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Bebop Spoken There

Frank Zappa: "There was so much acid during the '60s that it was very easy for large numbers of people to think they had seen God as soon as the Beatles went boom, boom, boom, you know?." - (DownBeat May 18, 1978). – (DownBeat May 18, 1978).

Ryan Keberle: “Don't be easy on yourself when it comes to playing with perfect intonation. All other instruments will be playing with close-to-perfect intonation; the same should be expected of trombonists.'” – (DownBeat April 2018)

Today Thursday March 22


Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone NE27 0DA. Tel: 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Higher Education & Research Presents: Future Grooves - Sage Gateshead. 12 noon. £5.00. Showcase performances by BMus & BA degree course students featuring jazz and non-jazz sets.

Tees Valley Jazzmen - White Horse Hotel, Burtree Lane, Harrowgate Hill, Darlington DL1 3AD. Tel: 01325 463262. 1:30pm. Free.


MGB: Milne Glendinning Band - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £5.00. Milne, Glendinning, Katy Trigger (bass) & Nik Alevroyiannis (drums).

BABMUS @ Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. £3.00. (£2.00. students/MU).

Rob Heron & the Tea Pad Orchestra - St Cuthbert’s Centre, Church Hill, Crook DL15 9DN. Tel: 01388 765002. 7:30pm. £7.50., £5.00. child, £20.00. family.

Higher Education & Research Presents: Future Grooves - Sage Gateshead. 7:30pm. £5.00. Showcase performances by BMus & BA degree course students featuring jazz and non-jazz sets.

Ada Francis & the Italic Quartet - Las Iguanas, Grey Street, Newcastle NE1 6AF. Tel: 0191 232 9729. 7:30pm. Fortnightly restaurant residency. Line-up: Ada Francis (vocals); Jimmy Jefford (tenor saxophone); Ben Richardson (piano); Luke Gaul (bass) & Harry Still (drums).

New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees TS18 4AW. 8:30pm.

Maine Street Jazzmen - Potter’s Wheel, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5EE. Tel: 0191 488 8068. 8:30pm. Free.

Tees Hot Club w. Gus Smith (vocal); Richie Emmerson (tenor); Bruce Taylor (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, August 13, 2017

CD Review: Tom Millar Quartet - Unnatural Events

Tom Millar (piano); Alex Munk (guitar/electric sitar on title track)); Misha Mullov-Abbado (bass); Mike Clowes (drums) + Alice Zawadski (voice on 2 tracks)
(Review by Lance).
Millar, born in Sydney, raised in London, read music at Cambridge, graduated with a master's from RAM and studied with Django Bates in Switzerland before recording this, his debut CD, in Wales. Not a man to let the grass grow under his feet! Fortunately, this, seemingly perpetual motion, is reflected in his playing and in his compositions which are all inspired by people and places that have been important to him.
Azura Days has Millar and MM-A providing extra rhythm behind Munk by way of some egg shaking. Clowes thumps the tubs behind Millar's solo and the whole is suggestive of JSB after a few Brandenburgs and Kronenbourgs although, in actual fact, it was inspired by a trip around the Mediterranean.

The Seafarer is reflective and evocative of the changing tides and undercurrents the seafarer faces in uncharted waters. One senses there may be a storm brewing. The music, like the sea, becomes choppy and I began to think of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The Seafarer survives and all is peaceful and tranquil when he eventually drops anchor.
Unnatural Events. There just happened to be an electric sitar lying around the studio - well there would be wouldn't there (in Wales)? and Munk uses it most effectively.
The Power Chord Thing is just that! Power chording from Millar, Munk and Misha with Clowes digging his own escape route in case he needs it - he doesn't!
Choro, the first of Zawadski's two vocal appearances is wordless but not tuneless. Alice displays a horn-like quality, blending into the head before the others take over the solo slots. It's an ethereal exploration that gradually fades.
Inversnaid, a poem by Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89), has a Cleo/Norma-like interpretation and Alice can hold her head aloft in that company. Hopkins may not have imagined this version but, as Alice points out in the notes, it gave her an environmentalist message and its beautiful natural imagery seemed particularly apt in our current age where man-made global warming is transforming life on our planet - even within our (well hers) lifespan.
Woad: No explanation given - maybe it's to do with tattoos or face-painting or just good old Friday night warpaint. Whatever, it's my favourite track on the album - a hard fought accolade on a disc that has few, if any, drops in excellence. All four musicians seem to be moving in different directions but you know they'll be together in the end.
Park Hill: Is this rather beautiful and soulful ballad really based on the infamous Sheffield Council Estate or is there another Park Hill? Pursuing the question, I find the once notorious flats are being given a makeover so maybe this is reflected here. Certainly, come the conclusion, the mood is pastoral and augurs well for the future.
The album is due for release on Sept. 15 on the Spark Label and the quartet (with Dave Storey on drums) tour from Sept. 7 starting at Matt & Phreds in Manchester and ending up on November 15 at the Green Note in Camden as part of the EFG Festival. They miss out Sheffield so maybe it is a different Park Hill?

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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.