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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.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

CD Review: Zhenya Strigalev – Blues for Maggie

Zhenya Strigalev (alto sax, soprano sax, alto box, electronics); Federico Dannemann (guitar); Linley Marthe (bass guitar, keyboards) & Eric Harland (drums)
(Review by Russell)
Blues for Maggie is Zhenya Strigalev’s fourth album for Michael Janisch’s Whirlwind Recordings label and it is a winner. The use of electronics could be an issue for some listeners but stay with this album if for no other reason than to be blown away by the virtuosity of all four musicians on Take Off Socks, all twenty minutes and twenty-five seconds of it. This ‘tour de force’ is the fourth track of seven and it opens with guitarist Federico Dannemann playing his socks off over a killer bass and drum groove. You could be forgiven for thinking that that was the highlight, but no, Zhenya Strigalev weighs in on soprano blowing like there’s no tomorrow all the while riding on that bass and drum groove set up and maintained by the brilliant pairing of Linley Marthe and Eric Harland. And that’s it, or so you think until Eric Harland gives a percussion masterclass the like of which has rarely been captured on shellac, vinyl, tape or CD. Blues for Maggie was recorded in concert and in the studio; fortunately, Harland’s epic contribution was in front of an audience at Porgy and Bess in Vienna and there is a palpable sense that something special was happening on the night.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Yes @ Sage Gateshead - March 18

(Review by Steve T)
What a powerful weapon the finale to Stravinsky's Firebird Suite has been for this band. As Steve Howe led them out, a not quite packed three floors of Sage One stood to attention for one of the classic rock bands who refuse to go away. In fact, as happened in the eighties, there are two bands once more and the other is due at the City Hall in the summer.  
Yours is no Disgrace opened things up, the track that stunned the world in 1971, introducing their new guitarist - Steve Howe - and he's now entirely dominant in the band.
A Portuguese mandolin could mean either Your Move/I've Seen All Good People or Wondrous Stories and turned out to be the former, though we got the latter soon after. By the end we'd had said mandolin, two Gibson semi-acoustics, a Les Paul, a Strat, a slide guitar, an acoustic solo piece (Mood for a Day) and another on a stand, enabling a quick switch. Last time I saw him he was immense; and although tonight's performance wasn't quite up there, he’s still the one all eyes are drawn to, including those of Jon Anderson when he's there.

CD Review: Diane Marino - Soul Serenade, the Gloria Lynne Project.

Gloria Lynne was never a household name in the UK and I only knew of her by name rather than by her work. To my eternal shame, BSH even overlooked her death in 2013. Since receiving this album by Diane Marino, I made a point of researching Gloria Lynne and listening to what I could find on YouTube and Spotify. I was pleasantly surprised and kicking myself for not having discovered her earlier.
So how does Ms Marino stack up?
Very well indeed. She doesn't pay lip-service but, wisely, retains her own identity whilst conveying the feel of a Gloria Lynne performance. Which, in many ways, is the best of two worlds. Sultry, with just an edge of soul and blues and a lot of jazz.

Jazz Café Jam Session - March 20

Jeremy McMurray (piano); Paul Grainger (bass); Rob Walker (drums) + Nifemi Osiyami (vocal); Yuichiro Suzukawa (alto); Nick Gould, Paul Gowland, Jimmy Jefford (tenors); Joel Brown, Ben Richardson, Marcus Tham (piano); John Pope (bass).
(Review by Lance).
The house trio tonight is Jeremy McMurray (piano); Paul Grainger (bass) and Rob Walker (drums). They get the ball rolling with Yesterdays, a samba called Samba that's composed by Jeremy who's making his first JC jam appearance and My Romance. A good start to this fortnightly 'mustn't miss' session.
At the last jam, I waxed eloquent about singer Osiyami even going so far as to suggest that she deserved a gig in her own right. Guess what? May 18 the girl is doing just that - put it in your diary folks.
Tonight she gives us a taste of Honeysuckle Rose which is maybe too fast for comfort and Georgia on my Mind which is just right. Nifemi is aided and abetted by Suzukawa on alto who stays on stage for a Bird bopper the title of which escapes me - somebody help me -  Nick?
Nick (Gould) has blown in from Out of Nowhere or, to be more precise, Edinburgh before toasting that Argentinian heartbreaker, Tangerine.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A Three Day Vintage Spectacular at Historic Herne Hill

(Press release)
The P&P World Cycling Revival, the greatest celebration of the bicycle the world has ever seen, will be a high-end heritage sporting, music and lifestyle festival celebrating 200 years of the bicycle. 

