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Bebop Spoken There

Don Rendell: "It was about the time that the organ-type piano attachment - the clavioline - was invented. And the poster billing at one place where we played up north announced proudly, but erroneously: "The Johnny Dankworth Seven, featuring Frank Holder and the cleolaine" " - (www.jazzprofessional.com, December 2001).

Mary Lou Williams: “...it was discovered I possessed perfect pitch. Rumour of this oddity spread throughout the school, and pupils would drop pots and pans and other loud objects, asking 'What note, Mary?' (Melody Maker, 1954).

Today Saturday May 26

Afternoon

Dave Ferra All Stars - Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 3:00pm. Free. Whitley Bay Carnival. Blues band.

King Bee - Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 5:00pm. Free. Whitley Bay Carnival.

Evening

Baghdaddies - Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 6:00pm. Free. Whitley Bay Carnival.

Billy Bootleggers All Star Band - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson Street, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

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

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Final Curtain - another piece of NE history from Bill Harper


Older readers may recall George Hann, drummer with the Wilf Ray Band at the Mayfair Ballroom, Newcastle. On the last ever dance at the ballroom, which was due to be demolished the following day, George had a heart attack and, tragically died on stage. Joe Goundry, a keyboard player who had worked with George is keen to acquire a photo of the drummer and wonders if any of our readers can help.
If you can, please get in touch. In the meantime, read Bill Harper's account of that memorable night taken from his memoir Near Enough For Jazz
Lance
PS: Bill Harper's pages above may appear in reverse order on some mobile devices.

Gig/CD of the Month

Gig of the Month (joint)
Strictly Smokin' Big Band w. Paul Booth. Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle (17/2/18).
James Taylor Quartet. Hoochie Coochie (23/2/18).
CD of the Month
James Hall - Lattice
Lance


Let us know whether the weather has affected your gig.

Well, the Beast From the East is here leaving a trail of cancelled gigs behind it. Yesterday we lost the Classic Swing session at the Ship in Monkseaton (thank you Alan Rudd for the update) and the Hexham Jazz Club gig at The Fox (thank you Hazel).
I see, from Facebook that tonight's Take it to the Bridge at The Globe has also fallen foul of the weather.
It would be appreciated if bands, organisers or fans who know of any cancelled gigs keep us informed. The last thing any of us want is folk trudging through the snow only to find an empty stage.
So please update me - lanceliddle@gmail.com.

George Laing Funeral - details from Robert Laing (on F/b)

My Dad's funeral today. A great man and fine jazz musician. One of his favourite songs, which I will be playing many times today. All welcome at South Shields Crematorium and sausage roll eating at the Grey Horse pub (upstairs) in East Boldon afterwards. Funeral service at 12.30, Grey Horse from about 1.30pm. It would be great to see anyone that knew him, all welcome. George Lowery Laing - born 15/10 1926, died 7th February 2018. My Dad X.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Dock In Absolute @ The Jazz Cafe February 23

Jean-Philippe Koch (piano); David Kintziger (bass); Michel Mootz (drums)
(Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew) 
Piano trios in Newcastle seem to be like London buses you wait ages for one to come along and then 2 arrive virtually on top of one another. Following the highly enjoyable Alan Benzie Trio at The Globe the previous night came this popular Luxembourg trio. 
The evening began with a very solid drum solo from Mootz before piano and bass joined in with some rollicking high energy enthusiastic jazz that set the tone for the rest of the evening. 

Didier Lockwood @ Grand Hotel, Lund, Sweden – November 4, 2017.

Didier Lockwood (violin), Adrien Maignard (guitar).
(Review by JC)
On a trip to Sweden late last year to visit an old friend, I spent a few days in the beautiful old university city of Lund in the south of the country. Near the station there is a fine building, appropriately named the Grand Hotel, with large elegant chandeliers, a distinctive staircase, much-polished wood and many brass fittings with smartly dressed staff. Even though Lund is a fairly small place, as luck would have it during my stay the hotel was hosting a musical event called Grand Soul & Jazz. Sweden, of course, has a long and distinguished jazz history with many of the top American musicians of the 50s, 60s and 70s touring Sweden and some like Don Cherry, Red Mitchell and George Russell made their homes in the country (with Dexter Gordon nearby in Copenhagen).

