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Farewell Blues

R.I.P. HRH Queen Elizabeth ll (1926 - Sept. 8, 2022).
R.I.P. Trevor Tomkins (1941 - Sept. 9, 2022).
R.I.P. Gordon McGregor (Sept. 11, 2022).
R.I.P. Ramsey Lewis (1935 - Sept. 12, 2022).
R.I.P. Pharoah Sanders (Oct. 13, 1940 - Sept. 24, 2022).
R.I.P. Sue Mingus (April 2, 1930 - Sept. 24, 2022).

Bebop Spoken There

Denny Farrell: "- People with a clear conscience are often absent minded." - (Late night Chicago radio October 1, 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

14623 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 901 of them this year alone and, so far, 101 this month (Sept. 30).

From This Moment On ...

September

Sun 02 RUTH LAMBERT TRIO @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 02: Helena Anahita Wilson @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sun 02: Smokin’ Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm.
Sun 02: Zoë Gilby Trio w Noel Dennis + John Garner & John Pope + Dilutey Juice @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. £7.00.
Sun 02: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 02: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 02: Lindsay Hannon's 'Tom Waits for No Man' @ Three Tanners Bank, North Shields. 6:00pm. Free.
Sun 02: Celebrating the Life & Music of Pharoah Sanders @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. £8.00. on the door. Feat. Sue Ferris, Paul Gowland, Tom Atkinson, Jude Murphy, Jeff Armstrong.
Sun 02: Shifa + Bex Burch & Leafcutter John + Farida Amadou @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.

Mon 03: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 04: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Durham. 7:00pm. Free (to reserve a table phone 0191 386 5556).
Tue 04: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Dean Stockdale, Paul Grainger, Tim Johnston.
Tue 04: Blue Jazz Quartet w Rivkala @ The Ship Isis, Sunderland. 7:30pm. Free.

Wed 05: Hot Club du Nord @ St Wilfred's Church, Kirkharle, Northumberland. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT! Waiting list open.
Wed 05: Hot Club du Nord @ St Wilfred's Church, Kirkharle, Northumberland. 4:00pm.
Wed 05: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 05: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 05: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 05: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 05: Rat Pack - Swingin' at the Sands @ Darlington Hippodrome. 7:30pm.

Thu 06: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 06: Castillo Nuevo @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 6:30-9:00pm.
Thu 06: Thursday Night Prayer Meeting @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free admission (donations).
Thu 06: Paul Skerritt Duo @ Tomahawk Steakhouse, High St., Yarm. 8:00pm. Paul Skerritt & James Harrison residency.
Thu 06: Brass Funkeys + Baghdaddies @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Thu 06: Mo Scott Band @ The Schooner, South Shore Road, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Thu 06: Lindsay Hannon Trio @ Harbour View, Roker, Sunderland. 8:00pm. 'Tom Waits for No Man'. A Harbour View Speakeasy event.
Thu 06: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm. Garry Hadfield (keys) Bill Watson (trumpet) Josh Bentham (sax) Mark Hawkins (drums) Adrian Beadnell (bass)

Fri 07: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 07: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 07: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 07: Hannabiell & the Midnight Blue Collective + Knats @ Dance City, Newcastle. 7:00pm. £15.00. (£12.50. student).
Fri 07: Dean Stockdale Quartet @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm. 'Celebrating Oscar'.
Fri 07: TBA @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free (donations). Blind Pig Blues Club.
Fri 07: Anth Purdy @ Waterford Arms, Seaton Sluice. 8:00pm.
Fri 07: Rob Heron & the Tea Pad Orchestra @ Forum Music Centre, Darlington. 8:30pm.

Sat 8 Oct, Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Buck Inn, Thornton Watlass, Ripon HG4 4AH. 12.20pm. NOTE SATURDAY GIG AS OPPOSED TO REGULAR SUNDAY GIG. COACH FROM WHITLEY BAY NOW SOLD OUT!
Sat 08: Paul Skerritt w Danny Miller Big Band @ Westovian Theatre, South Shields. 7:30pm.
Sat 08: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 08: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. Maureen Hall's monthly residency one week later than usual.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

George Benson @ Sage, Gateshead - June 21.

