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Bebop Spoken There

Hugh Masekela: “I advise every kid to check out their past because without a past you are in limbo.” (Songlines December 2017)

Leo Richardson: “I think your image is really important. You look at those old Blue Note recordings and you look at the liner note, the booklet and they’re in the studio and they’re wearing shirt and ties. They used to wear suits all the time.” – (Jazzwise December 2017/January 2018)

Submissions for review

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.
Similarly, CDs received by post will only be considered if accompanied by sufficient background material.
Finally, bear in mind that this is a jazz-based site when submitting your album.
Lance

Today Sunday December 17

Afternoon.

Musicians Unlimited - Park Hotel, Park Rd., Hartlepool TS26 9HU. 01249 233126.1pm. Free.

Nicola Farnon Trio - Park Inn, Park Road, Hartlepool TS26 9HU. Tel: 01429 233126. 4:00pm. Tickets: £8.00. Tickets from Mick Donnelly & the band on Sundays at the Park Inn. Farnon (double bass & vocals), Piero Tucci (piano & tenor sax) & Phil Johnson (drums). Gig forms part of Musicians Unlimited’s Christmas Party.

Blues @ The Bay - Tanner Smith's, 17-19 South Parade, Whitley Bay NE26 2RE, 0191 2525941. 4pm. Blues Jam w. Scott Wall & Charlie Philp.

Somethin' Blue - Vesuvio, 3a Houndgate, Darlington DL1 5RL. 01325 788564. 5pm. Weekly.
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Evening

Jazz Co-op Party w. Lickety Split - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 6:00pm. £5.00. Jam session (More Jam) @ 6:00pm, Lickety Split @ 8:00pm.

Classic Swing - The Kittiwake, Claremont Crescent, Whitley Bay NE26 3HL. Tel: 0191 251 3977. 8:00pm. New weekly residency. NOTE LATER START TIME.

Roly Veitch Trio with guests George MacDonald & James Birkett - Black Bull, Bridge Street, Blaydon NE21 4JJ. Tel: 0191 414 2846. 8:00pm £5.00. Christmas concert plus the ‘legendary’ DIY buffet. Roly’s trio – Paul Grainger (double bass) & David Francis (drums).

Jazztones - Quakerhouse, Mechanics’ Yard, Darlington DL3 7QF. 6:00pm. Free admission. Gig in the downstairs bar. The band’s ‘Christmas shindig’

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

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

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Digital Download Review: Ella Fitzgerald - Ella @ Zardi's.

Ella Fitzgerald (vocal); Don Abney (piano); Vernon Alley (bass); Frank Capp (drums).
(Review by Lance).
It's been well recorded on Bebop Spoken Here the effect that hearing Ella Fitzgerald live, for the very first time, at Newcastle City Hall in March 1955 had on me and, although I heard her many more times over the ensuing years, great as they were, nothing ever topped that first impression and, I was convinced that nothing ever would.
Until today that is when I listened to Ella at Zardi's.
Just under a year after that magical night in Newcastle, Ella recorded this session at Zardi's - a Hollywood nightspot.
Norman Granz had taken over her representation and this was intended to be the initial album under his supervision. However, The first of the great Verve Songbook albums - Cole Porter - was released and quickly became so successful that other songbooks followed and Zardi's was filed away and forgotten.
Until now.

Christmas Jethro Tull @ Durham Cathedral - December 14

Ian Anderson (flute, 'voice', acoustic travel guitar and mandolin), Florian Opahle (electric guitar), John O'Hara (piano, organ, accordion), David Goodier (bass guitar), Scott Hammond (drums).
Durham Senior Choristers Choir, Jason Lowe (cathedral organ), Lloyd Grossman ('guitar', 'voice').
(Review by Steve T)
Some people don't think prog-rock qualifies for a Jazz blog and Ian Anderson defines Tull as progressive with a small p. Many think a more contemporary interpretation of Jazz is music which breaks the rules, takes chances and is more challenging, for musician and listener. 
I've seen them a number of times, at Bury, Newcastle, Lancaster, Sheffield and Gateshead, so we're all but Tulled out, but the lure of this most Christmassy of rock bands at the worlds greatest building was too great to resist.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Don’t Miss The Indigo Voices December Gig At The Globe

