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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 Tuesday April 24

Afternoon

Classic Swing - The Ship, Front St., Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 1pm. Free.

Evening

Maine Street Jazzmen - Royal British Legion Club, West Jesmond Ave., Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 3EX. 8:30pm. £5.

Gerry Richardson Trio - The Fox, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB. Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (collection). Richardson; Garry Linsley (alto sax) & Adam Sinclair (drums).

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

Saturday, April 07, 2018

James Birkett & Bradley Johnston @ The Lit & Phil - April 6

James Birkett (guitar) & Bradley Johnston (guitar)
(Review by Russell) 
Brilliant, simply brilliant. As an hors-d'oeuvre to this weekend’s Gateshead International Jazz Festival this duo performance by master guitarists James Birkett and Bradley Johnston was of exceptional quality. We in the northeast of England could quite easily become blasé about the number of first-rate guitarists on our doorstep. Two of the very best entertained a full house at Newcastle’s Literary and Philosophical Society and there was the added dimension to today ’s hour-long programme being performed in its entirety on guitars especially made for them by a master luthier, Mr Jeongwoo Cho (www.jwc-guitars.com).

One can’t imagine master guitarists suffering from stage fright and to open this afternoon’s set Birkett and Johnston faced-down any such terrors by playing Stage Fright (comp. McDonough
& Kress). Benny Carter’s Only Trust Your Heart (sage advice?) then another Dick McDonough
- Carl Kress number followed by the delightfully titled Chicken a la Swing. All were exceptional.    

Michel Colombier’s Emmanuel is a recent addition to the Birkett-Johnston setlist and the Love Theme from the hugely successful film Cinema Paradiso offered further new material. Top rank jazz numbers occupied much of the rest of the programme – Waltz for Debby (comp. B Evans), perhaps the tune of the day Artillerie Lourde (comp. D. Reinhardt), Always and Forever (comp.
Pat Metheny) and Jimmy Giuffre’s much-loved Four Brothers. Birkett and Johnston conjure the most amazing solos and their rhythm guitar playing is to die for. Such is their level of ability the
duo will sometimes play a whole number without so much as a glance, trusting in one another, secure in the knowledge that they’ve been here before and can play anything and it’ll work.

If Artillerie Lourde took the honours as the performance of the day then the finale – Django’s Swing

42 – ran it a close second. Guitar playing to marvel at, James Birkett and Bradley Johnston are, come to think of it, second to none. 
Russell                       

1 comment :

Roly said...

As you say Russell, brilliant. The performance ranged from exquisite to dazzling.

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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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