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Farewell Blues

R I P Terry Shannon - November 5, 1929 - October 29, 2022
R I P Oliver Soden - ? - November 6, 2022
R I P Top Cat Daphne - ? - November 24, 2022.
R I P Louise Tobin - November 11, 1918 - November 26, 2022

Bebop Spoken There

Michael League: "We flew back from Europe, and the second gig we [Snarky Puppy] did was in Arcata, California. There were two people. And one of them was the bartender." - (DownBeat December, 2022)

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!"

Postage

14836 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 1085 of them this year alone and, so far, 84 this month (Nov.28).

From This Moment On ...

November

Tue 29: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, Rob Walker.

Wed 30: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 30: Castillo Nuevo @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 6:00pm.
Wed 30: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 30: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 30: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

December
Thu 01: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 01: New York Jazz Night feat. Zoë Gilby @ The Keys, Yarm. 7:00pm. £30.00. (inc. meal). Tickets from Skiddle. Gilby w. Noel Dennis, Mark Williams & Andy Champion.
Thu 01: Bold Big Band @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Cluny 2.
Thu 01: Paul Skerritt Duo @ Tomahawk Steakhouse, High St., Yarm. 8:00pm. Paul Skerritt & James Harrison residency.
Thu 01: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 02: Swing Manouche @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm. £7.00.
Fri 02: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 02: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 02: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 02: Helen Walker (French horn/trumpet) & Caroline Guirr (piano) @ St. Andrew's Church, Corbridge. 2:00pm. Duo concert by two members of 'The Wild Women of Wylam'. Part of the annual Christmas Tree Festival.
Fri 02: Durham University Big Band + Durham University Jazz Orchestra @ Kingsgate Bar, Durham Students' Union, Dunelm House, Durham. 7:00pm. £3.00. & £2.50. Fundraiser for Coppafeel.
Fri 02: Niffi Osiyemi Trio @ The Vault, Hexham. 7:30pm.
Fri 02: Alligator Gumbo @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm. Xmas party.
Fri 02: Struggle Buggy's Almost Xmas Party @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free (donations). Blind Pig Blues Club.

Sat 03: Jake Leg Jug Band @ St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. £10.00.
Sat 03: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Liane Carroll. £25.00. Enrol at: www.jazz.coop.
Sat 03: Castillo Nuevo @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 6:00pm.
Sat 03: Remi Harris & Tom Moore @ Amble Parish Hall, Northumberland. 7:30pm.
Sat 03: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. Xmas party.
Sat 03: Ray Johnson, Richard Herdman & Jude Murphy @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free (donations).

Sun 04: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 04: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 04: Remi Harris & Tom Moore @ Bowes & Gilmonby Parish Hall, Co. Durham. 7:30pm.
Sun 04: Liane Carroll @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00. adv., £12.00. door.
Sun 04: Let Spin + Ceitidh Mac @ Bobik's, Punch Bowl, Jesmond, Newcastle (8:00pm).

Mon 05: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 06: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Durham. 7:00pm. Free (table reservations 0191 386 5556). Feat. Johnny Murphy (keyboards).