The event is set in the halcyon days of the Herne Hill Velodrome, when it hosted the London 1948 Olympics, and our patrons will be invited to wear vintage themed clothing throughout the whole festival.

What's On?

Vintage music

Monday, March 19, 2018

Book review: Peter Jones: This Is Hip - The Life of Mark Murphy.

"This book needed to be written for a number of reasons, the first being that Mark Murphy deserves greater recognition than he achieved in his lifetime. He mastered the art of jazz singing to an extraordinary degree, taking it to levels appreciated only by those few who knew about him and understood what he was doing."
So reads the opening paragraph by his biographer Peter Jones.
Jones is an established singer himself with several highly rated albums to his name and, no slouch with the pen either making him the ideal person to write this study of the enigmatic Murphy.
Murphy is credited with around 40 albums. Each one looked at with varying degrees of scrutiny by Jones.

Preview: Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2018 (April 6-8)

(Preview by Russell)
Last month the Beast from the East decimated jazz gigs across the region. April is bound to be kinder, isn’t it? And with the Gateshead International Jazz Festival starting on Friday 6th it had better be! For three days Sage Gateshead is the only game in town. Tiptoe open proceedings playing a set on the concourse at six o’clock on Friday and from then there is a non-stop three days of concerts, pre concert talks and workshops. Topping the bill on Friday evening is…you decide – the triple bill of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Tony Allen’s Art Blakey set and Zara McFarlane, perhaps the programme of four European pianists playing solo sets – Alexander Hawkins, Kaja Draksler, Bojan Z and Giovanni Guidi, or will you choose to hear the Big Chris Barber Band?

Tyneside is set to go Dutch

Pianist Dominic J Marshall leads a mini-invasion of Tyneside by musicians from Amsterdam in late March and early April.
Marshall is no stranger to the local jazz audience, having played a number of enthusiastically received Newcastle gigs beginning when he was a student at Leeds College of Music and leading a trio with fellow Leeds graduates Sam Vicary and Sam Gardner.
Having taken his master’s degree in Amsterdam, Marshall is now resident in the Netherlands, which makes him eligible for the Going Dutch initiative set up by the Jazz Promotion Network in conjunction with Dutch Performing Arts to bring musicians to the UK and Ireland over the next eighteen months. 

Jason Isaacs & the Ambassadors of Swing @ Hoochie Coochie - March 18.

Jason Isaacs (vocal/tenor); Darren Irwin, Mark Webb (trumpets); Dave Brock (trombone); Sue Ferris (alto/flute/clarinet); Alexis Cairns (tenor/clarinet); Stu Collingwood (keys); Neil Harland (bass); Simon Ferry (drums).
(Review by Lance).
Hoochie Coochie was steaming, the snow outside melting, inside, the air was filled with the aromas usually inhaled at Fenwick's cosmetic counters. I'm sure there was some aftershave in there too but, just as it was in the old days at Sinatra, Elvis and Dino gigs, us males were in the minority.
Yup! Jason was back at Hoochie and, as always, the crowd adored him.
He was in good voice - is he ever not? - Wonderwall; Beyond the Sea; Mr Bojangles; Ain't that a Kick in the Head? and Let it Snow had the room buzzing. The band were right behind him booting it along all the way.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Rare footage of Panama Jazzmen (1952).

Rare vintage photo of the Panama Jazzmen at a dance in 1952. Those jitterbuggin' dancers could certainly cut a caper!

The line-up is Joe McMullin (trumpet); Ronnie McLean (trombone); Stan Martin (clarinet); Norman Rudd (piano); Joe Garner (bass); Teddy Hutchinson (drums) but who is the tenor player?
Note the sound was added later so that what you are hearing isn't what they are playing although it is from a Panama Jazzmen recording..
Could it be Don Armstrong on tenor? Previous posts indicate it might be a bit early for Don.
Comments please.
Thanks to Alan and Steve Rudd for this discovery and editing.

Jonny Deps In Darlo! The Paul Edis Sextet @ OPUS 4 Darlington, March 16.

