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Bebop Spoken There

Charles McPherson: “Jazz is best heard in intimate places”. (DownBeat, July, 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.


16590 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 483 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (July 14).

From This Moment On ...


Wed 17: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 17: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 17: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 17: John Pope & John Garner + Nisha Ramayya @ Cluny 2, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors). £15.00. (£12.00. adv.). A Gem Arts Masala Festival event.

Thu 18 Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle NE1 7BJ. 2:30pm. £4.00.
Thu 18: Theo Croker @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Thu 18: Brad Linde’s Continentals @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Thu 18: Eva Fox & the Jazz Guys @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 18: Ray Stubbs R&B All Stars @ The Mill Tavern, Hebburn. 8:00pm. Rhythm & blues.
Thu 18: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guest band: Darlington Big Band.

Fri 19: Luis Verde with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT!
Fri 19: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 19: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 19: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 19: Luis Verde with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. Opus 4 Jazz Club.
Fri 19: Zoë Gilby Trio @ Seventeen Nineteen, Hendon, Sunderland. 7:30pm.

Sat 20: Snake Davis & Helen Watson Duo @ Chopwell Community Centre NE17 7HZ. 7:30pm. £17.50.

Sun 21: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 21: Salty Dog @ The Globe, Newcastle. 3:00pm.
Sun 21: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free. Sun 21: The Big Easy @ The White Room, Stanley. 5:00pm.
Sun 21: Ben Crosland Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 22: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 23: Nomade Swing Trio @ Newcastle House Hotel, Rothbury. 7:30pm. £10.00. Tickets from Tully’s of Rothbury or at the door (cash only). A Coquetdale Jazz event.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Goodbye Tony Curtis

Like Eddie Fisher this is one of those obituaries that doesn't really belong on a jazz blog but hey - we're talkin' here 'bout Tony Curtis. Remember him as the saxophonist in drag in Some Like It Hot? that film has got to be on just about everyone's list.
Curtis played a saxophonist in another movie - Garson Kanin's The Rat Race - he gets lured to an audition in Manhattan where the other 'musicians' send him out for coffees. When he returns they've done a runner with his alto, tenor, baritone, flute and clarinet!
He may not have been a jazzman but he was as cool as any of them.
Tony Curtis died Sept 29, 2010, aged 85.

The Gangs All Here - at Rosie Malone's

Olive Rudd (vcl), Ray Harley (tpt), Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl), Jim McBriarty (clt/ten/vcl), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Mike Humble (dms).
At last, after a summer of substitutes, the Maine Street Jazzmen were finally up to full strength.
Herbie was on form blowing gutsy trombone, wailing on harmonica - and singing. This is the enigma. Olive spent a lot of time waiting in the wings when she could have been strutting her stuff. When she did get the mike - Am I Blue?, Someday Sweetheart, possibly a couple more - the music lovers shouted Bingo!
This is nothing against Herbie - a fine chanter in his own right - or indeed Jim who crooned a tasty If I Could Be With You but my feeling lies towards the why buy a dog and bark yourself syndrome?
Ray of course blew the roof off and Jim played a rather strange coloured tenor. Mike, Humble as ever, kept it moving and Alan ensured it didn't move beyond the confines of the bar.
Good Thursday Fare oh and Bass was only £2 a pint - straight, no chaser.
Lance. PS: I almost forgot to mention, I won a bottle of Rosé in the raffle so it was in fact straight with a chaser!

Songbook, The Performers.

This is some introductory info on a course of music about the American Bands, their Arrangers and the Singers, that starts Monday and runs during the next five weeks (sorry it's this late in coming to you).
The attached describes this Adult Education course which is one of a series on the American Songbook running for several years at Sunderland's Centre For Lifelong Learning. It's held within the campus at Newcastle University.
If anyone would like to join to listen to and discuss the music they/you should phone the CLL at 0191 515 2860, ask to enrol in 'SONGBOOK, THE PERFORMERS'..... then turn up in Newcastle during any or all of the scheduled Mondays at 3:00 p.m. It carries a single fee which entitles you to attend a season of many courses for the same entry.
There's a website too:
Ron Guariento

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Customs House Big Band with Ruth Lambert @ Customs House, South Shields.

Peter Morgan (MD/bs tmb), Ruth Lambert (vcl), Gordon Marshall, Ken de Vere, Paul Riley-Gledhill, Michael Lamb (tpts). Gareth Weaver, Chris Gurgit-Smith, Mike Fletcher, (tmbs). Jill Brett (alt/flt), Elaine Willis (alt), Alan Marshall, Kim Webb (ten), Chris Kaberry (bar). Bill Britain (pno), Tom Patterson (bs gtr), Roy Willis (gtr), David Francis (dms).
This was another good concert by the ever popular Customs House Big Band who, yet again, pulled a good crowd to their home base.
The theme was show songs and we were treated to a selection of superb big band versions of some of the most well-loved tunes that began life on 'The Great White Way'.
Peter Morgan, leader and raconteur, directed the band, played ensemble bass trombone and gave much information on the background of each number.
The band itself had a couple of changes. Jim McBriarty has departed (there are just so many bands a guy can play with!) He was replaced by Kim Webb on second tenor. Kim, incidentally is the daughter of well known local jazz singer Mia Webb.
Jack the bass has gone to pastures south to be replaced by Tom the bass guitar.
Alan Marshall did the tenor solos justice with his coolish sound whilst Jill Brett not only has the lead alto pad down pat but also rattled off some good solos. Gareth Weaver took most of the trom solos although all three let rip on How High The Moon.
Mike Lamb shouldered the brunt of the trumpet solos with Paul Riley-Gledhill doing his bit on Summertime.
Bill Britain featured on Softly as in a Morning Sunrise as well as arranging September Song at a nice bouncy tempo unlike the original which I always find slightly turgid.
Alongside Bill, 'Uncle' Roy Willis and Tom Patterson provided the pulse with David Francis putting the boot in.
Too many great numbers to mention them all but, for me, perhaps the most interesting was Fascinating Rhythm which had some fascinating tempo/time changes.
MD Peter even managed to give Bebop Spoken Here a mention!
Nice one.
PS: If you're wondering why I haven't mentioned super singer Ruth Lambert it is because our Woman's Editor Ann is preparing her own take on the vocal/fashion side of it - watch this space!
Also a reminder - catch the band and Ruth for free at the open rehearsal/concert at the New Crown, South Shields, on Tuesday Oct 5 at 7:30pm.

Sefton Samuels - Jazz Legends Up Close

Jazz Legends brings together five decades of work by leading British photographer Sefton Samuels. The collection is the result of a lifetime spent by Sefton hanging around smoke-filled jazz clubs, capturing the biggest names as they performed, including Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Courtney Pine, Dizzy Gillespie, Ronnie Scott and Duke Ellington........Check him out here.
The exhibition runs from October 15 to November 26 as part of the London Jazz Festival and can be viewed at Kings Place Gallery, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG. T: 0207 520 1485.
Admission is free and Opening times are Mon - Fri: 10am - 6pm. Sat/Sun: 11am - 5pm.
Kings Place is handily situated near Kings Cross Station making it handy for anyone from 'up North'. - Lance.

Tonight @ The Customs House, South Shields...

...promises to be an evening of great music with the Customs House Big Band and popular singer Ruth Lambert. The emphasis is on 'Music From The Shows' which means they have just about every great song ever written to choose from (hopefully this will not include ALW!)
Starts at 7:30pm.
PS: Talking big bands, I've just added my doubtful skills to the Bright Street Big Band who are Sunderland based and rehearse every 2nd, 3rd and 4th Tuesday. They are currently low on trombone players so any slide-men out there looking for a reading blow let me know and I'll put you in touch.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rebecca Parris

Hilary and Zoe made a pilgrimage to Pizza Express to hear their friend and favourite singer Rebecca Parris.
As a memento of the occasion Hil sent me a link to this YouTube clip of Rebecca at Chan's.
Hil considers Rebecca to be one of the greatest singers around today and on this clip few would disagree.

