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Bebop Spoken There

Melanie Charles: "If I don't have a gig I'll try to get in bed by midnight. But if I do, I might end up having a jam session after. That happened a few weeks ago, and I didn't get to bed until 7 a.m.." - (The New York Times Aug. 10, 2018)

Archive quotes.

The Things They Say!

Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

'606' Club: "A toast to Lance Liddle of the terrific jazz blog 'Bebop Spoken Here'"


12,557 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 276 of them this year alone and, so far, 127 this month (Feb. 28).

Wednesday March 3


Wednesday, March 03, 2021

KSTV: Alec Harper Quartet - March 3

Alec Harper (tenor sax); Joe Webb (piano); Ferg Ireland (bass); Dave Archer (guitar).

(Screenshots by Ken Drew).

Another evening of choice tunes impeccably played by four of the finest. It was good to have Joe Webb back in town, he was perfect for tonight's mainstream set. But, having said that, they all were.

The absence of a drummer led to a more relaxed feel that, nevertheless, swung along nicely.

Blue Lou; Moonglow and Dear Old Stockholm had solos all round each one complementing (and complimenting) the previous one. Surprisingly, Harper sat out Don Byas' Chica-Boom Blues leaving it to the trio who worked it well.

Album review: Shez Raja - Tales From The Punjab

Shez Raja (bass guitar); Fiza Haider (vocals); Ahsan Papu (bansuri flute); Kashish Ali Dani (tabla); Qamar Abbas (cajon).

"Shez Raja is a maestro, marrying profound themes with stunning bass technique..." so wrote Bass Player Magazine. Readers of the very same bass playing bible voted him as "one of the hottest bass players in the world" which makes him very hot indeed.

Although Raja has collaborated with musicians of the calibre of Randy Brecker and Mike Stern, for this album he journeyed to The Punjab to explore his identity and immerse himself in the musical culture of his roots.

The start of a love affair by Ron Ainsborough

I was asked recently: "How did you become acquainted with jazz?” This is my attempt to answer that question.

I recall Ellington did not like to use the term jazz and said there were only two kinds of music - good music and bad music.

My first memory is of when as, a schoolboy, I heard live some boogie-woogie piano. I was immediately captivated by the sound and, in particular, the left hand patterns. I will never forget that day.

My only source of music at the time was primarily listening to the BBC Light Programme but I don’t remember much jazz if any being broadcast (early 1950’s). I was quite unaware at the time that boogie-woogie was jazz of course, although I had been listening to music all my life.

Album review: Pieranunzi Fonnesbaek Duo - The Real You

Enrico Pieranunzi (piano); Thomas Fonnnesbaek (bass).

Italian pianist Pieranunzi admits he was relatively late in coming under the influence of Bill Evans having previously drawn his inspiration from bop and hard bop as well as the playing of McCoy Tyner and the young Chick Corea. However, after hearing a recording by Evans and Chet Baker he was instantly hooked and his future path was laid out.

Of the thirteen tracks, Pieranunzi composed five, Fonnesbaek three and they collaborated on two. The duo also covered two pieces by Evans (Only Child and Interplay) as  well as Sno' Peas by Phi Markowitz which Evans recorded on his 1979 album Affinity

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

KSTV: Will Arnold-Forster, Tom Farmer & Jas Kayser - March 2

Will Arnold-Forster (guitar); Tom Farmer (bass); Jas Kayser (drums)

(Screenshot by Ken Drew)

A relatively low-key live stream from Smitty's tonight. Will Arnold-Forster replied to presenter Osei's nightly question "What will you be playing tonight?" with the usual answer "Just a bunch of tunes that we like." This turned out to be a bunch of tunes that I too liked so the portents looked good...

...and I wasn't disappointed.

Gordon Solomon remembers Chris Barber

The end of an era, Chris was hugely important for introducing firstly New Orleans Jazz, then R&B, Gospel, Eastern European jazz influences and some more modern jazz sounds to world wide audiences over the years. 

His bands were unerringly correct in their approach to the music, his arrangements and indeed his trombone playing  were immaculate and unique, and lets not forget he played very accurate double bass too. 

Chris Barber (April 17, 1930 - March 2, 2021) -

There are legends and there are legends and then there is, or rather was, Chris Barber who died earlier today.