Monday, February 26, 2018

CD Review: Fredrik Lundin - 5 Go Adventuring Again.

Fredrik Lundin (tenor, Mezzo Soprano, baritone saxophones; Tomasz Dabrowski (trumpet); Petter Hangsel (trombone, sylo synth); Joel Illerberg (bazantar); Anders Provis (drums, spds drumpads); Jesper Lovdal (contrabass clarinet on first track).
(Review by Lance).
A thought-provoking album that, although quite deep at times, is never boring. Far from it! Outstanding Danish saxophonist and composer Lundin has a prodigious technique that varies from that of a bull in a china shop to that of a lamb grazing in the meadow. Both are equally compelling.
There are some strange instruments that I'm unable to identify accurately. They don't do any harm and help create the somewhat disturbing mood that, at times, surfaces. There's also an eastern feel to it - perhaps the mezzo-soprano saxophone?

Bradley Johnston @ The Fire Station, Sunderland - Feb 25

Bradley Johnston (guitar)
(Review by Russell)
Arriving in good time for Bradley Johnston’s early evening jazz guitar residency it was immediately apparent that the Fire Station was busy, more so than on previous visits to Sunderland’s latest and most welcome café bar eaterie. With tables occupied, high bar stools claimed and the few coveted, oh-so-comfortable Engine Room sofas accommodating Wearside’s early birds, it was good fortune that your correspondent and his companion for the evening bagged two fireside chairs adjacent to Brad’s performance space.

Vintage River City photo.

John Carstairs Hallam sent me this vintage photo of the River City Jazzmen and would like to know more about it and the names of the musicians.
I recognise the late John Saxelby on clarinet and the current leader of the Maine Street Jazzmen, Herbie Hudson, on trombone. Can anyone complete the line-up?
Lance.
PS: I've seen the photo before, in fact it's probably on this site somewhere!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Nikki Iles Masterclass @ The Music Department, Durham University - February 24

(Review by Russell)
Pianist, composer and educator Nikki Iles arrived in Durham on a cold but bright winter’s afternoon. Students filed into the ancient concert hall in Durham University’s Music Department up on Palace Green as Dan Garel and Tristan Bacon made last-minute preparations to the stage set-up. As this Saturday afternoon masterclass was to be given by one of Britain’s finest pianists the availability of a Steinway was a plus point. At least three, maybe more, student pianists were in attendance keen to learn more about the art of jazz piano.
Dan suggested Nikki could, perhaps, begin by outlining her career to date and her current projects. From Leeds College of Music to the London jazz scene to teaching posts to working with a long list of stellar names, Durham’s 2017/18 student cohort was left in little doubt as to Nikki’s achievements and standing on the jazz scene. The theme of the afternoon was to be ‘improvisation’ and so it was but the masterclass would embrace more, much more than this. Nikki arrived by train, bringing with her three compositions for her students to examine; charts by Charles McPherson, Kenny Wheeler and Dave Holland.

Ruth Lambert with The Customs House Big Band @ Customs House, South Shields - February 24

(Review by Ann Alex)
Ruth gave a great performance and looked the part as well, and it’s difficult to find anything fresh to say that hasn’t been said already, but I like a challenge. She looked like a jazz singer, if there is such a look, as she was wearing a long dress, white with a pattern of large black motifs. Nice Work If You Can Get It I thought, which was her opening number –  one and a half choruses with a few bars of soloing from tenor sax. Then a slower song, The Man I Love, and a flugelhorn solo from Mr Riley-Gledhill, and excellent phrasing from our singer on such lines as ‘who would, would you’ with a proper pause for the comma.

Customs House Big Band @ Customs House, South Shields - February 24.