Adam Sinclair (drums); Mick Shoulder (bass): Chris Hibbard (trombone); Jonny Dunn (trumpet/flugel); Graeme Wilson (tenor/flute);  Paul Edis (piano).
(Review/photos by Jerry)
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, the weather was unspeakable, the music was sublime. Welcome to Opus 4 and an all too rare gig by this sextet. A familiar face (and hat) was missing from the line up with Graham Hardy being replaced by a remembered face (from a gig in Crook in 2014), Jonny Dunn.
The opener, Out of Nowhere, with Jonny Dunn first up to solo, brought appreciative calls of “Yeah!” from the audience. It was the only standard of the evening, the other 12 tunes being originals – one each from Graeme Wilson and Graham Hardy with all the rest composed by the band-leader himself.
Hardy’s, The Pounce was the lively opener to the second set with our dep on first solo again. The piece has a great ending – a feature of many of tonight’s originals. I’m not keen on tunes which seem almost to peter out as though the composer had simply run out of ideas. Here, thanks to the immaculate timing of the musicians almost every tune ended with a snap, a surprise, a flourish. Exclamation marks, not rows of dots! Cue applause!

CD Review: Erin McDougald - Outside the Soiree

Erin McDougald (vocals, bandleader); Dave Liebman (soprano, tenor); Tom Harrell (trumpet, flugelhorn); Mark Sherman (vibes, percussion) Rodney Green; (drums, cymbals); Chembo Corniel (percussion); Rob Block (piano, guitars); Dan Block (alto sax, flute, clarinet); Cliff Schmitt (bass)
(Review by Ann Alex)
‘You’ll like this’ said Lance, and I certainly did. It even has a jazzy version of one of my favourite folk songs as the last track, and big hitter musicians such as Liebman and Harrell on saxes and trumpet. It’s very much our singer’s individual take on a wide range of songs, including a cha cha version of Brother Can You Spare a Dime and a rhythmic 5/4 timing for the ballad Don’t Wait Up For Me. Mostly standards, some lesser known, and one original number, the title track,  from Ms McDougald; Outside The Soiree.

CD Review: Postmodern Jukebox - The New Classics

An essential item for those who caught the phenomenon that is Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox on their recent UK tour which ended at Southend on March 14, calling in at Sage Gateshead on February 18 with the bonus of an impromptu apres show jam at the Prohibiton Bar which, even at this early date, is fast becoming the stuff of legend. In 10 years time, I guarantee there will be at least several hundred northeasterners who will swear they were present at the tiny Pro Bar on that memorable evening!
However, if you were at neither concert nor jam in person or in your dreams then this disc is no longer an essential - it is now an absolute must!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

EP Review: Alex Hitchcock Quintet - Live at the London & Cambridge Jazz Festivals.

Alex Hitchcock (tenor); James Copus (trumpet/flugel); Will Barry (piano/keys); Joe Downard (bass); Jay Davis (drums).
(Review by Lance).
Comparisions have been made with one of Miles Davis' classic quintets - the one with Wayne Shorter. A comparision that's pretty close. The themes are of that ilk and Hitchcock's tenor is in the Shorter vein whilst, dare I say it? Copus is a more exciting trumpet player than Miles. Admittedly Miles' emotional content may have been higher but for getting the adrenalin flowing, Copus wins hands down. I'm sure anyone who heard the band at the London and Cambridge Jazz Festivals where these were recorded live couldn't fail to agree with me.

Strings in BATH, horns Darlo

Southern (Durham & Darlington) correspondent Tony Eales is happy to report two contrasting but equally successful concerts in a day. Bishop Auckland Town Hall’s monthly lunchtime jazz gig in the basement gallery space drew encouraging numbers to listen to the Giles Strong Trio. Strong, fellow guitarist Roly Veitch and concert series promoter Mick Shoulder, playing double bass, are students of the GASbook and that’s pretty much what they played to an appreciative audience. A few hours later at the Traveller’s Rest in the Cockerton suburb of Darlington one of the key bands working on the regional jazz scene, the Paul Edis Sextet, played to a good turn out. Saxophonist  Graeme Wilson made a round trip from Edinburgh to play the date (that’s real commitment!) and depping trumpeter Jonny Dunn was, according to TE, ‘just great’.  

Good for Jamie Cullum.

On Tuesday night, before his weekly Jazz Show on Radio Two, Jamie said to Simon Mayo that he was paying tribute to Quincy Jones on the eve of his 85th birthday. Mayo asked him about the comments Quincy made about that pop group - you know the one - and his response was “He's Quincy Jones, he can say what he likes” and “Good for him.”
There's been lots of discussion on social media along the lines of what has Quincy Jones ever done for us? Apart from the Jazz, like Dizzy and many others, aside from some of the most memorable theme tunes ever, like Heat of the Night and Ironside, apart from the small matter of Frank Sinatra, aside from the Brothers Johnson, Patti Austin and Benson, apart from Miles' return to the music he made with Gil Evans shortly after his death, what did Q ever do for us to compare to the Beatles?
Ben E king once said that Black America couldn't compete with the Beatles and their haircuts. Maybe if we'd had Michael Jackson.
Q and MJ destroyed them at their own game with Off the Wall and Thriller.
Steve T.

