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Bebop Spoken There

Andrew Hadro: "It seems to me that everybody just puts out an album, they go through the motions, spend the money and they just sort of throw it out there into the sea of CDs and hope something comes back" - (DownBeat June 2018).

Jonnathan Blake (Blindfold Test): “Maybe it's someone from New Orleans who has lived in New York for a minute.” (DownBeat June 2018).

Today Wednesday May 23

Afternoon

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Evening

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, 11 Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8:00pm. £1.00. (Upstairs).

Jam Session - Dun Cow, Brandling Village, Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 4RS. 8:00pm. Free.

Community Hall New Orleans Band - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Road, Springwell, Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm £3.00.

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson Street, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

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

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Kansas Smitty's House Band @ Ronnie Scott's - May 7

Giacomo Smith (alto); Pete Horsfall (trumpet/vocal); Alec Harper (tenor); Adrian Cox (clarinet/vocal); Joe Webb (piano); Dave Archer (guitar); Ferg Ireland (bass); Will Cleasby (drums).
(Review by Sebastian Scotney of LondonJazzNewsKansas Smitty's House Band at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival Photo credit and © John Watson / jazzcamera.co.uk)
The Kansas Smittys are on a roll. Their Ronnie Scott’s date on Monday came after no fewer than four shows at Cheltenham. “We played a lot, we didn’t sleep a lot,” explained leader Giacomo Smith - and before long they’ll be off to play at a festival in Nantes in France.
Into my mind came a distant memory. I once reviewed a date of a small band led by Giacomo Smith at Boisdale Canary Wharf in April 2013, LINK

There I was five years ago in the role of “the-only-audience-member-who-sort-of-knows-when-to-applaud-because-this-music-needs-some-kind-of--response-dammit”, dutifully checking out the end just about every solo and every number. That was then, this is now. That was before the “Kansas Smitty’s” name had even been dreamt up, before their well-deserved success started to take wing. The formula, the bar which is their home and all that has worked just brilliantly. Audiences love this band. Everybody loves this band.
There were things that I didn’t understand then, and probably never will, like the obligatory apostrophe in “Kansas Smitty’s”. And then there are things I didn’t understand then but certainly do after the Ronnie Scott’s gig. It was a mystery why the Smitty’s (that apostrophe...just move on Seb) needed two distinct line-ups the “Big Four” and the “House Band”. The Big Four was always going to work. Its portability, its tight brotherhood feel, the quality of the people in it…. never needed much justification. Last time I checked it had done over 1,000 gigs, in other words it had proved its purpose and become a way of life for its key personnel. But, I had wondered, what was the “House Band” all about? As I say, it all made sense before my eyes on Monday.

There were the Big Four members in the middle of the Ronnie’s stage (Giacomo Smith - on alto sax only), Pete Horsfall (trumpet and vocal), Ferg Ireland (bass) and Dave Archer (guitar) who by dint of all that gigging are by now the tightest, cheeriest band on these isles. Definitely “played-in” in every sense.

And then you start adding. Joe Webb on piano. He spent most of the gig with his neck craned, facing away from the keyboard, his gaze not wanting to miss any the action in the middle, and again and again making a wonderful contribution to it. Lightness of touch, some great energetic solo-ing, a sense of fun. And then there is Will Cleasby at the drum kit. Twenty-one years old, I was told. Twenty...One! And in the band for most of the past year. And a real find. Alert, creative, and able to propel the whole band. And then tenor saxophonist Alec Harper. He justified having been brought back over from the US for his light, airy, Ike Quebec-ish tenor feature on Ellington’s All Too Soon (it was written for Ben Webster) but also is an impeccable ensemble player. And the virtue of clarinetist and vocalist Adrian Cox was plain to see from the moment he was asked to do a victory lap of Ronnie’s before lighting the place up with another Ellington tune, Jump for Joy. And what a very great singer Adrian Cox is. 

The description here, and the fact that two big moments were Ellington-inspired might start to give the impression that the band sticks to one style. They don't. They go further back into Jelly Roll Morton, and their arrangements also step forward into the directions of, say, Mingus or Marty Paich. And they have a way of sounding like much more than an octet, more a “small band that sounds like a big band.” And by the end the audience (to the extent that the Ronnie’s benches permit it) were on their feet to show their approval.

Kansas Smitty’s are now a regular fixture at Ronnie’s. They have a healthy young fan base which is still growing. And that phrase “a band to watch” which I used in 2013 has a different meaning now. They were a joy to watch.  And to hear. 
Seb. 
(Kansas Smitty's House Band are at Sage Gateshead on November 9 - Lance)

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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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