Music Theory on your iPhone!

An interesting gizmo... "… an incredible tool for both amateurs and serious musicians. Anyone taking music theory or ear training courses needs this app. The competition aspect is brilliant, keeping students' interest and challenging them to become faster and more accurate." Dr. Alan Smith Chair, Keyboard Studies USC Thornton School of Music Music Theory on your iPhone! Dr. Joel Clifft, a professor in the music department at USC and APU, has created Music Theory Pro – an iPhone app for musicians or anyone who wants to learn music. His students joke, “It’s like having Dr. Clifft in my pocket!”. Beginners quickly become Pros. Users who are just learning music will be able to practice naming notes on the piano and on the staff. As they progress they will master key signatures, intervals and chords. The app provides detailed, multi-media explanations for each concept. Sharpen your ears The ear training section provides several challenges for the more advanced student. It takes a sharp ear to identify seventh chords and modal scales quickly. There is even a tempo quiz to identify beats per minute by assigning a number to a click track. Increase your skills by competing with others Various exercises propel you to higher scores, which you can post to compete for top ratings. Who will be #1 in the world this month? Could be you! Visit for more information!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gary Boyle @ Splinter @ The Bridge. September 26th.

Gary Boyle (guitar), Paul Birchall (keyboards), Bruce Reid (double bass), Jonathan Hartley (drums)
Gary Boyle last appeared on Tyneside with his then band Triple Echo some twenty years ago at a Jazz North East promotion at the Corner House. Last night at the Bridge Hotel Boyle had his current working band with him.
Paul Birchall, a longtime associate of the master guitarist, was afforded much solo space as they reworked tunes from an extensive back catalogue. The bass and drums pairing of Bruce Reid and Jonathan Hartley introduced two of the younger generation of excellent jazz musicians from the north of England. Hartley played it loud and Reid battled to be heard.
Boyle was unperturbed. Many of the tunes heard in the recently refurbished upstairs room of the Bridge were drawn from Boyle's early nineties CD Games.
Chick Corea has long been a major influence on the guitarist and it was the Scientologist's Windows that opened the programme. A key figure in Birchall's development was Keith Emerson; imagine an amalgam of Corea and the former ELP man and you get an idea of the electric piano sounds emanating from Birchall's fingers. Makeover, the ballad LP (with Hartley briefly using brushes), Beast of Burden and Mr. Forgetful all came from the aforementioned CD. Boyle's beautiful tone is instantly recognisable, unchanged from his days with Isotope. A fluent, unhurried stylist, he is a joy to listen to. Having a sound of his own is quite something having developed his craft from formative days with Dusty Springfield and Brian Auger.
The second set heralded one improvement - bassist Reid was heard to better effect. The musicians worked well as a unit but this was Boyle's platform, it was his moment in the Splinter spotlight. Peace Green, taking as its inspiration the work of Greenpeace, was dug out from way back and then it was fast forward once more for an excellent version of Angola (yet another selection from the Games CD). The select audience (with a select gathering of first rate guitarists) demanded an encore and it came in the shape of 4 Wheel Shuffle.
Next Sunday (October 3rd) at Splinter @ The Bridge: Splinter Group.

Quote of the Festival

An old lady was overheard to say, during Stan Tracey's knock-out gig,
"He was probably very good when he was younger!"
People - don't you just love them?
PS: If you're wondering where the photos are this year look forward to some expert shots from Bill Shakespeare (honest) appearing shortly.
In the meantime follow this link to LondonJazz.
Update! Click here to go to Bill Shakespeare's Flikr site with lots of Scarborough photos past and present - and a lot more.

Scarborough Jazz Festival Day Three - Evening.

Acting on Jerry's advice - he's a guy who knows which knife and fork to use at a clambake - I made my way to Beiderbeckes. Nice background music and some good jazz images on the walls but! - I was too early for the restaurant so had to make do with a Beef Baguette and salad which I must admit was succulence personified (and so it should be!)
I meandered back to the Ocean Room and was pleased to note that, despite the Festival being completely sold out, the Festival Jazz Bitter hadn't.
My Funny Valentine - Mike Maran (narrator), Colin Steele (tpt), Tom Gibbs (pno).
This was the third time I'd seen this entertaining play written and narrated by Mike Maran - the last time only a month earlier so I just about know the script - the story of Chet Baker's decline and fall - backwards.
Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it - Colin Steele's trumpet playing is always easy on the ear. Tom Gibbs on piano was new to the play but he played well.
If you still haven't seen it catch it whilst you can. I understand Mike Maran has another jazz play on the starting blocks - more later.
Alan Barnes Plays Alan Barnes. Alan Barnes (alt/bar), Robin Aspland (pno), Jim Hart (vbs), Mark Hodgson (bs), Paul Clarvis (dms).
The last session of another - the 8th - successful Scarborough Jazz Festival. Mike Gordon and his team had everything co-ordinated with military precision and it was perhaps appropriate that the finale should feature 'Barnesy' playing his own things.
Alan is a man of many talents ranging from creole clarinet on a tune called Pickles, authentic tributes to Sonny Criss and Joe Harriott and wild contemporary alto playing on the finale - then there's his sense of humour - priceless!
Not that it was all Alan. Once again Robin Aspland excelled and Jim Hart on vibes is also something else - is there a better living vibes player anywhere in the world? If there are there can't be many.
Farewell Scarborough - see you next year.

Scarborough Jazz Festival Day Three - Afternoon

Allison Neale Quartet. Allison Neale (alt/flt), Dave Cliff (gtr), Simon Thorpe (bs), Steve Brown (dms).
Another feminine triumph as the pretty and petite alto player opens up with East of the Sun. This was cool, Pepper/Desmond sax playing - West Coast (L.A.) meets East Coast (Scarborough). Imaginative, flowing lines it was as if Allison and the sax were as one. Spring is Here was another that tugged at the emotions. Throughout Dave Cliff supported and soloed effectively - those days hanging out at Blaydon and other north-east jazz joints certainly paid off!
A gem of a set.
The Magic Hat Ensemble. Steve Chadwick (tpt/cor), Andrjej Baranek (pno), Nick Blacka (bs), Tony Ormesher (bs), Rob Turner (dms).
After taking a break to have coffee with BSH regular Liz and husband Denys I returned to the fray for one of the highlights of the weekend (in truth just about every set was a highlight!) I could write reams on this one but I'll content myself with just Darn That Dream.
A wistful, ethereal almost distant opening as the cornet searches for the meaning of the dream. Beneath him the accompanying players float - they too are searching. Gradually it builds up like a train pulling away from the station. The intensity increases the whistle blows and the dream is blown apart. This is the dream to end all dreams but it's no nightmare its a journey to the Land of Oo-bla-dee and back again then suddenly it stops and we're into the lyricism we associate with this tune. Before long though we are back on board the Superchief. Pianist and guitar trade 16's - so much more effective than 4's - until they're spent and drained. Steve Chad takes it once more into wistful world before yet another crazy ride-out.
Phew! Pass the brandy.
By way of an encore they did the fastest, wildest, shortest Misty ever!
Anita Wardell Quartet. Anita Wardell (vcl), Robin Aspland (pno), Ryan Trebilcock (bs), Steve Brown (dms).
A good straight down the middle set from a fine singer. Great standards such as - What's New?, Learnin' The Blues, It's Love, Stairway To The Stars, Willow Weep For Me, You're My Thrill, The Meaning of the Blues and finally East of the Sun. Robin Aspland is an amazing pianist in a weekend that has been full of amazing pianists some of his runs and fills behind Anita surely spurred her on to her most inspired scatting.
Need some sustenance after this afternoon's fireworks.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Scarborough Jazz Festival Day Two Evening

