June 22nd – “Allsorts Band”

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The Allsorts are a group of five musicians who met at Leeds College Music. Unified by their love of both straight-ahead jazz music and straight up pop music; the Allsorts have forged a musical path somewhere in-between. Band-leader Katie Patterson’s compositions reflect this and can often move between familiar rock grooves and moments of intense free improvisation, showcasing the versatility and musical depth that each member brings to the band.

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Sunday 8th June 2014 – “Beck Hunters”

beckhuntersBy coincidence this is a return for another of the stars of Jazz North East’s January fund-raiser, following Alex Hutton’s appearance last night at the Jazz Café.

There the similarity ends. While Alex is recognisably within the contemporary jazz tradition, Sheffield-based Mick Beck is nothing short of a force of nature – originally a paint-stripping exponent of free jazz saxophone that contained hints of late Coltrane and Albert Ayler, he later became one of the few improvising musicians to have found a convincing language for the unwieldy bassoon, as well as adding whistles and other paraphernalia to his armoury (shades of Rahsaan Roland Kirk).

Yet despite the uncompromising freedom of his approach, Mick’s evident passion and engaging personality regularly win over listeners who are normally resistant to free improvisation: after his Jazz Café set in January somebody told me “We only stayed so we wouldn’t lose our seats, but we absolutely loved what he did”. On that occasion he was working with long-established partners, but another of Mick’s strengths is his encouragement of younger musicians, and this gig finds him with Anton and Johnny Hunter, two of the leading members of the rapidly evolving and genre-defying Manchester scene. Excitement guaranteed.

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