(Review by Lance).
It had been some time since I last heard the CHBB during which time there’d been some changes made. Whether these were permanent or on the night deps I know not. In the sax section, Alan Marshall moved from tenor to lead alto. Former member Kim Skerritt, nee Webb, returned on second alto with another returnee, Jim McBriarty, blowing jazz tenor. The 'bones were unchanged with Kurgi-Smith handling the jazz but the trumpet section was less familiar. Bill Watson took a break from organising next weekend's Big Band Festival at Chester-le-Street to blow most of the 'hot choruses' with Riley-Gledhill chipping in with some mellow flugel.
On piano, former Early Birder Ben Lawrence made his debut with the band and the boy did good. Alan Smith was sound on bass guitar, Bradley, a mere sensation on guitar and the whole outfit driven by Barry Black and led from the front by MD Morgan who also plumbed subterranean depths on bass trombone. As always, Ruth Lambert handled the vocals in her inimitable manner. However, Ruth's contribution will be reported in a separate post by Ann Alex.

CD Review: Bruno Heinen – Mr. Vertigo

Bruno Heinen – Piano
(Review by Hugh).
Mr. Vertigo is Heinen's sixth album on the Babel Label and was recorded at the Vortex Jazz Club.  Heinen has an established pedigree in both the classical and jazz worlds.  The publicity material accompanying this disc describes it as “a record that defies traditional categorisation”.  I would agree with that – the overall feel is perhaps more classical than jazz, but with jazz and other influences throughout.  All ten tracks on the disc are either composed or arranged by Heinen.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

James Taylor Quartet @ Hooochie Coochie - February 23

James Taylor (Hammond/vocals); Ralph Wyld (vibes); Andrew McKinney (bass guitar); Pat Illingworth (drums).
(Review by Lance).
Warren Thomson was smiling and Hoochie Coochie's Crown Prince had every right to crack a grin. The room was packed to near capacity and the James Taylor Quartet had just laid down  90 minutes of the jazziest, funkiest, take no prisoner grooves to be heard at the venue since their last visit. 
They hit the deck with Jesus Christ Superstar which I gather is their theme song although, in truth, it bore little resemblance to the Lloyd Webber original (I'm pleased to say). Taylor attacked the defenceless B3 with such ferocity that, had it been an animal, the RSPCA would have been called in! This was quite an opener and set the tone for the rest of the evening. Booker T's Green Onions followed along with other numbers, some of which I recognised and some of which I didn't. Who cared? A rose by any other name etc.

Jazz at the Lit and Phil – March-July 2018

All concerts are 1-2pm
March 16th – James Harrison Trio - £5 admission
James Harrison is a recent graduate of the prestigious BMus course from Sage, Gateshead. He has quickly established himself as a recognised figure on the North East jazz scene regularly working with a host of different bands including the Lindsay Hannon Plus, Mick Donnelly's Musicians' Unlimited and giving regular solo performances. His trio will perform a mixture of standards alongside pieces you wouldn't perhaps expect to be played in a jazzy fashion!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Tonight - James Taylor Quartet @ Hoochie Coochie

Jazz Funksters, the James Taylor Quartet, will be setting fire to Hoochie tonight. With Taylor on Hammond B3 the groove will be in and, with possibly Chris Montague on guitar, you can bet the blue touchpaper will be well and truly lit.
Doors are at 7pm with the band on stage at 9:30pm but don't leave it too late.
Lance

Alan Benzie Trio @ The Globe - February 22

Alan Benzie (piano); Andrew Robb (bass); Marton Juhasz (drums).
(Review by Lance).
A sense of deja vu here. Having spent some time listening and reviewing the trio's most recent album - Little Mysteries - and renewing acquaintance with their debut album, Traveller's Tales, the sound of surprise wasn't quite there.
And yet it was!
The albums had been recorded under perfect studio conditions but, to these ears, the live sound at the Jazz Coop HQ was even better! (It isn't always the case here!) and the almost classical edge to Benzie's playing and compositions was crystal clear.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Daryl Sherman Tour Details.