This event is on Tuesday 19th December at 7.30pm. Admission is £5 and there are nibbles to eat.
I know these singers well, and I can tell you that the gig is well worth the admission price.
The singers are accompanied by the superb Alan Law trio, who are:-
Alan Law (piano); Katy Trigger (bass); and Nik Alevroyiannis (drums).
The singers are: Barry Keatings, David Edgar, Carrie McCullock, Jenny Lingham, Miriam McCormick and Jen Errington. You’ll hear a varied selection of songs with a hint of Christmas, including  Misty; Don’t Go To Strangers; Bewitched; I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm; Winter Wonderland and All My Tomorrows.   
Be there! Don’t miss yet another good night at the Globe.

Ann Alex

Mo Scott – She’s Our Pride and Joy @ The Jazz Café - Dec 15

Mo Scott (vocals), Dave Dryden (guitar), Neil Harland (bass) & Paul Smith (drums)
(Review by Russell) 
Christmas party time at the Jazz Café! The promise of ‘free festive nibbles’ attracted the interest of Bebop Spoken Here, and, if our luck was in, there was the prospect of pulling a cracker. The sweet little angel atop the Christmas tree, Mo Scott, assembled her A-Team line-up, and, without fanfare, ripped into T-Bone Shuffle and Hound Dog.
Tyneside’s Empress of the Blues and her men in black played a blinder from the off; guitarist Dave Dryden is one hell of a musician. It struck your reviewer that Scott doesn’t countenance working on a gig with other than the very best of blues guitarists. Dryden, Gary Dunn, and for many years, Rod Sinclair, to name but three, all top drawer. Bassist Neil Harland is a busy working musician, and, as and when he’s available, Mo readily secures his services. Teesside-based drummer Paul Smith is equally busy and his presence in the engine room ensured a memorable night of rhythm and blues, Tex-Mex and more was in store.

Friday, December 15, 2017

RIP John Critchinson (December 24, 1934 - December 15, 2017.)

Just picked up on a tweet from Ian Shaw telling the sad news that pianist John Critchinson died today. I knew that 'Critch' had been ill for some time and benefit concerts were being arranged but I didn't know how serious it was. One of the best modern pianists around, I first heard him in concert at Caedmon Hall in Gateshead with Ronnie Scott in, maybe 1979/80. I was impressed. 
Some 30 years later he was with Simon Spillett at the Early Music Centre in York - the magic was still there - and the following year at a pub gig in Crouch End, again with Spillett, he slotted in alongside Martin Drew and Andy Cleyndert for another memorable evening. This was in 2010 and, regrettably, was the last opportunity I had to hear him live. 
However, all was not lost. A 2013 recording with Simon Spillet kept him on my radar and, as I type, I'm listening to that album (Square One). Yesterday I Heard the Rain is a masterclass in saxophone ballad playing and the piano solo maintains the mood to perfection.

Perfection! A good word to end on when paying tribute to John Critchinson who passed away today - 9 days short of his 83rd birthday.
Sadly missed.
Rest In Peace.
Lance.
More from LondonJazzNews.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

CD Review: The Lindsay Hannon Plus - Make Dark Heaven Light

Lindsay Hannon (vocals), Mark Williams (guitar), John Pope (bass) & Russ Morgan (drums)
(Review by Russell) 
An intriguing running order of ten tracks – the first three compositions are by Lindsay Hannon and Mark Williams followed by four jazz standards then three numbers from contemporary composers. Happenstance? Unlikely, because band leaders are, or should be, meticulous in the presentation of their music to an audience. It would appear Hannon thought long and hard about this. Precisely why the tracks are in the order they are is altogether a different matter. Ask Hannon about it when you purchase a copy of the CD at the band’s next gig!  

Chris Biscoe; Roger Turner ; John Pope. A Jazz North East 'On the Outside' performance @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle - December 3

Chris Biscoe - tenor and alto sax, alto clarinet; Roger Turner - drums; John Pope – bass.  
(Review/photo courtesy of Ken Drew.)
Chris Biscoe & Roger Turner played their first duo gig in 1967 and this tour of five cities around the UK sees them working with local musicians, making each performance a unique event due to the differing range of instruments.  Biscoe and Turner, "The Collaborators" were joined tonight by John Pope with the aim of having open minds in the spirit of pure improvisation. This tremendous improvising threesome first came together four years ago after internationally acclaimed percussionist Roger Turner heard Newcastle bassist John Pope as part of a band, and was so impressed he suggested that they should play together. The brilliant reeds player Chris Biscoe was recruited to form a trio which made its debut at Sage Gateshead as part of a double bill with the Anglo-French quartet Sonsale.   And now, four years later, they share the stage again.

