Saturday, 1 February 2020

Russell Corbett's Febuary North East Jazz Guide

 Joe Armon Jones, Cluny, 12 February
February begins with a flurry of all-star gigs and ends with a flurry of all-star gigs. In between there is a plethora of top class gigs to get along to. Denise Gordon will be at Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club (St Augustine's Parish Centre) on Saturday 1 working with the Tom Kincaid Trio, trumpet virtuoso Rico Tomasso and John Hallam, reeds. The next day, up the road in Newcastle, Jazz North East presents something of a contrast with a rare appearance by free jazz icon Joe McPhee. Joining the veteran American will be local bass hero John Pope and Yorkshire's Paul Hession, drums. Quite a start to the month!

As news filtered through that Paul Edis will soon be leaving the region to begin a new chapter in his career as pianist, composer, educator and promoter in London, gig diaries were being thumbed through looking for Paul's few remaining gigs in the area before he heads south. First, the good news, you can get along to no fewer than four of his gigs during the month. At the Jazz Cafe Mezzanine (Newcastle Arts Centre) Paul will reprise his recent debut gig working as a duo with vocalist Alice Grace (Feb 5, afternoon). On Valentine's Day (1:00pm) at the Lit & Phil in Newcastle Paul will meet up once again with his old pal Graeme Wilson (reeds) to play the music of Thelonius Monk and one week later at the Traveller's Rest, Darlington he will be occupying the piano chair in Teesside trumpeter Noel Dennis' ace quartet. A final opportunity (for the time being) to catch Paul will be at Durham's Gala Theatre on Friday 28 (lunchtime) working in another duo, this time with virtuoso violinist John Garner in a set billed 'Evans and Beyond' (that's pianist Bill Evans). Top tip...the Gala's monthly concerts sell out weeks in advance - book now (03000 266 600) or miss out!  

The brilliant Frog and Henry from New Orleans are on an extensive British tour and Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club is on the itinerary - Feb 8 (lunchtime), recommended. Joe Armon-Jones was obliged to reschedule an autumn date at the Cluny in Newcastle thanks to breaking an arm. Now happily recovered, Armon-Jones finally makes it to the Lime Street venue on Wednesday 12. Way up north at the Maltings Theatre & Cinema in Berwick (Feb 14) the Edinburgh based Tenement Jazz Band will win over many new fans. Thursday 20 pitches two gigs against one another a matter of a couple of miles apart in Newcastle...Gaz Hughes Sextet (inc Alan Barnes & Bruce Adams) at Gosforth Civic Theatre celebrates the music of Art Blakey in the centenary year of the birth of the legendary drummer and at Newcastle Jazz Co-op's Railway Street venue the Paris based violinist Daniel John Martin will link-up once again with Mick Shoulder's Swing Manouche. DJM, as he is known, will also work with Shoulder's Hot Club-style outfit at Claypath Deli, Durham (Feb 21) and Core Music, Hexham (Feb 22).

Finally, to the end-of-the-month flurry of activity. Friday 28 marks the first of three non-stop days of big band action as the 2020 Great North Big Band Jazz Festival returns to Park View Community Centre in Chester le Street. The GNBBJF is one of the great, unsung success stories. Bands - schools, student, senior - converge on the County Durham town to engage in fierce but friendly competition to vie for the accolade of 'Best Band', 'Best Section' and 'Best Programme'. The standard is truly amazing. Highly recommended. Three other gigs, all unmissable - the Pasadena Roof Orchestra at Alnwick Playhouse (Feb 28), Keith Nichols with the New Century Ragtime Orchestra at Caedmon Hall, Gateshead (Feb 29) and trumpeter Mike Lovatt (John Wilson Orchestra, James Bond film soundtracks) guests with the Strictly Smokin' Big Band at Sage Gateshead (Feb 29). 

Feb 1 Denise Gordon St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington DL3 7TG*
Feb 2 Joe McPhee Trio Bridge Hotel, Newcastle NE1 1RQ
Feb 5 Alice Grace & Paul Edis Jazz Cafe Mezzanine, Newcastle NE1 1SG*
Feb 6 Mainly Two + Faye MacCalman Cobalt Studios, Newcastle NE2 1AP
Feb 7 Get the Blessing + Ceitidh Mac Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle NE3 3HD
Feb 8 Frog & Henry St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington DL3 7TG*
Feb 9 Eirik Svela European Quartet The Globe, Newcastle NE4 7AD
Feb 12 Joe Armon-Jones The Cluny, Newcastle NE1 2PQ
Feb 13 Indigo Jazz Voices The Globe, Newcastle NE4 7AD
Feb 14 Paul Edis & Graeme Wilson Lit & Phil, Newcastle NE1 1SE*
Feb 14 Clare Teal & Trio Gala Theatre, Durham DH1 1WA
Feb 14 Tenement Jazz Band Maltings Theatre & Cinema, Berwick TD15 1AJ
Feb 15 Jive Aces Queen's Hall Arts Centre, Hexham NE46 3LZ
Feb 16 Sunday Jazz Middlesbrough Town Hall TS1 2QJ
Feb 16 Jive Aces Gala Theatre, Durham DH1 1WA
Feb 18 Abbie Finn Trio Fox Inn, Hexham NE46 3DB
Feb 19 Zoë Gilby & Mark Williams Jazz Cafe Mezzanine, Newcastle NE1 1SG*
Feb 20 Gaz Hughes Sextet Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle NE3 3HD
Feb 21 Noel Dennis Quartet Traveller's Rest, Darlington DL3 9ER
Feb 22 Boys of Brass Brandling Villa, Newcastle NE3 1QL
Feb 28 Pasadena Roof Orchestra Alnwick Playhouse NE66 1PQ
Feb 28-Mar 1Great North Big Band Jazz Festival Park View Community Centre, Chester le Street DH3 3PZ
Feb 29 Mike Lovatt w Strictly Smokin' Big Band Sage Gateshead NE8 2JR
Feb 29 Keith Nichols w New Century Ragtime Orchestra Caedmon Hall, Gateshead NE8 4LN

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