Thursday/Friday, APRIL 19/20
The Pheasantry, Chelsea. 
W. Andrew Cleyndert.

Saturday, APRIL 21, 8 PM
Jazz at Hospitalfield
Daryl with Roy Percy, bass
Arbroath, Angus
DD11 2NH Scotland

SundayAPRIL 22, 8 - 11pm
WHIGHAMS Jazz Club
Daryl with Roy Percy, bass
0131 225 8674 https://whighams.com/

Group Theory + The Early Bird Band - A Jazz North East ‘Schmazz’ double bill @ The Jazz Café - February 15

Daniel Garel (Alto Sax); Ollie Farley (guitar);  Dylan Purches (bass);  Tristan Bacon (drums)
(Review/photos courtesy of Ken Drew)
Group Theory is a quartet of students (some are now ex-students) from Durham, all members of the University’s award-winning Big Band, but this the small group format gives them the opportunity to write and perform new compositions. They play a mix of imaginatively interpreted jazz standards alongside original compositions, mainly from the pen of alto saxophonist Daniel Garel.
The intro was a lively piece (Asymmetry?) by Garel which had a distinctly bluesy feel, followed by a tune with a strong groove, blues-tinged also, with an interesting time signature/rhythm, over which sax and guitar soloed.  Then a slow & melodic tune to take things down a bit, sax-led throughout.  To me, it was reminiscent of the laid-back style found in Duke’s Far East Suite. Nicely done, and a pleasingly slow pace.

CD Review/Gig Preview: Alan Benzie Trio - Little Mysteries - TONIGHT!

Alan Benzie (piano); Andrew Robb (bass); Marton Juhasz (drums).
(Review by Lance).
Tonight (February 22) The Globe is the place to be. The Jazz Coop have pulled off another major coup - The Alan Benzie Trio. Benzie, the first winner of the BBC Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year competition back in 2007, subsequently attended Berklee where he became the first British musician to win the Billboard Award following in the footsteps of Uehara Hiromi, Jaleel Shaw and Walter Smith III.
His first trio album, Traveller's Tales was enthusiastically acclaimed, not least by this reviewer, and a follow-up was eagerly anticipated. That we've had to wait almost 3 years has but served to whet the appetite.
Well worth the wait.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Alto Summit @ Jazz Café Jam Session - February 20

(Review by Lance).
If the keyword tonight had been sex as opposed to sax then this wouldn't have been a jam session but a bacchanalian orgy. As it was, with 4 altos and 2 tenors strutting their stuff it was certainly an evening of musical hedonism for both players and listeners.
It all began quite sedately with the house trio, this week with Stu Collingwood at the helm, gently swinging through A Foggy Day and Masquerade. The temperature rose with the arrival of Ray Johnson all the way from Northallerton. This may seem a distance but, as he previously commuted from Rothbury, probably an easier trip thanks to Richard Branson.
Ray was on flugel tonight and the mellow-toned instrument did justice to Pennies From Heaven and likewise, an edgier take on Stanley Turrentine's Sugar.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

CD Review: Julian Siegel Quartet - Vista.

Julian Siegel (tenor/soprano/bass clarinet); Liam Noble (piano); Oli Hayhurst (bass); Gene Calderazzo (drums).
(Review by Lance).
I'm a bit late with this review for reasons not musically related but, at last, I've caught up with it and not a moment too soon. The album's getting rave reviews across the jazz world and deservedly so. The quartet has been together for, I think, nine years and, as such, are totally at home with each other although this is only their second album - the last one being Urban Theme Park back in 2011. It created an impression when, as part of a promotional tour, they stopped off at Gateshead Old Town Hall.
Seven years on and the feeling of empathy between the musicians is, if possible, even greater.

