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Bebop Spoken There

Steve Fishwick: “I can’t get behind the attitude that new is always somehow better than old”. (Jazz Journal, April 15, 2019).

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'"

The Strictly Smokin' Big Band included Be Bop Spoken Here (sic) in their 5 Favourite Jazz Blogs.

Ann Braithwaite (Braithwaite & Katz Communications) You’re the BEST!

Holly Cooper, Mouthpiece Music: "Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"

Simon Spillett: A lovely review from the dean of jazz bloggers, Lance Liddle...

Josh Weir: I love the writing on bebop spoken here... I think the work you are doing is amazing.


16527 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 407 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (June 12).

From This Moment On ...


Fri 14: Mark Williams Trio @ The Old Library, Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 14: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 14: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 14: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 14: Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. ‘Ella & Ellington’. 7:30pm. £18.00.
Fri 14: Customs House Big Band @ Customs House, South Shields. 7:30pm. Donations (online, min. £3.00.).

Sat 15: Keith Barrett & Andrew Porritt @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 12 noon. Free. A Cullercoats Festival event.
Sat 15: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Sat 15: James Birkett & Emma Fisk @ Sunderland Minster. 7:30pm. £15.00., £8.00. (u16s free). ‘The Great American Songbook’. A Bishopwearmouth Choral Society event, conductor David Murray.
Sat 15: Jude Murphy & Dan Stanley @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 16: Jason Isaacs @ Stack, Seaburn SR6 8AA. 1:00-2:45pm. Free.
Sun 16: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 16: Gaz Hughes Trio @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. £10.00.
Sun 16: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 16: Gaz Hughes Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 16: Jazz Jam @ Fabio’s Bar, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 17: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 17: ‘Tower of Power’ @ The Library Bar, Saddler St., Durham . 7:30pm.Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Tue 18: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Victoria & Albert Inn, Seaton Delaval. 12:30pm. £13.00. ‘Jazz, Sausage ‘n’ Mash’…’with Onion Gravy’!
Tue 18: Jam Session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Stu Collingwood, Paul Grainger, Tim Johnston.
Tue 18: Libby Goodridge & Ben Davies @ The Lost Wanderer, Leazes Park Road, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £6.00. Triple bill, inc. Goodridge & Davies (jazz).

Wed 19: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 19: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 19: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 20: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 20 Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle. 2:00pm. £4.00. Note new venue!
Thu 20: Karine Polwart & Dave Milligan @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm. £29.00., £23.00. Folk/jazz duo.
Thu 20: Richard Herdman & Ray Burns @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 20: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Josh Bentham (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Dave Archbold (keys); Dave Harrison (trumpet); Ron Smith (bass).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Autumn in Old York - by Liz

Today, whilst in M&S, I heard Sinatra-like sounds floating down from the first floor. Up I went, and there was this young guy looking splendid in D.J. and singing " Just The Way You Look Tonight." He was so good, so natural too with the mike, and smiling at all the ladies. It was a Macmillan charity event. Next to him they were giving away free chocs... What with the lovely melody, the chocs & the warmth of the store, it was almost too much at 1 o'clock in the afternoon... I felt quite overwhelmed, and wished it was for real !!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pete Churchill Trio - King's Hall, Newcastle Uni.

There may be better ways to spend an hour on a Thursday afternoon but if there are, I can't think of them. This afternoon's celebration of the art of popular song by the Pete Churchill Trio - Pete Churchill (pno/vcl), Steve Berry (bs) and Eryl Roberts (dms) - was pure afternoon delight. Great standards, good vocals, punchy piano playing and entertaining descriptions of the songs, their composers and their lyricists. Pete told us how contemptuous Cole Porter was of those composers who collaborated with a lyricist unlike himself (Cole Porter) who wrote both words and music. During the hour that Pete had at his disposal we heard examples and stories of Porter, Noel Coward, Johnny Mercer, Jimmy Van Heusen, Phil Silvers (guess which tune he was associated with!) and Frank Loesser; to mention but a few.
Steve Berry and Eryl Roberts were the perfect rhythm section; also impressing with their own flights of fancy. In the words of Mr Porter, this was 'a trip to the moon on gossamer wings' yet much more than 'just one of those things'.
Perhaps the manager of Blackwells should have been there.

