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Bebop Spoken There

Eubie Blake: “He [Willie The Lion Smith] played some tricky rhythms, if he'd seen them written down, he'd have said "Oh I couldn't play that", but he played them!” – (DownBeat May 24, 1973).

Mel Lewis: “They [kids] think the word "technique" means speed. The word "technique" just means the way you do something, that's all.” – (DownBeat July 19. 1973).

Today Saturday April 21


Afternoon

Tees Valley Jazzmen - Hardwick Arms Hotel, 1 North End, Sedgefield TS21 2AZ. Tel: 01740 622305. 1:30pm. Free.

Evening


Pocket Dragon - Empty Shop, 35c Framwellgate Bridge, Durham. DH1 4SJ. 7:30pm. £7.00. (£5.00. advance).

Ubunye - BURC, Main Street, Spittal TD15 1RD. Tel: 07752 403409. 7:30pm. £8.00. (£5.00. child, £22.00. family).


Groove-a-matics @ Magnesia Bank, Camden Street, North Shields NE30 1NH. 9:00pm. Free.

The Hookahs - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson Street, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

Marcus Miller + Ashley Henry Trio @ London Jazz Festival, Royal Festival Hall November 12


Marcus Miller (bass/vocal); Alex Han (alto); Marquis Hill (trumpet); Pasquale Styrizzi (keys); Alex Bailey (drums).
(Review by Jude)
Anyone who knows me and my obsession with Mr Miller will expect more objectification than objectivity from this review, however, I’ll try to keep a cool head.
Blown away by Marcus Miller’s visit to Sage Gateshead, on the Afrodeezia tour, and only one night after seeing Pat Metheny’s storming 2.5 hour slot in Hull, could this live up to our expectations?
Indeed it could. Starting the set with a new and funky tune, Marcus was in upfront mood from the off, rapping on the mic, slapping and soloing as superbly as you would expect. The band, a quintet, is slightly sparser than on the previous British tour, but the groove is, if anything, even more impressive. This was clearly demonstrated in several tracks from the previous album – Hylife (again with Miller vocalising in places), B’s River and the astounding cover of Papa Was a Rolling Stone.
These retained Miller’s and (superb) altoist Alex Han’s soloing, with fiery trumpeter Marquis Hill echoing Hugh Masakela lines on the afrobeats of Hylife, and keyboard player Pasquale Strizzi adding unsettling harmonic undertones via his heavily modulated keyboard sound.  Drums from Alex Bailey were powerful and funky, with the beat always developing, never static.  The arrangements were harder and edgier than previously, and the tunes took on a new life.

The gospel-inflected Preacher’s Kid featured a touching introduction from Miller, reflecting on how his father (the eponymous preacher’s kid) is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, but can still recognise his son as they look so alike. It also brought forth reminiscences of his father’s pride when Marcus first got the call to join Miles Davis at the age of 21. And we thought that 26-year-old Ashley Henry, from the support set, was a young lion! Rich, sonorous bass clarinet from the band leader, and a stunning reworking by the horns of the vocal harmonies of the original recording made this an incredibly moving performance: they literally took it to church.

Aside from new pieces and selections from Afrodeezia, there was a superb reinvention of the chord structure for Night in Tunisia, and a searching, eerily reharmonised, version of Tutu, the tune Miller wrote for Miles Davis back in the 1980s. Again, Strizzi’s heavily phased keyboard sounds, moving in and out of pitch, added an extra layer of tension and power to this majestic piece of music.

A triumphant set, leading to an inevitable encore.  Miller returned to the stage alone, to sit atop a monitor and perform a transcendent solo version of the Jackson Five’s I’ll be There (as first heard on the Renaissance album but, as always, with fresh and astounding improvisational lines throughout).  Joined again by the band, Miller rounded off a truly stunning evening with the storming, flamenco-esque Blast.  The only regret is that the Royal Festival Hall isn’t all that well set up for dancing. I, and my companions on the balcony, did our best with space between the rows of seats.  
Jude.

This Sunday evening performance also featured an impressive support slot by up and coming young British pianist, Ashley Henry (with a storming trio). Poised and powerful, there were times when Ashley Henry reminded me of Robert Glasper; at other times, the woman sitting next to me commented that there were echoes of Ahmad Jamal. Impressive.

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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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Lance

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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