CD Review: Andy Sheppard Quartet – Romaria

Andy Sheppard – tenor and soprano saxophones; Eivind Aarset – guitar; Michel Benita – double bass; Sebastian Rochford – drums
(Review by Hugh C) 
There was something of the theatrical about my encounter, at the Alphabetti theatre, with a diminutive, smartly dressed gentleman during the interval of the recent Strictly Smokin'/Paul Booth gig.  “I'm glad I met you, I have something for you”, he said, reaching into one of the voluminous inner pockets of his coat.  Producing a sheaf of review CDs, Lance proceeded to sort through them in the dimly lit auditorium.  “Andy Sheppard?” he said handing me a CD still in its shrink-wrap and then searching for another for me to deliver to a BSH colleague.

Preview: Clare Teal @ Gala Theatre in April

Over the years, I've been fortunate to see/hear the wonderful Clare Teal at several venues - Scarborough Jazz Festival, Keswick Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Gateshead International Jazz Festival (where, even by her own high standards, she was fantastic), Customs House, South Shields and Gala Theatre, Durham. These latter two venues were with a trio as opposed to the sumptuous orchestral backing she sometimes gets at the festival gigs and it is once again with a trio that she returns to the Gala Theatre in Durham on Friday the 13th of April but don't let that put you off. Ms Teal is a singer of such class that Friday 13 will surely go down as your lucky day.
Lance.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Postmodern Jukebox @ Sage Gateshead - Feb 18

(Review by Russell).
The phenomenon that is Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox rocked up at Sage Gateshead to play the third date of an extensive European tour. Sage One’s near-capacity audience loved the fast-paced two-hour show, the band playing straight through without a break. Simultaneously Post Modern Jukebox (PMJ) was touring coast to coast in America. How could this be? Simple, Scott Bradlee’s roster of musicians has grown to such proportions that it is possible to organise itineraries on two continents!

Charismatic frontman ‘Cunio’ (Michael Cunio) bounded onto the stage; shaven head, shiny suit,  shiny black Rat Pack cabaret shoes (no socks!). Our MC for the evening came right out with it… this was his debut tour with PMJ! The band cruising, Cunio produced all the moves, screaming, falsetto vocals, a touch of James Brown. Get on down, the revue was well and truly underway, non-stop action, the singers on and off stage, left and right, the band cruising.

Luís Vicente (trumpet); Olie Brice (bass); Mark Sanders (drums) – Jazz North East @ the Bridge Hotel - February 11

(Review/photos courtesy of Ken Drew) 
This is more of a photo-review than full review, but this performance deserves a mention, not least because it's the first time Jazz North East has had a visiting musician from Portugal.   Also, as the first of a two-venue-only visit to the UK (two days after meeting at The Bridge,  they played the Vortex in London)  Luís Vicente is playing for the first time in the UK  with Jazz North East favourites Olie Brice on double bass and Mark Sanders on percussion. 

RIP Didier Lockwood


French violinist Didier Lockwood died suddenly, yesterday (February 18), only one day after giving a concert.

He was only 62 - a tragically young age for someone so talented (or indeed anyone!)
May he Rest In Peace.
Obituary.
Lance.

Alex Mendham in concert near York this Friday (Feb. 23)



Alex Mendham and his Orchestra perform the sophisticated and stylish music of the 1920’s and 30s with the modern energy and passion of their youthful years. They epitomise Hollywood’s golden age.
When it comes to presenting the sound, charm and white-tie elegance of vintage Hollywood: from their original instruments and pomade that slicks down their hair to their sharp tuxedos and spectacular dresses, no detail is overlooked.
Formed under the leadership and direction of their charismatic founder and singer Alex Mendham, this show Orchestra complete with singing duo, The Dunlop Sisters present a unique combination of dance band music and film scores from the Hollywood musical. 

Exclusive! First Names Announced for the JazzLeeds Festival 2018 July 20- 24

(Press release)
Our second JazzLeeds festival is going to be a bit bigger than the first! We’ve grown from that one day in Millennium Square in August last year to five days this year at the Wardrobe, Leeds College of Music and TWO days in Millennium Square. We’re featuring international stars but also featuring some of the musicians and stories from this great city of Leeds.

·        Topping the bill at JazzLeeds Festival 18 is Soweto Kinch – saxman, rapper, BBC jazz broadcaster – at the Wardrobe on Friday evening 20 July.