Karen Sharp Quartet. Karen Sharp(ten), Nikki Iles (pno), Dave Green (bs), Steve Brown (dms).
You couldn't get a much better rhythm section than this nor could you find a better tenor player.
Booting the set off with Cole Porter's Get Out of Town Karen blew chorus after chorus each one building on the one preceding. This was Zoot, Dexter, Wardell parcelled up in the trim shape of one of the UK's finest and youngest tenor players Get out of town? nobody was going to leave whilst this was going on! Getz's The Dolphin was another piece de resistance that our girl took in her stride - I'm in love again!
Perched on the piano stool Nikki Iles also proved that you don't have to be a man to be a jazz master (or should that be mistress?) whatever the girls have dominated today so far - Andrea, Karen, Nikki... Of course they were ably helped on their way by Dave Green, whom Alan Barnes described as 'The Rolls-Royce of bass players and he certainly drove things along as did the ever smiling Steve Brown - I've never known anyone so happy in his work!
All I can say to sum up this set is 'Wow!'
Julian Arguelles (ten), and Brian Kellock (pno). An interesting pairing of an introvert and an extrovert as the duo opened up with a spontaneous improv in C that charged ahead like two high speed trains on a collision course and just avoiding disaster by a split-second. This was another session where the wowability factor was high!
A mix of standards - They Say That Falling in Love is Wonderful, Nancy etc with a few forearm smashes from Mr Kellock that surely would have brought a lesser piano to it's knees but the Bosendorfer Grand withstood the onslaught and, perhaps as an act of contrition, Brian atoned with some sensitive exploratory passages. It's Always You had Arguelles doing the sensitivity bit as well as interacting perfectly with the pianist. Two complete opposites blending like coffee and cream.
Dizzy's Bebop was perhaps the pinnacle played at tempo de breakneck it soared, it scored and the crowd roared.
Martin Taylor - The Spirit of Django. Martin Taylor (lead guitar), John Goldie (rhythm guitar), Alan Barnes (clt/sop), Jack Emblow (acc), James Taylor (perc), Terry Gregory (bs), Alison Burns (vcl).
This was indeed Django in spirit without being a direct copy. Mainly originals by Martin as well as a stomping Honeysuckle Rose the group swung along nicely. Apart from Martin's virtuosic guitar playing and some stellar work by Alan Barnes on clarinet and soprano one of the most impressive performances was by Jack Emblow. Now 80 year old there was nothing 'simple' about his playing he's one of those rare musicians who can turn the accordion into a jazz voice.
Talking jazz voices, Alison Burns looked and sounded every inch - sorry centimetre - a chanteuse in some café on the Left Bank. Her La Mer was la créme.
Tres Bon!

Scarborough Jazz Festival Day Two - Afternoon

Threeway - Steve Waterman (tpt/flg), Steve Lodder (pno/keys), Ben Crosland (bs/gtr). As the name implies, this wasn't a frontline horn with backing set up but a trio of equals playing lines that complemented and supported each other. Of the many highlights Secret Love with its bravura trumpet intro stood out before it was kicked upfield for the piano to carry with some fancy fingerwork before trumpet picked up the ball and ran with a triple-tongued blast that may have begun in Arban's Method For Trumpet but didn't end there! Breath-taking or to be more precise - circular breath-taking.
Annie O'Donnell described the sound of the Waterman flugel as falling dew and a lover's touch!
More from the poetic Annie later.
Tim Whitehead's Colour Beginnings. Tim Whitehead (ten), Liam Noble (pno), Pat Bennison (bs), Milo Fell? (dms).
This was an interesting project that, sadly for me at any rate, didn't work. The idea was that Tim, after spending 2 months looking at Turner's paintings in the Tate Gallery then produced his compositions/improvisations based on what he'd absorbed. The various images were flashed on the screens as he played and occasionally chanted. Sometimes the music was very good but frankly I was unable to relate what he was playing to what was on screen - maybe only he could.
As someone on a nearby table described it - "I became disengaged early on'.
Me too brother.
Andrea Vicari with Jazz ExTempore. Andrea Vicari (pno), Elvis Stanic (gtr/acc), Rico De Veer (bs), Christ Yotsov (dms). I suppose it had to come - a Croatian Elvis! However, this Elvis was the real deal jazzwise taking his Strat down many jazzlined journeys. He did so also on a 32 bass accordian. Andrea Vicari - the only English player in the quartet (drums Bulgaria, Bass Holland) - proved to be a jazz piano player of the highest quality and her dexterity, invention and harmonic depth were beautiful. I feel if anyone was going to do justice to a painting it would be this band.
An enjoyable afternoon - Festival Bitter tasted good as did the chips at Harry Ramsden's (Sorry Jerry but I couldn't face walking up the hill to Beiderbecke's!

Horn Dogs o/s Fenwick's, Northumberland Street. Saturday 25th.

Well, a welcome surpirse. The excellent Horn Dogs, led by ace trumpeter Graham Hardy, were to be found playing outside Fenwick's on Northumberland Street this morning. The main shopping street in town (the Toon's answer to Oxford Street) often has good buskers to be heard (has anyone heard the Jaco-style bass player? - he's really good) and today's Crescent City advocates made my day. I was out flyering (including one of Graham's forthcoming gigs!) and took a break to listen to the boys. It was the regular line-up with one very able dep - Dr. Steve Summers on tenor. You can hear the band in a double bill with Hardy's trio a week on Wednesday (October 6th) at the Elephant in Ashington and once again in Newcastle on Sunday 31st October at the Bridge Hotel as part of the on-going series of Splinter @ The Bridge gigs. Note to Graham: Horn Dogs Myspace page should have listed today's gig - Northumberland Street would have been packed with jazz fans!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Scarborough Jazz Festival Day One

The sea was in an unforgiving mood and the waves pounded the barriers and across the Promenade. Access to The Spa looked to be fraught with danger and I felt like one of those guys who seek the epicentre of a hurricane.
Fortunately, a kindly native attired in the fluorescent yellow beloved of his tribe guided me to the sanctuary of the Ocean Room.
On stage a different storm blew up in the form of the Nigel Price Organ Trio - Nigel Price (gtr), Pete Whittaker (Hammond C3), Matt Home (dms).
Opening with a bluesy number that got the feet tapping they moved into a Body and Soul variation that demonstrated just how good a guitarist Nigel Price is. The Trio won this year's Parliamentary Jazz Awards - at least they got that one right now if only the economy...
Another delight was Blossom Dearie's Sweet Georgie Fame - the first time I'd heard it without a vocal - it's a great tune on its own. Love For Sale done a la Stanley Turrentine/Grant Green was a lollapalooza - as Larry Hart once wrote and, apart from Nigel, had Pete taking the Hammond to the brink before handing over to Matt who displayed imagination and exquisite timing in his drum solo. A great way to start the festival and the question was - could one man follow this? Possibly only one man could and that was Ian Shaw (pno/vcl). Ian is more than a singer, more than a pianist, more than a stand-up (or in this case, sit-down) comic he is the epitome of all three and then some. The most unique voice I've ever encountered - some nights I hate it but other nights, and this was one of them, I love it. He held the audience from bar one of Stuck In The Middle With You, via such beauties as The Lady's In Love With You, Makin' Whoopee (with the immortal line Picture a little love nest - Goole! ) Then there was the song taught him by George Melly - Take Out Your False Teeth Baby - a hoot! Too many highlights to mention in detail and once again, after a Tom Waits encore, we said - follow that! Stan Tracey Trio w. Bobby Wellins (ten), Guy Barker (tpt) + Andy Cleyndert (bs), Clark Tracey (dms). This is how I like to hear Stan - in a blowing session. I love his extended works for groups of all sizes but most of all the relaxed atmosphere of a trio with two top horn men out front. It had been many years since I heard Bobby Wellins and I'm pleased to say he has lost none of his skills blowing good hard bop tenor. Guy, as ever, excelled not least on his ballad feature Old Folks. Stan too played well soloing fluently with the inevitable Monkish touches and I'm trying to recall the tune he played that's on the Monk's Dream album. It will drive me mad until I remember the title it goes 'dum, dum, dum - dum-dum, dum-dum, dum' then it's repeated maybe a third higher. Autumn Leaves had a fantastic piano intro before the horns went for it. Andy Cleyndert played great - does he ever do otherwise and Tracey fils soloed and supported soundly. A great opening day - even without Alan Barnes compering! Lance.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Scarborough Jazz Festival - Day One - Overture

