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Bebop Spoken There

Greg Abate: "So many sounds are ugly now. There are no harmonics, no chords. What do people hear these days? Why do things have to change from that good music?" (JazzTimes June/July 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:"Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"

Postage

14378 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 597 of them this year alone and, so far, 2 this month (July 2).

From This Moment On ...

July

Sat 02: Hot Fingers @ St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. £10.00.
Sat 02: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor Steve Glendinning: Latin jazz. £25.00. Enrol at: www.jazz.coop.
Sat 02: Talk: Storytelling & jazz as an expression of urban life @ The Exchange, North Shields. 1:45pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sat 02: The Commandments + On Parole @ The Exchange, North Shields. 2:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event. Rhythm & blues.
Sat 02: Geordie Jazz Man @ The Exchange, North Shields. 5:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event. Screening of Abi Lewis’ documentary film about Keith Crombie & the Jazz Café.
Sat 02: The Delta Prophets Trio @ The Exchange, North Shields. 6:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event. Rhythm & blues.
Sat 02: Swing Manouche @ Claypath Deli, Durham. 7:00pm.
Sat 02: Swung Eight & King Bees @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event. Swing dance + ace Chicago blues band.
Sat 02: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Greenside Community Centre, Ryton. 7:30pm.
Sat 02: Patrick Cromb @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 03 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 03: Smokin’ Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm.
Sun 03: Ruth Lambert & Martin Craggs @ The Exchange, North Shields. 2:00pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: Abbie Finn Trio @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: Wild Women of Wylam @ The Exchange, North Shields. 4:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 5:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: Jazz Jam @ The Exchange, North Shields. 6:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: Jeffrey Hewer Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 04: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Wed 06: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 06: Michael Bublé @ Durham County Cricket Club, Chester le Street. Doors: 5:00pm.
Wed 06: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 06: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 06: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 07: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 07: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 3:00-5:00pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 07: Lara Jones + Echo Juliet @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 07: Thursday Night Prayer Meeting @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free admission (donations).
Thu 07: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 07: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 08: Alex Clarke Quartet @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm. £7.00.
Fri 08: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 08: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 08: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.

Sat 09: Jazz Stage @ Mouth of the Tyne Festival: Zoë Gilby Duo (12 noon); Vieux Carré Jazzmen (1:35pm); Harmony Brass (3:10pm); Ruth Lambert Quartet (4:40pm). Outdoor stage adjacent to Tynemouth Priory.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival (Day 3) @ North Shore. March 8

(Review by Russell).
International Women’s Day. Six hundred plus musicians over three days at Sunderland’s Great North Big Band Jazz Festival, and, without doing a head count, a guesstimate of at least three hundred of the musicians being female, the North Shore event is an exemplar in participation for all. Day three crammed in more big band music than any sane person would consider attempting to organise. Festival Director Bill Watson and his merry band of helpers aren’t sane – they’re big band fanatics!
Ten o’clock Sunday morning. Another big band workshop – the educational aspect of the music world; the tutoring, the mentoring, instilling a life-long love of the music. Today’s competition programme split into two parts – schools and youth. Five school bands from near and far went into battle hoping to take home a National Glass Centre-commissioned trophy and a modest financial reward.
Four of the bands had travelled a distance and one of the ensembles from west of the Pennines – Altrincham Grammar School for Boys Swing Band – were first up. Conducted by Colin Myers, the Altrincham boys had, in fact, taken up residence in Sunderland University student accommodation for the whole weekend. Their Friday evening performance stood them in good stead and they were on the case from the get-go. At the conclusion of their four number set, consensus of opinion was they would be hard to beat.
Another band from the north west – Bolton School Jazz Band – tackled four pieces including one by the ubiquitous big band composer Gordon Goodwin. Mask of the Chilli Pepper (comp. Beach and Shutak) featured strong solos (trumpet and saxophone). MD Fiona Berry was, no doubt, satisfied with her charges’ efforts.
Whitworth Park School Big Band (MD Victoria Seymour) from County Durham included Jumpin’ at the Woodside and Blues in the Night. Whitworth Park is a developing band and no matter that they were short on numbers (the saxophone section comprised a lone tenor player), they gave it their best shot.
Previous winners St Aidan’s Swing Band travelled up the A1 from Harrogate with a talented squad looking to regain their title. MD Vicki Elliott submitted a four-tune set including Bye Bye Blackbird and TWA (Trumpets with Attitude). The North Yorkshire band usually boasts a strong trumpet section and the 2015 contingent maintained the tradition.
The final band up for scrutiny was the 2014 title-winning Shropshire outfit Abraham Darby Academy Jazz Band. The academy school runs several ensembles – wind, brass, classical chamber, jazz and others. An enviable set-up. Such is the quality of musicianship the band recently toured North America and dropped in at Carnegie Hall to perform in concert (as you do!). This North Shore engagement featured a thirteen-strong reeds section and lost nothing in terms of focus and clarity. MD Tom Gledhill (and his absent co-MD Doug Bill) was surely delighted with the band’s dynamism, particularly the startlingly good Gordon Goodwin chart Hunting Wabbits.
Adjudicators Paul Jones and Mick Donnelly observed that the standard of this year’s bands was the highest yet heard at the Sunderland event.
Adjudicators’ Award: Bass guitar, Bolton School Jazz Band
Adjudicators’ Award: Amber Skoropinski (tenor saxophone) Whitworth Park School Big Band
Adjudicators’ Award: Abraham Darby Academy Jazz Band for Hunting Wabbits
Adjudicators’ Award: Soloists on Mask of the Chilli Pepper Bolton School Jazz Band