·     International jazz star (and former stand-up comedian!) Ian Shaw will be here with his trio with music from his new album Shine Sister Shine at the College of music on the afternoon of Sunday 22 July.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Paul Booth w. Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle - February 17

(Review by Lance).
The Alphabetti Theatre was sardine-can full - standing room only. They couldn't have had a bigger audience if it had been the RSC doing Hamlet with Sir Kenneth Branagh as the Prince of Denmark.
Substitute SSBB for RSC, Paul Booth for Sir Kenneth and As You Like it for Hamlet and the scene is set. This was certainly As WE Like it and the Shakespearean analogy was complete with the gig being promoted by the Jazz Coop whose regular HQ is The Globe.
Act One: 
Scene One.
Mexicali Nose. The Buddy Rich arrangement featured Paul Gowland who reminded us that there was more than one ace tenorman in the room tonight.
My Heart Belongs to Daddy. Alice Grace in good voice despite being slightly under-amplified. Steve Summers on alto.
Scene Two.
Song for AEG. Time for the featured artist, Paul Booth, to take centre stage (actually stage left) and he didn't disappoint on this, a composition by Tom Garling. Great tenor sound with hints of Hank Mobley and early Coltrane. Booth doesn't charge in but paces himself gradually building the tension and culminating with a flurry of notes encompassing the whole natural range of the instrument and beyond into the stratospheric world of harmonics. And this was just the beginning!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Graham Hardy Trio @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall - Feb 16

Graham Hardy (trumpet & flugelhorn); Dean Stockdale (piano) & Mick Shoulder (double bass)
I had a rare free afternoon that followed a jazz festival organising week, so I decided to take the short trip from Darlington to Bishop Auckland to catch the regular monthly offering at the Town Hall. Three musicians that will be taking part in the Darlington Festival were on fine form for this recital. Graham contrasted his mellow trumpet and flugel with Harmon mute and his recent pre-gig addition of a £2 plunger from Wilko with free handle – he did offer the handle as a raffle prize. Dean and Mick were fantastic in support and quality came through from the trio in every number.
The program included: Ellington, Golson and Gershwin – My Romance, If I Should Lose You, Mood Indigo, In a Mellotone, Whisper Not, Long Ago and Far Away, Someone to Watch over Me and a Tom Harrell number April Mist to encore. There was an appreciative audience with good numbers in attendance. This was an enjoyable hour spent listening to quality musicians and I am looking forward to hearing them again at Darlington in May.
Shaune Eland     

Mark Williams Trio @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle - Feb 16

 Mark Williams (guitar); Paul Susans (bass) & Russ Morgan (drums)
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew)
The Lit & Phil’s monthly Friday lunchtime concert series attracts a loyal following. Most of the time those in attendance have a fair idea of what to expect – typically straight ahead, GASbook, swing, an occasional Hot Club set. February’s concert presented the Mark Williams Trio. Some would be acquainted with Williams’ work as a supreme guitar accompanist to the jazz singer, some less so with the Irishman’s propensity to occasionally crank it up. The presence of two pedal boards (one at the feet of Williams, the other at the feet of in-the-pocket bassist Paul Susans) indicated today’s performance would be a little different. What would the Lit & Phil’s patrons make of it all?

Crooners - Whitley Bay Playhouse - February 16


Roman Marek, Jim Whitley. Phil Barley (singers).
Chris Hibbard (trombone); Jon Hibbard (alto); Jim Corry (alto); Simon Kaylor (tenor); Damian Bell (trumpet); Daniel Hammerton (trumpet); Jason Scott (piano); Paul Baxter (bass); Dave Hockman (drums).
(Review by Lance).
A fun evening packed with pratfalls, bawdy humour, fine singing and a stonkingly good band. The band were deserving of a feature, perhaps in the form of an overture; all good musicals have an overture* and, on the strength of the occasional short solo these guys, co-led by the Brothers Hibbard, were well up to the task.
The three singers did the job effectively being themselves or, as the occasion demanded, Frank, Dean and Sammy.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Zoë Gilby & Andy Champion @ Empty Shop, Durham - Feb 15

Zoë Gilby (vocals) & Andy Champion (double bass)
(Review by Russell).
It was cold. See photo of Zoë and Andy togged-up. At one point, Andy considered playing with his gloves on! Durham’s Empty Shop was a tad cad. The bar was warm enough with the door closed and a heater working overtime. A bottle of Pavlov’s Dog (Yes, Master…), ‘hello’ to Carlo and co.