Friday, March 16, 2018

James Harrison Trio @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle - March 16

James Harrison (piano/drums); Anth Ord (bass guitar); Tom Chapman (drums).
(Review by Lance).
The monthly Friday lunchtime sessions at the Lit and Phil are rapidly becoming an automatic entry into the jazzoholic's diary. As with the Gala lunchtime gigs at Durham, they are invariably sold out. Today's session may not have been totally sold out but, for latecomers, it was standing room only.
When the attraction is the James Harrison Trio, understandably so.
Three young men of talent, they delighted the audience with their brand of piano jazz. Harrison is that rare breed of jazz musician who can be both creative and entertaining at the same time. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Bruce, Benny & Hilma

As the tenth anniversary of BSH approaches later this month I got to reflecting upon those early days and came across this item I posted in December 2008. The mystery was never solved and I don't suppose it ever will be. I still wonder, did Bruce Turner ever meet Benny Carter? Dave Cliff and Dave Green are still with us perhaps...

Last year I bought an LP by the Bruce Turner Quartet from a stall in South Shields market, listened to it a few times then put it on the shelf and, as you sometimes do forget all about it.
However, the recent postings, comments and the discovery of the Warne Marsh site prompted me to seek it out once more. The reason being that Dave Cliff plays guitar in the quartet and Turner's playing displays a slight Tristano/Konitz influence.
The disc called appropriately enough "The Dirty Bopper", had the added bonus of being signed by Bruce Turner."

Saltburn Sessions

Friday 6th April - The Mark Toomey Quintet

Mark Toomey (Alto); Paul Donnelly (Guitar); Jeremy McMurray (Piano); Peter Ayton (Bass); Russ Morgan (Drums).
Photo of Mark Toomey and Peter Ayton courtesy of Mike Tilley.

Friday 11th May - The Strictly Smokin' Big Band
Friday 1st June - Kevin Grenfell's Jazz Giants (With special guest tbc)
July - Summer Break - no jazz night

Friday 3rd August - The Savannah Jazz Band.

All concerts at Saltburn Community Hall, Albion Tce., Saltburn-by-the-Sea TS12 1JW.
Tel. 01287 624997.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

For your diary...

Quite a weekend coming up starting at the Jazz Café on Thursday night (that's tomorrow March 15) at 8pm. This JNE promotion sees the launch of the long-awaited album by the Riviera Quartet.
Pete Tanton (trumpet); Mark Williams (guitar); John Pope (bass) and Russ Morgan (drums) are guaranteed to delight the audience with their post-bop approach to what was going on in the south of France in 1962 by Dizzy Gillespie. Can't guarantee Riviera weather but the music will make up for it. Kicks off at 8pm and it's only £6 although you are advised to bring more as you are sure going to want to buy a CD. In fact, £10 gets you entry and a CD!

However, don't think you will get a long lie in on Friday morning. No sir, not if you want to hear the classiest piano trio around who are playing at the Lit and Phil, Westgate Rd., Newcastle, at 1pm
I'm referring to the James Harrison Trio - James (piano); Anthony Ord (bass) and Tom Chapman (drums). Although relatively young by the jazz icons of yesteryear already, even though still in their '20s (I think), they've achieved well-deserved recognition amongst their peers. The first time I heard Harrison I was reminded of the first time I heard Paul Edis. Both had, and still have, a freshness of approach that makes listening to either such a pleasure. With Ord and Chapman lending solid support this will be the fastest hour you've ever known.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

CD Review: Owen Broder - Heritage

Owen Broder (alto/tenor/baritone); Sarah Caswell (violin); Scott Wendholt (trumpet/flugel); Nick Finzer (trombone); James Shipp (vibes/perc); Frank Kimbrough (piano); Jay Anderson (bass); Matt Wilson (drums); Wendy Gilles, Kate McGarry, Vuyo Satashe (vocals).
(Review by Lance).
As the name implies, Heritage is saxophonist/composer Broder's exploration of American roots music from Appalachian folk to early blues, spirituals to bluegrass, carefully weaving the elements into another distinctly American musical tradition - jazz.
The album kicks off with Broder's own Appalachian inspired Goin' Up Home with solos by Shipp and Finzer. The latter managing to slot the well known Milt Bernhardt phrase from Kenton's Peanut Vendor into his trombone solo.
Tokyo-born Miho Hazama provided Wherever the Road Leads which gave space for some fine alto playing from Broder, Finzer sans Bernhardt and some country fiddling from Sarah Caswell. An improvised hoedown in them there hills.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Alter Ego: Darlington Jazz Festival Launch @ The Keys, Darlington - March 11

