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Bebop Spoken There

Tineke Postma: “ I had a huge crush on him [Sting] when I was a teenager ". Jazzwise, June 2024.

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.


16462 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 342 of them this year alone and, so far, 54 this month (May 18).

From This Moment On ...


Tue 21: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Alice Grace Vocal Masterclass @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 6:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 22: Daniel Erdmann’s Thérapie de Couple @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 23: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 23: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Thu 23: Immortal Onion + Rivkala @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 23: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Jeremy McMurray (keys); Dan Johnson (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Bill Watson (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 24: Hot Club du Nord @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 24: Swannek + support @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. Time TBC.

Sat 25: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Bywell Hall, Stocksfield. 2:30pm.
Sat 25: Paul Edis Trio w. Bruce Adams & Alan Barnes @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:30pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sat 25: Nubiyan Twist @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Sat 25: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 26: Tyne Valley Youth Big Band @ The Sele, Hexham. 12:30pm. Free. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Alice Grace @ The Sele, Hexham. 1:30pm. Free. Alice Grace w. Joe Steels, Paul Susans & John Hirst.
Sun 26: Bryony Jarman-Pinto @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Clark Tracey Quintet @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Saltburn Big Band @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 26: SARÃB @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Mon 27: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nov/Dec 2008 Deaths

Freddie Hubbard: Trumpet player par excellence. 29 Dec 2008 Eartha Kitt: Singer. 25 Dec 2008 Derek Wadsworth: Trombonist, Arranger, Composer Kofi Ghanaba (Guy Warren): African percussionist 22 Dec 2008 Page Cavanagh: pianist Page Cavanagh Trio. Prince Lasha: Free alto saxist. 12 Dec 2008 Bryn Collinson: Hartlepool sax player, 12 Dec 2008 Derek Moore: Academic and jazzman Tony Reedus: drummer, Woody Shaw etc. 16 Nov 2008

Jazz Esquires at the Porthole

Some swingy music from the Jazz Esquires led from the back by Laurie Brown on drums. Ex Squad. Laurie's crisp brushwork ensured that "Cute" was just that with good solos all-round. "In A Mellotone" and "Strike Up The Band" also had a nice swing feel to them with Eddie Bellis's trombone as smooth as they come. On trumpet, Mick Hill had some good blasts whilst Bill Brittain (pno), Robin Douthwaite (gtr) and Bill Colledge (bs. gtr) had their own magical moments.
During the intermission one of my former musical accomplices, George Laing, played a short set on piano along with Bill Colledge and Laurie. "All of Me" and "I'll Be Seeing You" were two particularly outstanding numbers and I was pleased to note that advancing years have not dimmed his creativity.
George gave way to Colin Johnson on piano and Miles Watson on trumpet for a jam with Laurie and Robin. Dave (not Weisser but a Scottish 'Sinatra' also called Dave) bravely attempted to sing "Aint Misbehavin'", unmiked, before the band returned for a flagwaving "It Don't Mean A Thing". Miles stayed on stage for this one.
Very enjoyable and not a banjo in sight!
Miles has since informed me (see comments) that his name is Dave Bosomworth and he belongs Yorkshire.

Courtney Pine - C.B.E.

I notice in the New Year's honours list our boy Courtney Pine has been awarded a CBE. Not as desirable an accolade as being admitted to the Down Beat Hall of Fame but I suppose it'll do in the meantime.
Now, whilst I don't begrudge CP his CBE, I can't help thinking that there are other musicians in this country more deserving of such recognition. My personal choice would be Bruce Adams.
Last year, most deservedly, Andy Hamilton got an MBE and Martin Taylor too has one hanging above the mantlepiece. A cue for a song; "Any Place I Hang My MBE is Home."
I'm not sure about Alan Barnes, Guy Barker and Digby - I've got a feeling they too may have some letters after their names.
The main thing is that whether or not you agree with the honours system and I personally do, anything that brings jazz to the public's attention can't be bad.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Just read this quote by Aaron Copland: " To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself - incredible and inconceivable." Liz

Freddie Hubbard Dead - age 70. R.I.P.

