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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.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

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.
They opened with a flute led God Rest ye Merry Gentleman and this would set the pace for the night and prove a blessing - I know from the last time I saw him his voice has clearly forsaken him but, fear not, anyone with tickets for the Sage in the spring, he's taken to having a stooge helping him out, leaving him the more talky bits. And his flute playing is better than ever.  
The chorister choir sang it in the middle and then did Gaudete as interpreted by Steelye Span, but speeded up and occasionally drowned out by the cathedral organ.
A Christmas Song was an early Tull piece, largely based on Once in Royal Davids City, but concerning itself with the Christmas spirit, and asking at the end where Santa's going with that bottle.
Ring on Solstice Bell was a much later piece and the first indication of just how poor his voice has become, though either the keyboardist or bass player was helping him out.
Various pieces with a Christmas flavour followed and it was quite remarkable how this was maintained through two sets.
At some point during set one Sid Grossman, or was it Lloyd Rotten, joined him for some serious lowering of the tone, boasting that he only does 4/4.
From Anderson's point of view, this may have been an exercising in giving your detractors a platform to hang himself, which he promptly did. I was thinking he shouldn't give up the day job and hoping he might have brought some mince pies. 
In a stroke of genius Tull followed it with one of the more bearable modern Christmas pop songs, from the recently deceased Greg Lake, and it's never sounded better. 
The set ended with a perennial Tull classic, JS Bachs Boure from 69s Stand Up, Anderson observing Bach would have approved of its Jazzy, improvisational qualities. It ended with the greatest testament I've ever heard of his debt to Roland Kirk, his main influence on flute, from whom he stole all the frantic breathing and moaning.
The second set would feature more Bach, from the cathedral organ followed by some serious heavy metal guitar, as Ian described him as a God and briefly worshipped him after his showpiece.
This was preceded by more by the chef de punk rock, who claimed he wasn't sure if he were more surprised playing in a cathedral or with Jethro Tull.
I see no inconsistencies in playing punk rock in a cathedral; a small number of people with power (the BBC) telling lots of people they want to control (us)that something ridiculous (punkrock) has some deeper meaning beyond what we are clever enough to perceive with our limited intelligence and ordinary sensory organs (ears). 
They followed this with one I felt sure Anderson would have been persuaded to drop, which I've never heard them play live and I don't believe it's on any of the live albums. My God is the most forthright condemnation of religion in the whole of Jethro Tull, with it's 'plastic crucifix.'
This was followed by a massively extended and jazzed up Aqualung, which has been the last one at every Tull/ Anderson gig for four and a half decades, with it's protagonist 'eyeing little girls with bad intent, snots running down his nose.'
Finally Locomotive Breath, which has been the encore for the same period, with references like 'in bed and having fun' and 'grab him by the b^!!$'.
For any punk rocker who wants to proclaim themselves rebels and pick fights with their biggers and betters, a lesson - know thine enemy.
A splendid night in perfect surroundings. His voice is in serious trouble, but he knows that and seems to be taking steps to make it matter as little as possible. He has wit, intelligence, opinions and integrity. If you haven't already done so, catch him before it's too late. 
Steve T.

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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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