Cross at Blackwell

Prior to this afternoons Pete Churchill gig at Newcastle University I called in to Blackwell's; the bookstore adjoining the campus. I asked where the Music Section was and the girl told me they didn't have one.
I apologised to the girl for my facial expression explaining that it was because I'd been suddenly gobstricken.
By way of an explanation she said that they were 'an academic shop'.
I hope that my "Really?", delivered with a slow laconic drawl, conveyed my opinion of the store.
Probably didn't.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ruth Lambert Trio - Egypt Cottage, Newcastle

This delightful soirée was a somewhat intimate gathering of discerning aficionados who nevertheless enjoyed Ruth, Paul and Mick's selections from the gasbook. Ruth, despite singing to a less than crowded room, was in good voice - particularly on "Trouble is a Man" - a fine Alec Wilder composition that I first heard sung by Carol Kidd many years ago. Sarah Vaughan also did something with it. Mention of Alec Wilder brings another tune to mind that I would like to hear Ruth put her stamp of authority on - "I'll Be Around."
Paul Edis, on piano, continued his winning streak from Monday at the Side with more brilliant solos as well as a few bursts on flute. Mick Shoulder handled the responsibility placed on his shoulders (no pun intended) of being the bass player in a drummerless rhythm section with ease as well as soloing effectively.
For a bonus, John Wheeler blew a couple of numbers on tenor; he should be heard more often; he gets a good sound.
The trio worked hard; in fact the only person who had an easy night was the doorman (me).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Graeme Wilson and Paul Edis Trio at the Side Café

When threatened with an evening of 'original compositions' I usually sit near the exit. However, Graeme Wilson's compositions really are original and not thinly disguised versions of standards; tonight they showed him off to perfection. Up tempo storming and rhapsodic balladry fell beneath his fingers, seemingly without effort as he took the changes in his stride. This was top quality tenor playing.
No less impressive was Paul Edis on piano his powers of invention increasing by the minute and not without the occasional humorous musical aside - did I detect a quote from 'Mona Lisa' somewhere along the line? A few Brubeck inflections here and there too.
Mick Shoulder (bs) and Adam Sinclair (dms) were perhaps less flamboyant than the other two but their contributions no less essential.
All that was missing was the audience; perhaps they had a consultation with Dr John over at the Sage - he should have prescribed the tonic being dispensed across the river.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bollywood to Barbados via Basin Street - The Grand Union Orchestra at the Customs House

There are good gigs, bad gigs and gigs that simply blow you away; not least because the end result is so unexpected - that old 'Sound of Surprise' again. Tonight was just such an occasion. An occasion, I have to be honest and admit, that I only turned out for because it was free! I'd vaguely heard of the Grand Union Orchestra but never actually heard them. I heard them tonight alright; it was a night I'll never forget.
Promoted by Hindu Nari Sangh and rubber stamped by the Mayoress of South Tyneside, her Rubenesque charms encased in a sari for the evening, the Grand Union Orchestra gave a performance that left me breathless. Not totally jazz, in fact not totally anything! Imagine Machito linking up with Mingus and Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra. Throw in a beautiful vocalist from Bangladesh (Lucy Rahman), a bootiful Aussie tenor player (Louise Elliot), Chris Biscoe doing Johnny Hodges and some fiery trumpet from Claude Deppa and Paul Jaysinha and you've almost got the picture - almost!
Calypso, Reggae and African slave songs went into the mix as well as a rock 'n roll (ish) vocal from tabla player Yousuf Ali Khan and a steel drum happening from Trinidadian, Ken Johnson.
Leader, Tony Haynes, led from the piano occasionally moving over to trombone on some numbers.
Sixteen men and women swinging and just too many moments to remember them all.
This was world music that was out of this world and, not only was it free but there was food for the audience afterwards although I didn't actually stay to sample it! I'm sure it wouldn't be fish and chips.
I'm still up there floating on a cloud.

Friday, October 24, 2008

STT + GB + BH - ST + DN = PDG. The Sage Gateshead.

When I discovered that 81 year old Stan Tracey was unable to make the sell-out Sage Foundation Hall gig I must admit I was fearful for the man. When his son, drummer Clark Tracey, announced that Stan's incapacitation was caused by his reaction to a Flu jab I was also fearful for myself; me having a 'spiking' appointment on the horizon.
These things aside, and despite Stan's non-appearance, replacement piano man Dave Newton more than filled his piano stool --musically speaking of course --he was simply tremendous.
Meanwhile, entrenched on the front line, Guy Barker and Dutchman, Benjamin Herman, on trumpet and alto respectively, had moments when the muse descended. In particular, Monk's "Bright Mississippi" brought a slow moving first set up to speed with Guy sounding at times like Roy Eldridge and the Dutchman reincarnating Charlie Parker via the medium of the latter day Lee Konitz. I also liked the shoes on the hooves of the horns. Guy favoured Italian style black patent leather with toes so pointed he could have cleaned his finger nails with them whilst Dutch sported a pair of two tone black and white brogues that would have done credit to Charles Boyer in a 1930s movie.
The second set saw the band move up a gear, not least because of an improvement in the sound and all five punched their weight on "I Want To Be Happy".
As befits a Tracey concert, even if the only Tracey present was Stan's son Clark, Monk figured prominently in the program and Benjamin played rather beautifully on the high priest's composition "Pannonica".
Throughout, Andy Cleyndert on bass was a tower of strength but, for my money, Dave Newton was the man of the match.
A good gig that seemed to simply fly by.
As an afterthought; I had the impression that Andy Cleyndert was also from the land of dams and dykes but it turns out he was born in Birmingham - how did I pick up that misconception?