(Review by Steve T/photos courtesy of George Mackellar)
Prelude
Benson was one of the giants of Jazz-Funk, alongside Donald Byrd, Grover Washington Jnr, the Crusaders and others. Herbie Hancock, with juggling skills to match his keyboard playing, maintained a career in each, and Freddie Hubbard kept changing his mind, but George just kept getting more and more commercial, from Jazz to Jazz-Funk to smooth Jazz to disco to MOR.   
With hindsight, much Jazz-Funk was just Jazz artists playing funk or smooth Jazz before the term existed, with Benson among the latter. It’s therefore,  something of a soft target for serious Jazz buffs but, if you look hard enough you will find some gems, and most of the current innovators trying to move Jazz into new areas are targeting hip-hop, bastard son of funk, with Kamasi Washington, and his association with rapper Kendrick Lamarr, a possible champion.
I was never bothered by Benson, though I loved Breezin’ and The World is a Ghetto (by Womack and War respectively), but my brother was a big fan, travelling to Edinburgh to see him in ‘77 or ‘78, so when I came across his Live at Carnegie Hall I was blown away by the guitar playing; this man was fantastic, brilliant, amazing, spectacular.
I was not surprised when this sold out in record time. For any regular at Garden Farm, Julie’s or Walke’rs in the eighties and nineties, you never went long without hearing something by Uncle George, as local DJ Phil Mitchell named him. I saw him at the City Hall in the early nineties when I was far more serious, cynical and snobby, and the gig was OK with all the hits, but improved dramatically for encores Breezin’ and On Broadway.
The Jazz fraternity must therefore always approach a George Benson gig with some trepidation and tolerance, though I admit to a little excitement too.
Concert
Rapturous applause when the man entered the stage and, from the end of Level 2 Row 8 when he picked up his guitar (signature Ibanez GB 10 in natural, guitar nerds) and straight into Love x Love. Some people thought his voice wasn’t very good and, in a sense, they’re right, but I thought the added grain and crackle gave a soulfulness hitherto absent, which was always part of the problem for me. 
Straight into Breezin’ and we couldn’t believe our luck; a couple of tunes half remembered from headier times followed by a stark reminder of prior reservations with Nothing’s Gonna Change my Love for You and a first comfort break for my neighbour.
The place erupts for Kisses in the Moonlight, further reminding us we were a minority, groups of girls dancing and singing at their seats and in the aisles. More of the same with Turn Your Love Around and everybody’s at it. Francis’ disco dancing is hilarious and I tell him Early Bird drum ace Mathew MacKellar is watching so he stops. I’m his dad so it’s my job.
Lady Love Me One More Time, In Your Eyes and it’s getting boring, the man playing air guitar for his bandmate’s solo adding insult to injury.
We beckoned him to remember the thing gathering dust on the stand behind and he responded big-time. ‘Tune’ yelled my neighbour as he went into Mambo Inn , encouraging the audience, Jazz style, to applaud the other guitarist’s solo, as he does his first scat of the evening, accompanying his own guitar, the leg next to mine going in double time.
This was followed by Danny Boy, a staple in recent years, and into Affirmation, a forgotten (by these ears) gem from the Breezin’ album, perhaps the highlight of the night and Francis clearly in awe.
However, more disappointment followed as he unstrapped once more for Never Give up on a Good Thing and Shiver, more insult piled on the already considerable injury as he scats alongside the other guitarist.
The guitar was back on for Give me the Night, a record I hated on release but, as with most of his uptempo pop hits, over time I’ve come to accept, appreciate, like? I suddenly realised I’d completely lost track of time and at some point it would end, and I knew I didn’t want it to, when it did.
An encore wasn’t in doubt but my neighbour was out a semi-quaver into Greatest Love of All. Sage one had been a veritable disco for the best part of the last ninety minutes but I don’t remember the last time I saw so many happy people, which was quite uplifting.
On Broadway inevitably and the seat next to mine was re-occupied in time for ‘they’re dead wrong, I know they are, cos I can play this here guitar’. Of that there can be no doubt.
‘But I won’t quit ’til I’m a star’. No doubts there either then.   
Coda
They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes, but such is the determination and naivety of youth, I figured it was worth a go.
Opening salvo to the MD; the young kid over there occupies the guitar seat of the Sage Jazz orchestra (and good to see Bradley Johnson there too) and, insomuch as he has one favourite guitar player, it’s probably George (which is probably true). He informed me that George was resting and offered to sell me one of his own CDs.
Plan B, stand outside the back with the perennial autograph hunters and wait; it’s a warm night and nobody has to get up the next day. I think he was expecting a chat, maybe a jam, supper; he hasn’t yet grasped the void between a successful Jazz artist and a massive, worldwide pop megastar.
After his rest, which was a meet and greet and champagne (prosecco, cava) with people who had paid over £100 for the privilege, he came out, signed a few autographs, album covers, a guitar strap and Francis’ tutorial DVD sleeve before his minder removed him. Not bad I thought for an international superstar. 
Steve T.
NB: Don't have the line-up but I read elsewhere that the bass player was Stanley Banks and the drummer Khari Parker.

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