Not a good start weather wise - cold and windy with squally showers. Nevertheless, I managed the drive without mishap - listening to Art Pepper's The Trip helped - and checked into my hotel which the brochure had optimistically described as being 'within walking distance of The Spa Complex' - and it would have been if I'd trained for the event.
I walked anyway proving that I'm fitter than I thought.
The Spa is undergoing renovation and the theatre of operations has been shifted to the Ocean Room which is upstairs and further along from the ballroom. Methinks 'twill be advisable to get there early tonight as good vantage points will be at a premium.
Reconnaissance completed I funicularred up to town for steak and chips in Wetherspoons. It was a tough steak and I quit midway although the chips and the ale were excellent.
Time to return to the hotel and tart myself up for tonight's concerts.
Nigel Price Organ Trio/Ian Shaw/Stan Tracey w. Guy Barker and Bobby Wellins.

Eddie Fisher - 'Inside of Heaven'

Maybe this doesn't really belong in a jazz blog but Eddie Fisher was a good ballad singer and he did begin his vocal career as a crooner with the bands of Buddy Morrow and Charlie Ventura so perhaps it is worthy of a mention.
Plus, before I discovered jazz, I used to buy Eddie Fisher records so I guess I have an excuse for feeling 'Downhearted' and any guy who could pull Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor has my admiration.
Rest In Peace.
Eddie Fisher died aged 82 on Sept. 20, 2010.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Graphic Thought on Listening Through The Noise.

The Press release from OUP re Joanna Demers book - Listening Through The Noise: The Aesthetics of Experimental Electronic Music produced a number of reactions from our readers.
Ann Alex posted her reasoned arguments against Ms Demers' theorem in an earlier post whilst here, Bill Shaw took a graphic look.
As for me - I just wish the council worker using the pneumatic drill would go about his labours in the key of C, Bb or F when I'm practising.

Champion day at Rosie Malone's

Ray Harley (tpt), Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl), Jim McBriarty (clt/sop), Steve Whitfield (keys), Tom Darbyshire (bs), Mike Humble (dms).
First the bad news - Olive is away buried deep in the Cotswolds. Husband Alan is with her and Malcolm Armstrong too is on the AWOL list.
However, Ray Harley and Herbie are back blowing with the Joie d'vivre we expect of them and Steve Whitfield is on a keyboard that sometimes sounds like a piano whilst Tom Darbyshire (or is it Derbyshire?) lays down some good stuff in the basement.
It was a great session - guy in the seat next to me thought that Darktown Strutters Ball was the best number the band had played - ever! Maybe he wasn't far wrong. Midnight Choo-Choo, before leaving for Alabam, ran it pretty close posing the question as to why there are so many great train songs - I guess it is the rhythm - you know - That clickety clack echoing back etc...
Ray and Jim produced some impromptu train noises to help the locomotive on its way.
The boozers too were in their element with Champion Ale - 5.1% - on offer at £2 a pint!
A splendid afternoon - hic!
Bebop Spoken Here's ace cartoonist - Bill Shaw (seen here with myself) - recalled his days in Art College with today's bassist Tom D who began his career back then playing on a tea chest bass.
Thanks to Charlie Craggs for the photo left.

Congratulations to Liz and Paul Bacon

Today, Liz and Paul Bacon celebrate their 32nd wedding anniversary - according to Facebook they're going out for a curry.
Liz and Paul have played all over the world with the Mississippi Dreamboats and more recently the River Band.
They are about to head south with the Rae Brothers' New Orleans Jazz Band.
Best wishes from Bebop Spoken Here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Looks as though Good Friday will be in September this year

Well it's almost here again - Scarborough Jazz Festival of course! Can it be that a year has passed already? Tempos most certainly have fugited
The Festival opens on Friday at 7:00pm with the NIGEL PRICE ORGAN TRIO. Guitarist Nigel leads Pete Whittaker on Hammond and Matt Home on drums for what should be a blistering no holds barred opener.
IAN SHAW takes over to enchant us with his unique interpretations of some well known and some not so well known pieces before bringing us to the first night closer - The STAN TRACEY TRIO with GUY BARKER and BOBBY WELLINS. With Andy Cleyndert (bass) and Clark Tracey (dms) this has to be a belter's belter!
I've heard much of Guy's trumpet in recent years but little of Bobby Wellins who has long been a favourite tenor player of mine. It will be interesting to see what Stan pulls out of the hat for this one or will we hear a previously undiscovered treasure?
Alan Barnes comperes. Someone once said, I've forgotten who*, that Scarborough without Alan Barnes' compering skills would be like Macbeth without the Prince of Denmark (Hamlet!)
Alan is as much a part of the plot as any of the players - of which he is amongst the most outstanding - and his spiel ranks alongside Humph's and Ronnie's - the keeper of the flame as regards jazz humour.
Tank's filled, oil and tyres checked, cat's in good paws - and I'm purring with anticipation...
* I've just remembered - it was me!

R.I.P. Buddy Collette

Flautist, saxophonist and much more Buddy was:
Teacher to Eric Dolphy, Charles Lloyd, Frank Morgan, Sonny Criss, and James Newton. Friend and colleague of Charles Mingus, Chico Hamilton, and Dexter Gordon. Civil rights activist. Composer and multi-instrumentalist of great beauty. Video:
Mourned throughout the Jazz World, Buddy died on September 19, 2010, aged 89.
Sadly missed,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jazz Singing - Take 25

Yes folks, the jazz singing class at The Sage has started again, with a class of about 25. It seems that everyone wants to do it. Being the first day of term there were many new singers, including 3 men. One of them is a drummer who just fancied learning singing.
There were some lovely voices and signs that some of the new people were experienced singers, but Lindsay rightly told us just to be ourselves and to do it our way so I did it my way although, of course, I didn't sing My Way which isn't a very jazzy song. We’ve made a good and challenging start, learning to count the band in - 'a one a two a one two three four' - and also trying some scat. We’ve already started on microphone techniques, which must be a bit frightening for new people, but it’s best to be familiar with the 'do's and don'ts' as soon as possible.
We were accompanied by Jeremy and Dean on guitars, which I found less straightforward than practising with the piano. In fact at one part of Horace Silver's A Song For My Father I had a strange feeling of singing in mid air and not knowing which note to sing next.
Frightening but exhilarating.
So 5 new songs to learn, including I Got Rhythm and Sweet Georgia Brown’. We’ll be having a swinging time. Ann Alex.

