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Bebop Spoken There

Greg Osby: “I have my own style, my own attitude, my own opinions about things. I'm not a follower". DownBeat, February, 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.


16221 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 103 of them this year alone and, so far, 47 this month (Feb. 18).

From This Moment On ...

February 2024

Wed 21: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 21: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 21: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 22: Student Performances @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 4:00pm. Free. Inc. Remi Coulthard-Boardman (voice).
Thu 22: Crooners @ Darlington Hippodrome. 7:30pm. £30.00., £27.00., £24.00., £18.00.
Thu 22: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 22: Soznak @ The Schooner, South Shore Road, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Thu 22: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests Kevin Eland (trumpet); Josh Bentham (sax); Garry Hadfield (keys); Ron Smith (bass).

Fri 23: Mark Williams Trio @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 23: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 23: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 23: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 23: Salty Dog Trio @ The Greenhouse, Tynemouth. 7:00pm. £8.00. (£6.00. adv.).
Fri 23: Crooners @ The Maltings, Berwick upon Tweed. 7:30pm. £30.00., £28.00.
Fri 23: Strictly Smokin' Big Band w Dennis Rollins @ Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Sat 24: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm (doors). Free (donations). A Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra event, all welcome.
Sat 24: Bradley Creswick’s Western Swingfonia @ Hexham Abbey, Hexham. 7:30pm. £15.00. A fundraiser for Hexham Abbey.
Sat 24: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 25: Musicians Unlimited @ The Park Inn, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 25: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:30pm. Free.
Sun 25: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 2:30pm. Free.
Sun 25: Lindsay Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man + Lee Maddison @ Laurels, Whitley Bay. 4:00pm (3:30pm doors). £11.00., £8.80. inc. bf. SOLD OUT!
Sun 25: Bex Burch + Rachel Musson @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £11.00. Two solo performances. JNE.
Sun 25: Jazz Jam @ Fabio's, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 26: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 27: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm (7:00pm doors). £12.00., £10.00. (adv.).

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bob Belden Unveils a Dark Narrative of Manhattan On Second Animation Project for RareNoise Records

