower sixth form student. At a guess, the age of the lads - 19, 19, 18 and 16 - could lead some to conclude that they’re ‘promising talents’. Well, if Arts Council types were present (they weren’t) and didn’t know how young they were, the talent spotters would have been throwing money at them right, left and centre, touting them as the ‘next big thing’. This was something special. Guitarist Tulip tore the place apart from the start. Loud(ish), distorted to a degree, technique to burn, if your twenteen this is how you should want to play guitar! Whitley Bay High School pianist Joel Brown is a match for anyone of his age. Coming out of Monk with the certainty that he’ll discover other piano masters, he and Tulip know their stuff. 500 Miles High set a very high standard and the quartet maintained it during an all-too-brief set. I’ll Remember April then a rarely heard TS Monk composition – Green Chimneys – rounded off a terrific set. Bassist Michael Dunlop was most impressive, coming a long way since his studies at Sage Gateshead, ‘secure’ is the word. And the man at the back – Matthew MacKellar – produced an amazing performance. The time, power and invention of the soon to depart MacKellar was something to behold.
 
The Jazz Café was busy, busy, busy. Some didn’t know whether they were coming or going. Barrie Ascroft is a man of few words and as he waited to be called upstairs for Dave Weisser’s set he sat at the piano, playing for himself and anyone who cared to stop and listen. B Ascroft at the upright – now there’s a rarity!

Matthew MacKellar came to the attention of Bebop Spoken Here when sitting-in at Dave Weisser’s Take it to the Bridge workshop. It was, therefore, fitting that the Dave Weisser Combo should close proceedings upstairs. Dave Weisser (cornet & vocals), Ray Johnson (trumpet), Jude Murphy (alto saxophone, flute & vocals), Rachel Richman (alto saxophone), Johannes Dalhuitjsen (tenor saxophone), Roy Stephenson (guitar), Barrie Ascroft (keyboards), Matt Long (bass guitar) & Matthew Fairhurst (drums) + Matthew MacKellar (drums)

A typical Dave Weisser session begins at whenever o’clock and goes on until the musicians in the band shout: Dave! Dave! It’s a quarter past stupid o’clock. Such is Weisser’s enthusiasm that he’ll frequently lose track of time, looking to play the next number in the pad. This farewell party had all the hallmarks of it being another lost in time affair. DW positively encourages all and sundry to take a solo and before you know it, it’s stupid o’clock. From All Blues (Weisser’s incomparable vocals), a Victor Feldman chart, to Tempus Fugit Weisser’s merry band soloed from A to B and back again. Matt Fairhurst graciously stepped aside to allow Matt MacKellar to sign-off with the Dave Wiesser Combo. It was late, but still time to run downstairs to catch the already-in- the-swing jam session.
 
Now then, who’ve we got here? Matthew Downey (guitar), James Metcalf (trumpet), John Pope (double bass), trumpeter-turned pianist Ben Lawrence, Francis Tulip (trumpet)…what? Francis playing trumpet! Dave Weisser joined the knockings, briefly swapping instruments with Metcalf. It was late, it had been a memorable occasion. Finally, Matthew MacKellar, one more time, chose to play All the Things You Are. Someone piped-up: Hip, Hip, Hooray!                     
Russell.

2 comments :

  1. A fantastic evening - and a great send off to young Matthew! As an aside, I'd just like to add that the only thing missing from the party was a tango dancing demo from Johannes, the tenor sax player from the Dave W Combo. Those who were at the Sotavento Big Band gig at the Globe a few days ago will know what I'm talking about!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The sausage rolls were yummy too!

    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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