A Night With Sinatra - Take 2

This splendid evening presented the perfect opportunity for trainee singers to hear items from The Great American Songbook done Sinatra style, with, as Lance said, not too much cloning. Matthew Ford, listed as a baritone (I never heard Sinatra called that) sang beautifully with a very expressive face. He dressed immaculately in black jacket for the first half, then white jacket and black bow tie after the break. I especially liked the jaunty Girl from Ipanema; the sexy I’ve Got You Under my Skin and the heartbreakingly sad One for my Baby. The Northern Sinfonia was excellent and looked as if they were enjoying themselves, which shows versatility, as it definitely isn’t Beethoven. I didn’t know that a trombone could sound so sweet and tender as it did in one of the slower numbers. Yes, a Sunday evening to remember. Ann Alex

Monday, September 20, 2010

Paul Edis Trio w. Graeme Wilson @ The Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond.

Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs), Rob Walker (dms), Graeme Wilson (ten).
It was a year ago that owner Peter Wardle decided to feature Monday night Jazz Concerts at the popular Osborne Road eaterie. The first concert featured saxist Graeme Wilson with the Paul Edis Trio so it was appropriate that the same group should perform on this the first anniversary of the ongoing experiment.
I'd like to say that this momentous occasion was rewarded with a capacity crowd but, sadly, it was one of the Cherry Tree's very rare quiet nights. The sort of night that inspired those Ronnie Scott chestnuts we've all heard - The chucker-out was chucking 'em in or The band was playing Tea For One.
Not that this distracted from the quality of the food or the music - both were produced by masters of their craft. The trio opened up with The Touch of Your Lips whilst I opted for Truffled Brie de Meux, Purple Figs and Celeriac Remoulade. After that delicacy had touched my lips it seemed like the perfect blend of tune and taste.
Graeme came aboard for Isn't It Romantic? which began life in a 1932 Maurice Chevalier movie - Love Me Tonight so that when the waitress asked me if I would like mustard with my Bavette Steak Frites and Garden Leaves what else could I say but mai oui la moutarde Dijon s'il vous plait bonnie lass. Graeme was in Stan Getz mode tonight cruising beautifully through the changes - he really is one versatile tenor player.
Meditation, one of my favourite bossas, - I love the last four bars of the melody which tonight gave Paul scope for some interesting inversions before going into his solo.
The set concluded with a fast Donna Lee that was arguably Graeme's best salvo of the night. Chorus after chorus - fired relentlessly from his brain to his fingers to his sax to the world.
Like the Greengage Tart with Candied Lemon Ice Cream I wanted it never to end.
More from the boys in the second set with happy birthdays abounding, including Paul's parents, before getting down to the more demanding You and the Night and the Music, I Guess I'll Have to Change my Plan, My Heart Stood Still and the final Walkin'.
It had been a cracking night with Paul, Mick and Rob ensuring that Graeme was kept afloat.
PS: and thanks to Jerry for the photos.

Eugene Chadbourne @ The Bridge Hotel. September 19 - Take 2.

Eugene Chadbourne (guitar, banjo & vocals), Roger Turner (drums) & Andy Champion (bass ukulele) The great man, Dr.Chad, returned to Newcastle after an absence of many years to play a gig for Jazz North East and Splinter @ The Bridge.
Looking ever more the backwoodsman hillbilly or nutty professor (take your pick), Chadbourne is on tour with the great UK free jazz drummer Roger Turner.
The first set, in the upstairs room of the Bridge Hotel, featured Chadbourne's singing and virtuosic banjo playing. The often humourous lyrics are unfailingly perceptive commentaries on the absurdities of life and when the mood takes him, subtle yet ascerbic swipes at the skewed politics of Uncle Sam.
Drummer Roger Turner has shared a stage with Chadbourne on occasion over the years and did, therefore, know what to expect. Turner played his usual game - roaming the musical landscape around him, wandering off to the horizon and making the return journey in good time.
The interval came and went, the raffle prize was snared by regular modern-day jazz troubador George M., another pint of Deuchar's IPA ordered and it was time for local hero Andy Champion to join the fray.
Champion's bull fiddle lay idle as he opted to play bass ukulele. The instrument, acquired on loan for the night by the aforementioned George M., proved to be the perfect option.
Dr.Chad and Mr.C. met for the first time an hour or so before the gig yet you wouldn't have known it as the trio performed one of the great sets heard anywhere for yonks. Bluegrass, country and western, alt country, blues, swing, jazz, r'n'b, free jazz and noise by way of Beefheart, Zappa, Zorn and more - this was astonishing stuff. In case anyone doubted Chadbourne's abilities as a guitar player (some of us never have) those doubts were dispelled with a magnificent demonstration of what can be done with the instrument if you have talent and Chadbourne has it in spades.
Champion's ukeleleing was something else - this was no sitter-in doing his best to hang in there, this was an equal partner in a truly memorable three way musical conversation. Can you imagine Chadbourne doing Stardust? Well, he did. It was brilliant. Indescribable but brilliant. My gig of the year was one of those grand affairs at the Gateshead Jazz Festival. Dr.Chad at the Bridge warrants a rethink. Next week at Splinter @ the Bridge there is another 'must hear' guitarist - the great Gary Boyle (last in Newcastle several years ago at a Jazz North East gig at the Corner House). Hearing him at the Bridge should be just grand. Russell

Tonight's Musical a la carte @ The Cherry Tree

Graeme Wilson on tenor with the Paul Edis trio - Paul on piano, Mick Shoulder (bs) and Adam Sinclair (dms) promises to be a very digestible dish. Music is served from 7:45 pm. Lance.

Scarborough Update

Tickets really are going well for this year's Scarborough Jazz Festival - Sept 24/25/26. The weekend passes are completely sold out as are the tickets for Saturday evening. I understand tickets for the other two evenings are also evaperating quickly so if you haven't booked yet do so at once and avoid disappointment.

An Evening with Dr Chad @ The Bridge Hotel, Sunday 19th Sept

Eugene Chadbourne, banjo, guitar, vocals ; Roger Turner, percussion ; 2nd set: joined by Andy Champion on bass ukulele.
Imagine Ginsberg, sitting centre stage, pulling a both pleased and sneering gurning hybrid, as Captain Beefheart is pushed on in a wheelchair by Tom Waits - easier said than done! Imagine Ben from *zoviet:france* digging the country feel as Dr Chad picks his banjo with epileptic animation, occasionally combing its hair line strings to untidy setting - 'Twang!' - easier said than done. Imagine lurchers stop chasing hares in Mickley, as Roger Turner scrapes his skins with various hand cymbals and the internals from the original radar capacitor - easier said than done. Imagine 8 Chinese gongs balanced on bamboo canes as Eugene and Roger tirelessly spin our senses out from under our comfort blankets - easier said than done! Imagine your visiting aunt insists you sing her a song as you pull that face again, "I fall asleep watching a swan on a canal..." she sweetly floats away but you slyly prick her perfumed bubble with, ".... easier said than done!" We are treated to Dr Chad's esoteric poetry in songs set to this fantastical accompaniment. Everything he sings appearing like a hologram above his head as we breath in the newly decorated solvent vapours of Upstairs at The Bridge. Look, now it's an old piano that nobody knows how to play, the strings are turning rusty and the keys are turning grey. He'd rather be a mole in the ground - easier said than done ; the repetition and the hesitated timing hold us like children in his clown's spell as we ask ourselves, "Who knows the thoughts of Mary Jane?" This is unabashed progressive music cabaret ; the banjo that Dr Chad certainly knows how to play and, as we wait for AC to animate the Uke of Northumberland, who sits on a stool, we look in wonder at Eugene's single resonator guitar. This plays us into the 2nd set with added bass ukulele (thanks to Tom Johnson and Ray Cowell) providing some of Andy's favourite low notes to the best rendering of The Byrds, So You wanna be a Rock n Roll Star? I ever did hear - Cream meets Led Zep in a Berlin bar - FIGHT! I knew it was my lucky day: Dave Clarke let my great nephew George in for a fiver as Russell beamed, "You're gonna love this!" and I won a CD in the raffle - 306 to 310 for number anoraks! If you missed this gig and want the music cabaret experience of a lifetime - visit The House of Chadula through Eugene's web site for a good choice of UK gigs before he floats back to the US. Last appearance in Cardiff on 30th. Visit and spot the 11 actions - easier said than done!
Photos. George M