(Press release)
Following on the heels of Animation’s 2010 RareNoise debut, Asiento (the group’s live take on Miles Davis’ 1970 fusion landmark, Bitches Brew), and 2011’s Agemo (a radical remix of the six tracks from Asiento utilizing the new 3D60 surround sound technology), saxophonist-composer-bandleader Bob Belden tells his own story on Transparent Heart. With his new Animation lineup consisting of young students he recruited from his own alma mater, the University of North Texas (23-year-old keyboardist Roberto Verastegui, 24-year-old bassist Jacob Smith, 32-year-old trumpeter Pete Clagett and 19-year-old drummer Matt Young), Belden unveils a dark narrative of Manhattan as seen through the musical diary he has composed over 29 years of living in the Big Apple.
An imposing electronic noir masterwork, Transparent Heart travels from Belden’s initial awestruck impressions of New York City (“Terra Icognitio”) to his feelings of foreboding (“Urbanoia”) and hope (“Cry in the Wind”) as a city dweller on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, to the pervasive angst of post-9/11 Manhattan (“Seven Towers,” “Provocaterrorism”). He also addresses the mass exodus of artists from the city (“Vanishment”) and concludes his musical memoir with the clash of the social classes manifested in the Occupy Wall Street movement (“Occupy!”). Drawing on elements of electronica and the prevailing influence of Miles Davis’ turbulent post-Bitches Brew electric phase, Belden has concocted a powerful, provocative suite of music that is charged by the intensely driving, highly intuitive playing of his energetic young Animation bandmates.
This record is not a jazz record, it’s about my life in Manhattan,” says the Grammy Award-winning composer-arranger-producer. “And things have been very tense here since 9/11. In essence, the music on Transparent Heart is a reflection of that, and not of jazz tradition or jazz history. So what you have here is a way of looking at Manhattan through music.”
Belden explains that the concept for Transparent Heart has been in the making for more than 30 years. “My first trip to Manhattan came in 1979 when I was with Woody Herman’s band. I’ll never forget seeing all the tall buildings and how they created a canyon effect. That’s ‘Terra Incognito.’ Then after moving here in 1984, I lived in a hardcore neighborhood where you look out your window every day and you see somebody selling a piece of clothing that they stole to buy a rock of crack, you see women prostituting themselves or children selling drugs on the street because their mommy and daddy need the money to buy crack. And you hear about people getting stabbed and killed in your neighborhood all the time. That’s ‘Urbanoia.’”
“Cry in the Wind,” with Clagett’s muted trumpet carrying the melancholy theme, comes directly from another personal experience. “One night I was sitting at home – my studio apartment was on the ground floor of the building I lived in – and I heard the voice of a woman crying for help. So I took my phone out there, saw this woman who had apparently just been stabbed, and called 911. I asked her, ‘Can I help you?’ and she reached up and grabbed my hand and wasn’t going to let go until the ambulance got there. I was able to help this woman live because I cared. So this tune is about hearing the cries in the wind that you hear all the time in the city. There’s always somebody here in desperate need of help. And you can hear that extreme sense of loneliness and helplessness in this song.”
The darkly propulsive title track echoes the hard-hitting production that Bill Laswell brought to Herbie Hancock’s 1983 hit single “Rock It.” As the native of Goose Creek, South Carolina recalls, “When I moved to New York City, I was totally into Laswell and was experimenting with multiple drum machines and making demos that were using that robotic kind of drum sound. And nobody in jazz dug it at all. They hated Laswell, they hated ‘Rock-It,’ so they thought I was an idiot. Over time I reshaped the underpinning of the song. I recorded it with Joe Chambers a year and a half later, then we recorded it in 2000 with Tim Hagans and now we just recorded it again with this edition of Animation.”
“Seven Towers” is Belden’s reaction to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. But as he points out, “9/11 wasn’t just about the Twin Towers, there were seven towers there that were affected. And this tune recreates my own timeline of 9/11, from the time I was first aware of it to the time when the second plane hit the South Tower. I was there. I watched it happen downtown and have video footage that I shot. So in a sense, it’s a real personal, autobiographical piece. It starts with the NORAD radio broadcast, where they’re trying to determine what that object is in the air. They call the Pentagon to find out, and it turns out that it’s an airplane that has struck the North Tower. And you hear the NYPD and NYFD respond. It’s very haunting.”
“Provocaterrorism” deals with the immediate aftermath of 9/11. “A lot of the small businesses that were so dependent on the whole World Trade Center complex just died after the terrorist attack. It was the beginning of a Darwinian approach to economic survivability in Manhattan. And ‘Vanishment’ refers to the exodus of artists and musicians who couldn’t afford to live there anymore to a point where the localized creative culture in Manhattan is gone now. There are people now who work here in the clubs but who don’t live here. And you have this influx of college students who have no real attachment to the city. So suddenly, the Manhattan of post-9/11 is very different from the Manhattan that existed when I moved here in 1984.”
The final track, “Occupy!,” is the most intense and harrowing of Belden’s musical memoir. His turbulent ode to the Occupy Wall Street movement is imbued with the sounds of screams and violence in the streets during clashes between protesters and police. “All the crazy social engineering and social displacement in Manhattan is summed up in the occupy movement,” he explains. “These are people who are angry and frustrated and they have nowhere else to address their grievances, so they take to the streets. They are essentially declaring war on Manhattan. And the other occupy movements in other cities are declaring war on Manhattan in absentia.”
For Belden, Transparent Heart is his method of using music as a tool to get people to think about social issues. “Why can’t music be returned to its place as a social engineer or a reflection of society that might provoke thought? That’s in the great tradition of Wagner, Debussy, Satie, Copland. Stravinsky was a provocateur. Shostakovich is my role model for this because he was able to put into music the terror of the Soviet empire. That’s where I’m coming from. This record is not about tunes and solos and arrangements, it’s a way of telling a story that has something to do with my life.”
Adds the acclaimed producer, “What I learned from doing Miles From India (2008) and Miles Español (2011) is that I’m not Indian and I’m not Spanish. And I can’t tell Miles’ story anymore. With  Black Dahlia (2001) I was telling Elizabeth Short’s story. Transparent Heart is my story.”
Animation will be returning to the UK in late September to play more  live dates,  they recently played  various shows in  London,  where they received critical praise from both the media and public. . This included an “Ambisonic” presentation, which will be repeated again.   The  UK’s leading Jazz magazine, Jazzwise stated that the “Ambisonic live experience  is a taste of things to come in the live jazz arena as the sound of Belden’s sax, keyboards or spoken word samples were pinged around the eight specially positioned speakers that surrounded the audience.”
 Transparent Heart  new studio album released September 25th.

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