Keith Robinson (alto sax); Niall Armstrong (tenor sax & flute); Dave Hignett (trumpet & flugelhorn); Andy Hawking (keyboards); Ian Paterson (bass) & David Francis (drums)
(Review by Russell). 
Darlington Jazz Festival goes from strength to strength and this year’s edition, the seventh, has a big name attraction – the ubiquitous Alan Barnes – and a host of top-class musicians from across the northeast region and beyond. Trumpeter Matt Roberts returns once again to participate in his hometown festival, this year playing the music of Kenny Dorham with his promised all-star sextet. When the line-up is confirmed, and here’s a clue, it’s likely to be very similar to last year’s amazing band, it will be standing room only at the Voodoo Café. Al Wood will be involved, similarly, the duo of Emma Fisk and James Birkett, pianist Paul Edis, and Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club will be expecting a full house thanks to American piano virtuoso Jeff Barnhart renewing acquaintance with multi-reedsman John Hallam. All of this is to come over the May bank holiday weekend (Thursday 3rd to Sunday 6th), however, before then there is much more jazz to come over the coming weeks which began with yesterday’s festival launch event featuring Alter Ego.

Bold Big Band @ Dun Cow, Jesmond - March 11

(Review by Lance)
Well named! This young band of, predominantly, students from Newcastle University are certainly bold. You could also add brash and belting but not balladic. They don't do subtle, putting the boot in is their chosen forté; not surprising given that the pad contains a lot of Buddy Rich and Gordon Goodwin numbers. The audience of future Prime Ministers, captains of industry and Harley St., surgeons wouldn't want it any other way and, as the evening drew to a close, the space in front of the band was awash with gyrating bodies and not all of them were students. It says much for drummer Harry Still that he didn't allow the shadow of Buddy Rich to phase him and his drive contributed much to the excitement generated by the band that led to the terpsichorean workout.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Exciting Line Up At Darlington Jazz Festival 2018

(Press release)
Darlington Jazz Festival makes its return for the seventh year this May and organisers are planning a variety of quality musical performances, which all come under the wide umbrella of jazz.

Since the festival started in 2012, it has gone from strength to strength, providing a platform for both local and regional talent, whilst still continuing to attract national artists prominent on today’s jazz scene. This year, the festival is expanding to more venues than ever before with acts performing at a number of different locations around the town. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Jazz Record Requests Live @ Sage Gateshead Free Thinking Festival - March 10

The annual Free Thinking Festival, run in conjunction with BBC Radio 3, is now a firmly established event in Sage Gateshead's calendar and attracts a diversity of visitors eager to discover, explore and open up their minds to a variety of observations on the 21st century and how it has changed our lives. Social media, gender issues and so much more.
Visit the Sage Gateshead website for more information on what it's all about.
Intriguing as all this was, the main interest for the BSH team was the live broadcast of Jazz Record Requests presented, as always, by Alyn Shipton. Alyn also laid down his credentials, not just as a broadcaster, but as a jazz musician by bookending the program with a live trio session by Emma Fisk (violin); James Birkett (guitar) and himself on double bass.
As regards the actual JRR program there were a few 'hipsters', not entirely unknown to this site, 
introducing their own requests.
Listen here.
PS: Tomorrow morning (March 11) Sarah Walker talks to saxophonist and composer Tim Garland. The program runs from 9am to 12noon. Details.

Gerry Richardson Trio @ The Gala Theatre, Durham - March 9

Gerry Richardson (organ); Rod Sinclair (guitar) & Paul Smith (drums)
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Malcolm Sinclair). 
Sold out. If it’s the Gala’s monthly Friday lunchtime jazz concert take it as read, it’s sold out.* This month’s concert featured Hammond organ master Gerry Richardson. These days the Newcastle-based organist rarely, if ever, takes the big beast on the road. Now, for ease of transportation, his instrument of choice is a Crumar Mojo; lighter, smaller and portable. Otherwise, the sound is much the same. Some of the Gala Theatre’s regular patrons were hearing the Gerry Richardson Trio for the first time – what would they make of it all?