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Night With Sinatra - Matthew Ford w. Northern Sinfonia conducted by John Wilson @ The Sage

Northern Sinfonia augmented by: Matt Skelton (dms), Colin Oxley (gtr), Jeremy Brown (bs), Howard McGill, Mark Crooks, Luke Annesley, Ollie Wilby, Jay Craig, (reeds), Matthew Regan (pno/celeste).
As someone who thinks Frank Sinatra was 'The Voice' of my lifetime it is difficult to be objective about tonight's performance which played to a rafters packed Sage Hall One.
Matthew Ford, to my delight, didn't try to be yet another Sinatra clone but sung the tried and tested classics in a manner just far enough removed from the original to avoid comparison.
Most of the material was from 'The Capital Years' with the luscious Nelson Riddle arrangements serving as the cushion for an evening of sheer delight.
In truth, the jazz content was non-existant but it didn't matter - it wasn't a jazz audience - these were people who loved Sinatra, and quality popular music. Add the Northern Sinfonia, conductor John Wilson riding high on his Proms popularity, a fine singer and the greatest songs ever written - if this combination had failed then music as we know it would truly have died!
I'm not going to list the wonderful moments instead I'll refer you to the program posted earlier this week. However, London By Night - the Robert Farnon arrangement - really made me want to be strolling through 'Circus and Square' with someone special whilst I've Got You Under My Skin added to that feeling.
One minor quibble - John Wilson, who conducted magnificently and shared spoken intros with Matthew Ford made one tiny faux pas.
He introduced the Jimmy McHugh song Where Are You? and placed the emphasis on 'Are' rather than 'Where'!
Nitpicking I know but this was such a perfect night I wanted everything to be right - and it was 99.999%
For an encore the, I suppose, inevitable, New York, New York.
Start spreading the news...

Afternoon Delights @ the Jazz Café

Another bouncy afternoon at the Jazz Café. Having been blowing for most of the civilised hours prior with The Chilli Road Band as a sideshow to spur the Great North Runners on to absolution and because of the need to get to The Sage for A Night With Sinatra I couldn't stay long but, nevertheless, I enjoyed what I heard.
This included Lyndsay Hannon singing My Funny Valentine and Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Bay? as well as Fiona Littlrwood on My Baby Likes To Bebop. There was a really good groove going on this latter number with some blistering tenor from Stuart Findon, Eric Stutt on drums and the two-fisted Peter Gilligan on piano making up for the lack of a bassist. Alan (?) on guitar also made a strong contribution.
Earlier Sarah Travena had played some attractive tenor on Autumn Leaves. It was an enjoyable hour - I even managed to talk aeroplanes with King Keith in between numbers!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Listening Through The Noise - Some Thoughts

My main thought about this book is that the writer is genuinely trying to say something original about music, but she fails to tell me anything I didn’t already know, so I won’t be hurrying to the shops any time soon.
I imagine there are others on the blog who feel the same, and I’d love them to write something as well. Mind, my experience of electronic music is limited to what I hear on Radio 3’s nightime ‘Late Junction’ music programme, which has a good mix of world and unusual music. I usually have to turn down the cacophany of the electronic stuff.
Maybe I’m missing something. The writer wants natural sounds incorporated into music. They always have been. Classical composers included birdsong motifs in their music. They didn’t have the facilities to record the real thing, and if they had they would presumably have modified the sounds into some kind of musical pattern. Birdsong has musical elements but I think there’s a world of difference between just listening to the natural world itself and making actual patterned music from the raw material.
The writer says there are new ways of listening to music, but people have always listened to music in different ways. When Mozart was played in salons it was often just a background to people flirting and doing business deals. There was never a golden age of people listening with rapt attention. Wagner was the man who tried to get people to listen ‘properly’, by turning down the lights in the theatre.
So people today listen in many different ways, such as background music, music for dancing, or songs in folk clubs where silence is expected because you need to hear the words.
I find listening to modern jazz challenging because I don’t know whether to follow one instrument, let it all wash over me, or what, and that’s what makes it interesting.
The writer mentions the use of silence. It’s in all music already. I believe it was John Cage who wrote a piece of 4 minutes silence, but that was really a piece to question the actual nature of music and what you heard was actually the coughs of the audience and distant outside noises etc. And as for the use of feedback, Jimi Hendrix positively thrived on it!
She gives the example of what happened to painting when photography came along. After a while painting reasserted itself and it’s alive and well today, and one style of painting even copies photography. We’ve already had the same kind of discussion about literature a few years back, when the ‘death of the novel’ was predicted, but it didn’t happen. All worthwhile art forms survive, with modifications over time.
No doubt electronic music will contribute something to music generally, without too much of a revolution.
Ann Alex

Thursday, September 16, 2010


The 30th Great North Run is upon us this Sunday (Sept 19). 52,000 runners are set to cover the 13.1 miles many of whom choose to do it in fancy dress.
With at least 15 bands playing en route (including the Chilli Road Band) it is not surprising that our Cartoonist in Residence, Bill Shaw, found inspiration for this whimsical look at Sunday's event.

Bird Flies in to Rosie's.

Olive Rudd (vcl), Mike Bird (clt), Iain MacAulay (tmb/vcl), Bill Brittain (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Mike Humble (dms).
These past few weeks have been a time of change at Rosie's. This week there were no less than 3 deps - perhaps the regulars were on a Papal visit to Edinburgh - maybe!
Nevertheless, the deps were of the highest quality. Mike Bird, over from Wakefield, has impressed on previous visits and today his Goodmanesque flights were quite delightful. Exactly Like You, China Boy, There'll Be Some Changes Made, Royal Garden Blues were just some of his stand-out numbers. Alongside him Iain MacA blew tasty trombone and sang All of Me, Sweet Georgia Brown...
Sweet Olive Rudd gave out with, among others, Someday Sweetheart and Blackbird.
Bill Brittain delighted on piano, his deadpan expression belying the creativity flowing from his fingers - I bet he also plays a mean hand of Five Card Stud.
Alan R steered the ship and Mike Humble powered it.
A pleasant afternoon.
Mike Humble, incidentally, mentioned that, along with his spouse and fledglings, they have been rehearsing some Bach and hope to premiere it in South Shields on their next visit - Come Bach soon the Family Bird.
PS: A popular local cartoonist won a bottle of plonk in the raffle.

Dordogne International Jazz Summer School by Douglas Fielder.

