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Bebop Spoken There

David Hadju: "It was kind of a lightning bolt [seeing a photo of a hi-fi store that's now occupied by a phone store]. Everyone had hi-fi systems, now everyone has a phone" - (DownBeat May 2023).

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!"


15478 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 499 of them this year alone and, so far, 120 this month (May 27).

From This Moment On ...

May 2023

Sun 28: Bradley Creswick's Western Swingfonia @ Whitley Bay Carnival. Free. Plaza Arena stage. 12 noon.
Sun 28: MSK @ Whitley Bay Carnival. 12:15pm. Free. Marquee stage. MSK - Steve Glendinning, Katy Trigger, Martin Douglas.
Sun 28: Musicians Unlimited @ The Park Inn, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Back Chat Brass @ Whitley Bay Carnival. 1:30pm. Free. Marquee stage.
Sun 28: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Tim Kliphuis Trio @ St Mary's Church, Wooler NE71 6BZ. 3:00pm. £15.00 standard; £5.00 student/unwaged; free under 18. Afternoon Cocktail, a Wooler Summer Arts' concert promotion. Kliphuis (violin); Nigel Clark (guitar); Roy Percy (double bass).
Sun 28: Back Chat Brass @ Whitley Bay Carnival. 3:00pm. Free. Plaza Arena stage.
Sun 28: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 28: King Bees @ The Delaval Arms, Old Hartley NE26 4RL. 5:00pm. Free. Chicago blues at its best!
Sun 28: Matt Anderson Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Anderson (saxophones); Jamil Sheriff (piano); Andy Champion (double bass); Dave Walsh (drums).

Mon 29: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 30: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Hallgarth St., Durham DH1 3AT. 7:00pm. Paul Skerritt's (solo) weekly residency.
Tue 30: Big Chris Barber Band @ Whitley Bay Playhouse. 7:30pm.

Wed 31: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 31: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 31: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 31: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 01: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 01: Thursday Night Prayer Meeting @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Donations.
Thu 01: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.
Thu 01: Jake Leg Jug Band @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Thu 01: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

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: Joseph Carville Trio @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Fri 02: Claire Martin & Her Trio @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm. £25.00., £20.00. Feat. Jim Mullen, Alex Garnett & Jeremy Brown.
Fri 02: Guy Davis + Michael Littlefield & Scott Taylor @ Cluny 2, Newcastle. Doors 7:30pm. Blues double bill.
Fri 02: Anders Ingram @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Blind Pig Blues Club. Country blues. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.

Sat 03: Newcastle Record Fair @ Northumbria University, Newcastle NE8 8SB. 10:00am-3:00pm. Admission: £2.00.
Sat 03: Pedigree Jazz Band @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm.
Sat 03: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Sue Ferris. £25.00. Enrol at:
Sat 03: Abbie Finn Trio @ The Vault, Darlington. 6:00pm. Free.
Sat 03: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. £3.00.
Sat 03: Papa G's Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.

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!
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.      

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