Just heard via Russell, our 'Man at the Morgue', that Freddie Hubbard has passed on - age 70. One of the trumpet greats, he ranks alongside Lee Morgan, Kenny Dorham, Art Farmer, Nat Adderley as the best of the second wave of modern trumpet men. I was privileged to see and hear him live on a couple of occasions; at the Cleveland Jazz Festival - that's Cleveland as in Middlesbrough - in 1978 and (left) at the North Sea Festival in Den Haag in 1983. On both occasions he was outstanding.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Funny Valentine

"A Funny Valentine" - The Story and Music of Chet Baker. A play due to be performed at Darlington Arts Centre on 29 March 2009 and at Alnwick in April. It should be of interest to the inhabitants of Planet Bebop Spoken Here. Click here for further details.

(Good Time) Jazz in the Afternoon at Culler'

Close your eyes, imagine there was a trumpet player, and you could be listening to Turk Murphy or the Firehouse Five at Earthquake McGoons in 'Frisco back in the 1940s. Well perhaps not quite but there is a distinctly Good Time Jazz feel about the Monday lunchtime bashes at the Crescent Club aided perhaps by the view looking out on to The Bay.
Not quite as rip-roaring as last week with the bagpipes, although not the banjo, mercifully laid to rest for another year, it was, nevertheless, a pleasant enough way to pass a couple of hours. Today, the stand was graced with the presence of Barry Soulsby on clarinet and vocals alongside Brian, John, Ian, Derek and Marshall. Theresa sang and Roy sat in on piano whilst Derek laid down his clarinet and banjoed away on some good old good ones.
On "Ja-da" Barry revived the old River City version - you remember it? "Albert, Albert, riding in his Sunbeam Talbot etc. etc."

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Zoe Gilby and Jim Mullen at Wakefield Jazz Club

Whispers from Wakefield indicate that Zoe Gilby, along with guitarist Jim Mullen, had a highly successful gig at the local Jazz Club earlier this month.
Accompanied by guitar wizard Jim Mullen, whom Zoe sat-in with at the Side Café last month, our girl is reported to have given an immaculate performance that was well received by the full house.
Wakefield Jazz Club looks to be well worth a visit if you're in that neck of the woods.
On New Year's Eve, the much travelled diva struts her stuff at the Pizza Express, Durham, followed by the George Hotel, Chollerford on New Year's Day and on 16 Jan it is Opus 4 at Darlington. Click here for photos. (Courtesy of Hilary Gilby).

Friday, December 26, 2008

Who is Hilma?

Last year I bought an LP by the Bruce Turner Quartet from a stall in South Shields market, listened to it a few times then put it on the shelf and, as you sometimes do, forgot all about it..
However, the recent postings, comments and the discovery of the Warne Marsh site prompted me to seek it out once more. The reason being that Dave Cliff plays guitar in the quartet and Turner's playing displays a slight Tristano/Konitz influence.
The disc, called appropriately enough "The Dirty Bopper", had the added bonus of being signed by Bruce Turner."
So what? you might ask. Well I'll tell you what, and this is where my curiosity begins ...
Bruce has signed it "Best wishes Hilma".
How many women do you know called Hilma?
My guess is none.
I Googled the name and there weren't many there either but there was one that stood out - Hilma Carter, widow of the late, great, Benny Carter. (Video link) Bruce Turner, Benny Carter - both alto players of a not dissimilar style.
Probably; one English, one American and both now dead. If Mrs Carter had been called Mary or Belle or something I wouldn't have given it a second thought but Hilma?
If it did happen to be Hilma Carter how did it end up on a market stall in South Shields?
Nah - it has to be coincidence ... unless someone can tell me otherwise ...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

R.I.P. Eartha - "Santa Baby" Dies on Xmas Day.

Okay, maybe Eartha Kitt wasn't a jazz singer as such but she was certainly capable of helping them out when they were busy and she did have a major part in the W.C.Handy biopic "St Louis Blues".
An unusual voice, it lay somewhere between Edith Piaf and Peggy Lee, that could, at times, grate whilst, on other occasions, be positively enchanting.
I personally will miss her not just for her voice but because, love her or hate her, she really did have what today they call the "X-Factor" or what we know as simply Star Quality.
Eartha had all that and more.
If she'd elected to stage-manage her demise, she couldn't have done it better than to die on Christmas Day - already "Santa Baby" is filling my head and will do for some time.
She was 81.