CD Review: Andrew Bain - Embodied Hope.

Andrew Bain (drums); George Colligan (piano); John Irabagon (tenor); Michael Janisch (bass).
(Review by Lance).
Sometimes, reading the blurb of an album can fill you full of enthusiasm for the disc, which of course is the whole idea, only to find yourself disappointed after you've cranked up the machine. Conversely, reading the notes can also act as a deterrent. For me, such was the case here.  A concept which seeks to link improvisation with the increasingly topical issues of human rights didn't get me over excited and it was only after one of those nice chaps at Whirlwind suggested I might actually like it that, with some trepidation,  I duly listened. That trepidation was soon cast aside as the record began spinning.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

CD Review: Hugh Masekela – Sixty/Black to the Future/Notes of Life

(Review by Russell)
This three-CD release features Hugh Masekela’s music recorded during the mid to late 1990s. The anti-apartheid movement’s success in securing the release of Nelson Mandela encouraged a three decades’ exiled Masekela to return to South Africa and these albums on Floating World Records, a London-based specialist reissue label, represent an upbeat, celebratory period in a long recording career.
Trumpet, flugelhorn and vocals, composer Hugh Masekela has experienced chart-topping success, the highs of festival and stadium concert performances and a determined life-long political activism. Sixty comprises thirteen tracks; Fela is dedicated to the late Fela Kuti, musician, and fellow political activist. Township and Afrobeat are the life-affirming sounds permeating this and the majority of the thirty-six tracks across the three albums. It would appear that Masekela plays flugelhorn exclusively with the trumpet parts on Black to the Future played by Prince Lengosa – Chileshe and Excuse Me Baby feature Lengosa, Khaya Mahlangu, tenor saxophone, and Jasper Cook, trombone, alongside Masekela’s flugelhorn and vocals.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Favourite Animals and Article XI @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle - December 10

(Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew)
What a great end to the JNE year as a dectet and an undectet literally filled the stage on Sunday night at The Bridge Hotel.  A Venn diagram of the 2 bands would have shown 7 musicians in the intersection of the two groups. So in total, there were 14 different players rather than the 21 any keen mathematician might have calculated. Many of the 14 were familiar faces having visited Tyneside many times in one guise or another in recent years. In fact, I think I have seen Johnny Hunter on drums more than any other musician in Tyneside which is certainly no bad thing given his aff/ability. The idea of the 2 ensembles touring together came out of a crazy conversation between respective bandleaders Cath Roberts and Anton Hunter and Sunday night saw the culmination of the 4 date mini-tour. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?

Sinatra Birthday Bash in Red Bank

Had he still been with us Frank Sinatra would have been 102 today and, although he's now long gone, his memory lingers on. His Rat Pack buddy, Dean Martin, would have been 100 this year. My dear friend, Lydia Diel now lives in New Jersey but, way back when, we both attended Jarrow Central School albeit at different times.
Today, I received, not only a Christmas card from Lydia but also a report, program and ticket stub from the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank of a concert by Dean's daughter Deana whereby she pays tribute in song to her father and her 'Uncle Frank'.
This is how Lydia heard it:

Matt Anderson Quartet Kickstarter campaign


Saxophonist Matt Anderson has launched a kickstarter campaign to raise sufficient capital to fund his latest quartet album - Rambling. Cut off date is December 22 so, although well supported, it still needs a bit more.
For further details and to help Matt cover that final mile click on  this link.
Lance.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Guidelines for applications to northern line round 6 touring period.

About the scheme
northern line is an open application scheme to support northern jazz musicians to tour across the North. The scheme aims to strengthen artists’ offer, enabling them to engage new and existing promoters and develop jazz audiences across the sector.
We’re now recruiting our 6th round of northern line artists. Since 2013 Jazz North’s northern line has supported 58 ambassador artists, developed a network of 150 promoters, festivals and arts organisations and partnered on over 500 subsidised performances across the north and beyond.