Remembered most recently as the last of the "Three Bs" - Barber, Bilk and Ball - Chris Barber was in the forefront of British New Orleans jazz long before the other two. Along with Humph, Barber's old Boss Ken Colyer and Mick Mulligan they headed what was then called The Revivalist Movement recreating the original sounds of the roots of jazz whilst still maintaining a degree of their own individuality.

John Pope Quintet Livestreaming @ The Globe – Feb. 28

John Pope (double bass); Graham Hardy (trumpet/pocket trumpet); Jamie Stockbridge (alto sax); Faye MacCalman (tenor sax/clarinet); Johnny Hunter (drums)

(Screenshots by Ken Drew)

Jazz North East and The Globe treated us to another amazing live jazz performance on Sunday evening, as they continue their series of livestreams featuring both music and comedy. This week the John Pope Quintet graced us with a mixture of original compositions from their new album Mixed With Glass, a tribute to Ornette Coleman, and even their own adaptation of the song In Heaven by the alt-rock band, Pixies. The quintet’s set was diverse and musically interesting, featuring some shredding solos, swinging melodies, and interesting experimental exploration. Having listened to Mixed With Glass and its experimental qualities, it’s hard to imagine anything new being added in a live setting - yet, the band’s live playing added a whole new layer to known and well-treaded tracks. 

Preview: Jamie Cullum's Piano Pilgrimage

BBC Radio 4 Extra is home to some quirky programmes. Often hidden away in the schedules when first broadcast, Piano Pilgrimage (Wednesday-Friday, 2:30pm) could be one of one them. First broadcast in 2014, this three part series presented by Jamie Cullum focuses on the entertainer's nationwide search for proof of a supposed decline in the popularity of the piano. It's likely Cullum, and others, will be heard tinkling the ivories. The first part goes out at 2:30pm tomorrow (Wednesday). 

Preview: In Tune with Pat Metheny (Wed. 3)

Guitar hero Pat Metheny is a guest on Radio 3's In Tune (5:00pm, Wednesday). Due to the ongoing pandemic it's a safe bet Metheny's contribution will be by phone/Zoom/other from America.   

Monday, March 01, 2021

Ten Best Jazz Songs

Our Editor-In-Chief has requested lists of '10 best of' so here is a list of my ten favourite songs. There are so many to choose from, and if you asked me another day, the list could vary. I have a special interest in lyrics so that affects my choice, and I sing only some of them at jams, though I'm intending to learn all of them eventually. Not in order of preference.

1. Strange Fruit:  The more serious songs first. I soon realised, that not all jazz songs were 'moon and June' love songs. Jazz has its share of protest songs such as Strange Fruit, made famous by the inimitable Billie Holiday. Lynchings as such don't happen now (I hope) but police brutality does, so the song is still heartbreakingly relevant today in these times of Black Lives Matter.

RIP Ralph Peterson Jr.

Drum legend Ralph Peterson Jr. died earlier today (March 1) after a six year battle with cancer.

He was 58.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and many friends in the jazz world

May he Rest In Peace


DownBeat obituary.

Album review: Celeste – Not Your Muse

This album is available in every format known to man excluding minidisc, i.e. CD, extended CD, vinyl, alternative tracks vinyl, coloured vinyl, cassette, streaming and various bundles of the above. You pays your money and takes your choice as some formats have as few as eight tracks and others have up to twenty one. I have the extended CD with 21 tracks.

Celeste was the BBC's ‘Sound of 2020’ choice and won a ‘Rising Star’ award at the Brits. Previous ‘Sound of’ winners include Singer/Songwriter Adele and professional mitherer Sam Smith.

Kansas in March

Kansas Smitty's here I come!

Jazz on track

Today's i newspaper reports of a forthcoming BBC Radio 2 show in which former 1500m Olympic champion Seb Coe, now Lord Coe, will talk about his love of jazz and the influence it had on him when competing at the highest level.

Read here.


Overnight success for Ma Rainey & Billie Holiday

Ma Rainey and Billie Holiday have been honoured at the 78th Golden Globe Awards. To be precise, the overnight ceremony in America included awards for the late Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) and Andra Day (The United States vs Billie Holiday). The Golden Globes were delayed a couple of months due to the pandemic. The late Chadwick Boseman won Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama for his role as Levee Green opposite Viola Davis' Ma Rainey (Davis was a nominee). Andra Day won Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama for her portrayal of Billie Holiday. 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Film review: The United States vs Billie Holiday

Andra Day stars as Billie Holiday, that's the headline, there's no getting away from it. Day is on screen in just about every scene of the film's 125 minutes, all other characters, Lester Young (Tyler James Williams) included, are there in supporting roles. On stage scenes in a biopic can look anything but convincing, Day, as a singer-turned-actor, is more than convincing. 