NEWS FLASH! Stan Tracey ill.

Stan Tracey, 81, has been taken ill and will be unable to appear at the Sage tonight; Dave Newton takes over on piano. The rest of the line-up remains the same.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bean and the Boys at Blaydon - The Swing Quintet.

The spirit of Coleman Hawkins lingered over Blaydon tonight in a fine session by the Swing City Quintet which is in fact the Swing City Trio augmented by Jeremy McMurray (pno) and Billy Shields (dms). The SCT is, of course, Roly Veitch (gtr), Roy Cansdale (bs) and Steve Andrews (ten/clt).
No bebop here tonight just good old fashioned - and I'm not speaking derogatively - totally honest, middle period jazz.
Steve plays Hawkins to perfection, albeit not without a nod towards Ben Webster, Chu Berry and possibly even Ike Quebec; there's also a lot of Steve Andrews in there too.
On piano, Jeremy was as awesome as ever whilst Roly, being Roly, comped away unobtrusively in the background emerging from time to time for a relaxed vocal or a tasty guitar solo.
Bass player Roy duetted delightfully with Steve (on clarinet) for a surprisingly delicate "Tishomingo Blues". I say 'surprisingly delicate' after Steve's announcment that he first played Tishomingo with the late Peter Gascoigne; most people would agree that 'Gassy' didn't do 'delicate'!
On drums, Billy Shields did the business; rock steady as always.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Suddenly It Jumped!

Despite the presence on vibes of former Squadronaires - and I mean the 'real' Squadronaires - drummer Lawrie Brown, the first set meandered aimlessly along in workshop mode. Some numbers gelled and some didn't. Lawrie had his moments on "Besame Mucho" and "Moonglow" whilst Dave W did something with Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way". All in all, at this stage, a fairly routine evening.
Come the second set however; the hoards descended! The room was overrun with trumpets and saxophones and basses and guitars and vocalists and sellers of raffle tickets (Allan pictured above) not all of whom made it to the bandstand.
The turning point was Freddie Hubbard's "Chicken Wings". This was 'Chicken Supreme' with Chilli Sauce added and everyone playing out of their skulls. Unfair to single anyone out as it was total interactive inspiration.
The night finished off with Shorty Rogers' "Short Stop". It swung mightily, with Lawrie, who'd sat out most of the second set, returning to turn in a pulsating solo that kept the pot boiling.
One of the better ones - eventually - and Dave has to be applauded for his efforts to keep modern jazz alive whilst providing a scenario for young players to hone their trade.

Pat Thomas - Piano Masterclass at the Cluny. Report by Russell Corbett

The Schmazz/Jazz North East co-promotion at the Cluny on Tuesday night (21st October) opened with three members of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra a.k.a. "BMW" - George Burt (guitar), Raymond MacDonald (alto & soprano) and Tyneside resident Graeme Wilson (tenor and baritone).
Performing in duo and trio format it was Wilson who laid the foundation for solo excursions from Burt, very much his own man with a nod to Derek Bailey and, at times, a playful country twang! Raymond MacDonald exhibited great technical facility; his passages of fierce blowing impressed the attentive audience.
The second course offered Pat Thomas (piano) and Steve Williamson (tenor). Thomas, a regular visitor to the north east, challenged his musical partner to think on his feet as a torrent of ideas cascaded from the keyboard. Williamson, last heard on Tyneside many years ago, blew for all his worth. He hung on in there as best he could as Thomas delivered a masterclass in piano playing. Improvisation? Certainly, but so much more, with everything from walking bass-lines, stride, Ellington, Monk, Cecil Taylor hammer blows and Debussy-like sketches. "Round Midnight" featured, fleetingly, as the duo went about deconstructing the tune. - I'm not sure if they reassembled it.
It didn't matter. Smiles all round. Great applause. If you haven't yet heard Pat Thomas then the next time he turns up make sure you do that...turn up.
You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dave McKenna R.I.P

Sad to learn of the death of Dave McKenna, a fine two fisted piano player. Died 18 Oct aged 78.