An Elf Warning

Merry Xmas from Lance, John, Roly as well as Liz, Russell, Colin and Jim who were on tour and couldn't get to the studio for the recording. Video supplied by John Taylor. Click here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Partying at the Porthole with the Maine Street Jazzmen

The party season continued at the Porthole; a North Shields pub that looks out onto the levee. On the stand, the Maine Street Jazzmen purveyed their own brand of Dixieland that delighted the packed room who responded with unfurled umbrellas in the true New Orleans tradition.
On social occasions such as this, entertainment is the motivating force and the residents of Maine Street have plenty of that. Fred Rowe, as well as blowing a strong lead also sang an amusing version of "Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover" paraphrasing it as "I'm Getting Over a Hangover". Herbie Hudson played tram and chromatic mouth organ whilst Jim McBriety had some nice touches on alto and clarinet. Olive Rudd sang "Jeepers Creepers" and the rhythm section of Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs) and Ollie (dms) kept it all together.
Topping off a splendid afternoon - I won a modest prize in the raffle!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Jazz in the Afternoon at Cullercoats

At one point, the band comprised, sousaphone, bagpipes, electric piano, banjo, drums, 2 trombones, 1 trumpet and probably a partridge in a pear tree. I can't remember if this line-up was before the 'Funny Hat' contest or after trombonist/piper Ian McCauley sang "The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot" what was sure was that Mama Wasn't Going to Allow No Bebop Spoken Here!
However, it was Christmas and the party/festive atmosphere did make for an enjoyable afternoon.
Theresa (pictured) sang a knockout version of Marlene Dietrich's "Falling In Love Again" complete with props and accent whilst the band and sitters-in gelled on "Muskrat Ramble" with Mike Durham (tpt) also doing an individual take on Cole Porter's "Let's Misbehave". Lawrence McBriety (tmb), Derek Fleck (clt), Brian Chester (pno), John Hallam (bs/sousa), a lady called Doris (bjo) and my old friend Marshall Walker (dms) completed the line-up. I hadn't seen Marshall for a number years and I was delighted to be greeted with one of his famous non-smiles (click here).
All in all it beat going to the dentist.

The Christmas Number One (in Hong Kong)

Oscar Peterson Trio Live at Ronnie Scott's - BBC 4

A typical Peterson bravura performance - has there been a more technically accomplished pianist in jazz? I don't think so although Tatum, of course, ran him close. In this set from 1974 the great man was joined by Barney Kessell on guitar and Niels Henning Oersted-Pederson on bass and it says much that Peterson towered so much above the other two that their true status was somewhat submerged.
Prior to the arrival of Barney and Niels, our man had played a couple of unaccompanied numbers; "I Should Care" and a particularly impressive version of "This Nearly Was Mine". I've always felt the Rodgers and Hammerstein tune never reaches its potential when sung in the semi-operatic manner demanded of it in "South Pacific" and here Oscar totally stripped it of any sentimentality even to the extent of adding some stride-like touches without losing its harmonic attraction.
Although not in the driving seat, Barney did have a couple of decent solos but it is my feeling that a guitarist - any guitarist - is on a hiding to nothing when Oscar is in full flight. (Roly says "Click here to Check Lorne Lofsky out" - see comments)
An enjoyable half hour.
The docs that followed on Billie and Bird were, to say the least, harrowing.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

British Dance Band Music - Liz

I noticed a reader's letter in today's Telegraph bemoaning the fact that Radio 2 has dropped from their schedule one of the last programmes on this subject. The writer goes on to say that devotées might like to switch allegiance to: WMKV 89.3 FM, broadcast on the Internet from Cincinnati. This features American Big Band music & "London Rhythm" broadcast on Sundays & Fridays featuring the great London dance bands of the 30's & 40's Liz
Click here for schedule (add 5 hours for GMT)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Count Basie Live 1965 - BBC4

