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Bebop Spoken There

Maurice J. Summerfield: "Over dinner one night Barney [Kessel] told me about his seminar The Effective Guitarist, and in 1972 my company presented the first of twelve annual UK seminars in Newcastle upon Tyne." - (Just Jazz Guitar, September 1997)

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

15087 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 106 of them this year alone and, so far, 4 this month (Feb. 1).

From This Moment On ...

February

Sat 04: Alligator Gumbo @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm.
Sat 04: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: John Pope - Up Your Rhythm Game. £25.00. Enrol at: www.jazz.coop.
Sat 04: King Bees @ Grainger Market, Newcastle. 6:30pm (doors). Live music, comedy, DJs, food stalls. £10.00. advance, £15.00. on the door. Blues band King Bees on stage 9:45-11:15pm. A Great Market Caper event.
Sat 04: Jives Aces @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm.
Sat 04: Renegade Brass Band @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors).
Sat 04: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. £3.00.

Sun 05 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 05: Rivkala @ Cumberland Arms, Newcastle. 6:00pm.
Sun 05: Jive Aces @ Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Sun 05: Dale Storr @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 05: Jam No.13 @ Fabio's, Saddler St., Durham. Free. Durham University Jazz Society jam session. All welcome (students & non-students alike).

Mon 06: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 07: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre. 7:30pm. House trio: Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Rob Walker (drums). Jam session reverts to a first & third Tuesday in the month schedule.

Wed 08: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 08: Jam session @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 1:00pm. Free. TBC.
Wed 08: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 08: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 08: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 09: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 4:00pm (this week only). Free.
Thu 09: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. £5.00.
Thu 09: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 10: Alan Barnes w Dean Stockdale Trio @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm. £7.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 10: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 10: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 10: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 10: Alan Barnes w Dean Stockdale Trio @ Traveller's Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. £12.00.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Road to Hong Kong with Colin Aitchison Part Three

When one door closes another door opens. With Steve's blessing, my next chapter was the cruise ships. I was offered a job on the Royal Cruise Line Ship "The Golden Odyssey".  This was through Nick Ross, who still has a popular big band going on in the UK today. I was with the relief band on the ship on their Vancouver-Alaska sailing.   What a chance to get to see the world and get paid for it. The band backed up Broadway shows and cabaret acts and I must say that this was when my sight reading was at its best.  We were lucky to get one night off each month, plus band calls galore and temperamental cabaret acts. There was a fond memory of a 30 minute chat with Vincent Price on deck while in port at Nagasaki.
When the relief stint came to an end, I was asked to stay on board to join the Mike Fackrell band (Pictured) as their trumpet player. It was during one of the Golden Odyssey's Asian Cruises that I happened to be in Singapore and became friendly with piano player Paul Gostelow. He asked if the band would be interested to take up a 6-month residency in Taiwan. Whether it was my Geordie accent or my poor geography .. I do not know. I urged our the bandleader Mike Fackrell to contact Paul asap as we had a fantastic chance to work at a nightclub in Thailand! It was paradise. After a 10 minute conversation, Mike called me into the room. I will never forget Mike's face and his words .."Colin my boy, you got your "T's" mixed up".The job offer is for Taiwan not Thailand !!
So in 1987, the band left the ship we went on to work in Taipei, Taiwan.  It was a 6 month contract at a nightclub.  It was a little like going back to the days of the speakeasy but more on the posh side and very shady. The drummer in our band was Steve Rushton who went on to take Ronnie Varrells place in the Syd Lawrence orchestra. When the 6 month contact came to and end. most of us decided to stay on in Asia, and Taiwan was a good a place as any to start.
In the 1980's Taiwan was a bit like the wild west. I boldly decided to form my own band. With a Canadian trumpet player Tom Shorthouse, and some local talented Filipino musicians we called ourselves "Foreign Affairs". I played the trombone with this band. Our repertoire was some jazz, pop and slapstick comedy. The locals loved it.  I also formed a Dixieland Band "The Ploughman Stompers" plus the "Tom Colin's Big Band" for the Farmhouse pub for Sunday afternoon jam sessions. The music scene was lively and the bands were very much in demand. Life was good.
It was here in 1988 that I met my lovely wife Jeannie who is from Singapore, but was working in Taiwan at The Ritz Hotel. She tried often to book bands for events at the hotel.
On one of the Farmhouse Jam Sessions I met Hong Kong  bandleader Ken Bennett of The Kowloon Honkers. They were the Resident Band at Ned Kelly's. Ken also managed three bands at Ocean Park. Ken made an open offer that  if I’m across on a visa run or holiday, I could perhaps stand in for him when he was on holiday?  It was another door and another option.  The visa situation in Taiwan was slowly but surely becoming uncomfortable, as the authorities were starting to clamp down on illegal workers. Yet there was no official way to get a work permit! After 6 years I was once again at a crossroads. To go back on the cruise ships (for a New Orleans and Amazon cruise) or to keep my feet on dry land and take a chance for a 2 month summer season in Hong Kong. I decided for Hong Kong, which was then a British Colony
I moved to Hong Kong in 1993, and Jeannie followed a few months later after completing her contract. It was fairly easy for her to get a job in one of the many hotels in Hong Kong.   My first summer in Hong Kong saw me working for Ken Bennett's German Oom-pah band in the daytime, and some Sunday nights at Ned Kelly's. At the end of the summer, it was odd gigs here and there. Jeannie was still in Taiwan completing her contract. I was a stranger in Hong Kong, trying to find a start.
It was my good fortune to meet up with Lt-Col David Kerr who was the CO at the Royal Logistic Corps in Hong Kong. He suggested that with the imminent handover in 1997, more units were being disbanded and it would be a great spot for a small. mobile and affordable band.  Hence in 1993, our quartet "The China Coast Jazzmen" was formed.  There were numerous events over the next 4-5 years and the band made quite a name for itself. 
It was somewhere during this period (1994-5) when I was once again offered a cruise of a life time - a chance to join the old band for a 2 month South American cruise on the SS Rotterdam. It was a lovely old steamship. It was a memorable trip, and where I had a chance to meet Buddy Greco and have a good chat about his days with Benny Goodman. Jeannie ran the business and the bands during my absence and kept things afloat.
With the handover approaching, Ken Bennett decided to leave Hong Kong. It was now my time.  That year, I was asked to be the full time bandleader at Ned Kelly's. It was also the year when our tender to supply bands to Ocean Park was accepted. Added to that, the Peninsula Hotel found our old folio (from a couple of years before) and I was asked if we could supply a quartet for their lobby.  1997 was a good year!
Colin.
Link to Part One.
Link to Part Two.

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