Mia Webb at Cullercoats Tomorrow (Wed. 22 October.)

Singer, Mia Webb, is the special guest of the Vieux Carré Jazzmen at Cullercoats Crescent Club tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday 22 October). 1.00 - 3.00pm in the downstairs buffet. The session is free.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Alan Glen Trio at the Side Café

I've just about ran out of superlatives to describe the Alan Glen Trio (Alan Glen (pno), Lawrence Blackadder (bs) and David Carnegie (dms)) having heard them so frequently at the Chillingham over the past few months. Indeed there are times when I wish that Alan would fumble a run, or David miss a beat, or Lawrence lose the sequence; just to prove they are human.
They never do or, if they do do, it is so ephemeral that no one notices but themselves!
Tonight was another day at the office for Mister Cool who drew from the bottomless pit of his repertoire such gems as "Prelude To A Kiss", "The Way You Look Tonight", "If I Should Lose You", and "Someday My Prince Will Come."
It was an exercise in virtuosity worthy of a packed house but, having been on at the Chilli less than a week ago, perhaps some folks thought it would be too much of a good thing - as if!
The final "Something Old, Something New" with its Highlandic theme launched David Carnegie into orbit for a hickory flailing flight of percussive phantasy.
He touched down safely.

Anita O'Day The Life of a Jazz Singer

This is a fascinating - albeit harrowing - documentary recently released (this year) in the States. I don't think it has been seen over here as of yet, although I could be wrong. It looks to be one to watch out for. Click here for the trailer.
The program on the right recalls a memorable night at Newcastle City Hall circa 1972. High as a steeple, Anita, nevertheless, gave a stunning performance.
Can anyone else recall that night and possibly verify the year for me?

Marsden Jazz Festival by Our Man John Taylor

En route to my sons in Manchester last weekend I spent a couple of hours at the Marsden Jazz festival - more free events than at any other jazz festival in the UK! A New Orleans marching band marched round the village. Trombone and guitar performed in a stand up tent on a bridge. The 30 pc Ripon Grammar School Big Band had a big pad including "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White". an eleven year old on tpt was unbelievable. Marsden Jazz Festival

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The New Squadronaires. Customs House South Shields

I wasn't expecting any groundbreaking inovations and I didn't get any! What I, and the rest of the audience, did get was an entertaining evening of nostalgia by a well drilled big band that went through the old warhorses with precision and ease. Although the soloists tended to stick to the original choruses it didn't detract from the enjoyment. Krupa's "Leave Us Leap" was particularly impressive.
The front man, Mark Porter; a fine singer in the Bennett/Sinatra mould kept things moving along nicely; he sang an excellent version of "The Nearness of You" and told a few gags.
Although the band appeared to use only one mike, they could be heard okay which says something for the power of the ensemble. One person who was undermiked was singer Lynn Kennedy. She looked like a young Doris Day and did share vocal similarities with the former Ms Kapelhoff. A bit more volume would have helped her cause.
To give you an idea of the audience, when Mark Porter said they were about to play a Glenn Miller number loud applause followed. He later announced a Duke Ellington feature; result? Silence! Ah well it were ever so.
Nevertheless, a pleasant evening even if the band still have a long way to go to catch the "Old" Squadronaires!

William Claxton Lives!

Well not exactly. As reported in a previous post, William Claxton died earlier this week. However, today I wandered into a South Shields charity shop and, lo and behold, on the shelf before me, modestly priced at £3 , was a massive hard backed, 298 page book of the great man's photographs!
Entitled "Jazz Seen" and published in 1999 this is the coffee table book to end all coffee table books. The shots of literally all the jazz greats are here, and done with originality and taste - witness the photo of Chet Baker and his girl friend shown here.
A book to devour time after time; you can almost hear the music bursting from each image.
Without doubt, the best three quid I've ever spent.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I won't make it to The Sage for tomorrow night's concert by the Brad Meldhau Trio. My own fault - I left it too late to book. When, this morning, I did try to book they informed me that they only had standing tickets. Not, I hasten to add, seven quid standers but £21.50 (conc.) ones.
I declined.
So, to anyone out there who was fortunate enough to get a ticket, I look forward to reading your report.
I did succeed in buying a ticket for Stan Tracey's gig next Friday - would you believe but that I got the very last one?
However, even this left a sour taste as my two pound concession was swallowed up by the £1.50 booking fee and the time spent holding on whilst my ears were assaulted by music that wouldn't even get a gig in a hotel elevator.
I think I'm turning into a grumpy old man ...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Neal Hefti, Composer, Is Dead at 85 - Obituary (Obit) -