Jazz North northern line open for applications

It’s that time of year again and Jazz North has now opened the application portal to recruit the next round of northern artists for our northern line scheme.  Thanks to the help of our partners last year, applications for the 2017 round were double that of previous years. We would like to make sure that awareness of this initiative continues to grow so, once again, we are approaching our friends and sector colleagues to help direct talented musicians our way. 
Since its launch in 2013, northern line has featured 58 Ambassador Artists who have performed over 550 gigs with approximately 150 promoters and partners across the north of England and beyond.  As in previous years, northern line Round 6 will be selected by an independent panel of musicians, promoters and industry experts. Artists selected for the scheme will benefit from subsidised performance fees, on-going professional development support and will perform at our showcase day at Manchester Jazz Festival in July 2018. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

House of the Black Gardenia @ Billy Bootleggers - Dec 9

(Review by Russell)
A third gig of the day for your correspondent. Arriving at Billy Bootleggers during the interval sometime around ten thirty, the joint was jumpin’. The basement juke joint on Nelson Street has rapidly established itself as the place to hang out, be seen, dance, drink beer (American, buddy) and hear the best dirt-kickin’ roadhouse blues, jazz and hokum east of the Mississippi.
The beer flowing (Shipyard Brewing Company, Portland, Maine), standing (and dancing) room only all night long, the House of the Black Gardenia were about to begin their second set. Frontwoman, the fabulous Bobbi Charleston, strapped on her washboard, the boys in the band ready to go, Blue Drag then Viper Mad. The band, all waistcoats and braces, stepped right out of Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath to play some of the best stuff you’re ever likely to hear. Detached, dead-eye characters on the stand looked on as the revellers danced the night away. Bassist and sousaphonist Neil Hopper didn’t blink, similarly, guitarist Michael Littlefield (frontman with the King Bees) stared, vacantly, into the middle distance, looking not unlike an ‘other world’ Manouche.

The Lambton Big Band @ The Black Swan - Dec 9

Descending the stairs on a cold winter’s night it was good to feel the warmth from the Black Swan bar. From Newcastle Arts Centre’s freezing courtyard to a positively tropical basement venue, the debut performance by the recently formed Lambton Big Band was almost upon us. The band had worked hard to promote the gig and reaped the rewards with an audience nudging well into three figures.
Band MD Callum Mellis made himself available greeting the arrival of family, friends and a host of supporters bringing with them seasonal goodwill. Suited and booted, the Lambton Big Band hit the ground running with a varied set list; In the Mood to a Stevie Wonder medley – Isn’t She Lovely to Sir Duke – to a first appearance from the band’s singer Therese singing Feeling Good. The ensemble work impressive, with Therese no doubt flying high on adrenaline. A collective clicking of fingers signalled Moondance. Therese would later return to the stage.
Mellis played good flugelhorn during an inevitable Christmas medley – White Christmas to a tinsel-covered Jingle Bells with Alex Thompson giving it a blast on baritone. The Lambton Big Band was well and truly up and running. Cameras clicked and cameras flashed, ensuring this debut concert by the Lambton Big Band would be comprehensively documented!

Review of the year - Ashington Jazz Club

It was about this time last year that I had a call from Bob Wade asking if I was the John Taylor who ran Ashington Jazz Club. I told him that unfortunately, the club had closed. We talked at length about jazz in the North and Bob’s involvement with the South African Jazz Scene. Bob said that we had a lot in common – as he put it synergy.
During the winter I helped Bob and his wife Gill move into their new UK home. Six months after playing in SA I got Bob his first blow with Don Fairley. The rest is history. Bob gave me the motivation to start the club up again.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

The Early Bird Band @ The Jazz Café - Dec 9

James Metcalf (trumpet), Matthew Downey (guitar), Ben Lawrence (keyboards), Alex Shipsey (bass) & Rory Gardener (drums) + Paul Edis (tenor saxophone & flute) 
(Review by Russell)
One or two changes to the usual line-up today – the Thompsons weren’t available due to recording commitments and guitarist Matthew Downey would soon dash to a show engagement. Busy young men are the Early Birds! Occasional drum dep Rory Gardener made good use of the house kit and pianist Ben Lawrence sat at the Caff’s Nord keyboard. MD Paul Edis informed the audience that in today’s setlist there would be a Christmassy element…bah humbug!

