Not Going Out & Not Staying In

A coronavirus conundrum chewed over by
Norman (not going out) Warwick & Steve (not staying in) Bewick

Our friends, The Bewicks, have been trying for ages to get here to spend a couple of weeks with us on Lanzarote but the coronavirus conspires against us. Corridors of travel refuse to open, and although we have spoken on zoom and seen each other at some virtual events, Steve and I are reduced to creating programmes and articles in much the way we used to present for Crescent Radio and write for The Rochdale Observer when I lived in England. Even if I were brave enough to go out, there would be no live arts events to see on Lanzarote at present anyway, and the recent imposition of a 10.00 pm curfew in the UK pretty much left Steve with nowhere to go, too. We know, of course, that our readers of Lanzarote Information, whether you have migrated with the swallows or have stayed here, are all pretty much in hibernation as far as the live arts are concerned.

That said, you are very welcome to listen in on our conversation as we created a special-covid-edition radio programme. Come join us as we set off from The Baum in Rochdale on an itinerary that includes, Aberdeen in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Cardiff in Wales on the UK leg then Italy, Vietnam, New York, Las Vegas, Sweden, Denmark, Singapore and Malaysia, before many of you disembark at Arrecife whilst the rest return to the UK on light years of travel.

On our time travels we shall visit every decade of the twentieth century.

So, even though we are not going out will manage to travel back a hundred years from this day and call in on a dozen different countries around the world. And we´ll leave you with a play list at the end.
Norm. Last time I saw you, Steve, was at a Baum zoom poetry reading,….. I´m not sure how that worked. I felt safe and virus-protected, I suppose, but it felt difficult to generate any atmosphere, really and I´ve heard one or two others say the same sort of thing.

Steve. Yes, my sentiments exactly. It’s a strange aura that lingers over Zoom conferencing. Its live, there is audience, but who the heck is talking and what’s the protocol to chip in and say something? As an audience member I’m used to looking at the back of my colleagues heads, not their faces staring back at me. But, these are strange time indeed Norman, and getting stranger by the day.

Norm. It was fantastic that the Baum guys and girls got together from the safety of their own homes, and I believe there all sorts of zoom events are now planned by the Rochdale writing community, so good luck to them. It´s tough, though, deciding whether to stay in or go out, and if I´m honest this flipping virus has got me singing the theme tune of the Lee Mack comedy series. The lyric says they´re not going out, but when you hear all the words, they seem less certain. Let´s have a listen.

Play Not Going Out

Director Alex Hardcastle wrote that catchy Not Going Out theme song. Lee Mack wanted it to sound like Frank Sinatra, so they got Stephen Triffitt, a well-known sound-alike artist, to sing it. Triffitt played Sinatra in the original West End production of The Rat Pack: Live from Las Vegas, as well as in the U.S. tour Broadway Across America. 

That´s just how I feel, we´re not going out, we´re not staying in ! What about you, mate, what piece of music sums up quarantining and social distancing for you?

Steve. I remember going out Norman, out to the cinema, out to the theatre and out to the concert halls. Top of my list was always the jazz clubs.

Jazz is a kind of music in which improvisation is typically an important part. In most jazz performances, players play solos which they make up on the spot, which requires considerable skill.

There is tremendous variety in jazz, but most jazz is very rhythmic, has a forward momentum called “swing,” and uses “bent” or “blue” notes. You can often hear “call and response” patterns in jazz, in which one instrument, voice, or part of the band answers another. Jazz can express many different emotions, from pain to sheer joy.

In jazz, you may hear the sounds of freedom, for the music has been a powerful voice for people suffering unfair treatment because of the colour of the skin, or because they lived in a country run by a cruel dictator

So, I have of late been beavering away on face book seeking new contacts, fellow supporters of jazz, jazz clubs and jazz groups. I think post corona virus I have a readymade list of new music, places and friends to see.

Let me start by taking you North. Norman. So far north that England becomes a blur and the views are of the seas off the coast of Aberdeen. There I would find Jill Torvaney, Musician, jazzer, teacher, songwriter and mother of boys and cats.

Play After The Rain by Jill Torvaney

Jill recently sent me three of her CD’s which I expect to be featuring soon on my jazz show. (Hot Biscuits on FCUM Radio, available on the internet on Wednesday evenings at 9.oo pm)

There is also a very good jazz club up there at Langtoun, Kirkcaldy, I’m told. Perhaps it’s the most Northerly Jazz club in the UK. That’s where I met Stephan Aengus O Goodson, singer, composer and teacher who has the most delightful voice. He impressed me with his tribute to Oscar Wild recently with, ` Green Carnations` from his Blue Butterflies EP. He is currently working on a new to be release CD to be called, ` Dream Keeper`. The first track is available now which has a very Latin vibe and can be found iTunes, Spotify and Amazon.

Norm. You see, I’m into all this moody singer songwriter stuff, and I don’t think that’s helping my mood. Of the singer-songwriter brigade, storied septuagenarian master Randy Newman lays down a witty piano blues miniature in Stay Away (´Stay away from me – words of love in times like these´).