Neal Hefti, Composer, Is Dead at 85 - Obituary (Obit) -
Another one bites the dust! Neal Hefti, one of my favourite composer/arrangers; not least for "The Atomic Mister Basie". Who can fail to remember the surge that ran through them the first time they were enveloped by Basie's sax section blowing "L'il Darlin'"? Even now, after a million hearings, it still gets to me; something "Moonlight Serenade" has long since failed to do. "Cute" - was ever a tune so aptly titled? "Splanky", that funky blues originally featuring Lockjaw Davis and played as recently as last Thursday by Vasy Xenopoulos at Blaydon.
Then there were the sessions with Sinatra and, of course, the "Batman Theme" which probably made him more money than all the rest put together!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jazz At The Chilharmonic "The Closer".

As forecast in the previous post, the Alan Glen Trio served up a tasty appetiser for this coming Monday's gig at the Side Café with their usual aplomb. "My Romance" was everything a tune of that title should be; the tenderness just oozed from the speakers. Equally emotive was "Young and Foolish" that for some reason brought "Waltz For Debbie" to mind. An up tempo "It's You or No One" swung along whilst the closing "Milestones" had powerful solos all round - not least from Dave Carnegie on drums. Lawrence Blackadder kept the ship steady throughout despite an amp that occasionally exploded across the beat.
Take it to the Bridge's personnel this week saw John Rowland (ten) and Paul Edis (alt) alongside Dave Weisser (tpt) in the front line. The rhythm section comprised; Mick Danby (bs gtr), Barry Ashcroft (pno) and Eric Stutt (dms).
The Jam brought Nicola in on alto, replacing the other two saxes, Mike Lamb (tpt) and the ever present Daniel on guitar. Daniel's solo on "Well You Needn't" raised the bar a notch or two - he copped. He also won the CD!

Jazz At The Chilharmonic - "The Opener"

The Chillingham on Chillingham Road is the place to chill out at tonight.
A triple header no less!
Dave Weisser and the resident outfit, "Take It to The Bridge," kick off precedings around 8.00 pm before segueing into a set by the Alan Glen Trio who shoot for the moon about nine - that's Alan Glen (pno), Lawrence Blackadder (bs) and David Carnegie (dms). The evening finishes off with a jam featuring whoever's around; a great night and all for a quid!
It's also an opportunity to hear the Glen Trio in advance of Monday's eagerly anticipated session at the Side Café.
In the Alan Glen Trio you won't hear a better piano bass drums combo this side of Brad Meldhau's gig at the Sage on Saturday night and it will cost you about a third of the price of a pint of lager at the Sage.
So see you around eight (ish).

William Claxton R.I.P

William Claxton has died aged 80. He was, perhaps, the most famous of the American jazz photographers. The shot of Art Pepper shown here caught my eye 50 years ago when it appeared in an old Metronome Yearbook. I have loved it ever since. Yet it is only one of the many thousands of brilliant photos taken by William Claxton that captured the feel of jazz; in particular, the music of the West Coast.
For the Los Angelos Times obituary of Bill, and more photos, click here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nick Pride and The Pimptones - Side Café

"A great night of groove based improvisation" read the flyer and that just about summed it up.
This was the second appearance by the band at the Side and they drew a good following. Since I last saw them, 'the Pimps' have picked up Graham Hardy on trumpet and flugel to augment David Wilde (ten/flt) and Alex Leathard (tmb) in the horns. The rhythm section remains the same with Ian Paterson (bs), Oz Cassidy (dms) and leader Nick on Gibson 335 (Someone will correct me if I'm wrong!) and vocals.
Although more funk than jazz based, there were good solos all round with Graham Hardy blowing exceptionally well. David Wilde was also kicking on tenor as was Alex on trombone.
In between sets, Nick sang a blues and played bottleneck Dobro.
Biggest crowd of the season so far.