Ayanna Witter-Johnson @ The Black Swan December 7

Ayanna Witter-Johnson (cello/keys/voice).
(Review by Steve H/photo courtesy of Mike Tilley from archives)
Ayanna Witter-Johnson made a more than welcome return to Newcastle at The Black Swan, virtually a year after appearing the Jazz Café. Everything I said in the review of that gig still applies The audience ….. were rewarded with a performance of charm, elegance, and sheer quality’. Her performance on Thursday night seemed to be more relaxed and confident than previously and there were some new songs to appreciate and enjoy. A measure of just how comfortable Witter-Johnson felt on stage was that she invited questions from the audience in between numbers. 

Leeds Lord Mayor Gets Jazzy!

The Lord Mayor, Cllr Jane Dowson will be a guest at the tenth anniversary Jazz Party held this Sunday afternoon 10 December at Seven Arts Chapel Allerton Leeds.
It’s 10 years since voluntary jazz promoters Seven Jazz started at Seven Arts who last year picked up the prestigious UK Parliamentary Jazz award in 2016 for best UK jazz club and this will be the last concert under the club’s old name.
We’ll be announcing some exciting news for 2018 – there is to be a new six-day Jazzleeds festival (July 20-25th 2018) at city centre venues including the Wardrobe, the College of Music and Millennium Square and featuring jazz stars like Soweto Kinch and Greg Abate and including a jazz play by Leeds author Chris Nickson and a celebration of the music of Duke Ellington marking 60 years since his famous visit to Leeds in 1958.

Friday, December 08, 2017

The Improvisers' Workshop Ensemble - “Magic Mirrors" @ The Jazz Café - December 1

Nigel of Coalburns (Voice & Toys) / Gabriele Heller (Voice & Objects) / John Harrison (Saxophone) / Thomas Dixon (Saxophone) / Karen Rann (Saxophone) / Crispian Heath (Acoustic Guitar) / Martin Donkin (Electric Guitar) / Paul Taylor (Keyboards) Tobias lllingworth (Keyboards and other instrumentation) / Wesley Stephenson (Drums and Percussion)
(Review/photo by Ken Drew).
“Gathering monthly for sessions at The Bridge Hotel 'The Improvisers' Workshop' is a space where people interested in sound and improvisation gather to play, discuss and explore the nature and mysteries of improvisation. These sessions often result in different games and strategies used as vehicles for the improvisation that takes place. "Magic Mirrors" was such an idea that was conceived for a performance by the ensemble.
As a durational piece “Magic Mirrors” explores the space where a large group ensemble works in unison, and the way that unity dissolves and breaks into smaller groupings of players or soloists, which may also be symbolised by silence. Through mirroring and a Chinese whispers style of communication, the growth of the music is shaped by the decisions of the players and the way they choose to mirror, this could be rhythmically, tonally, texturally, emotionally or any such inspiration of their own choosing.”

The Zoe Gilby University Group - “Constellation Jam" @ Jazz Café - December 1

Zoë Gilby (Mentor and Vocals) / Grace Alexander (Keyboard) / Ross Barnes (Bass) / Oliver Cobb (Guitar) / Amber Cox (Vocals) / Will Earl (Drums & Percussion) / Chris McMahon (Drums & Percussion)
 (Review/photos by Ken Drew)
“For the past four weeks, vocalist and songwriter Zoë Gilby has been running a series of workshops for the postgraduate music students of Newcastle University, culminating in this final performance for the students "History of Jazz" module.  Also, as part of Jazz North East’s ‘Women Make Music' series, this composition Constellation Jam illustrates the evolving nature of jazz.  Accepting no boundaries, the constant progression of this particular genre of music has entertained and inspired modern popular music and beyond.  The concept of this piece highlights the importance and integral need for jazz to be always changing. Often not to everyone’s taste, but never compromising, always a curious adventure.”

And still undefeated...

February listings from Ronnie Scott's includes the following: (Photo courtesy of Roly).
Sun 4 Feb ENGINES ORCHESTRA feat. FEMI TEMOWO
The Engines Orchestra unites London’s most adventurous young classical, jazz, world and folk musicians in a community that works closely with other artists to push the boundaries and develop audiences for groundbreaking, new music. They work with composers from all genres, animators, filmmakers and dancers to create accessible ways into challenging environments. 

