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Saturday, 3 November 2018

Russell Corbett's November 2018 North East preview

Following hot on the heels of last month’s hugely successful Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender comes Mike Durham’s Classic Jazz Party. Formerly the Whitley Bay Jazz Festival, the three day Jazz Party - Nov 2-4 - attracts ‘classic jazz’ era fans from across Britain, Europe and America to the Village Hotel on North Tyneside. Similarly, musicians fly in from all four corners of the globe making the weekend gathering the pre-eminent festival of its kind this side of the Atlantic. Americans include the trumpeters Duke Heitger and Andy Schumm, drummer Josh Duffee, together with first time visitor Dan Levinson, reeds. The European contingent’s number includes French trumpeter Malo Mazurie, Germany’s Matthias Seuffert, reeds, and Norwegian master pianist Morten Gunnar-Larsen. Britain’s virtuoso pianist Keith Nichols leads some of the host nation’s finest including the always entertaining Spats Langham, trumpeter Jamie Brownfield and, from Co Durham, violinist Emma Fisk. For ticket details email: wbjazzfest@btinternet.com.                 

There is much else on offer during the month including a particularly strong jazz element at Sage Gateshead. Curtis Stigers returns with an all-star NYC quartet. Vocalist, and occasional saxophonist, Stigers will be playing numbers from his recently recorded Sinatra album (Mon 5). The following evening (Nov 6) there couldn’t be much more of a contrast with Soft Machine in Sage Two. Etheridge, Babbington and Marshall will be joined by Theo Travis as they revisit fifty years’ worth of material. London-based Kansas Smitty’s House Band makes its Sage Gateshead bow (Fri 9) and at the end of the month (Tues 27) trombonist Jason Holcomb premieres a commissioned work - Sacrification - as part of a triple bill dance evening with Eliot Smith Dance.

Newcastle’s Riverside venue isn’t known for its jazz gigs but on Wed 7 GoGo Penguin can be heard playing there. It will be interesting to see who turns out.

Saxophonist Sue Ferris plays two gigs in eight days, first a trio date at Bishop Auckland Town Hall (Nov 16), then a quintet outing at Durham’s Gala Theatre (lunchtime Nov 23). Topping and tailing the month are two contrasting gigs. An interesting looking proposition is a first gig by the wonderfully named Charkie Parlour.  Violinist John Garner leads the contemporary quartet – guitarist Mark Williams, bassist John Pope and drummer Russ Morgan – at the Globe (Nov 1), meanwhile, closing out the month (Nov 30), violinist Emma Fisk takes her ever-popular Hot Club du Nord to St Cuthbert’s Centre in Crook, County Durham.

Finally, a date for the diary - Sat 17th. Queen’s Hall, Hexham hosts the second, annual Forever the Beat of the Drum fundraising concert in memory of drummer Mark Jon Bolderson. Following the death of the Tyne Valley Big Band’s former drummer, a percussion foundation was established and this concert forms a key element in ongoing fundraising activities.                   

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