If the accommodation is medieval and the food unexciting to say the least, why do people keep going back to the Dordogne International Jazz Summer School? It's the atmosphere and the stella jazz leaders that shamble through the week.
Check their web site to see that it is organised and lead by Andrea Vicari and Dorian Lockett with big names Mornington Lockett and Mark Lockheart and other well known musicians from the London jazz scene. The “school” is truly international and one group I was in comprised mainly Spanish and French students. The language of the school is English and the Spanish jazzers were very good and kept to the international language, except when very excited. This was my daily group of similar experience and ability. The tutors rotated through these groups so that we got a different tutor and different jazz flavour each day. These daily workshops resulted in our contribution to the evening's performance. We all ate together in a big open sided extension that doubled as the stage and bar later in the evenings. The other groupings were by jazz style which next year will include Big Band, Salsa Band, Soul Band, Mingus Band, Super Sax, and Monk Band. This year I was in Mark Lockheart's contemporary jazz group and as well as playing “free” a bit we also played some Ska and Township music. The output from these groups also get performed. One lady in Mark's group has her own Ska band back in Vienna so we were able to hear how she improvises over Ska music. Each evening, before dinner, there is opportunity to jam with others though these are often prepared groups by the students and you need to be a networker to get in them or invite others to play with you. Most musicians are willing to play with you if asked and then you just add your tune to the jam list and say if it is “arranged” or open to anyone to step up. Late night jamming is in the cave with whoever turns up. The week culminates in a grand concert where the jazz style groups perform what they have learned always finishing with the “Soul Band” and then jam until midnight. I've been two years running and I'll probably put my name down for 2011 which is booking already. There is a Dordogne Northeast Reunion which this year is being organised by Paul Grainger and will be at the Jazz Cafe on 13th November so if you want to hear what level the musicianship is and to say hello come to the Jazz Cafe concert that evening. Douglas Fielder.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Preview: A Night With Sinatra - This Sunday @ The Sage

John Wilson conductor, Matthew Ford baritone, Northern Sinfonia. Northern Sinfonia and Principal Conductor John Wilson are joined by brilliant vocalist Matthew Ford for a night with Frank Sinatra. A great way to start the new season with a bang with classic songs; 'Let's Face the Music and Dance', 'Come Fly with Me', 'Night and Day', 'The Lady is a Tramp' and 'My Kinda Town'. Watch Matthew Ford on Youtube by clicking here. The full program to whet your appetites is: Costa - Overture Berlin - Let’s Face The Music And Dance Arlen/Koehler - I’ve Got The World On A String Jones/Kahn - Swingin’ Down The Lane Coates - London By Night Suessdorf/Blackburn - Moonlight in Vermont Porter - Just One Of Those Things Van Heusen/Cahn - Come Fly With Me Duke/Harburg - April In Paris Bloom/Mercer - Day In, Day Out Van Heusen/Cahn - All The Way Porter - Night & Day Berlin - Cheek to Cheek Van Heusen/Cahn - Witchcraft McHugh/Adamson - Where Are You? Porter High Society - Overture Porter - Mind If I Make Love to You Porter - You’re Sensational Porter - I’ve Got You Under My Skin Rodgers/Hart - The Lady is a Tramp Arlen/Mercer - One For My Baby Van Heusen/Cahn - My Kinda Town It looks pdg to me. Lance. £21.50/£7.50. 7:30pm Hall One.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Crack!

Every now and then I get a lift from an unexpected source - in this case - The Crack, the online version of the popular freebie that covers music, fashions, clubs, cinema, theatre, art etc across the North East. Read on:
"Hey! This is one amazing jazz blog.How come no-one has told us about this before? It’s a local jazz blog called “Bebop Spoken Here” and is a very tasty mix of live reviews and previews featuring plenty of pics and the kind of insightful commentary that will set aficionados (or newcomers) all of a quiver. Don’t delay and click those fingers (jazz style) on the link below. Seek:"
Check out The Crack here -

Listening Through the Noise: The Aesthetics of Experimental Electronic Music

Even people who admit to being tone-deaf could once tell the difference between radio static and music. Not anymore. “We live in an era where all types of sound in art have become equally legitimate,” explains Joanna Demers, associate professor of musicology at the USC Thornton School of Music. “I don’t make this claim lightly: Electronic music has precipitated an end of music.” In a timely new book, Listening Through the Noise: The Aesthetics of Experimental Electronic Music (Oxford University Press: October 2010), Demers offers the first comprehensive assessment of electronic music and how our approach to listening has radically departed from the last 500 years. Beginning with philosopher and composer Pierre Schaeffer, who lugged a turntable engraver around Paris in the mid-20th century to record the sound of trains, Demers shows how recent experimental electronic music destroyed the conventions — such as tonality, tempo, timbre and harmony — that once helped identify music and demarcate it from the sounds of everyday life. “Even though people will no doubt continue to use the word “music,” the experience of listening will be markedly different from what it meant a century ago,” Demers says. As Demers explains, electronic music introduced the possibility that the sounds of the outside world could be treated with aesthetic consideration. Building on a “rhetoric of difference” and the work of avant-garde composers such as John Cage, experimental electronic music embraced previously undesirable sounds such as feedback, field recordings and silence. “When the framing devices of Western art music began to disappear or undergo critique, so, too, vanished many reasons for regarding music as separate from the outside world,” says Demers, author of Steal This Music: How Intellectual Property Law Affects Musical Creativity (University of Georgia Press: 2002). But in the absence of any musical parameters, how do we listen to previously nonmusical sounds, say, a recording of waves lapping on a beach? Theorists have postulated that the end of music might enable listeners to hear all sounds as if they were music. Or, conversely, we might begin to listen to sounds without context or meaning. Others offer the idea that music is no longer music at all, but a form of art incorporating sound and space. “Just as photography instigated a philosophical crisis in visual arts, so did the introduction of electricity into music making at the turn of the twentieth century change musical aesthetics forever,” says Demers, who teaches classes at the USC Thornton School of Music on intellectual property and music, hip-hop, music videos, and popular music history. In Listening Through the Noise, Demers distinguishes among types of listening: hearing, listening for meaning and comprehension, and aesthetic listening, that is, appreciating the characteristics of sound as aesthetic objects. Whereas once listening to music might have required full attention, Demers notes that aesthetic listening allows for listening in intermittent moments without beginning or end, reflecting the way many of us actually listen to popular music now, while doing other things. “While insiders still might still insist on the distinctions among various genres, outsiders might well perceive in electronic music a whole not only new musical experience but a new medium in which sound is aesthetic but not especially musical,” Demers says. “These sounds are strange in the real world, but they also succeed in making the real world strange.”
From a press release sent to me by OUP (USA) - What do you think?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Legohead @ Splinter @ The Bridge, Newcastle. September 13th.

Lloyd Wright (guitar), Jon Proud (electric bass) & David Francis (drums) The Legohead fan club was out in force last night to hear the trio play another gig in the soon to be refurbished upstairs room of the Bridge Hotel. Legohead write original material; distinctive and at times playfully quirky. The versatile David Francis develops endless rhythmic drum (and drum 'n' bass) patterns, bassist Jon Proud lays down assured Jaco inspired figures and the wizard of the fretboard, Lloyd Wright, is just that, a wizard of the fretboard.
Bunkers, Avon and From Out of the Ashes are now familiar numbers to Bridge regulars. Wright has, one could say, all the chords and more. Lyrical, swinging on occasion and a feast of fusion at his fingertips. Sometimes you get all this within a few bars, all done with panache and a smile. Broken Foot, Curve and a new tune The Fibonacci Effect drew deserved applause and the last tune of the night was the crowd pleaser Getaway Driver.
Legohead will be back at the Bridge, no doubt about it. Meanwhile, what will the refurbishment bring? Hopefully John Fitzgerald's, the pub company, will do little to the pub. The wonderful photographs of blues and r'n'b legends adorning the walls have been taken down ready for the decorators to move in. Perhaps this would be an opportune moment to think about replacing them with some images of jazz greats (regional, national and international) shot by some of the north east's best photographers. Photos from Adrian Tilbrook. Splinter @ The Bridge next Sunday (19th) features the extraordinary Eugene Chadbourne with Roger Turner and Andy Champion. Russell

Keith Nichols is Coming To a Town (or two)

Just a reminder that the wonderful ragtime and stride pianist Professor Keith Nichols will be appearing at the Saville Exchange, North Shields this Thursday (September16th) at 8.00pm with the West Jesmond Rhythm Kings. Again, please note it's Thursday, not our usual Friday, as this was the only night we could grab Keith on his travels. Also, in response to many requests, we will feature more of Keith's sparkling solo piano in this concert, as well as numbers with the WJRK. Keith first guested with the band at the High Point Hotel, Whitley Bay, back in 1990, the first of many such happy musical encounters; so we thought it would be fun to recreate that very special evening, playing most of the tunes we played on that long-ago night. The band on Thursday will be Mike Durham, trumpet; Derek Fleck, reeds; Brian Chester, trombone; Keith Stephen, banjo/guitar; Phil Rutherford, sousaphone and Pete Soulsby, drums. Hope to see you there! Mike.
For those who have an insatiable appetite for Professer Nichols he also struts his stuff on the Southside at South Shields where he appears with John Crocker at The Customs House for 'An Evening With Fats Waller' on Tuesday Sept 21, 7:30pm.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Jazz Café Ain't No Church - Hallelujah!