Riviera Quartet @ Empty Shop, Durham - December 7

Pete Tanton (trumpet, flugelhorn & vocals), Mark Williams (guitar), John Pope (double bass) & Russ Morgan (drums)
(Review by Russell)
35c Framwellgate Bridge, Durham. Empty Shop was open for business on a freezing winter’s night. Upon arrival, proprietor Carlo just happened to be at the speakeasy’s door. Many in? enquired your correspondent. Yeah said our welcoming host. At the top of the stairs a ‘hello’ to JP, Mr John Pope. The bar snuggly warm, a Pinot Grigio and a bottle of Pavlov’s Dog the order, MC Tony Eales hadn’t reserved seats…tut tut! 

Thursday, December 07, 2017

CD Review: Eric Byrd Trio - Saints Are Still Marching

Eric Byrd (piano/vocal *); Bhagwan Khalsa (bass); Alphonso Young Jr. (drums); + Terell Stafford (trumpet**); Tim Warfield (sax**).
(Review by Lance).
Back in the day when, as a callow youth, I first endeavored to penetrate the jazz curtain I discovered there were certain rites of passage. If it was a modern/bop gig, wearing your sharp suit, slim-jim tie and crewcut hairstyle you hollered for the band to play Dizzy Gillespie's The Champ. If, on the other hand, it was a New Orleans style band (Trad had yet to be invented) wearing your duffle coat, sloppy-joe sweater and, sans deodorant, you shouted for The Saints.
Both of them rather inane tunes.
However, in the right hands, water can be turned into wine.

Gregory Porter headlines Jazz FM Christmas Show


Gregory Porter is one of a host of jazz celebrities hosting programmes over the Festive Period. If you're snowed in or have a few bottles of Jack Daniels to dispose of or even if you just want to hear some good jazz then Jazz FM is the place to be!
Lance 
Details here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

James Birkett & Bradley Johnston @ St George’s URC, Morpeth - Dec 6

James Birkett (guitar) & Bradley Johnston (guitar)
(Review/Photos by Russell)
St George’s autumn concert series concluded with a lunchtime ‘recital’ by guitarists James Birkett and Bradley Johnston. Billed as a ‘recital’ rather than a gig, the lunchtime audience wasn’t about to break into fervent applause anytime soon. A jazz gig audience wouldn’t have hesitated, but, here in Morpeth, St George’s Wednesday regulars no doubt remain quiet during a classical recital or folk performance. A sizeable audience greeted Birkett and Johnston as they took to the stage with rather nice Ibanez guitars in hand.

Tyne Valley Big Band @ The Fox, Hexham - Dec 5

(Review/photos by Russell - final photo taken from behind his baritone sax is by John Knapton)
Modest one-room pub + big band = a fun night out. Arriving at the Fox, Hexham Jazz Club’s HQ, it appeared a furniture removals business was in the process of clearing the place. Hang on…it’s the band rearranging the room! The pub’s usual bay window stage area would become front row seats for the evening as the regular seating was requisitioned by the band, that’s the twenty three-strong Tyne Valley Big Band.

Sandrani @ the Jazz Café - November 24

Vanessa Rani (vocals);  Upneet Singh (tabla); Joe Harris (guitar)
(Review/Photos by Ken Drew) 
We saw Rani here last year as part of the Masala Festival in July, and the year before, with her band Manjula. Tonight was a different mix, a trio with tabla, guitar and voice. A stripped-down version of Manjula perhaps, but just as beguiling. Featuring musicians of Indian, English, and Mauritian heritages, this trio creates a progressive style of global music which fuses together classical Indian Raag and folk song with Western-style grooves and improvisations. Each of the players contributes to the mix so that experimentation and innovation are always present in a sound that is unique yet wholly accessible.

