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Bebop Spoken There

John Wilson: “I find it really absurd that music is not on the school curriculum.” – (The Northern Echo 15 June 2017)

Sue McCreeth: “I try to get the soulfulness of Claire Martin and Liane Carroll, the elegance and coolness of Norma Winstone.” – (Jazz Journal June 2017)

Number 22!

Bebop Spoken Here is currently listed at number 22 in the WORLD JAZZ BLOG Rankings!

Today Thursday June 22

Afternoon
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Rd., Holystone, Newcastle (ish) NE27 0DA. 1pm. Free.
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Evening.
Group Theory - Jazz Café. 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. £6 (£5 in advance) - DUBB past and present members.
Gabriele Heller Quartet - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8:00pm. £5.
Maine St. Jazzmen - Potters Wheel, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5EE. 8:30pm. 0191 4888068.
Juggernaut Love Band - Bar Loco, 22 Leazes Park Rd., Newcastle NE1 4PG. 8pm. Free.
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Tees Hot Club w. Richie Emmerson (tenor); Donna Hewitt (alto); Graha Thompson (keys) - Dorman's, Oxford Rd., Middlesbrough. 9pm. Free.
New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - The Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees. 8:30pm.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

ARW (Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman) play the music of Yes @ Manchester 02 Apollo, March 25.

Jon Anderson (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion, harp); Trevor Rabin (guitars, vocals); Rick Wakeman (keyboards); + Lee Pomeroy (bass); Louis Morino 3rd (drums).
(Review by Steve T/Photos courtesy of Ian Watson).
Like in the late eighties, you wait years for a band to play Yes music when two come along at once. Then it was Yes (West) and ABWH and now it's Yes (featuring Steve Howe (H) and Allan White (Yes (West)) and Anderson (A), Rabin (Yes (West)) and Wakeman (W). Confused? The family tree is astonishing but the faithful totally get why these dozen or so musicians keep coming back to this music. Incidentally, the B is one Bill Bruford.
 I argued the case for their inclusion on a Jazz site when I reviewed Yes at Newcastle City Hall almost a year ago and it seems every emerging Jazz guitarist in particular, owes some debt to prog rock. But what about these three?

Anderson, founding member and self-confessed 'Napoleon' of the band has a string of influences that would have made the early seventies rock community cringe, had we known.
Rabin is debited with turning them into a soft rock group in the eighties and has spent the ensuing years writing soundtracks. His main influence as a guitarist was John McLaughlin, which makes him the same as every other rock or Jazz guitarist to emerge in the seventies and eighties, only more honest. 
Ricko Wako arrived at a time when Yes were fumbling around trying to incorporate Jazz and classical music into their sound and he knew how to do it 'properly', which brought something but lost something too. He's best known as a grumpy old best friend to the latest dead pop star and an undisputed virtuoso. He's bringing a Jazz trio to the Cheltenham Jazz Festival where he's sharing a bill with Jack Savoretti, Paul Carrack and Will Young.
He's also a man of contradictions, years ago speculating there will be a band called Yes years in the future when they're all part of the history books, but more recently claiming a band without Anderson, even one featuring one of his keyboardist sons, was a tribute band.
The fine bass and drums players arrived on stage first, followed by Rabin and Wakeman from either side, exchanging a hug, Wakeman clad in an enormous cloak, but not of the glittery keyboard wizard type of the early seventies. Then Anderson as they went into Perpetual Change from 1971 and the album before Wakeman joined.
Hold On from one of the three albums they made with the Rabin line-up followed by Your Move/ I've Seen All Good People, also from ‘71’s brilliant The Yes Album. 
An impressive drum solo introduced something from the Union album which featured the combined efforts of the two late eighties bands, some rock-star posturing between guitar and bass.
And You and I is a band and fan favourite but Rabin failed to learn the lessons of Howe playing acoustic guitar parts on his beloved Gibson on the triple vinyl live album Yessongs from ‘72 or ‘73, playing the acoustic and slide guitar parts on his solid body.
Back to Rabin for the Rhythm of Love and Anderson thought he may have missed a verse. He then couldn't remember what was next and Rabin pointed out it wasn't one of his, suggesting the band in the eighties were really just a vehicle for his songs. It turned out to be Heart of the Sunrise from Fragile, the first album to feature Wakeman.
An instrumental from the Rabin years which may have been Cinema, which was to be the name of the band before Anderson returned and became an instrumental on one of the albums. I expected it to go into Owner of a Lonely Heart, the big hit from the period, but I figured it was too soon.
Next came the tribute to the late Chris Squire, the other founding member. A funked-up rendition of Long Distance Runaround, also from Fragile, which goes into Squires signature piece the Fish, also his nickname. Rabin dragged out the changeover building up tension, Anderson switching the vocal adlib from the end of the piece to the beginning and the bass player eventually arrived at the front of the set for some pyrotechnics. Okay, we listen to Jazz, we know Stanley Clark and Jaco Pastorious, we listen to funk, we know Larry Graham and Bootsy. Clarke was an admirer of Squire and I heard all of these in his playing and I heard all of them tonight. This was always my favourite except of course Fragile and it was my highlight of the night too.
The arrival of the harp could only mean Awaken, like every long Yes piece besides Close to the Edge, about five minutes too long but known to be Anderson's favourite. It's easy to be cynical but tonight this felt spiritual.
Back to Rabin and this time it must be Cinema and it duly went into Owner of a Lonely Heart, to the delight of the hordes. Inevitably Roundabout was the encore for anyone who hasn't heard it sufficient times yet.
This was slicker than Yes and a large venue to sell out, which could have been any one of the three so probably a bit of all three, which is a bit of a p!sser for Howe and co. Loads of Yes T-shirts in evidence but I can't help thinking the pop/rock intelligentsia have finally caught up with prog rock after forty years of derision from the mainstream media, who preferred to repeatedly revive, recycle and reinvent punk rock and the so-called swinging sixties.
Rabin is a fine guitarist but no Steve Howe who claims he and Rabin get along just fine but has criticised him for not respecting the spacing in his original guitar parts and he certainly lacked the subtlety, tastefulness and understatement of Howe.
A recent Prog Mag issue claimed the Yes baton has passed to ARW but they inevitably play stuff from the three eighties albums which are okay but not monuments of twentieth-century music like The Yes Album, Fragile, Close to the Edge and Going for the One. 
Anderson is in fine voice following a long period of ill health, unlike on his recent live album with Jazz violin legend Jean-Luc Ponty (Zappa, Mahavishnu Mk 2, Rite of Strings), and ideally you want Yes to feature Anderson and Howe, but I fear the Yes vocal succession will only be resolved when Anderson is no longer with us and I have long felt it should be a female.
Steve T.

