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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

Larry Klein: "- in a certain way - Leonard [Cohen] is the greatest songwriter ever." - (Jazzwise October 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

14602 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 880 of them this year alone and, so far, 80 this month (Sept. 26).

From This Moment On ...

September

Wed 28: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 28: Battle of the Bands @ NE Volume Music Bar, Yarm Lane, Stockton. Doors 6:00pm. Tickets: £5.00. adv., £6.00. on the door. Participants inc. Milne Glendinning Band.
Wed 28: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 28: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 28: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 28: Black is the Color of My Voice @ Alnwick Playhouse. 7:30pm. One woman stage play (the life & times of Nina Simone).
Wed 28: Laura Jurd @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 29: Ushaw Ensemble @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 1:15pm. Free.
Thu 29: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 3:00-5:00pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 29: Czajka & Puchaz + Mark Solborg + Anthropology @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Thu 29: ‘58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:30pm.
Thu 29: Peter Morgan Trio @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 30: Adam Johnson @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 30: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 30: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 30: Pete Churchill & Noel Dennis: Exploring the Jazz Metaphor in Leadership & Management @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 2:30-4:00pm. Workshop.Tickets: £3.30 (inc. bf). A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: FILM: Bird (Dir. Clint Eastwood) + Swing Bridge (in the bar) @ Forum Cinema, Hexham. 6:30pm.
Fri 30: Orphy Robinson + Maniscalco-Bigoni-Solborg + Nicole Mitchell + Binker Golding-Alexander Hawkins-John Pope-Paul Hession @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle (7:00pm). A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: Ushaw Ensemble @ St Mary’s Church, Holy Island. 7:30pm.
Fri 30: Alter Ego @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Fri 30: King Bee @ The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club, Independent, Sunderland. 9:00pm. £22.50. DJs + King Bee.

October

Sat 01: Dale Storr @ St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. £10.00.
Sat 01: Nicole Mitchell & Alexander Hawkins @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 01: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Pete Churchill. £25.00. Enrol at: www.jazz.coop.
Sat 01: Orphy Robinson (in conversation); Beck Hunters w John Pope & Laura Cole; Daniel Levin; Black Top w Mariam Rezaei @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 6:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 01: Simon O'Byrne @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Solo guitar & vocals.
Sat 01: King Bees @ Grainger Market, Newcastle. 9:00-9:45pm. A Great Market Caper multi-bill event. Superb Chicago blues band. Doors: 6:30pm. Tickets: £10.00. + bf.

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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What is Jazz? With Alyn Shipton and Alan Barnes @ Ushaw Jazz Festival August 27. + Improvisation Workshop.