CD Review: Tony Tixier - Life of Sensitive Creatures

Tony Tixier (piano/comp.); Karl McComas-Reichl (bass); Tommy Crane (drums).
(Review by Lance).
A collection of Tixier compositions interspersed with a few 'sweeteners' that are sufficiently stirred to be almost originals in their own right. Tight Like This is nothing like the Armstrong tune although it purports to be the same and is actually none the worse for that. French-born, NYC based, Tixier is described as being as much inspired by Ravel and Tatum as Hancock, Jarrett or Ayden Esin. Either way is good enough for me.
Darn That Dream brings to mind Bill Evans and McComas-Reichl's bass solo is fit to stand alongside any of the great bassists past and present - an absolute gem.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

KAPOK @ Jazz Café - November 28

Morris Kliphuis (French Horn, cornet, synth), Timon Koomen (guitars), Remco Menting (percussion, vibraphone)
(Review/photos by Ken Drew) 
Kapok has an unusual line-up for a trio playing jazz. They have a principal line-up of French horn, guitar and drums, but with the addition of synth, vibraphone and second guitar.
The Dutch band are on a 5 venue tour of the UK, and Newcastle (JNE) was 4th on the tour. Formed in 2011 they soon established themselves as one of the most original and exciting live bands in the Netherlands the through their stylistic versatility.  Jazz is at the heart of everything they do, but their performances segue seamlessly through indie, metal, hip-hop and Americana.

The Bold Big Band @ The Dun Cow, Jesmond - December 3

(Review by Russell)
The Dun Cow in Brandling Village, Jesmond, recently reopened following extensive refurbishment. The Brandling, as was, is the new watering hole of students and anyone else who lives in the area and, indeed, further afield. An open plan public house with a conservatory extension to one end, a range of beers at the bar, just the place for a quiet Sunday evening drink.     
Bebop Spoken Here accepted an invitation to attend the inaugural performance of a new big band.
The Dun Cow’s conservatory extension transformed, for one night only, into a makeshift stage was hoping to squeeze in an eighteen-piece big band - the Bold Big Band. Five reeds, three out front, a second line of two, three trombones, the bass ’bone man in the second row, it was a little cramped! Two drummers, sharing kit and percussion duties, a guitarist at the back (heard but not seen!), and a singing bass player. Oh! And a partially obscured piano player to one side.

Monday, December 04, 2017

CD Review: Dave Askren Jeff Benedict - Come Together

Jeff Benedict (saxes); Dave Askren (guitar); Joe Bagg (organ); Paul Romaine (drums).
(Review by Lance)
Think Jimmy Smith, Shirley Scott, Stanley Turrentine and you get the idea. Punchy grooves and riffs based on familiar changes. Maybe the roots are in the seventies but the branches stretch from the start of time to tomorrow morning, maybe later. Four groove merchants well versed in the idiom capable of dissecting an unexpected piece - the title track, the Beatles' Come Together for example - and, you've guessed it, coming back together totally transformed.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Jasper Høiby Masterclass @ The Music Department, Durham University - December 2

(Report by Russell)
Lunchtime, Saturday, Palace Green. The ‘Green’ was covered by the biggest marquee ever seen this side of a so-called ‘high society’ wedding ‘do’. A Christmas market, three quid admission and the place was buzzing. The adjacent Durham Cathedral was open for business, doing very nicely, as was Durham Castle on the other side of the temporarily covered ‘Green’, thank you very much.

Durham University Jazz Society invited Jasper Høiby to conduct a masterclass on Palace Green. The London-based Dane happened to be ‘up north’ in Wakefield on Friday evening with his band Fellow Creatures and an afternoon engagement in Durham the next day appeared to be an ideal arrangement for all concerned as Durham Cathedral’s bells rang out.

Jambone @ Ushaw College - Dec 1

Paul Edis (MD); Emily McDermott (vocal); Alex Thompson (clarinet); James Metcalf, Lucien Guest (trumpet); Ben Lawrence (piano); Ryan Da Silva (baritone); Matthew Downey (guitar); Alex Shipsey (bass); Dylan Thompson (drums); ? (trombone); ??? (saxes)
(Review by Jerry)
Kicking off a great evening of jazz at Ushaw we had a “mini-set” from tomorrow’s stars, Jambone, featuring three originals from MD, Paul Edis, plus a new arrangement of a favourite standard – My Funny Valentine.
It Ain’t Broke (Don’t Fix It) was the philosophical opener and featured solos from clarinet, trumpet and piano (Alex Thompson, James Metcalf and Ben Lawrence – all known to me from Early Bird gigs) plus vocals from Emily McDermott (whom I had not seen before).