Young Musical Prodigy Announces UK Tour.

Young musical prodigy Alex Hitchcock and his quintet embark on a UK tour from 10th April to 18th May in support of their forthcoming EP (please see press release below).
Alex Hitchcock is a saxophonist making huge waves in the jazz scene and is recognised to be one of the best up and coming players in the UK today.  
Press Release.
Spring 2018 marks the release of Live At The London And Cambridge Jazz Festivals, the outstanding new body of work from emerging luminaries of instrumental jazz the Alex Hitchcock Quintet. Led by an exciting young tenor saxophonist swiftly gaining a reputation as a skilful and unique player, Hitchcock and his band are five of London’s most sought-after players, now establishing themselves as leading figures in their own right through gripping collaborative music.

US Musical Prodigy to play in UK.

Sixteen-year-old US pianist and musical prodigy Matthew Whitaker will visit the UK in April 2018 to play two intimate and exclusive live shows in Milton Keynes and London.

First discovering a keyboard at three years old and self-teaching himself the Hammond organ from the age of nine, Matthew’s outstanding natural talent has helped him to achieve a series of ‘world firsts’: The youngest ever artist to be endorsed by Hammond in its eighty plus year history at only thirteen, subsequently the youngestever musician to join the elite group of Yamaha endorsed pianists at fifteen, and winning the Outstanding Soloist Award from New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Charles Mingus High School Competition and the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition all before the age of sixteen.

This list of accolades would be more than enough to pique the interest of critics and discerning music lovers alike, but the fact that Matthew happens to be a blind musician adds a whole new level to how exceptional he is as a performing artist.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Minnie Fraser Quartet @ Gosforth Civic Theatre - March 8

Minnie Fraser (vocals); Lin Lee Wong (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass) & Rob Walker (drums)
(Review by Russell) 
Gosforth Jazz Club has been attracting sizeable audiences and another good turn out greeted the Minnie Fraser Quartet. Electing to perform on the floor of the hall enabled vocalist Fraser to make that all important connection with the listener although, because of the lighting, she wasn’t able to see into the auditorium. The focus of attention was Fraser and her band; pianist Lin Lee Wong, a scrubbed-up Paul Grainger playing double bass and drummer Rob Walker.

Elkie Brooks @ Sage Gateshead - March 8 - Take 2

Elkie Brooks (vocal); Andrew Murray (keys); Rufus Ruffell (guitar); Brian Badham (bass guitar); Mike Smith (tenor sax/synth); Fraz Knapp (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex)
A great night indeed, as Lance said, with level 1 of Sage full, and Elkie giving about 150%. This lady can sing it all, ballads, rock, blues, soul, country, and I’m told that she also does a mean GASbook song, though there was no jazz in this gig. The voice is gutsy, bluesy, with long notes and much gospel style vibrato on some notes. She didn’t need backing singers as some clever electronic wizardry enabled Elkie to sing with herself, mostly as call and response, on some songs. She told us that she’d thoroughly enjoyed the evening and she meant it. She even apologised for the concert rescheduling, caused by throat problems. So we clapped along when encouraged by the drummer, and there was a standing ovation at the end of the evening. There was a touch of humour when an audience member shouted something which Elkie mistook as rude. She began to admonish the person diplomatically before a band member put her in the picture. ‘Get them up was what he’d shouted’ she was told.

Elkie Brooks @ Sage Gateshead - March 8 - Take 1

Just re-living last night's fantastic concert at Sage Gateshead by Elkie Brooks. Ann Alex's review is to follow so regard this as the prologue.
I first saw Elkie at Sunderland Empire nearly 40 years ago and I couldn't believe that the voice is still as good now as it was then - maybe even better!
A class act, a super band and a threatened punch-up between our Row K neighbours and the row in front.
What better for a night out?
Over to you Ann...

Thursday, March 08, 2018

NME Falls Off the Shelf!

Few jazz fans will shed tears at yesterday's announcement that NME will no longer publish a print edition after this coming Friday (March 9). Even in its early days (1952 +) - unlike its rival Melody Maker who left us in 2000 having jettisoned its illustrious past many years previous - NME had little jazz content and, after the trad bubble burst, none at all  (apart from this 1981 edition!).
Nevertheless, it is always sad to see one magazine less on the newsagent's stand. Soon the newsagents themselves will be gone leaving a street of hairdressers, takeaways, estate agents and opticians.
If the newsagent goes, what price on the opticians following?!