A black and white recording of a 1965 Basie concert was the major feature on tonight's BBC4 offering and it served as a timely reminder of just what a swinging band that outfit was. I recall, back in the mid '50s, the impact of the Basie band's first appearance in the UK. To an audience brought up on Heath, Parnell and co it wasn't just the power of the Basie brass team that left the fans gasping but the fullness of that power. Overnight, local brass sections crumbled, there'd been nothing like this since Joshua blew down the walls of Jericho (Joshua 5:13-6:27).
Of course, British brass players have come on since those days but I doubt, even in 1965 when this concert was recorded, if they'd reached these heights.
An absolutely first rate concert with Lockjaw Davis outstanding on "Jumping at the Woodside" and "Whirly Birds". Drummer Rufus Jones also worked out impressively on the latter. Eric Dixon's flute on "Blues For Eileen", Al Grey on "I Need to be Be-ed With" and of course Basie's laid back piano were other highlights. "L'il Darlin'" - the sound of that beautiful Freddie Greene guitar appeggio chord leading into that luscious sax section brought back memories of first hearing it late at night whilst lying in bed listening to Willis Connover broadcast over the Voice of America radio station. I can still remember the thrill that a million subsequent hearings of the tune will never diminish.
Tomorrow; Oscar at Ronnie Scott's, Billie Holiday & Charlie Parker documentaries.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Swing Thing - BBC 4

A program of mainly historic interest that, nonetheless, was worth viewing.
For me, as much as the music, it was the interviews with the ever suave Ellington, the black and white shots of New York City in the 1930s, and the dancers Jitterbugging and Lindyhopping that got my pulses racing. I had hoped for some footage of the Chick Webb Band at the Savoy Ballroom or the 1930s Basie Band with Lester and Sweets, and how could they 'do' Swing Era and not mention Gene Krupa or Harry James?
But, despite its failings, the program whizzed by and I look forward to the next two nights which include concerts by Basie and Oscar Peterson as well as documentaries on Billie and Bird. There is also an interview with Artie Shaw that is worth watching if you haven't already seen it.

More Djangology from John Taylor

Some good reed playing from a French lass and lad as well as good guitar from Jim Birkett and Keith Stephens who also banjos. On bass, Bruce Rollo boots, or should I say 'slaps' things along. I Got Rhythm. Dinah. Crazy Rhythm.

Louis Armstrong Night on BBC 4

Well done BBC 4. There have been times when I wondered if the Beeb had ever heard of jazz but fortunately this weekend wasn't one of them.
Three hours of anyone, even Louis Armstrong, may seem a lot but the three programmes were quite different.
A biographical hour preceded a live 1968 concert by the All-stars with Tyree Glenn (tmb), Joe Muryani (clt), Marty Napoleon (pno), Danny Barcelona (dms), Buddy Catlett (bs) and Jewell Brown (vcl) - Marty Napoleon was quite amazing - culminating with a "Louis Armstrong Night" at the 1970 Newport Jazz Festival.
For this, Satchmo himself commentated whilst musical tributes were paid by fellow trumpet players Bobby Hackett, Joe Newman, Ray Nance, Dizzy Gillespie and Jimmy Owens. Mahalia Jackson strutted her stuff on "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" before 'les tout ensemble' blasted out "The Saints".
Quite a night and more jazz on 4 tonight, Saturday & Sunday. Santa has arrived early!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Django Related Bliss by Liz

My son Kevin drew my attention to this YouTube clip of John Jorgenson that I thought I would like to share with you. Click.
Changing the subject, Frank Lockyer, husband and manager of Rosemary Squires sent me this 'at home' photo.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dave O'Higgins with the Noel Dennis Quartet - Report by Russell Corbett

Middlesbrough town centre was all of a bustle with the Christmas shoppers (blissfully?) unaware of a wonderful gig happening almost within earshot in the Brittan Building of Teesside University where a lunchtime treat was being served up by tenor saxophonist Dave O'Higgins with the great Noel Dennis Quartet in attendance.
The audience eventually grew to about 100 appreciative fans.
First up was Wayne Shorter's ''El Gaucho''; an opportunity for all to stretch out. Next was Charlie Parker's ''Au Privave'' taken at a great tempo with each musician afforded solo space. The hightlight, for me at least, was Victor Young's ''Stella by Starlight''. Noel, on flugel, played a beautiful, extended solo, garnering approval from O'Higgins. The closing number (the time flew past) was a Higgins original, the eponymous ''In the Zone'' from his 2007 CD release. Andy Champion and Adrian Tilborok (bass and drums) were excellent (as one would expect). Adam Dennis at the piano was superb. Great stuff.