On The Town

If you happen to be truckin' on down Charing Cross Road around 5.00 pm tomorrow (Tuesday 14 Oct.) pop in to Ray's Jazz Records (Foyles) where the ubiquitous Zoe Gilby will be struttin' her vocal chords. Then, if you like what you hear, hop a Stanmore bound Piccadilly Line tube and get off at West Hampstead. The girl's doing it all again at the Lower Ground Bar, West End Lane, West Hampstead. That's 9.00 pm Tuesday.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Music to Savage the Charmed Breast. Polar Bear/Wilkinson, Edwards & Noble at The Cluny

A young, crowded, Cluny audience seemed to enjoy the two bands. Fortunately, I had to leave early, my journey into the unknown still unfulfilled. Photos

Moonlight in Vermont

Pennies in a stream, Falling leaves of sycamore, Moonlight in Vermont. Icy finger waves, Ski trails on a mountain side, Snowlight in Vermont. Telegraph cables, how they sing down the highway, As they travel each bend in the road. People who meet in this romantic setting, Are so hypnotized by the lovely... Evening summer breeze, Warbling of a meadowlark Moonlight in Vermont. (You and I and Moonlight in Vermont.) Amazingly, this most enduring of standards has a lyric without a single rhyme, has only a suggestion of love, and was written by two guys - Karl Suessdorf and John Blackburn - who, to my knowledge, didn't write anything else either together or with anyone else. Just thought I'd throw this one in for those seeking wisdom. Instrumentally nobody did it beter than Stan Getz and Johnny Smith whilst vocally, Sinatra would be difficult to top.

Sunday Parking by Liz

Just listened to Parky guesting in his old slot on Radio 2 ( now Michael Ball's & not my cuppa.) What a loss to Sunday listening. Ball played all the good stuff in deference to Parky & boy was it great to hear! Mel Tormé & George Shearing, "Pick Yourself Up", Diana Krall" Let's fall in love", Buddy Rich "Love For Sale."
My son has just texted me to say that there should be a radio station called "Radio Good Taste."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bebop Spoken Here

For those who have asked about the title of the blog - "Bebop Spoken Here" - it derived from a Charlie Barnet record made in the 1940s. I think musicians as diverse in style as Dizzy and Satchmo also recorded it. Click here.


My apologies if I misled anyone (and that includes myself!) into thinking Zoe's gig at the Porthole tonight began at 8.00 pm. It was actually 9.00 pm.

Pearls of Wisdom from the Driver of the Year (Not)

This quote appeared in today's Saturday Express Magazine from Top Gear's Richard Hammond.
"The double bass is a great instrument - anyone can play it, no matter how tipsy they are."
Food for thought there...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Roll Over Socrates; Tell Plato The News. Vasilis Xenopoulos and Ruth Lambert With Paul Edis Trio. Blaydon Jazz Club.

The most eagerly awaited gig of the year didn't let us down. Vasy (Greek tenor saxist Vasilis Xenopoulos) was on top of his game blowing some booting tenor very much in the Dexter Gordon mould complete with reworked quotes. The quotes are one of the facets of his playing that fascinate me; he turns them inside out and upside down making them sound completely fresh and unhackneyed.
This was very much down to earth 40s/50s swing even if he did use Octivider type pedals on occasion creating a two sax sound. Electronic sorcery such as this I can live with.
The set opened with a boppy Tadd Dameron's "Our Delight", that was relatively restrained compared to some of the numbers that followed. A stomping "Almost Like Being In Love" and Neal Hefti's "Splanky" built up the tension that culminated in a wild "Cherokee". In between we had a ravishing version of "Don't Explain".
On piano, Paul Edis matched Vasy for swing and invention as did Adam Sinclair, drums, and Mick Shoulder bass.
If this wasn't enough excitement for one night, Ruth Lambert stood in for the previously advertised Jo Harrup and excelled on "No Moon At All" and "Secret Love" with more good solos all round. Vasy's blast on the latter was comparable with Teddy Edwards recording of the same tune.
I could go on all night extolling the virtues of all five performers but I guess you've got the picture by now.
Roly will be sad to have missed it but, in his absence, Cathy handled the MC duties with charm and eloquence.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Chilling Out

At times, the upper room of the Chillingham is reminiscent of a Greenwich Village loft back in the 1960s as musicians drift in and out (the bar is downstairs). There is no shortage of beards, ponytails or the odd hint of dreadlock; a few mystics nodding sagely, often in time to the music, help to sustain the image. All that is missing are the joints and the women with the Mona Lisa hairstyles and the shades. The comparison ends with the music. No folksingers or would be bards - just punchy sounds that sometimes gel.
Eric Stutt, back on drums, and Stu Davies on bass guitar were, along with Keyboard Barry, formidable stokers whilst Dave (Weisser) as the lone horn had moments of inspiration.
Daniel arrived with guitar and an excellent "Willow Weep for Me" showed everyone off to advantage. "Cantaloupe Island" was another that moved along.
Sitters-in after the break included the elusive John Pope who made an impressive debut on string bass - he's obviously been spending time in the woodshed, David C on drums and keyboard, "Felix" on guitar and Michael Lamb on trumpet.
It was a good night and not just because I won the raffle (Coltranic CD)
Next week the Alan Glen Trio pay their monthly visit so why not drop in; you might even enjoy it! If nothing else, for only £1, it will give you a foretaste of what to expect at the Side Café on 20 October.