RIP Mundell Lowe

Another chorus of Farewell Blues, this time for guitarist Mundell Lowe who left us yesterday (December 2). I never heard him live although he did play at the Corner House, Newcastle, in 1990 and a session at Peterlee in 1993 with fellow guitar legends Doug Raney, Louis Stewart and Trefor Owen backed by Pete Stuart (bass) and Adrian Tilbrook (drums).
Not that I was unaware of his playing. A Richie Kamuca Quartet album - Richie -  included some fine playing by Lowe. Single string flights, chordal fantasies and solid support by the guitarist made this a positive gem. No surprise that it was Roly Veitch who first drew my attention to it. 
Be interesting to hear from anyone who remembers the above concerts or any other sessions involving Mundell Lowe.
He was 95.
Lance
What's Mike Hammer got to do with Mundell Lowe?

Baby it’s Cold INside! Alan Barnes – Jazz Christmas Carol @ Ushaw College, Fri. Dec 1

Alan Barnes (sax, clarinet and bass clarinet); Bruce Adams (trumpet); Mark Nightingale (trombone); Robert Fowler (saxes and clarinet); Karen Sharp (saxes and clarinet); David Newton (piano); Simon Thorpe (bass); Clark Tracey (drums).
(Review by Jerry)
Alan Barnes entered, resplendent with lighted candlestick, nightcap, nightshirt (looking well slept-in) and socks and slippers presumably loaned by Nora Batty! Resplendent is perhaps the wrong word but it certainly was an entrance!
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, with Paul Edis depping on piano for David Newton (stuck in traffic), set the mood and gave hints of the musical riches to come. As the applause was dying down, the pianist arrived –“a visitation from the ghost of gigs past”, according to the band-leader!

Today is VCJ Day


SUNDAY 3 December - The Vieux Carré Jazzmen are performing an afternoon session of Christmas songs and 20's Jazz music in The Stables at Seaton Delaval Hall National Trust, 12.00 - 2.00pm. Seating and refreshments available, but wrap up warm as there's no heating in the stables.
In the evening you'll find us at THE KITTIWAKE Pub & Kitchen, Claremont Crescent, Whitley Bay NE26 3HL. 
Shorts & T-shirts recommended! Showtime 8.00 - 10.00pm. Free. 

See you there! 
Brian 

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Leo Richardson Quartet @ Opus 4 Jazz Club, Darlington - December 1

Leo Richardson (tenor saxophone), Rick Simpson (keyboards), Tim Thornton (double bass) & Ed Richardson (drums)
(Review by Russell)
Tenor saxophonist Leo Richardson has received rave reviews in the jazz media with his debut CD The Chase garnering 5-star awards. In demand on the London scene, sharp-suited Richardson is on the road with his quartet and he stopped off at Opus 4 Jazz Club. Darlington Jazz Festival has been ahead of the curve having already been treated to Richardson’s hard bop style in trumpeter Matt Roberts’ all-star band in 2016 and again this year. Would Richardson attract a crowd?

Friday, December 01, 2017

CD Review: Elektrojazz - New York Tribute

Anders Larson (trombone, composition, producer); Anders Rose (Rhodes/Wurlitzer); Matthias Petri (bass); Andreas Svendsen (drums/perc) + NY artists: Michael Stephenson (vocal); Mr. Reed (vocal); JFlo (beatboxer); Cary Goldberg (spoken word); Gonzalo Silva (electric bass/vocal).
(Review by Lance).
I'm not a native New Yorker but that's only because of a few thousand miles of ocean that lie 'twixt the UK and the USA. 
A similar state of affairs with Elektrojazz. Trombonist Larson, born in Sweden, lives in Copenhagen as do his band colleagues.

Alter Ego @ The Globe - November 30

Keith Robinson (alto saxophone), Niall Armstrong (tenor saxophone & flute), Dave Hignett (trumpet & flugelhorn), Andy Hawking (piano), Paul Grainger (double bass) & David Francis (drums)
(Review by Russell)
Baby, it’s cold outside…I really can’t stay. It was cold outside, it was cold inside. As snowflakes fell the band must have wondered if anyone would turn up. A bottle of Black Sheep, a half glass, ‘hello’ to the few hardy souls (the band), quick, choose a seat. Newcastle’s Jazz Co-op on Railway Street was open for business.

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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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