12 comments :

  1. Prog Rock reviews - Is this BPSH's 'Judas' moment ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Musicianship, talent (god forbid), freedom, progression, long pieces, extended soloing, difficult time signatures, recapitulation, disregard for commercial media, radio playlists and hit singles. Absolutely not.
    In the heyday of progrock and Jazzrock in the early seventies, the two were all but interchangeable; check out Soft Machine, Henry Cow, Jade Warrior and Red era King Crimson. In fact the progrock community have claimed Mahavishnu lock, stock and.
    I have long thought that Jazz will become accepted as the American centuries classical music, but will become a catchall term for all non commercial music, including Zappa, Beefheart, Santana, the best of the funk bands and the best of the prog bands.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The following is an eye witness account of events earlier today:

    It was 5:00am, I was walking past Steve T’s house when suddenly the quiet was shattered by the sound of a battering ram being launched at the front door with cries of ‘POLICE! JAZZ POLICE!’ Moments later a disheveled Steve T appeared at the door, ‘cuffed, protesting his innocence as he was bundled into a jazz police van. I heard Steve say: But I haven’t done anything wrong. A jazz police officer said: Are you now, or have you ever been, a fan of (the officer paused for a second, clearly feeling nauseous), prog rock? A clearly distressed Steve T sought to explain: I don’t know what you mean…I, I…(the officer cut him short)…Anything you say may be taken down and used as evidence in a jazz court of law. You have the right to remain silent.

    Later, Steve T appeared in the jazz police court and was remanded in custody for several years, pending a further appearance. It has been reported that the accused has received many hundreds of jazz CDs from well wishers. It is understood that Steve T’s barrister will enter a plea of ‘confused by way of being cloth eared’. An online petition is asking the jazz police court to show no mercy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Perhaps the name should be changed to Bebop Deluxe Spoken Here!

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's bit like the House of Commons, when politicians stand up and ask there pre-prepared questions, with total disregard to the fact that they've already been answered.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I wrote my last one before I saw Lances - honest.

    I wonder whether the P in bPsh was a Freudian slip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merely a topographical slip.

      Delete
  7. Or a topographical ship. Lance now has no idea what we're on about.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh YES I have! Now I intend to withdraw and listen to 'Bing Sings, Bregman Swings' - one of Bing's jazzier outings.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Steve T, "monster review, man!" as Nigel Kennedy might say.

    I must say, listening to Snarky Puppy as featured on (dare I mention ;-) BBC R3's Jazz Now I heard quite a lot of what I would consider to be prog rock. This is in no way a criticism, merely an observation.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Criticism's good. We're only gonna learn about music from each other, and I include Snarky Puppy in that; can't rely on the mainstream media.
    I never had Lance down as a Topographic Oceans sort of a guy. Bing crooning yes, but not one of progs most ambitious adventures/follies (delete as required).

    ReplyDelete
  11. Just because you know something doesn't mean you like it!

    ReplyDelete

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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