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Bebop Spoken There

Howlin' Wolf: “He [Charlie Patton] was a nice guy, but he just loved the bottle--like all the rest of the musicians. He was a great drinker.” – (DownBeat December 16, 1967).

Frank Zappa: “Those kids [US students] wouldn't know music if it came up and bit 'em on the ass.” – (DownBeat October 3, 1969).

Today Thursday April 26

Afternoon

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone NE27 0DA. Tel: 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Tees Valley Jazzmen - No.1 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL12 7NJ. Tel: 01388 665533. 12:30pm. Free admission.

Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society - Gateshead Central Library, Prince Consort Road, Gateshead NE8 4LN. 5:00pm. Fortnightly meetings, all welcome.

Evening

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Millstone, Haddrick’s Mill Road, South Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 1QL. 0191 2853229. 7pm.

Maine St. Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Holywell Lane, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5NJ. 8:30pm. Free.

Bearpark Trio - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm. £3 (£2 student/MU.).

New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees TS18 4AW. 8:30pm.

Tees Hot Club w. Kevin Eland (tpt); Donna Hewitt (sax); Graham Thompson (keys) - Dorman’s Club, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Tel: 01642 823813. 9pm. Free.

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

Saturday, October 21, 2017

XPQ @ Opus 4, Darlington - October 20

Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor saxophone), Nigel Price (guitar), Paul Edis (piano), Paul Susans (double bass) & Russ Morgan (drums)
(Review by Russell)
A Friday night in mid-October sees all and sundry heading to the Traveller’s Rest in Cockerton. What’s the occasion? The annual visit of Vasilis Xenopoulos, that’s what! As they queued down the stairs, drinks in hand, a voice said: It’s a tenner tonight. Another replied: I’d pay thirty quid tonight. Such is Vasilis Xenopoulos’ reputation that an increase in the usual admission price didn’t deter the faithful.
An added attraction at this Darlington Opus 4 Jazz Club gig took the form of the brilliant guitarist Mr Nigel Price. Add in the best piano trio around – Messrs Paul Edis, Paul Susans and Russ Morgan – and it had all the makings of a memorable occasion. XPQ are Vasilis Xenopoulos, Nigel Price and, on this gig, the aforementioned A-list rhythm section.
On June 21st Xenopoulos and Price went into the studio to record material associated with several of the great saxophone/guitar partnerships in jazz history. The album Sidekicks (review to follow) is the result of their endeavours, and here at Opus 4 not only was the physical product (CD) available to buy hot off the press, the evening’s two sets featured cuts from it! 
 The London-based headliners had some of the jazz greats listening in on the gig (see photo) as the quintet opened with Vincent Youmans’ Without a Song (Sonny Rollins-Jim Hall, 1962). Nigel Price (NP) took the first solo. Gargantuan it was, simple as. Vasilis Xenopoulos (VX) replied, big style! This 52nd Street gig (Opus 4/52nd Street – same thing!) couldn’t have got off to a better start. Cheering fans, of a certain age, in the upstairs room of a suburban Darlington pub, hard to believe, but true. And this established the pattern for the evening.

The Right Time (Geoff Simkins-Dave Cliff, comp. Dave Cliff) heard VX in swinging, bluesy mode. A strange thing happened…more cheering! O Pato (Stan Getz-Charlie Byrd), an Edis solo feature on  When Joanna Loved Me (Paul Desmond-Jim Hall) reminded all present that this was an A-list five-piece outfit…cue cheering. A searing tempo on Ready and Able (Ronnie Cuber-George Benson) is something else to listen to, what must it be like to play it? The cookin’ rhythm section – Edis, Paul Susans and Russ Morgan – more than matched VX and NP. More cheering.

The interval – phew! A refill (Theakston’s Black Bull – more on this later). The unanimous view was it had been an unbelievable first set. Seasoned musicians in the audience were fulsome in praising XPQ.

John Coltrane-Kenny Burrell to resume. Lyresto started where we left off with more cheering as the A-list rhythm section took a few bars as an imperious piano trio. Uh Huh fuelled greater excitement as VX booted, honked and swung his way through the Grant Green-Hank Mobley showstopper. NP had his say with shuffle-rhythm accompaniment before ceding to a Paul Edis piano solo which VX offered enthusiastic encouragement urging his friend from their days working together in London to play on. Yep, more hollering!

Nigel Price revealed that at one time Wes Montgomery was his mobile ringtone! Full House tore it up with solos all round. From Johnny Griffin-Wes Montgomery to more homegrown jazz talent with a hear-felt tribute to a now well again Jim Mullen. Price said: This goes out to Jim Mullen, adding and he’s back with a vengeance! From one guitarist to another, Price led XPQ on Mal Waldron’s Soul Eyes (Dick Morrissey-Jim Mullen). Shirley Scott’s Ladyfingers trained the spotlight on Stanley Turrentine-Kenny Burrell. Solos all round, Paul Susans excelling. It was almost time to go. Vasilis Xenopoulos suggested one for the road. Sonny Rollins’ If Ever I Would Leave You from What’s New? is where we came in – Sonny Rollins-Jim Hall. Yet more astounding solos (VX briefly quoting St Thomas) with the exceptional Russ Morgan, drums, taking it home.

XPQ at Opus 4 Jazz Club is currently top of your reviewer’s Gig of the Year list. And you’re thinking Damn! I missed it! Well, my earlier mention of Theakston’s Black Bull serves as a reminder. Tomorrow night (Sunday 22) they’re going to do it all over again at the Black Bull on Bridge Street in Blaydon. No excuses, all roads (Sat Navs) lead to NE21 4JJ. Eight o’clock start, a tenner on the door. Arrive early to claim a seat, it’s going to be busy. Gig of the Year MKII.                              
Russell

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Whilst we appreciate the many emails, texts, messages and other communications we receive requesting album/gig reviews on BSH, regrettably, we are unable to reply to them all other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
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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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