Liz Gives Her Age Away!

Remember that slogan" You're never alone with a Strand!" well it came to my mind just now reading of what's on offer gig wise in the North East. What a feast...guess you're never alone in the N.E. with... "all that jaaaazz" Liz
Well Liz, fancy you being able to remember that far back!
Gig listings can be deceiving and I've been to a gig or two lately where the guy in the old Strand commercial would have been a crowd!
Just heard via Roly's Blaydon website that the club's present venue is closing down and the hunt is on for new premises. Let's hope he succeeds.
Nevertheless, the NE doesn't seem to do too bad compared to some parts of the country. What gets me are those audiences who fill venues such as The Sage yet wouldn't dream of going to hear a local band in a pub/club. They remain blissfully ignorent of the wealth of young jazz talent that there is around here; much of it emulating from the Newcastle College whose Music Dept. is very jazz orientated. I'm quite sure that Jim Birkett is, in no small way, responsible for the current upsurge in jazz guitar playing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Kevin McKenzie Quartet - Schmazz at the Cluny

There are times when I leave a Schmazz @ The Cluny gig wondering if I've been transported into the next millennium or indeed if I'm still on the same planet. There have even been times when I've feared for my sanity or at least that of those around me. I'm delighted to say that, tonight was not such a night. The Kevin McKenzie Quartet, displaying a rare brand of originality, managed to incorporate a suggestion of Scottish folkiness with some post contemporary hard blowing that verged on the free but never became totally unshackled—I'm pleased to say. Tenor saxist Phil Bancroft had some storming moments that at times reflected early Ornette or maybe Archie Shepp. These contrasted with the more sedate playing of Kevin McPherson whose guitar mastery was beyond question. The two also indulged in a few fascinating choruses of improvised interplay. Behind them, Aidan O'Donnell on double bass provided the harmonic foundation for the two frontmen's flights of fancy whilst on drums, Tom Gordon, an absolute colossus, drove them unmercifully forward. Tom also contributed several powerhouse solos. This is pretty close to being as good as it gets at the cutting edge.
Photos click here.

Ned Kelly Big Band Clip from Colin Aitchison

Next time you're over here, Colin, bring that crowd - the audience - along to a few gigs! We could do with that level of enthusiasm.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Little Bit of Bebop

Came across this MYSPACE page of Angela J.Elliott - a poet/jazz singer that others may care to check out.
Three titles to play or download including the above which is a delightful Blossom Dearie/Annie Ross style vocal. Also, there is "The Day Lee Morgan Died" which I have referred to in previous posts. This is done as a poem set to Morgan's "The Sidewinder" and describes in a poetically graphic manner the events of that fateful day.
Her band, "Special Edition" are on all tracks and get a great jazz/funk feel.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


There's some jazz and jazz related items on BBC 4 next Thursday/Friday (18th/19th Dec.) evenings. Thursday 9.00: Omnibus profile of Louis Armstrong inc. contributions from Melly, Brubeck and Lyttleton. 10.10: Show of the Week : Performance by Louis Armstrong. 11.00: Louis Armstrong - Good Evening Everybody. 12.00: Film: The Fabulous Dorseys. Dreadful film but includes a few bars of Art Tatum. Friday 7.00: Film: Robin and the Seven Hoods. Rat Pack Romp. 9.30: The Swing Thing. Archive jazz footage from the 1920s to the present day.