Get Your Kicks On The John Reid Road

Brian Bennet informs me that trombonist Lawrence McBriety raised the magnificent sum of £7.95 for 'Musicians' In Need' by taking a leisurly stroll down to South Shields during the Great North Run. Unfortunately, I was unable to download the video Brian sent so I can't confirm whether or not Lawrence did the trip playing his trombone.

Arne Domnerus R.I.P

Russell strikes again! This time he brings news of the demise of Arne Domnerus the Swedish alto player. Those of us of 'a certain age' well remember the dominance of Swedish modern jazz musicians in Europe and Domnerus was up there with the best. I have a few sides he made with James Moody in the 1950s; by no means was he cut by the American. Steve Voce (he must make a tidy living out of obituaries) remembers Arne in the Independent.

I Do Like to Be Beside The Seaside by John Taylor

Went along to the first half at Crescent City 1:00 to 2:00 A dep band for the Vieux Carré gave a very relaxing performance, more mainstream than the normal (see pic) Gavin Lee clt - Don Fairley Tmb and an unknow Welsh guy playing like Alex Welsh.
Carried on to the Porthole in time to hear interval band George Laing trio (pic). Various combos played until the main band came on at 2:30. Who else, but Dave Weisser sitting in (pic). Every number was a swinger.
Talked to the lady who sings at the Porthole and a couple who I normally see at Cullercoats (above). The lady who sings (on left in picture) told me she had lived in Cullercoats all here life. She had followed Ruth and Zoë's progress and she knew their families - all still living in Cullercoats The couple in the above picture are from Cullercoats; they were travelling round Britain on the QE2 and had decided to go to the Porthole from the boat today as it was closer!

Quote: Red Norvo

"So many musicians go through their lives on the wrong instruments. You hear guitarists who should be tenor players and pianists who should be trumpeters and drummers who should maybe be out of music altogether."

Be Aware of Greeks Blowing Riffs

For those who were impressed by the tenor playing of Vasilis Xenopoulos at the Side Café earlier this year, and there were many, the good news is that he is back for two gigs this week.
Thursday: Blaydon Jazz Club with Paul Edis Trio.
Friday: Cherry Tree, Osborne Rd, Jesmond. Duo gig with Paul Edis.
Saturday: Queens Hall, Hexham. Paul Edis Sextet without Vasilis Xenopoulos (see comment below).
Both look interesting and your choice will probably be dominated by where you live.
If you can't make it to either of them then there is a fine CD available from Paul Edis (Link in side panel).
I'll be at Blaydon.
n.b. Singer Jo Harrup is unable to make the Blaydon gig.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pat Crumly R.I.P.

The death of Pat Crumly on Sept 28, whilst on holiday in Italy, is particularly poignant for those of us who knew him through his connection with Newcastle Big Band. He played tenor on some of the tracks on the Big Band's first (and only) LP as well as playing with them at Pau Jazz Festival in France.
Pat came up to the Baltic in 2006 for the Sting/Big Band Reunion and can be seen in the white shirt to the left of the picture. A fine saxophone player, the Pat Crumly Quartet can be heard to advantage playing "Three Little "Words" on the Spotlite CD 'Flamingo'. On the same label, on the CD entitled 'Behind The Mask', they play an emotive version of "This Heart of Mine".
I'm going to treasure those tracks.
Click here for Independent obituary by Steve Voce.

Another Gem From The Archives of Tradderie

Click here for a hilarious article by Mike Maurice. Muther Grumble Issue 11 1973

Monday, October 06, 2008

Tom Dibb Trio and Lauren Housley at Side Café

Whilst it may not have quite lived up to expectations, it was, nevertheless, an okay gig with some original originals and some original interpretations of standards. In the latter category was "The Way You Look Tonight" done in 3/4. Lauren Housley sang it well enough, although I think she may have been more comfortable doing it in four. "Angel Eyes" however, went down easily; like oysters and champagne on New Year's Eve.
Frontman Tom Dibb had some good solos, notably on "Stella By Starlight" in the first set and on his own compositions in the second. That such young musicians are not only familiar with the great standards but can play them so capably augers well for the future of the music and themslves.
On bass guitar, Luke Eigle was sound without being spectacular whilst on drums, David Carnegie was, well, David Carnegie - nuff said!

