Sunday, 1 December 2019

Russel Corbett's winter round up in the North East

 Fergus McCreadie Trio 19 January Middlesborough

Christmas is on the horizon yet there is little indication of promoters winding down for the festive season, on the contrary, the month of December is as busy any other. Yes, there is a plethora of (near compulsory) Santa hat-wearing events but, hey, it's Christmas!

Jazz North East is straight in there on the first of the month with Deep Tide at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle and seven days later (Sun 8) at the same venue it's Magpie. The Jazz Co-op invites pianist Ben Gilbert to conduct a workshop at Sage Gateshead (Dec 7, 2:00pm) with a follow up trio concert at its Railway Street HQ (7:30pm). Birmingham Conservatoire undergraduate Francis Tulip brings in his quartet (Dec 22) to play an eve-of-festive season gig and the venue's annual party (Dec 15) features Budtet followed by an all-comers' jam session.

Pianist Paul Edis' A Jazzy Christmas visits Middlesbrough Town Hall (Dec 15, 2:00pm) with an array of star names including Jo Harrop and Matt Anderson getting into the spirit. This time last year Edis' show at Sage Gateshead sold out so this year a matinee performance has been added to the evening show (Dec 21). Both matinee and evening performances are likely to sell out - be quick, book your seats now, call the ticket office on 0191 443 4661.

January 2020 offers the (many) usual residencies across the region plus a few national touring names. Veteran bandleader Ray McVay returns to Sage Gateshead with his Glenn Miller Orchestra UK outfit on Sunday 5. It's a three o'clock start and if you dig beneath the schmaltzy, polished surface of Moonlight Serenade and the like you'll find a band chock full of been-there-done-that jazz musicians.

The Debra Milne-Steve Glendinning Trio calls in at the Jazz Co-op (Newcastle) on Jan 11 and at the same venue Dave Weisser's long-running Mingus-inspired Take it to the Bridge workshop (aka jam session!) continues weekly, Wednesdays and Berklee undergraduate Matt MacKellar has an engagement with his band on Jan 16. Jazz and Tapas is a hugely popular monthly jazz 'n' dine event at Arc, Stockton. The Pocket Jazz Orchestra, led by pianist Jeremy McMurray, will be there on Thursday 16, with dates already confirmed for the rest of the year. Booking essential on 01642 525199. A major highlight on Saturday 18 is up on the the border at the quirky Watchtower Gallery in Berwick upon Tweed. Adrian Cox returns with his quartet (Joe Webb, Simon Read, Gethin Jones) following this year's sell out performance.

The Middlesbrough jazz renaissance continues with Sunday Jazz, a monthly multi-bill showcase event in the Town Hall. Jan 19 is 'Burns' Night Jazz' featuring, you've guessed it, musicians from Scotland! The line-up is well worth catching - Georgia Cécile, Tom Bancroft's 'In Common', Joe Williamson's 'Animal Society' and the Fergus McCreadie Trio. Do support this venture.

Newcastle's Black Swan basement venue hosts a twice monthly jam session regularly attracting top class musicians from across the UK and beyond looking to sit-in. The first session of 2020 is set for Tuesday 14. Up on the first floor on Wednesday 22 Lithuanian-born, Tyneside-resident vocalist Julija Jacenaite makes a welcome return with guitarist Alexis de Alfaro (originally from Cusco, Peru, long-since resident on Tyneside). Three quid on the door, recommended.

Finally, on Friday 24 you'll have two opportunities - in Durham and Darlington - to hear the Dean Masser Quartet. At one o'clock in the Gala Theatre's studio space tenor saxophonist Masser will be joined by Dean Stockdale, piano, Ed Harrison, double bass and drummer Gaz Hughes. Please note this concert will be an advance sell out - book now on 03000 266 600 or miss out. In the evening (8:00pm) Masser's quartet will play to a similarly full house at Opus 4 Jazz Club. The Traveller's Rest on West Auckland Road is an established modern jazz venue and you'll need to arrive early (no advance tickets) and join the queue.

Dec 1 Deep Tide Bridge Hotel Newcastle NE1 1RQ
Dec 3 Customs House Big Band All Saints, Cleadon SR6 7UR
Dec 4 Archipelago Cumberland Arms, Newcastle NE6 1LD
Dec 7 Ben Gilbert Trio The Globe, Newcastle NE4 7AD
Dec 7 Roller Trio + J Frisco Bobik's, Newcastle NE2 3JY
Dec 8 Jason Isaacs Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle NE1 6SF*
Dec 10 Tyne Valley Big Band Fox Inn, Hexham NE46 3DB
Dec 12 Hot Club du Nord Lubetkin Theatre, Peterlee SR8 2RN
Dec 13 Dean Stockdale Trio Merry Monk, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP*
Dec 13 & 14 Strictly Smokin' Big Band Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle NE3 3BD
Dec 15 Sunday Jazz Town Hall, Middlesbrough TS1 2QJ*
Dec 15 Alice Grace Quartet Black Bull, Blaydon NE21 4JJ
Dec 22 Strictly Smokin' Big Band Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle NE1 6SF* 
Dec 31 Zoë Gilby & Mark Williams Prohibition Bar, Newcastle   

Jan 5 Glenn Miller Orchestra UK Sage Gateshead NE8 2JR*
Jan 11 Debra Milne-Steve Glendinning Trio The Globe, Newcastle NE4 7AD
Jan 16 Matt MacKellar Band The Globe, Newcastle NE4 7AD
Jan 18 Adrian Cox Quartet Watchtower Gallery, Berwick TD15 2HE
Jan 19 Sunday Jazz Town Hall, Middlesbrough TS! 2QJ*
Jan 22 Julija Jacenaite & Alexis de Alfaro Jazz Café Mezzanine, Newcastle Arts Centre NE1 1SG*
Jan 24 Dean Masser Quartet Gala Theatre, Durham DH1 1WA*
Jan 24 Dean Masser Quartet Traveller's Rest, Darlington DL3 9ER 

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