Play Stay Away by Randy Newman

Back in the seventies when I lived over in your neck of the woods, I used to be playing in folk clubs seven nights a week, and regularly saw a particular really good solo performer, called Jim Schofield, who ran several club nights out Staleybridge way, and he used to sing Randy Newman´s song Rider In The Rain, and always did it beautifully, laden with pathos. if Jim was playing somewhere down the road right now, I might risk stepping outside to go and see him . I really liked him.

Anyways, Newman has received twenty-two Academy Award nominations in the Best Original Score and Best Original Song categories and has won twice in the latter category, He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 and to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

Still, Newman was telling me to stay away,…stay at home. So what is your music telling you?

Steve. Its not so much the music but the voodoo in my twitchy feet for traveling Norman. After that trip into Scotland I’m heading westward to the North of Ireland, Dromara, where I have a jazz friend who is Doctor of Music, musician and broadcaster on Radio Ulster. I’m told that the Limerick jazz festival (virtual) is on this week of writing so I must check it out. Not least of all is because he is playing. Here is a clip of Linley talking of his new album.

Play :14: For The Record, a promo by Dr. Linley Hamilton

Norm Another heartfelt song that speaks to me is “Quarantine Queen” by Brit singer Sinéad Harnett, a rueful isolation-recorded R&B-tinted slowie regretting life passing by, unfulfilled, with a chorus that runs, “What a time to be alive – are we all just pretending that the world isn’t ending?”

Play Quarantine Queen by Sinéad Harnett

Norm I know the topic isn´t great, but I do like that song, and until we started putting this playlist together I´d never heard of her. However I now know that she is signed to Warner Chappel music who publicise her material as being an intoxicating blend of laid-back feather´-light soul, 90s-referencing R&B bangers and delicately swooning slow jams, all tied together by a versatile voice that coaxes and teases one minute and delivers a withering put down the next minute. She sounds like my kind of girl, and I´ll definitely be looking up some more of her work. Meanwhile, I suppose your jazz voices are still calling you out to play?

Steve Oh indeedie do Norman. From the North of Ireland I would cross the seas again, this time to Cardiff in Wales. Here I have found jazz in a Cardiff group administrated by James Kilby Chadwick. James is also a musician in his own right. James prefers the jazz guitar rhythms and composes his own tunes.

Going for 9 years now since 2011 a big feature of their group is giving space and support to local musicians in the area during the lockdown by giving them a solo spot to showcase their instrumental and vocal sounds.

During my times of visiting the site I have been entertained with St. Thomas, credited to Sonny Rollins as its composer, the tune is based on the traditional English song The Lincolnshire Poacher by way of the folk process, “The Lincolnshire Poacher” evolved into a nursery song in the Virgin Islands, which is where Rollins’ mother would have sang it to him when he was a child. This was presented by Matthew Lovett on double bass to great effect.

An unusually named track simply called ‘A’, was discovered by Tomos Williams, first heard on the brilliant Loose Tubes album ‘Open Letter’ back in the 90s. It’s composed by the trombonist John Harborne. There’s another version of it by Iain Ballamy and his band Food on their first album. Tomas can be found performing it on his horn with a delicate introspective feel about it.

My third example was presented as the jazz equivalent of South Wales’s Posh and Becks. Also known as Craig Webb and Bluesy Susie, they performed, That Old Black Magic is a great tune from 1942 and was beautifully delivered from a duo that shows all the benefits of working together regularly. The duo is a band in the true sense. The interplay grooves. The warmth is clearly evident from note one to the last moment of this performance. This I found to be a fine combination of guitar and vocals which can be heard on this link

Play That Old Black Magic by Craig Webb and Bluesy Susie

Norm The funny thing is, when I used to be going out to gigs, and theatres and restaurants I actually used to love getting home, often i friends, when we´d pick up fish and chips on the way home or a pizza or whatever. We´d put some music on and have a great time. It was madness,…..well, kind of, it was a house of fun.

In fact, that sums it up for me, …House of Fun is a song by English ska/pop group Madness, credited to Mike Barson and Lee Thompson. 

It was released as a one-off single on 14 May 1982 and reached number one in the UK Singles Chart, spending nine weeks in the charts. The song was re-released in 1992, reaching number 40. It is the band’s only number one single in the UK and in 2015 the British public voted it as the nation’s 8th favourite 1980s number one in a poll for ITV.

Play House Of Fun by Madness

Steve Well you gone and said the food word Norman . . . . . Pizza. After a jazz welcome in the Welsh capital I have to take my leave for Italy. In the virtual company of Eleonora Gelichi and Luciano Severini who between them have raised my jazz expectations to new highs over our collective lockdowns. As also a fan of Opera and Puccini in particular I had high hopes of the Italian jazz scene. I was not disappointed.

Whilst the Americans introduced the syncopated sounds of jazz into France in the first world war the Italians had an even earlier taste of the new music from across the Atlantic when a group of “Creole” singers and dancers, billed as the “creators of the cakewalk” performed at the Eden Theatre in Milan in 1904. The first real Italian jazz orchestras and ensembles however, were formed during the 1930s by musicians such as Arturo Agazzi with his Syncopated Orchestra and Carlo Andreis with his Quartetto Andreis (CETRA, 1937-1941), enjoying immediate success.