Long Ago But not Far Away

Came across this vintage photo of Ian Carr, Don Armstrong and Ronnie McLean circa 1954. More historical stuff in The early days of Ian Carr and the EmCee Five)

And All That Alnwick Jazz

"And All That Jazz" are a highly acclaimed big band based in North Northumberland,who provide quality, professional, live music for weddings and other events.We play jazz, in a similar big band style to that played on Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC!!
When I read the above on the band's website I fell off the chair laughing! However, after picking myself up, I reflected and thought: what better way to get a jazz orientated band into places that jazz orientated bands rarely get into than to hitch yourself to a very popular TV series?
Well done Ray Thompson and my regards to daughter Sophie (former workmate).

Sunday, October 05, 2008

John Harle on Radio 3 - Russell Corbett

Tomorrow (Monday) there is a one hour live broadcast from the Wigmore Hall in London at 1.00 p.m. featuring the duo of John Harle (a local lad) on saxophone and Steve Lodder on piano. The programme is on Radio 3. The tunes range from John Dowland to Bartok, Britten, Ellington and Phil Woods. It could be worth listening to. That said,don't expect it to swing! Russell

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Refurbishment at Corner House - Brian Bennett

Due to refurbishment of kitchen and function room, Monday night's session by the Vieux Carré Jazzmen at the Corner House will take place in the bar, 8.45pm start - also there's a few places left for next Wednesday afternoon's River Tyne Jazz Cruise to greet the QEII. Brian Bennett (Please note Brian's new address:

Friday, October 03, 2008

The French Connection

Just received these photos of pianist Bill Harper and vocalist Ann de Vere. Now resident in France, the couple are well remembered and much missed on the local scene by fans and fellow musicians. Just in case this sounds like an obituary, Hilary Gilby recently stayed with them and she assures me they are both alive and very well.
Keep swingin' guys.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Beatrice changes by Bill M

Googled these which may be of interest.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Take It To The Bridge at the Chillingham

Monday night, Mark Williams was at the Side with Zoe and, lo and behold, two days later he's taken it to the bridge. Well you can never get too much of a good thing and Mark hit the ground running on the opening Charlie Parker number "Au Privave"; Dave scatted this one. Ian Forbes on drums kept things moving along with Barry Ashcroft once again playing bass.
"There Is No Greater Love" brought Nicola on to the stand and she got a big, juicy sound from her baritone sax. Both horns blew well on "Solar"
As the evening progressed, fellow guitarist Daniel, spelled Mark before handing over to Felix who isn't called Felix but gets called Felix by Dave who is called Dave and David Carnegie chained himself to the empty keyboard stool for a belting "Killer Joe". David also brought in a chart for a Sam Rivers tune called "Beatrice". I'd never heard it before but it was an appealing tune with some nice changes. "Blue Bossa" had Dave blowing flugel before chanteuse Lindsey Hannon got up and laid down some blues in Bb.
(Good job I didn't put a full stop after 'laid down'!)
Shame it had to finish at 11 pm.

"Fraud" at The Cluny by Roly Veitch

I'm not an expert on freely improvised playing but I like the genre and really enjoy it when things come off. They certainly did at this gig.
A unique quintet of two drummers (one also using electronics), keyboards, guitar (+ electronics) and fronted by James Allsopp (saxs & bass clt). You sort of expect top players these days to have phenomenal technical ability - plenty of that on show but it was also deeply felt playing ranging from moving lyrical phases to manic, post Coltrane, sheets of sound. An emotional roller coaster.
The two percussionists (Tim Giles/Ben Reynolds) worked beautifully together and generated quite an infectious rhythmic storm at times. Subtle keyboard interventions from Philip Hochstrate were complemented by wide ranging guitar interludes and accompaniment, from lyrical, fragmented bursts to what seemed to me to be Hendrix/punk/R&B/heavy metal influenced playing from Chris Sharkey.
Chris is a local but now works from Leeds. A unique and phenomenal player destined for much wider recognition I feel. The music was not completely free - there was a fair amount of structure with arranged sections and motifs developing into a 'free for all' then back to pre-arranged sections. All in all it was quite a concert - one that left me drained and rather 'bowled over'. Phew!
Incidentally, the Radio 3 Mingus feature today just reminded me of how much he was a pivotal figure paving the way for what was on offer last night.

Gig Updates

Reports wanted from Fraud at the Cluny, Fenwick's Tea Dance, Dutch band at Customs House. Send me your reviews.

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