Friday, December 12, 2008


The Rhythm Kings of West Jesmond, with a little help from their friends, paid tribute to the late Humphrey Lyttleton tonight. Because of the stylistic boundaries set by the band only numbers from the great man's Neanderthal period were played which was a shame as it was during his post 1957 years that Humph truly matured; both as a bandleader and a trumpet player. Nevertheless, having said that, the Rhythm Kings gave an authentic recreation of those heady mouldy fig days even going to the extent of unfurling a banner that read 'Go Home Dirty Bopper' recalling that legendary event at Birmingham Town Hall when Bruce Turner joined the band. Mike Durham played to perfection the part of Humph the Younger, musically, and Humph the Elder, verbally, quoting at length from the numerous books written by jazz's most famous ex- Guardsman and, of course, the radio program he hosted for many years,'I'm Sorry I Haven't a clue'. The front line of Mike, Derek Fleck (alt/clt) and Brian Chester (tmb) were augmented for most of the evening by Barry Soulsby on clarinet; he brought extra sparkle to the band. The rhythm section of Keith Stephens (bjo/gtr), Bruce Rollo (bs), who replaced Phil Rutherford (sousaphone) for the second set, Pete Soulsby (dms) and Brian Chester who occasionally laid down his trombone and slid over to the grand piano - most notably in "Bad Penny Blues"- excelled. All in all a pleasant evening for one 'Dirty Bopper' (me) who didn't go home until practically the end. Click for photos.

Xmas Party at Blaydon

The icy roads in my neck of the woods last night meant I had to miss the above gig but my ears to the ground tell me that it was a grand night with Frank Brooker blowing well and Ruth Lambert in good voice. Both ably backed, of course, by the Jeremy McMurray/Roly Veitch Quartet.
Apparently, It was a good turnout too despite the weather.
Anyone who was there and wants to provide a more in depth record, possibly with a photo, please feel free.
John Taylor kindly supplied this photo and a report that was brief, consise and to the point.
"It was a great night."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jools Holland and his R & B Orchestra - Report by Jim & Jane

Last night's main event at Newcastle City Hall rocked off to much approval from a full house as Jools launched into a boogie intro and, with knife-like precision, the 19 pce orchestra took off. The result was quite stunning and the rest of the night whizzed by with much of what followed drawn from his newly released 2-CD set " The Informer".
Ruby Turner sparkled on "St Louis Blues" and "See See Rider" as did Rico Rodriguez on the 1960's Nat Cole song "L-O-V-E ". Louise Marshall proved popular while special guest Marc Almond sang with much gusto on a more recent pop tune, "Tainted Love".
Jools had his fair share of warbling throughout the night, solo spots were never less than good, with many excellent renditions. Somewhere among the encores was a rousing rendition of "String of Pearls" strictly R&B style of course.
Earlier, guitar/vocalist Chris Gifford, backed by a girl singer played a pleasant enough support set before the entry of 'The King'.
To sum up, an evening full of toe tapping music and hot house solos. Such energy should be bottled!
Overheard comment, "it's like listening to 5 concerts in one".
A word of caution to strict Jazzers, you will be invited to sing along on some numbers as befits this form of entertainment.
Regards Jim and Jane McDowell

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Alan Glen Trio Raising the Bar at the Chilli

Just when I thought the Alan Glen Trio couldn't surpass last month's performance at the Chillingham they play a set so totally out of this world it should have been recorded. Will the trio never put something down? They owe it to posterity.
Tonight's program, as always, included a fine selection of gems from the gasbook. The mood, set by the opening "Four", culminated with an uptempo blast on "I Hear Music" complete with the inevitable kickass drum solo from David Carnegie that surely won friends and influenced people.
In between, Lawrence B on bass, solid throughout, excelled with a thoughtful solo on "Whisper Not" whilst Alan G, in his usual laid back style, really hit the jackpot when he took a trip on a train and thought about you--Sinatra would have hired him on the spot!
"Just Friends" also scored one hundred and eighty.
When Dave "The Rave" Weisser salaamed in a gesture of worshipful appreciation he said it all.
Earlier, Take It To The Bridge - John Rowland blowing gutsy tenor, Mark Williams excelling on guitar and the eternally muted Dave on trumpet - had done things to, among others, "A Foggy Day", and Sonny Rollins' "Tenor Madness" that didn't hurt at all. However the pat on the back must go to Barry Ashcroft who made up for the lack of a bass player by putting in some effective left hand work on keyboard.
The final jam session set was a bit of a mixed bag but moments were had by Sara(h) on tenor, Simon on alto, James nee Felix on guitar, yet another Dave on bass guitar, David C now on piano and the rock solid Eric Stutt on drums.
"Blue Bossa" followed by "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" was the dose.
Next week, Laurie Brown joins 'The Ravers' on vibes for a Xmas party special.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Hong Kong News - Colin Aitchison