The Rebel Yell Jazz Orchestra play 'Fellini 712' and the music of The Kenny Clarke - Francy Boland Big Band @ The Spice of Life, Soho - January 17

(Review by JC)
Some time in the mid-1970s I was sitting quietly in the back of a friend’s car when, having carefully spooled the tape tight with his biro, he slipped a cassette into the player on the dashboard and my head was nearly blown off by the huge big band sound coming out of the speakers on the rear shelf. It was one of the most fantastic sounds I had ever heard and it turned out to be the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band. Despite my best efforts my friend, Rick, resisted all my pleas to borrow the tape. However I never forgot that moment and that sound.

Remembering Bill Brooks.

Colin, our man in Hong Kong, sent me this photo of the late Bill Brooks taken on a visit to Ned Kelly's in 2004.

CD Review: Better Than TV - Song From No Man's Land

Alastair Appleton (sop sax); Gabriel  Bliard (trumpet); Louis Day (trumpet on 3 tracks); Simon Fothergill (trombone); Luke Congdon (piano); Ben Comeau (piano on 4 tracks); Daniel Duffy (guitar); Sergio Contrino (bass); Joe Davighi (drums); Cassie Gorman (voice); Rowan Haslam (cello. voice on 2 tracks).
(Review by Lance).
The second album by this Cambridge based band is somewhat different from the first. Late, reviewed here in 2015, was a tight contemporary sounding quintet whereas this current version is a larger, looser ensemble with bassist Contrino who composed the material the only common denominator.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

CD Review: John Surman Trio - Invisible Threads

John Surman (baritone/soprano/bass clarinet); Nelson Ayres (piano); Rob Waring (vibes/marimba)
(Review by Lance).
Surman at his most lyrical. With like-minded piano and vibes (or marimba) the trio weaves a musical quilt of silver and gold. Almost classical in its concept, the music flows. Despite the absence of bass and drums the trio still retains a rhythmic feel. Not immediately obvious but it's there if you listen attentively.
The improvisations aren't solos in the generally accepted format but rather logical extensions of the theme to the extent that you feel any other choice of notes would be less than perfect. Surman's tone on soprano is perhaps the purest ever heard on the instrument. Equally, he also finds a resonance in his bass clarinet playing that few others have done.

Stop Press! More tickets available for SSBB w. Paul Booth but going fast!

The previously announced sold-out gig by Paul Booth with the Strictly Smokin' Big Band at Newcastle's Alphabetti Theatre on Saturday, February 17 now has 15 more standing tickets available.
To snap up one of these 'hottest tickets in town' go to www.strictly-smokin.co.uk/paulbooth asap.
Lance

Northern Monkey Brass Band @ Billy Bootleggers - Feb 13

Graham Hardy (trumpet); Ben Chinnery (trumpet); Jamie Toms (tenor saxophone); Mark Ferris (trombone); Jason Holcomb (trombone); Adam Sinclair (snare drum); Brendan Murphy (bass drum) & Phil Rosier (tuba)
(Review by Russell).
A first Mardi Gras at Billy Bootleggers. Who to invite to the party? The Northern Monkey Brass Band, that’s who! Graham Hardy’s New Orleans-inspired eight-piece band is the go-to outfit on occasions like this. The horn players bring little baggage with them, Phil Rosier slings his tuba over one shoulder and the rhythms boys – Adam Sinclair and Brendan Murphy – split the kit in half making it an easy-in, easy-out gig.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