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Latest Releases From Babel

Nick Smart's Trogon - Tower Casa. 
Dominic Lash Quartet Opabinia
Alexander Hawkins Ensemble Step Wide, Step Deep
Alexander Hawkins Song Singular
Raymond MacDonald & Marilyn Crispell Parallel Moments
(Reviews by Russell).
Nick Smart's Trogon - Tower Casa. 
Nick Smart (trumpet & flugel), Chris Montague (guitar), Kishon Khan (piano), Denny ‘Jimmy’ Martinez (electric bass), Dave Hamblett (drums) & Pete Eckford (percussion)
Tower Casa is the début release on the Babel Label of trumpeter Nick Smart’s Trogon. The CD’s publicity material suggests ‘Call it World Jazz, if you like’. Trogon, the band, is named after the national bird of Cuba and Smart has assembled a ‘Latin-infused’ sextet to help him ‘tell you tails of sunshine, passions and exotic journeys’. The first three tracks – Tower Casa, Kind Folk and Todi Or Not Todi – set off in the direction of Havana at a mid-tempo rate of knots. Smart’s ballad Candela (accredited ‘Traditional’) shines brightly, beautiful playing all round, more ‘jazz’ than overt Latin textures. Stan Sulzmann’s Round The Round It All and Everybody Else’s Song (comp. Kenny Wheeler/Nick Smart) reinforce the jazz credentials of the sextet; Chris Montague’s considered guitar playing is a joy (hearing him live confirms this), drummer Dave Hamblett and Pete Eckford (percussion) bag the Afro Cuban rhythms alongside the reassuring presence of  bassist Denny Martinez. Pianist Kishon Khan’s light, exuberant contribution is key to Tower Casa’s forward momentum. Smart – trumpet and flugel – gleefully hitches a ride aboard the musical clipper Trogon on it’s journey from cosmopolitan London to sub-tropical Cuba. Tower Casa is released on the Babel Label (CD and download), 2013 – BDV13129 on February 24.             
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Dominic Lash Quartet Opabinia
Dominic Lash (contrabass), Alexander Hawkins (piano), Ricardo Tejero (tenor saxophone & clarinet) & Javier Carmona (percussion)
Opabinia is the debut CD release as sole leader by Dominic Lash. The double bassist emerged from the influential Oxford school of improvisers, relocated to London then upped sticks for a while, throwing himself into the furnace of New York’s Downtown scene. He survived (positively thrived on) the experience, returned to London and set about recording Opabinia. The title of the CD and some of the tracks on it are named after creatures from the Middle Cambrian (in geology a period some zillion years ago). The music heard is of the present, at times digging down into the sub-strata of history (musical or geological). The musicians assembled by Lash are confrères and familiar names to those with an interest in the international improvised music scene. Pianist Alexander Hawkins is co-leader with Lash of the trans-Atlantic Convergence Quartet, Javier Carmona (percussion) has performed and recorded with Lash and Hawkins and Ricardo Tejero (sax/clarinet) has been on the London scene for a decade and more. Ten tracks offer great variety; the opening Isthmus delivers an improv statement – terse, introspective, the second two-part composition Waiting for Javier/Luzern surprises – a post bop Mingus workshop blowing affair supplanted by a wonderful full-on improv assault (Tejero’s angry tenor, Carmona’s responsive, argumentative percussion, Hawkins and Lash largely bystanders). Tone poems – including Hallucigenia and Wixwaxia – separate/link the compositions throughout. The all too brief Azalpho (Hawkin’s piano suggests a stroll in the park), Tejero’s tenor on Halt the Busterman evokes Roland Kirk’s loose, rhythmic feel and Double File returns to a contemporary classical mode. The album concludes with Piano Part Two/Catachretic, veering from bleak statements to contrasting swing sections. Opabinia is a first class statement of the current improv scene. Opabinia is available on the Babel Label (BDV13122) from February 24 in CD format and download. A recommended purchase and should gigs be announced make sure you get along to one of them.    
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Alexander Hawkins Ensemble Step Wide, Step Deep
Alexander Hawkins (piano), Dylan Bates (violin), Otto Fischer (guitar), Shabaka Hutchings (clarinet & bass clarinet), Neil Charles (double bass) & Tom Skinner (drums & percussion)
Pianist Alexander Hawkins has reshuffled his sextet eighteen months on from the release of the brilliant All There, Ever Out. The one survivor is guitarist Otto Fischer, the new recruits all familiar names on the contemporary jazz scene. Violinist Dylan Bates invites comparison with Leroy Jenkins and Ornette Coleman, Fischer’s sonic explorations place him left field and Shabaka Hutchings’ clarinet traverses any perceived jazz boundaries, moving effortlessly from improv to straight ahead settings. Bassist Neil Charles (Zed-U, Mingus Big Band) plays a major part on this album standing firm when all hell breaks loose on tempestuous freer sections (Step Wide, Step Deep – Space of Time Danced Thru and Listen/Glow) or with a light hand on the tiller navigating the calmer waters of the weary Township blues Advice. Percussionist Tom Skinner switches styles with casual facility – free, groove, swing – inviting Bates, Fischer and Hutchings to venture off in new directions. Mastermind Hawkins plays when he chooses, often content to let the ensemble develop a theme. When Hawkins plays, he plays! Seemingly with the history of jazz piano at his fingertips, the compositions on this new CD make exacting demands on the musicians and all demonstrate they are up to the mark. Art Ensemble, Braxton, Convergence Quartet…Alex Hawkins. If there is a finer pianist of his generation this reviewer wants to hear her/him! Step Wide, Step Deep is available from February 24 on the Babel Label on CD (BDV13124) and as a download.  
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Alexander Hawkins (piano)
Pianist Alexander Hawkins composes for quartet (co-leading Convergence Quartet) and his Ensemble sextet. Song Singular hears Hawkins explore his compositional ideas in a solo piano project documented on the Babel Label. Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton and Charles Ives are declared influences and Ellington and Tatum, as composers and pianists, are evidently of more than a passing interest. The ten tracks on the album develop from a compositional idea, none freely improvised. The opening piece – The Way We Dance It Here – references the percussive Taylor, Early Then, M.A. is a pastoral contrast, Take the A Train is respectful yet playful and Unknown Baobabs (Seen in the Distance) perhaps recalls an encounter with a new world as Hawkins splashes vivid colours onto a canvas prepared by Abdullah Ibrahim. The improvisations are rich in invention; dense, taut, sparse, all approached with dazzling technique. The CD’s publicity suggests Hawkins is the youthful heir to Taylor and Tatum. A bold claim, but on listening to Song Singular and having heard Hawkins in concert, there is validity to the argument. Is Alexander Hawkins the successor to Stan Tracey? On this evidence he could be. Song Singular is released on February 24 on Babel BDV13120.              
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Raymond MacDonald (alto & soprano saxophones) & Marilyn Crispell (piano)
Raymond MacDonald and Marilyn Crispell met for the first time in Gateshead at the now discontinued Jazz North East On the Outside festival. Their empathetic music making and personal chemistry set in place an enduring performance and recording relationship. Parallel Moments is a statement of their recent duet collaborations. Recorded in 2010, the CD reveals their improv conversations (the Atlantic a mere physical barrier) as highly developed, intuitive encounters. Scot MacDonald’s mastery of his instrument is clear, enabling him to explore the delicate, then in an instant, charge headlong into a circular breathing tempest, then spent, silenced. Crispell instinctively plays an apposite chord, a chord cluster, a single note into a listening silence (Longing and the title track Parallel Moments). The American’s avant credentials (Anthony Braxton) are to the fore on the title track and she is matched every step of the way by MacDonald (co-founder of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra). MacDonald’s sound – alto or soprano – is imbued with a blues feel (a rare commodity in the world of free jazz), perhaps more Chicago than Glasgow. Raymond MacDonald and Marilyn Crispell lead separate personal lives, perhaps parallel lives in their performance art and when they meet, in concert (their 2013 Newcastle performance was this reviewer’s gig of the year) or the recording studio something magical occurs. Parallel Moments is released on the Babel Label (BDV13125) on February 24.                                    
                       

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