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Bebop Spoken There

Artie Shaw: “I'm not interested in giving people what they want--I'm interested in making music.” – (DownBeat October 15, 1939).

Jason Marsalis: “There's so many places that this music can go and there's a lot yet to be discovered.'” – (DownBeat April 2018)

Today Saturday March 17


Rat Pack - Live from Las Vegas @ Sunderland Empire, High St West, Sunderland SR1 3EX. 2:30pm. Featuring Rat Pack Big Band & Burrelli Sisters.


KOAN 7 - the Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:00pm. £5.00. (£4.00. concs). ‘Form and Space’ ‘An evening of free improvisation and original composition’. Line-up includes John Pope (solo improvised set).

Rat Pack - Live from Las Vegas @ Sunderland Empire, High St West, Sunderland SR1 3EX. 7:30pm. Featuring Rat Pack Big Band & Burrelli Sisters.

Boys of Brass - Brandling Villa, Haddricks Mill Road, South Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 1QL. 9:00pm. Free.

Ben Cipolla - Great Broughton Village Hall, Ingleby Road, Great Broughton, Cleveland TS9 7ER. 7:30pm. Tickets: £12.50 from 01642 712176.

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

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

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.

On a cold but dry afternoon, Dr Birkett suggested we should imagine a Brazilian beach scene as the duo began their programme with Luis Bonfá’s Black Orpheus. Solo parts seamlessly handed from one to another, rhythmic accompaniment impeccable, there is a genuine empathy between Birkett and Johnston. An occasional glance, only occasional, between the two, their infallible jazz ear their sole means of communication, Pat Metheny’s Farmer’s Trust a mutual favourite, hearing the duo playing it in a church setting afforded the American’s composition an extra reverence.

Two tunes in succession epitomised the brilliance of the guitar duo; Sonny Rollins’ Doxy with much space, the timing telepathic, then All the Things You Are. At a recent gig your BSH correspondent, listening to Jerome Kern’s classic number, turned to an acquaintance to suggest this could be the greatest tune ever written. Here in Morpeth Dr Birkett alluded to the tune’s five key changes, saying he could manage three of them, Johnston indicating he could, perhaps, cope with three and a half of them. Further, Birkett pointed to a particularly fine enharmonic modulation at, or near, the tune’s end. Clearly, this required closer listening! Absolutely magical!

Django’s Nuages, Bradley Johnston’s James’ Waltz, written some seventy or more years apart, the latter lost little by comparison. You know it’s nearly time to go when Cherokee is on the set list. The non-jazz fan couldn’t fail to be impressed by the breakneck virtuosity, and this jazz fan, as always, was more than impressed. The audience response, sadly heard only in your correspondent’s head as the pair swopped solos, was ecstatic!

Birkett’s Suite 4 concluded the ‘recital’ and following a few words from the concert promoter, James Birkett and Bradley Johnston went out on a chorus of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

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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: I look forward to hearing from you.