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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.

Monday, October 23, 2017

XPQ @ Blaydon Jazz Club - October 22














Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor saxophone), Nigel Price (guitar), Paul Edis (piano), Mick Shoulder (double bass) & Russ Morgan (drums)
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Roly V & Jerry E)
They came from all points – Cumbria, County Durham, Tynedale, and hot foot from a star-studded Big Idea gig at Hoochie Coochie. The Black Bull bulged at the seams…Vasi X was back in town! A full house was all but assured thanks to Vasilis Xenopoulos’ hugely successful previous visits, and,  long before the advertised start time of eight o’clock, it became clear that this Blaydon Jazz Club gig would indeed attract a capacity audience.
XPQ – the ‘X’ denotes Xenopoulos, Vasilis, the ‘P’ Price, Nigel. The ‘Q’ signifies ‘quartet’ or, on this date, ‘quintet’. Tenor saxophonist Vasilis and guitarist Nigel first worked together something like ten years ago and they have had the privilege of sharing a stage with some of the finest jazz musicians in the country. This Black Bull gig found the London-based duo in exalted company. Yes, the guest names were delighted to be playing this Tyneside gig with three of the very best – Paul Edis, piano, Mick Shoulder, double bass and drummer Russ Morgan! Two sets would comprise numbers which continue to be associated with some of the great saxophone-guitar partnerships in jazz. Vasilis put down an early marker with a scintillating opening solo on Without a Song (Sonny Rollins-Jim Hall).
As at Friday evening’s gig at Darlington’s Opus 4 Jazz Club the volume of applause was something quite exceptional and all subsequent solos (Vasilis’ and those of his bandmates) were met with the same raucous enthusiasm. Detailing each and every stupendous solo contribution would require a review of ten thousand words and more. Suffice to say each and every stunning solo seemed to be trumped by the next!
Vasilis introduced Dave Cliff’s The Right Time and in so doing mentioned that the British guitarist’s upbringing was in this neck of the woods. Vasilis’ facility on tenor is unsurpassed and, at speed, he peppered the tune with fleeting quotes including Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise and Nature Boy. It was magical stuff alright but Paul Edis matched Vasilis with an astounding solo of his own. Decibel levels rose to a new high as the audience responded with ever greater enthusiasm. Nigel’s intro to When Joanna Loved Me (Paul Desmond-Jim Hall) recalled the brilliance of Jim Hall and Joe Pass.
The first set closed with an impossible, cutting-contest tempo on Ready and Able. The quintet tore up the Ronnie Cuber-George Benson vehicle with panache, relish, and no little devilment. Smiles all round, beads of sweat on foreheads, absolutely amazing!

Nigel offered the opinion that sometimes the simplest tunes are the best. The Hank Mobley-Grant Green partnership yielded Uh Huh and Nigel and the boys, in blues mode, played it. Vasilis’ solo later prompted Nigel to say: That was the best tenor saxophone solo I’ve…pausing to look across at the tenor man himself…heard this year. If Nigel was thinking That was the best tenor saxophone solo I’ve ever heard then few present would have argued. Full House, If Ever I Would Leave You, tune after tune, simply magnificent. All tunes played feature on XPQ’s CD Sidekicks.     

For an encore, Vasilis said they would combine Billie’s Bounce and Straight No Chaser. If there is a jazz heaven, it must look and sound something like this. Gig of the year? You bet!
Russell.

4 comments :

Patti said...

Oh yes - I was there ....... what a night too, a real trip to jazz paradise. Full of exquisite musical highs. Let's hope we don't have to wait too long for another bounce around with Vasilis, and the supremely talented Nigel.

JERRY said...

I debated whether to go or not as my wife had other commitments on Sunday evening. I went, and am so pleased I did! In a wholly positive sense I would have to say that I've never seen anything like it before. All the musicians were really "in the zone" and the audience response was amazing! Much thanks to Roly for bringing it all together.

Patti said...

Yes indeed - where would we be without guys like Roly, with all his enthusiasm for the good music? We owe a massive debt to people like Roly, the Jazz Cafe team, and Warren at Hoochie Coochie ......

Roly said...

You too Patti. The Whitley Bay Jazz Party is a very special thing, perhaps the finest festival of its kind worldwide. It must take a huge amount of time and effort to put it all together. It's wonderful that you continue the work and maintain the legacy of Mike who organised so much for us all. Yes Sunday evening was one of those special ones you never forget.

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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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