In spite of the anti-American cultural policies of the Fascist regime during the 1930s, American jazz remained popular. (Even Romano Mussolini, Benito’s son, was a great jazz fan and then prominent jazz pianist.) Also, in 1935, American jazz great Louis Armstrong toured Italy with great success.

Should I make it to Italy I am torn between Genoa and Tuscany for their jazz scenes and natural beauty.
Either way I would just love to catch a live performance of Il Pescatore where Aldo Ascolese sings Fabrizio De Andrè, a fishy tale from the Italian folk traditions, beautifully executed by this lively twelve piece band. Recommended to me by Luciano and included in a recent broadcast.

Maybe even get myself a ticket for the Umbria jazz Festival 2021?If live events are back by then ! Piece of Pizza Norman?

Play Il Pescatore by Aldo Ascolese canta Fabrizio De Andrè

Norm my party days are over,…..,I’m telling you, I don’t want to live in a House Of Fun anymore. All those people coming and going and parties every night,….I´n like a nice house out in the country, in the woods where nobody would visit it. Like that one Graham Nash used to share with Joni Mitchell,….remember him, the lad from Manchester, played with The Hollies and left them to join Crosby and Still and add a Nash) I´d like a house like theirs,….I’d call it Our House

Play Our House by Crosby Stills and Nash

Steve Party days are over? Where’s that travelling spirit Norman? Flex those legs and follow my lead my man.

It is goodbye Italy and hello Hanoi Jazz Lovers, a group of passionate jazz fans supporting, promoting and simply enjoying the Vietnamese jazz scene. Talking to Hoang Minh Chau , or Chloe to her friends. I’m told there is a healthy home grown jazz scene developed under the influence of colonial rule of the French and later visiting American jazz musicians during the American war.

Here, I hope to be guided through the multiple jazz clubs and venues that are available in the city of Hanoi by Chloe, administrator of the group. Their Facebook page indicates a listing of some 17 jazz venues with tempting names as, `The Cool Cats jazz club` and the `Turtle Lake Brewing Company.` The latter holds regular Monday swing nights with the Hanoi Lindy Hop. So I better pack my dancing shoes Norman.

There is also highly recommended the Binh Minh Jazz Club, the oldest jazz club in Vietnam and Tadioto which also comes with great references.

On discovering Vietnamese Jazz I was pleasantly surprised that they were all taking about my old friends from Manchester, Go Go Penguin. Also from the UK, a band who should have been touring there currently is The World Service Project, a punk/jazz outfit based in London, UK.

But it’s not all a one way street for Jazz in the country. Vietnam has included jazz as a major within a Bachelors of Art in Music and performance with the establishment of the jazz department at Vietnam National Academy of Music since 2015. Vietnamese jazz musicians have now performed outside of Vietnam in Sweden, Denmark, Singapore and Malaysia. It’s time to start taking notice of this new jazz scene. Chloe has a new project on the go and I hope to include parts of that in future broadcasts and a further piece for Side tracks and Detours.

Play Lindy Hop – Follow To Lead by Swing Dance Hanoi

Boy can they dance in Hanoi. By the way Norman how’s my travel budget going? Or am I virtually spent up?

Norm? Norm? He always disappears when I talk about money !

Still,….it looks like I´m on my own for the moment. With just one journey to make before its home for tea.

May as well carry on around the globe and stop off at New York City and Smalls Jazz Club. Here they have been able to keep the jazz going with the generous donations of their supporters local and afar. This has been a nightly jazz performance to a club devoid of an audience, but streamed around the USA and the world beyond. In a recent newsletter from the clubs proprietor, Spike Wilner, who also plays a mean piano with visiting musicians, reported a pretty dar lockdown.,

Well let’s hope everything springs back to life soon, Norman. Shall I call in for coffee on the sea front of Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, on my way back? I can drop off my expenses claim with you while we catch up.

Norm So long as you´re masked, and gloved up. Actually I´ve seen your expense claims before,….so wearing a mask and gloves like a burglar might be appropriate ! So, thanks again for all your help Steve. We must do this again sometime soon. Meanwhile, on the following final page let´s just remind our reader of what they might be able to listen to if they just control and click on each link. And let´s give our readers and listeners details of how to get in touch with us.

NOT GOING OUT. a covid conundrum compilation

1 Not Going Out by Stephen Triffit
2 After The Rain by Jill Torvaney
3 Stay Away by Randy Newman
4 For The Record Promo by Dr. Linley Hamilton –
5 Quarantine Queen by Sinéad Harnett
6 That Old Black Magic by Craig Webb and Bluesy Susie
7 House Of Fun by Madness
8 Il Pescatore – Aldo Ascolese canta Fabrizio De Andrè
9 Our House by Crosby Stills and Nash
10 Lindy Hop – Follow To Lead by Swing Dance Hanoi

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