Holiday's well-documented drug use is a recurring theme, the violence she met with isn't overlooked, and, central to The United States vs Billie Holiday is the Feds relentless pursuit of Holiday. Of course the pursuit was motivated and prosecuted by the virulent racists in the corridors of power. 

How to watch a live stream in one easy lesson. John Pope Quintet @ The Globe - Feb. 28

John Pope (double bass); Jamie Stockbridge (alto sax); Faye MacCalman (tenor sax/clarinet); Graham Hardy (trumpet/pocket trumpet); Johnny Hunter (drums)

(Screenshot by Debra Milne)

This isn't an actual review of tonight's gig at The Globe by the John Pope Quintet, I think JNE, who co-promoted the live stream with the Jazz Co-op, may be sending something from their own reviewer but, I couldn't allow this screenshot from Debra not to be shared - it's the only way to watch!

Album review: Marek Dorčík's Špercasa - About Time

George Crowley (tenor sax); Miguel Gorodi (trumpet, flugelhorn); Tom Hewson (piano); Mick Coady (double bass); Marek Dorčík (drums)

Slovakian born drummer Marek Dorčík arrived in Britain in 2006 since when he has worked across the spectrum, from the likes of the Brownfield-Byrne Quintet's New Orleans to swing style outfit to the contemporary sounds of Matthew Halsall and Alice Zawadzki. Špercasa is a play on words, 'Šperk' meaning 'jewel' and 'Percasa' similar to 'percussion'. Appropriately, the opening track - Špercasa Intro - is very much percussion driven by Dorčík himself and pianist Tom Hewson, with what sounds like the keys being dampened to produce a hammered-on effect. 

Recording finds trio in their prime

(Press release)

Edinburgh guitarist Kevin Mackenzie releases the first recording with his latest group this Friday, March 5.


Prime Trio features Mackenzie with the former Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year, Peter Johnstone on organ and first-call drummer Doug Hough, and Mackenzie is excited by both the instrumentation and the personnel involved.


“The great thing for me about an organ trio is that it’s really a very compact unit and yet there are so many possibilities in terms of harmony. You can get a very full sound,” says Mackenzie, whose previous groups have included Trio AAB, with the Bancroft twins, Tom and Phil, the jazz-funk styled Swirler and the folk-jazz fusion ensemble Vital Signs.

Adrian Cox live streaming 'My favourite clarinettist' - Feb. 28

Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals) 

Adrian Cox is currently basking in early spring sunshine at a hotel spa complex in Sandanski in the south of Bulgaria. Ostensibly, our man is there to record some new material and play a few gigs. Nice work if you can get it! The hotel proprietor is more than happy for our clarinetist to continue with his weekly Sunday Service live streams, so, here we are again, one o'clock Sunday, this week direct from a Bulgarian holiday resort. 

Ten Art Pepper Moments

There's a current trend prevalent on jazz blogs and magazines for "Ten Best" posts so, never having been one to ignore the dictates of fashion - over the years I've crushed my toes in winkle-pickers, wore Slim-Jim ties and when long hair was in I wore my hair long (the latter a fashion that, by necessity, is returning) -  I've opted to pick out my Ten Art Pepper Moments - not all on record.

1. Stan Kenton - How High the Moon. A feature for June Christy who was as cool as ever on this 1947 track.  There's solos by trombone and trumpet but it's the short but illuminating solo by Art that makes the record and what set me off on a lifetime of appreciation.

Joe Farnsworth Trio live streaming from Mezzrow's, NYC - Feb. 27

Kenny Barron (piano); Peter Washington (double bass); Joe Farnsworth (drums) 

A first virtual visit for BSH to Mezzrow's, NYC. The Greenwich Village partner venue to Small's is next door on West 10th Street and by the look of things it's smaller than Small's, and that's saying something! Witchcraft opened the show. Swinging, relaxed as you like, bassist Peter Washington the first in the soloist's spotlight, fours with Farnsworth following on, Barron the man! The decor, stripped back to the brick, portraits of Mezz Mezzrow that James P Johnson? Answers/corrections to the Editor, BSH.

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