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Gender Equality In The Jazz Music Industry To Be Addressed At International Music Festival

(Press Release) 
Gender equality across the music industry, within the jazz field in particular, will be addressed at this year’s Gateshead International Jazz Festival.
Europe Jazz Network (EJN) will take to the stage at host venue Sage Gateshead during the Festival weekend (6 – 8 April) to report on their work to try and tackle the issues around this subject. The seminar will take place on the 8th April. 
Ros Rigby, Europe Jazz Network President and Producer of Gateshead International Jazz Festival, said: “The lack of women instrumentalists on stage has been a topic under discussion for decades in the jazz industry, and over the past few years there have been a number of practical initiatives to try to redress the balance in the UK and other European countries.

Jazz Café Jam - March 6, 2018.

 (Review by Lance).
Two weeks back, the fortnightly Jazz Café jam session was overrun with alto sax players. Last night, it was the guitarists who had the run of the green with Giles Strong fronting the house band and laying down the benchmark for those to follow. However, the evening's Oscar, going by the clapometer went to 'Wonder Woman' Nifemi Osiyemi who gave outstanding renditions of Alright, Okay, You Win and It Don't Mean a Thing. Ms. Osiyemi, I think, closed the evening but, unfortunately, we missed it as the Metro beckoned. The sting in the tail (tale) here is that beckoning Metros don't always deliver but vanish like a will o' the wisp into thin air but more of that later.

Daniel Levin (cello) + Squeteague @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle - March 4

Squeteague Graeme Wilson (saxes); Andy Champion (bass); Stu Brown (drums)
(Review/photos by Steve H)
What a fabulous night of improvised music the capacity audience experienced at The Bridge on Sunday night. Headliner Daniel Levin had not appeared in Newcastle since the ‘On the Outside’ festival of 2009 and one can only say his return to the North East was an absolute triumph.
The cello is one of the most beautiful of classical instruments able to evoke vibrancy and melancholy in equal measure; however, it is not commonly featured in the world of jazz compared to its smaller cousin the violin.  Why this is so I am not sure, but if there was a free jazz ambassador for this instrument Daniel Levin would surely be it. One of the joys of his performance was simply not knowing what was going to happen next, for there were classical, minimalist, free, gentle and ferocious sections throughout.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

CD Review: Sarah Eden - Bleu Nuit

With her velvet voice, Sarah Eden prompts us to places populated by phantoms and mirages, where nostalgia vibrates like a star shining, refusing to stop...
So, read the blurb.
I listened to the music.
I listened again, and again and again.
I'm still listening...
So, it's sung in French?
I have little French (L’école est un lointain souvenir) however, it doesn't matter. Like an aria that is sung in Italian or the scatting of Ella, it is the sound. Where words and music blend to become an instrumental duo and French has always seemed to lend itself so naturally to jazz.
The opening track, Lady Day, told me from the opening bars that, even though we hadn't even reached the Ides of March, this was likely to be in the shake-up come December 31and my Meilleurs Disques de l'année 2018. When I heard the lyrical trumpet solo by the late Francois Chassagnite likely became certain.

Monday, March 05, 2018

CD Reviews: Carlos Vega - Bird's Ticket and Bird's Up.

(Review by Lance).
Two CDs recorded not quite 2 years apart by a modern-day hardbop quintet led by Florida born Vega who also composed all of the 20 tracks on both albums as well as blowing some paint stripping sax. It's a humdinger of a band, all strong soloists in their own right and, importantly, team players too. Although the albums were recorded in Chicago, there is often a Miami Latin feel to the music  -listen to the Cajon box* on Taurus and Virgo on Bird's Ticket! Garcia blows melodically, suggesting shades of Lee Morgan adding the fire when the occasion demands it which is often. Vega solos with both lyricism and freneticism taking the tenor into a harmonic world beyond the reach of many mere mortals.

DJAZZ: The Durham City Jazz Festival

It’s back, June 1st, 2nd and 3rd, Durham City’s new jazz festival returns for a second year! Last year’s inaugural DJazz long-weekend festival made an instant impact and the good news is the event will once again take place in many of Durham’s finest, and quirkiest, venues beginning on Friday 1 June, running through ’til late Sunday 3 June. The prospect of a ‘flaming June’ feast of jazz whets the appetite as the current cold snap appears to be coming to an end.