Here are some more pics for the Hong Kong section of 'Bebop'. These are of the Ned Kelly Big Band, that we put together six times a year.
Also, a matchbox photo from The Wheatsheaf, New York (near Whitley Bay and not to be confused with the possibly better known New York in USA.) There must still be people around who remember the Thursday Jam Sessions that started in the late 1940's, in fact a lot of people did learn to play there. I also remember meeting the late Joe Harriot (Alto Sax) at "The Sheaf" as they used to call it....
Cheers, Colin

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Rosemary Squires - Afternoon Delight

Today was Rosemary Squire's 80th birthday and she celebrated it magnificently in the Pier Pavilion, South Shields. Accompanied by the impeccable Brian Dee on piano and local boy Pete Stuart on bass it was an afternoon of pure magic. Nostalgic? Of course it was! Yet even after all these years, the voice can still touch you and, although I occasionally held my breath wondering if she was going to make the note she always did. Highlights included a rather wonderful song, new to me even though it dated back to a 1981 Lauren Bacall musical that ran forever on Broadway and in London - "Woman of the Year". The song was "Sometimes a Day Goes By (when I don't think of you)". "Nice Work etc.", "Day By Day" (or was it "Day in, Day out"?) and "Imagination" were others that verified her jazz credentials. However, this wasn't a jazz gig despite the brilliance of Brian Dee and Pete Stuart - it was entertainment full stop. If someone had told me beforehand that I would feel all emotional over an 80 year-old woman reciting Stanley Holloway's "Braan Boots" I'd have laughed - as it was I almost cried! My only regret is that there weren't more folk present to share the rare experience of possibly one of the entertainment world's best kept secrets .

Perdido St. Jazzmen

En route to the Rosemary Squires gig, in South Shields I encountered the Perdido Street Jazzmen on King Street (or was it the King Street Jazzmen on Perdido Street?) who were doing their best to bring some festive cheer into the lives of the Xmas shoppers - they faced tough competition as, opposite, Woolworth's were offering (up to) 50% off. No such discounts were available from Messrs Bennett, Chester, Fleck and Hallam who, on banjo, trombone, clarinet and sousaphone respectivly, make up the Perdidos. Nevertheless, despite the cold, the boys gave out with rousing versions of "When Your Smiling", "Jingle Bells", "My Blue Heaven" and other foot-tapping favourites.
They are resident every Sunday on King Street until Xmas - unless they succumb to frostbite.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Michael Parkinson by Liz

Just got "Parky" from the library, and am at the beginning. His musical interests are ours of course, he mentions his love of bebop, and the influence of Stan Kenton, Dizzy, Charlie Parker, the Great American song book. Then to the British influences of Humph, Cleo & John, Benny Green, Jimmy Deuchar, Ronnie Scott,Tubby Hayes et al. I miss him terribly on Sundays, no doubt in my mind that he is one of a dying breed, yours too I suspect. Having said that there's an awful lot of cricket jargon...bores me rigid!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Favourite - Richie Kamuca by Roly Veitch

I suppose we all have favourite players - someone who's playing just registers with you in a special way. One of mine is tenorist Richie Kamuca. He was not an innovator - he was one of those players content to develop his own personal style within existing frameworks - a west coast type tenor with a strong Pres influence. Apparently, he was a very sensitive, lovely guy with a great love of all jazz music and loved by the musicians/fans who knew him.

I first discovered Richie in the 70s due to my liking for Dave Frishberg's music. I bought a Concorde album 'Drop me off in Harlem' which also featured Kamuca (duetting with Frishberg) and in a trio format with Ray Brown/Herb Ellis. A great album sadly not available on CD. Then I bought 'Richie' - an emotional album made when he was terminally ill. Richie died of cancer aged only 46, back in 1977. It features some lovely intimate music and delightful guitar from Mundell Lowe. Nick Ceroli and Monty Budwig complete the quartet. A very moving album!

