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Bebop Spoken There

Frank Zappa: "There was so much acid during the '60s that it was very easy for large numbers of people to think they had seen God as soon as the Beatles went boom, boom, boom, you know?." - (DownBeat May 18, 1978). – (DownBeat May 18, 1978).

Ryan Keberle: “Don't be easy on yourself when it comes to playing with perfect intonation. All other instruments will be playing with close-to-perfect intonation; the same should be expected of trombonists.'” – (DownBeat April 2018)

Today Friday March 23


Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free.


Jiannis Pavlidis Trio - Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 9:00pm. £8.00. (£6.00. advance).

Hookahs - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

Five Men No Dog - Prohibition Bar, Arch 3, Brandling Street, Gateshead NE8 2BA. 8:00pm (doors 7:00pm). A ‘jar on the bar’ admission event.

Steve Bone - Al Forno, 81 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 7pm.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Virtuoso Jazz Trio @ St George’s URC, Morpeth - September 9

George MacDonald (clarinet), James Birkett (guitar) & Bruce Rollo (double bass)
(Review by Russell)
Heritage Open Days’ weekend happened to coincide with a concert appearance by the Virtuoso Jazz Trio. St George’s Church, standing on the River Wansbeck, participating in the open doors event, temporarily closed its doors to ensure the virtuosi could perform without distraction. A one hour set presented a selection of George MacDonald’s favourite numbers, and his fellow virtuosi,   James Birkett and Bruce Rollo, no doubt share the enthusiasm of the Northern Sinfonia’s former principal clarinetist for a good tune.
St George’s billed the concert as a ‘jazzberry event’ with strawberries and cream, tea and coffee, and other refreshments included in the modest admission charge. Octogenarian MacDonald did the talking, his Canadian accent adding an extra dollar’s worth to the story telling. Softly spoken,   to this day Benny Goodman his man, the clarinetist sat between James Birkett, guitar, and Bruce Rollo, double bass. Having heard the VJT on numerous occasions, here in Morpeth it occurred to your reviewer that Mr MacDonald doesn’t count in any of the tunes. The tempo determined in his mind, he began to play. Messrs Birkett and Rollo were on it instantly. First Summertime then, as  MacDonald observed wryly, time for Autumn Leaves. Our Canadian ex-pat enjoys putting Birkett and Rollo to the test with an up tempo number. Straight in, a breakneck After You’ve Gone. How do they do it? Marvellous! An exquisite A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square held the audience spellbound, a swift It Don’t Mean a Thing breaking the spell.

Mr MacDonald recalled touring in Brazil with the Northern Sinfonia…a hotel on Copacabana, the iconic  Ipanema girl, yes, a couple of bossas were called for. Wave, then Meditation. Easy when you know how! The VJT are masters of the form, MacDonald stated the melody, Birkett conjured the magical solo, Rollo rolling with the rhythm. Thinking out loud, Mr MacDonald said: Doris Day sang this one, didn’t she? It’s Only a Paper Moon…wonderful...One hour flew by listening to the Virtuoso Jazz Trio. Time for one last tune. Sweet Georgia Brown. As the lyric goes: It’s been said she knocks ’em dead when she lands in town, the same could be said of the Virtuoso Jazz Trio.                           

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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: I look forward to hearing from you.