CD Review: James Hall - Lattice

James Hall (trombone); Jamie Baum (flute/alto flute); Deanna Witkowski (piano/Rhodes); Tom DiCarlo (bass); Allan Mednard (drums) + Sharel Cassidy (alto on 2 tracks).
(Review by Lance).
Trombone and flute are not your usual frontline, in fact, apart from Herbie Hancock's Speak Like a Child, I can't think of another.
It doesn't matter. Even if trom/flute duos were as common as trumpet/tenor pairings this one would still stand out from the crowd. 
The two horns gel. Hall's round sound - dry but not brittle - contrasting nicely with Baum's virtuosic flights. They interweave seamlessly it's a musical marriage. And so it should be. The title track Lattice was written by Hall and is dedicated to his now wife Kristen, portraying the development of their romance.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Alan Barnes @ Opus 4 Jazz Club, Darlington - Feb 9

Alan Barnes (alto & baritone saxophones, clarinet); Paul Edis (piano); Andy Champion (double bass) & Russ Morgan (drums)
(Review by Russell).
Usually when Alan Barnes arrives at the Traveller’s Rest to play his now customary annual gig the queue of eager gig-goers goes half way down the stairs. This time, some forty-five minutes before the advertised start, the queue went all the way down the stairs to the entrance on West Auckland Road. A popular draw is Barnesy.

John Pope Quintet @ Gosforth Jazz Club - Feb 8

Faye MacCalman (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Jamie Stockbridge (alto saxophone); Graham Hardy (trumpet); John Pope (double bass) & Johnny Hunter (drums)
(Review by Russell/Photo courtesy of Ken Drew)
Gosforth Civic Theatre, formerly Gosforth Civic Hall, is home to the recently established Gosforth Jazz Club. Audience numbers have been encouraging and the turn out for this latest concert was heartening given that it was a cold winter’s evening. The band – the John Pope Quintet – elected
to play on the floor of the auditorium. This was a good move as the musicians were that bit closer with the stage concealed behind a red curtain.

Ben Richardson @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University - Feb 8

Ben Richardson (piano)
(Review by Russell). 
Newcastle University’s weekly music student performances feature classical, folk, rock and, from time to time, jazz. This late afternoon, hour-long gathering included pianist Ben Richardson and a first sighting of guitarist Tom Martin. It was Richardson who was up first to perform in front of his student peers and interested members of the public. As he took his seat at a Steinway grand our pianist was joined by fellow members of Ada Francis and the Italic Quartet and two other student musicians.

Simon Rose (baritone) & Steve Noble (Drums) @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle - February 4

(Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew)
What an unbelievable night of free improvisation the audience were treated to at The Bridge on Sunday night. Two amazing instrumentalists combined to produce two sustained sets of riveting & uncompromising jazz. Individually, both musicians were absolutely superb -  I have never heard a baritone sax played with such energy and range before. Steve Noble, on percussion, was mesmerising with his creativity and inventiveness incorporating handheld cymbals, tea towels and more sticks than you can shake a stick at. 
Spellbinding. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Vic Damone (1928-2018)

More sad news. This time its legendary crooner Vic Damone who passed away yesterday (February 11).
I recall his 1949 recording of Vagabond Shoes although I'm sure it was a year or two later when I actually heard it - probably Radio Luxembourg - I still remember it and, upon YouTubing it, I find I still like it!
He romanced Jane Powell in the MGM musical Rich, Young and Pretty. The couple sang How Do You Like Your Eggs in the Morning? accompanied by the Four Freshmen. Still a gas!
More films, Stateside hits, a few marriages, Vic Damone will surely be remembered alongside his contemporaries such as Sinatra, Bennett, Martino, Como, Greco and the other Italian/American crooners as a flawless interpreter of the GASbook. As I type, I'm listening to his 1960 album On the Swingin' Side and, with fine big band arrangements by Jack Marshall, it's just about as good as it gets.
Vic Damone was 89 when he left us.
May he Rest In Peace.
Lance.

Blog Archive

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

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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