Most Entertaining Programme: Altrincham Grammar School for Boys Swing Band
Best Section: Brass Section, St Aidan’s Swing Band
Best Soloist: Tom Knowles (piano) St Aidan’s Swing Band
Best Band: Altincham Grammar School for Boys Swing Band  

Altrincham Grammar School for Boys Swing Band took to the stage once more, this time with Paul Jones squeezing into the saxophone section, to play a celebratory tune – and what a tune! Pharrell Williams’ Happy. Never has there been a more appropriate title. Jones enjoyed listening to his new-found band mates and they in turn (the altoists in particular) couldn’t stop smiling as the BBC Big Band alto star made everyone HAPPY!
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The Youth Section attracted ten bands. The Tyne Valley Youth Big Band, buoyed by the success of the senior band in yesterday’s Open Section event, performed with verve. Birdland and the Youngblood Brass Band’s Brooklyn bookended a great set. MD Dave Hignett has really got the Tyne Valley buzzing with talented musicians beating a path to the band’s Hexham rehearsal base.
Jambone, based at Sage Gateshead, made their debut at Sunderland this weekend. Following a period of change for Jambone, MD Paul Edis is slowly, but surely, filling vacant chairs in the band. Enthusiasm and talent is pulling the band through, with Echoes, one of four numbers heard, a standout success. Musicians of the calibre of Bradley Johnston (guitar) will ensure a bright future for the band.
Durham County Youth Big Band dug deep into the music’s foundations with Lennie Niehaus’ Looking Back (muted trumpets). Thomas McDonald (trombone) performed confidently on Sunflower and the ensemble examined The Creep having worked on it in a workshop with multi-instrumentalist Al Wood. Vocalist Lottie Evans sang the popular  Skyfall – a difficult tune, performed very well by Ms Evans. MD Shaune Eland has yet another crop of promising young musicians to work with.
MD Seam Miller stayed on having directed Huddersfield University Big Band the previous day to conduct another of his bands, previous winners, Hull Youth Jazz Orchestra. Harold Arlen’s I’ve Got the World on a String and Jumpin’ at the Woodside showcased a classy, swinging band.
Tyneside’s Paraffernalia once again supported the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. This year’s entry included Hard Bargain and Horace Silver’s Song For My Father. All sections were called upon to offer s soloist and all cut the mustard – Alex Williamson (trumpet), Cameron Barker (trombone), Ben Gorman (alto sax) and Nathan Lawson (guitar). MD David Blakey is lucky to have more than one drummer to call upon (young Dylan Thompson sitting in on one number). This was another successful outing for the band. They’re certain to return.
Scarborough’s EASY Youth Jazz Orchestra featured Round Midnight with a measured trombone solo by Adam Quilter. Big bands often feature vocalists but it is a rarity to hear a male singer. The band’s joint MDs – Nigel Blenkiron and Ralph Alder clearly has confidence in Andrew Williams singing Cry Me a River. A difficult tune sung with steely nerve.
KMS Shelley Music Centre Big Band turned up with eleven saxophonists and a vibes player (big band bus, no doubt). MD Simon Mansfield put together a cracking set – The Jazz Police, Mi Corazon, Watermelon Man and, a real highlight – Stolen Moments (flugel Rafi Siraj, vibes Alistair Maitland).
Title holders Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra came to Sunderland determined to win again. Sharp suits, ties, they looked the business. Frank Mantooth charts were prominent in the band’s competition entry. The opener – Alianza – by Erik Morales rocketed the band to the top of the betting. MD Dave Little did little in the way of conducting, for long periods standing aside – a sure sign things were going well. A Mantooth arrangement of Harlem Nocturne had the bookies paying out ahead of the finish. They rarely back the wrong horse/band. Moten Swing (arr. Sammy Nestico) with solos from Jamie Edgerton (tenor) and Laurie Duncan (trumpet) was of senior band standard (so said one sage judge) and Mantooth’s Council Grove Groove wrapped it up (the set, if not the competition).
Festival organiser Bill Watson picked up the baton to MD the Tees Valley Youth Big Band. Catch As Catch Can heard good tenor from James Burchmore, ‘S Wonderful was, The Londonderry Air (a 1970’s arrangement by Dick Walter for NYJO) featured the saxophone section and tenor man Burchmore once more took the honours on Blue Skies.
The tenth and final band of the competition didn’t disappoint. Kirkless Youth Jazz Orchestra had listened to the opposition and were ready to go. Hay Burner romped along (saxes and trumpets) and then, the second male vocalist of the afternoon joined the band to sing Feeling Good. Bradley Johnson stood front of stage, confident, big voice. An excellent version of the Bricusse/Newley classic. Kitty Byrne swapped the piano stool for a place with the reeds playing clarinet on Sing Sang Sung. Much applause, well deserved. The adjudicators’ job almost done, Jones and Donnelly confessed it had been a close call – the standard across the board had been extremely high.

Adjudicators’ Award: George Hardwick (trombone) Kirklees Youth Jazz Orchestra
Adjudicators’ Award: Bradley Johnson (vocals) Kirklees Youth Jazz Orchestra
Adjudicators’ Award: Ensemble & Matty Harvey (baritone saxophone) EASY Youth Jazz Orchestra
Adjudicators’ Award: Jambone performance of Echoes (comp. Paul Edis)

Best Section: Rhythm Section, KMS Shelley Music Centre Big Band
Best Soloist: Ben Withers (drums) Hull Youth Jazz Orchestra
Best Band: Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra

So, the best band prizes went west. Outstanding bands, no doubt about it. All the bands competing over the weekend were, one way or another, outstanding. The event ran like clockwork thanks to Bill Watson’s small army of helpers. North Shore is the ideal spot for the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival, next year’s event can’t come soon enough.      
Russell.                    

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