(Report by Steve T)
Pre-empting the discussion, I asked the Artist in Residence his basis for including a painting of Tom Waits among artists more widely recognised as Jazz.
He seemed surprised that the question was asked and we agreed that his music has much in common with Jazz: improvisation, innovation and outside the box, but this could equally apply to Captain Beefheart, the Grateful Dead, King Crimson and many others.
He’d either singled out Waits as a special case or recognised no difference, or perhaps more pertinently, difference (coined by French Post-Structuralist Jacques Derrida) anticipating that he will become more widely thought of as part of the Jazz lineage.
The discussion began with Alyn Shipton playing bass and Alan Barnes playing alto. So far, so good.
They then attempted to address the question, which skimmed past my thinning grey hair on its way to the ceiling. Lance, HELP. Hope FDT and the other Early Birds are taking notes – fat chance.
What are the components that make up Jazz?
Time/ Swing. Are they the same thing? Perhaps I could write a poem.
Pitch, harmony, melody – vertical or horizontal?
Coleman Hawkins played vertically while Lester Young played melodically, chords being less important. This I can just about follow.
They tried to demonstrate how to play blues without Jazz feel, which must be like asking an Olympic swimmer to drown.
As a lay-person and a soul fan, this translated to me as playing Jazz without ‘soul’, perfectly feasible but distinctly lacking. I always say there is more to blues (in the sense of Muddy Waters and BB King) than mere chords and scales.
The one hundred notes per second guitarists are routinely accused of a lack of soul, which is an unfair generalisation.
Barnes talked about it in terms of playing above or below and just after or just before.
We learned that Louis Armstrong’s gift to the world was syncopation, the Duke brought a selection of saxophonists with a variety of styles and strengths, Bird brought intellectuality and bebop in general, with an element of onomatopoeia, was a rhythmic and harmonic revolution, even though all the elements were already in place as part of the language of Jazz.
Miles played trumpet the same, whether bebop, hard-bop, orchestral, modal, freebop or fusion, which is also the claim of the Bluffers Guide to Jazz, while Coleman Hawkins changed his style about every ten years.
This begged the question as to whether change is inevitable and always for the better and Barnes seemed to take the view that it isn’t, claiming much recent Jazz lacks feeling.
It also came up that some people – and Wynton Marsalis was one of them – claimed that nothing worthwhile has happened in Jazz since a Love Supreme which, even if you dismiss fusion entirely, seems arbitrary since Trane was still in his prime and Miles had a couple more years before going electric, while Mingus never did.
They felt that virtuosity is now deemed essential, even at the expense of ‘hip’, observing that Hank Mobley was considered a lesser saxophonist than Trane, even though he had a sound which was distinctly him.
If you think I’d lost the thread, you’d probably be right but Shipton asked where they were going only for Barnes to retort it’s Jazz, we’re improvising.
Many musicians and observers have questioned the ratio of repeating to improvisation and Lee Konitz has famously claimed everything should be improvised, while another sax player Dick Morrisey said that a solo was prepared over a lifetime. The current issue of Jazz Journal claims that Ornette Coleman said Albert Ayler only had one solo, but it was a really good one.     
Alan Barnes was witty, at times hilarious, teasing latecomers though wisely leaving teenagers at a self-conscious age. He doesn’t seem to hold critics in very high regard and seemed to keep looking at me on my own in the front row with a notebook and pen. Somebody suggested that critics should be able to play a musical instrument but, while I certainly don’t consider myself a critic, I don’t think music belongs to composers and musicians any more than houses belong to architects and builders.
He also poured scorn on smooth Jazz, a soft target but a prickly one, as there’s more to it than just Russel G’s brother Kenny and Najee, with many listeners I know preferring people like Sanborn and – sorry guitarists – Pat Metheny.
My contribution was highlighting some of the artists featured on the latest Jazz compilation, including Robbie Williams, Duffy, Imelda May, Alison Moyet and Paulo Nutini, and quoting Wayne Shorter from the March issue of Jazz Journal that Jazz means I dare you, which I think they liked.
I tend to agree with the artist in residence that people like Tom Waits, though not necessarily Tom Waits, will be welcomed into the family of Jazz, which will become part of the classical music of the American Century. 
Discuss!
Steve T.
Improvisation Workshop
Apart from the obvious, one of the good things about a festival on the doorstep is that you get to go home for driving, dog-walking and shopping duties. One of the bad things is you’ve got to go home for driving, dog-walking and shopping duties.
I’m reliably informed that the above took place in the theatre with Lord Paul teaching, for anybody who has the faintest what any of this means: guide tones, soloing on three notes and 2-5-1 progressions, with three Early Birds on drums, guitar and trumpet, and others playing piano, trombone, another trumpet and alto/flute.
This was followed by What is Jazz which I have reviewed above with the vain hope of continuing the discussion, Mark Williams and Joel McCullough in the lounge and then the highlight of a festival full of highlights, Alan Barnes, Bruce Adams and the Paul Edis Trio presenting the best example I’ve seen in years of one of the great inventions of the C20th – the standard Jazz quintet.

Russell will review this far more eloquently than I ever could, not least because the obvious benefit of living nearby was kicking in, with me now fetching bottles of Stella two at a time, and the theatre beginning to look like something from a fairy-tale.

4 comments :

Alyn Shipton said...

Steve, interesting to see it from your point of view. Seems you missed the bit where Alan showed how different saxophonists brought their personality to a piece - showing Adderley and Pepper bringing different emphasis and timing to the same phrasing. And we did play for several minutes showing how many great tunes were based on I Got Rhythm - I think I counted about ten.... But thanks for your questions! Alyn

Steven T said...

Didn't really intend it to be comprehensive. I'm sure there's lots of other stuff I missed out, like Bird and bebop also bringing new levels of virtuosity.
As I said, it was mostly over my head, but I think most people there know there's lots of stuff based on I Got Rhythm.

Hugh said...

This presentation was at quite a high level for the non-musician (like me). I enjoyed it though and came away (in Reithian style) educated, informed and entertained.

Steven T said...

Me too.

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