A cast of thousands including: Sarah Travena on tenor, Alan Law on tenor and piano, Paul Grainger (bass), Pete Gilligan (piano), Omid Ramak and Ryan Siddall, Eric Stutt (drums), Matthew Office, Mark Williams (guitars), Elaine Binney (violin), Lindsay Hannon and Sheila Robson (vocals).
The Jazz Café is the way Jazz Clubs used to be - not sitting with furrowed brows in sepulchral silence but with people actually enjoying themselves! If you want to furrow your brow go to The Sage or the City Hall.
The Jazz Café is a throw-back to a time when jazz was classed as entertainment and not some Radio 3 specialist art form. Of course we all know it is both and it is nice when the twain do meet but c'mon, tap your feet, click your fingers, accompany your applause with a hoot and a holler.
They do all this at the Jazz Café Sunday Afternoon Jam Session and I don't think the musicians minded at all. If the song required rapt attention they got it e.g. Lindsay Hannen singing But Beautiful - she also held the punters with Willow Weep For Me, Love Me Or Leave Me and quite an amazing version of Nature Boy.
Let them talk - if your solo is good enough they'll stop talking. If it's not then you'll welcome the chat to cover up that divergence from the sequence you made on bar 189.
The solos were good enough today. Apart from the usual suspects who to-ed and fro-ed we had Sheila Robson who did Billie Holliday proud with Loverman and, as I reluctantly left, Peggy's Why Don't You Do Right?
Just too many good things to write about today. So, with apologies to those I have missed out it was great.
PS: As the only bass player Paul Grainger must get a special mention for service above and beyond the call of duty!

Splinter @ The Arts Centre. Darlington Arts Centre. 11th September.

Splinter @ The Arts Centre is a new initiative from Jazz Action seeking to establish a contemporary jazz scene in Darlington. Darlington Arts Centre is a well appointed venue offering everything the jazz fan could possibly want. The Arts Centre has built a well-deserved reputation as an excellent mainstream jazz spot with every British and many American names of note stopping by over the years. The Splinter launch gig featured four of the very best of the region's contemporary bands playing across a leisurely Saturday afternoon.
Saxophonics: Keith Robinson (alto & soprano saxophones), Steve Summers (tenor & alto saxophones), Graeme Wilson (tenor saxophone) & Niall Armstrong (baritone saxophone) opened the show. The band's composer and arranger in chief Graeme Wilson arrived in good time having just flown in from a previous engagement and the quartet delivered yet another polished and highly entertaining set. Michael Mower (of Itchy Fingers fame) is a source of material for the band - Full English Breakfast and Quark were given an outing. A real delight is the 'in house' writing of Wilson; Damfino and Stranded at the Wine Bar are perfect vehicles for all four musicians to demonstrate their talents as ensemble players and equally fine soloists. As Graeme might say...Damfino. ACV: Andy Champion (double bass), Paul Edis (keyboards), Graeme Wilson (tenor & baritone saxophones), Mark Williams (guitar) & Adrian Tilbrook (drums). The indefatigable Graeme Wilson remained on the band stand as next up was ACV. Bebop Spoken Here regulars will have read George M's reviews of ACV's recent gigs in London and Glasgow. First The Smoke, then the Gorbals, then, if it is Saturday, it must be Darlo. The band in a small room - we were in the Art Centre's Garden Bar - is quite an experience. George has eloquently conveyed the majesty and power of the tunes in the set list, I need say no more other than to highlight the closing number - Without Bones - and the band's first rate musicianship. An additional thought is this: in the fortieth anniversary year of Miles' Bitches Brew, guitarist Mark Williams at times evokes John McLaughlin's playing on Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (there is no greater praise) and pianist Paul Edis conjures up the Fender Rhodes sound of Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. ACV can be heard again in the Garden Bar on November 1st - be there. Alter Ego: Keith Robinson (alto saxophone), Niall Armstrong (tenor saxophone & flute), Dave Hignett (trumpet & flugel horn), Andy Hawking (keyboards), Andy Champion (double bass) & David Francis (drums). Anything Graeme Wilson can do Andy Champion can do too (so there!). Champion stayed on to play with Alter Ego. Champion, now the permanent bass player with the band or as Keith Robinson pointed out the current occupant of the chair, really does enjoy working in this Blue Note bop ensemble. The Jazz Messengers' feel to the band is in no small part down to the excellent driving drumming of David Francis. The Bobby Shew number Red Snapper and Bobby Watson's A Wheel Within a Wheel are regulars in the pad and we also heard some Hank Mobley with Roll Call being given an airing.This was yet another good set. Claude Werner Quartet: Claude Werner (tenor saxophone), Lloyd Wright (guitar), Lawrence Blackadder (double bass) & David Carnegie (drums). This was Claude in restrained form. Guitarist Lloyd Wright, to these ears a perfect foil to the Main Man, was given much space to play. The set was a quiet affair. Claude was most certainly in reflective mood. We heard Kids, The Silence and an older Werner tune A Chant. This band is a really tight working unit. It is a pleasure to hear them each and every time. Lloyd Wright, with Legohead, can be heard tonight in Newcastle at Splinter @ The Bridge. Denizens of have some great jazz on your doorstep. Step into the Garden Bar to hear it. The next session, featuring Nick Pride and the Pimptones, is on Monday Sepember 20th (7:30 pm) - don't miss it! Russell

Maurice Summerfield on Alyn Shipton

Bebop Spoken Here contributor, Guitar Guru and author of the definitive biography of Barney Kessel, Maurice Summerfield, was interviewed by Alyn Shipton on the BBC Jazz Library radio program yesterday afternoon. Maurice discusses Barney's work as an innovator, his backing to Julie London on the Julie is Her Name album (tracks played Easy Street and S'wonderful), a trio recording with Sonny Rollins (How High The Moon) as well as some general info on Barney's early days.
Maurice's section of the program starts about 25 minutes in.

R.I.P. Tito Burns

Rather belatedly I have learned of the death of jazz accordionist Tito Burns, one of the UK's first jazz/bebop accordionists, who died on August 23 aged 89.
Tito Burns frequently won that quaint Melody Maker Poll category Miscellaneous Instruments.
I feel a particular affinity to Burns as the very first side recorded by his Sextet in 1949 was Bebop Spoken Here! The Tito Burns Sextet based its style on the Charlie Ventura Bop For The People band with vocals by Terry Devon, later to become his wife, Britain's first, and some would say best, modern jazz vocalist. Other tracks included Sloppy Joe and Lullaby in Rhythm.
He later became a successful agent in the pop and rock field.
Terry Devon is still with us - if she reads this our thoughts are with you.

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