Kamuca worked with all the west coast greats and also with Herman & Kenton. Herman described him as his prettiest tenor player - when you consider the other great tenor players in those herds that is high praise. I'm just hoping someday Mosaic issue a box set of all the best Kamuca stuff and pay him the tribute he deserves.

When I walked into the Side Café a few months back and heard Vasilis Xenopoulos start up, for some reason, my immediate thoughts were 'Kamuca'. It just seems like here is a present-day version, at least in my imagination. Not that Vasi sounds like Kamuca but there was just the same sort of feeling about it. That night when he played with the Paul Edis Trio was a bit special. So, in summary, I would recommend anyone who likes that Pres/Sims/Cohn/Getz tradition of tenor playing to check out Richie's moving, sincere and beautiful playing and also get along to check out Vasi next time he is up here.

Handbagging at the Elephant. Ashington Jazz Club re-opens. Report by John Taylor

What an eventful night to bring jazz back to Ashington!! The skating rink that surrounded The Elephant last night prevented many of the regulars from attending. A few new faces came along and of course the Maine Street "groupies" were made welcome. Final total for the night was only 47.
At the last minute, Maine Street frontman trombonist Herbie Hudson secured the services of horn man Bob Ludlam (pictured); all the way from Rotherham. Bob has played Ashington once before but had been quite disorientated travelling/sliding up the A19.
Without a doubt Bob gave one of the finest performances we have ever heard. As there was a sale of handbags in the lounge he managed to get the word "handbag" into every tune he sang! The rest of the band rose to the occasion and the acoustics were a lot better than at our old venue.
A set of car keys was found in the lobby so I hope everyone got home safely through the snow that followed.
Once again many thanks to Herbie for booking Bob to join the Maine Street for our first night.
Friends in jazz
John .

Boppin' in Byker

Further to my 22 Sept post, 'Byker Bop' I have attached a track from the Jeff Hedley LP referred to. This is the only track on the privately recorded album that I don't know the title of. Perhaps there is someone out there, from that era, out who may be able to put a title to it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Jackie, Not Ronnie, McLean

The icy roads and the threat of snowstorms kept me housebound tonight. This was frustrating as I'd hoped to catch BUDVIVAR at the Chillingham; hopefully I'll make amends somewhere soon. Also tonight, one of this site's contributors, John Taylor, was presenting the Maine Street Jazzmen at the inaugral session of the re-organised Ashington Jazz Club. Let's hope the weather was better up there.
To compensate, I dug out some vinyl that I hadn't played for quite a few years; a double album by Jackie McLean to be precise. The four sides served to remind me just what a fine alto player he was. Although Parker influenced, no mere imitator he and his playing stands up alongside other New York altoists of the time (1950s) such as Phil Woods or Cannonball.
"Why Was I Born?", "A Foggy Day" and "When I Fall in Love", taken faster than the norm, see him cruise effortlessly and effectively through the changes whilst Mal Waldren's "Abstraction", with Donald Byrd 'doing' Miles is a deeply sensitive, probing composition that unbears the altoist's soul.

"Lights Out", a blues drenched opus that gave the title to one of the original albums that make up the set ("Contour" was the other) has more Milesisms from Byrd but it is McLean at his most Parkeresque who goes home with the cigar.Check it out sometime; it's bound to be on CD

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Banjos seem to be a popular topic which has prompted me to post this hilarious clip of Eddie Peabody whom Clive Gray (local banjo hero) once described as his all-time favourite. Click here.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Clem Avery Photo Gallery

Thanks to the Brothers Rae, Roly has created some photo pages dedicated to the late Clem Avery. To help share those photos, with his permission, I have added a link entitled "Remembering Clem Avery" which can be accessed from this post or from the right side panel.
Well worth a visit with lots of nostalgic shots (above) as well as more recent ones (below). Somehow, with or without words or music, they convey the kind of guy Clem was.

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