A Radio Portrait of Ayanna

This afternoon on Radio 4 cellist and singer Ayanna Witter-Johnson is the third and final subject in a three-part series looking at ‘young creatives’ (a current favourite expression of the BBC, the Arts Council and others). Many Tyneside jazz fans have heard Witter-Johnson in concert on more than one occasion in recent years and if they’re in ear-shot of a radio at four o’clock they’ll be tuning to Radio 4.  
Russell (photo courtesy of Mike Tilley).

Sunday, March 04, 2018

CD Review: Norma Winstone - Descansado - Songs for Films

Norma Winstone – voice; Klaus Gesing - bass clarinet, soprano saxophone; Glauco Venier – piano; Helge Andreas Norbakken  - percussion;  Mario Brunello - violoncello, violoncello piccolo.
(Review by Debra M).
British singer Norma Winstone has been performing jazz for six decades,  and the outstanding quality of her music has been so sustained that as recently as 2017 she won Jazz FM award for Vocalist of the Year. Her latest work, Descansado  - Songs For Films is the fifth album recorded with pianist Glauco Venier and reedsman Klaus Gesing.  For this project, the trio were augmented by percussionist Helge Andreas Norbakken and Marion Brunello on violoncello.  Gesing and Venier have created new arrangements of music by composers such as Michel Legrand, William Walton, Bernard Herrmann, and Ennio Morricone, from films by directors including Martin Scorsese, Jean-Luc Godard, Wim Wenders, Norman Jewison, and Franco Zeffirelli.

Ambleside Days - Latest

Hugh C has kindly sent this link to Ambleside Days which contains details on their 30th Contemporary Music Festival to be held over the long weekend of August 30 to September 2.
Events are listed as well as the opportunity to vote in the Jazz FM Awards.

CD Review: Bobo Stenson Trio - Contra La Indecision

Bobo Stenson (piano); Anders Jormin (bass); Jon Fält (drums).
(Review by Lance)
Piano trios are very much to the fore these days - just about every other CD that drops through the letterbox seems to be a piano, bass and drums unit albeit not an 'easy listening' combo although, in truth, the Swedish Bobo Stenson Trio is easy to listen to.
This, despite being recorded on the always challenging ECM label and featuring music by Bartok, and Satie alongside originals by Jorman, Stenson, Fält and others, the listener's comfort zone is rarely breached.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

CD Review: Snowpoet - Thought You Knew

Lauren Kinsella (vocals, backing vocals, lyrics);  Chris Hyson (electric bass, double bass, piano, synths, composer); Nicholas Costley-White (acoustic guitar); Matthew Robinson (guitar); Dave Hamlett (drums); Josh Arcoleo (saxophone); also Alice Zawadski (violin); Francesca Ter-Berg ( cello); Lloyd Haines (drums and percussion, tracks 1,2, 7)
(Review by Ann Alex)
This is Snowpoet’s second album, following their highly acclaimed debut album in 2016. The band is led by Lauren Kinsella (Jazz FM Vocalist of the Year 2016) and multi-instrumentalist Chris Hyson from the creative new London jazz scene. All the words and music are original except for the songs Dear Someone (Gillian Welch) and Snow (Emiliana Torrini) and 2 of the 10 tracks are instrumentals.

Friday, March 02, 2018

CD Review: Kit Downes - Obsidian

Kit Downes (pipe organs) + Tom Challenger (tenor saxophone on track 5)
(Review by Russell)
An album of pipe organs! Improvising jazz pianist Kit Downes also plays the church pipe organ, or rather he did. As a child, he sang in a cathedral choir in Norwich and took lessons with the organist showing an aptitude for improvising. He has maintained an interest in the organ, occasionally visiting churches to play the instrument. In November 2016, Downes recorded this CD on three organs in three churches.

CD Review: The New Wonders - The New Wonders

Mike Davis (cornet & vocals); Ricky Alexander (clarinet, alto saxophone & vocals); Joe McDonough (trombone); Jared Engel (banjo); Dalton Ridenhour (piano); Jay Rattman (bass saxophone & vocals) & Jay Lepley (drums & vocals)
(Review by Russell) 
At twenty-six Manhattan School of Music graduate, Mike Davis is in the vanguard of a burgeoning group of like-minded young musicians exploring, reviving and performing the music of the twenties and thirties. Cornetist Davis and his peers are dedicated to their art; scholarly attention to detail, a determination to provide a platform for, and raise the profile of, the music, and to proudly celebrate their love of the period and its then, revolutionary musical form.

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.
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Finally, bear in mind that this is a jazz-based site when submitting your album.

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.