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Bebop Spoken There

Lakecia Benjamin: "From my early days with Clark Terry, he told me 'they see you before they hear you'... I'm just not from that school of thought where I'm gonna wear my jeans and T-shirt on stage and that's going to be respectable." - (Jazzwise, February 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!"

Postage

15056 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 75 of them this year alone and, so far, 75 this month (Jan. 25).

From This Moment On ...

January

Fri 27: Zoë Gilby Quartet @ Gala Theatre, Durham. 1:00pm. SOLDOUT!
Fri 27: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 27: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 27: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 27: Hip Hop Hooray @ Bar 52, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Fri 27: John Dikeman, Pat Thomas, John Edwards, Steve Noble @ Lit & Phil. 7:30pm. £10.00.
Fri 27: Rob Heron & the Tea Pad Orchestra @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 7:30pm. £10.00. on the door. A Swung Eight event.
Fri 27: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. Ragtime & stride piano. 8:00pm.

Sat 28: Tyneside Improvisers Workshop @ Ye Olde Cross, Ryton. 2:00-4:00pm. All welcome.
Sat 28: Secular Sounds in a Sacred Place @ Holy Cross Church, Ryton. 4:30-7:00pm. £10.00. Continuous performance featuring: Christian Alderson, Faye MacCalman, Sally Pilkington, John Pope. Event preceded by a Tyneside Improvisers Workshop (2:00pm, see above).
Sat 28: Entartete Musik @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. A Brundibár Arts Festival event.

Sun 29: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 29: Musicians Unlimited @ Park Inn, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 29: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 29: Hypnotic Brass Band @ Cluny, Newcastle. 7:00pm (doors). £20.00.
Sun 29: Jam No.12 @ Fabio's, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. Durham University Jazz Society jam session. All welcome (students & non-students).
Sun 29: Origin @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 30: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 31: ???

February

Wed 01: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 01: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 01: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 01: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 01: Moonlight Serenade Orchestra UK: Glenn Miller & Big Band Spectacular @ Darlington Hippodrome. 7:30pm.

Thu 02: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 02: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 2:30-4:30pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 02: Paul Skerritt Duo @ Tomahawk Steakhouse, High St., Yarm. 8:00pm.
Thu 02: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Monday, May 22, 2017

London Vocal Project - Jon Hendricks’s Miles Ahead (Kings Place, London N1), Sunday May 21

(Review/Photo by Peter Jones)
The room was swarming with family, friends and admirers, but most of all, singers on Sunday night in the acoustically perfect Hall 1 at London’s Kings Place. Yes, there were more singers than you could shake a tuning fork at. And it seemed as if they all personally knew choirmaster extraordinaire Pete Churchill and his wife Nikki Iles, or had at the very least participated in a vocal workshop at some time with the dynamic, charismatic Churchill. It was, in short, a musical love-fest.
The pianist, composer and arranger has been immersed for seven years in rendering the Gil Evans/Miles Davis Miles Ahead album into vocalese, and performing it with the 23-strong London Vocal Project. In order to achieve this Churchill has crossed the Atlantic a number of times to collaborate with the legend that is Jon Hendricks, helping to add the great man’s lyrics to the themes and solos on that epoch-busting album. Way back in 1957, Hendricks, Dave Lambert and Annie Ross prepared the ground with their Sing a Song of Basie album, an early exercise in multi-tracking, on which all Basie’s instrumental parts were sung rather than played.
It’s not easy getting humans to sing like trumpets or alto saxophones. And never mind that the chords are rich - and sometimes richly crunchy. You find yourself holding your breath just listening to it, wondering how anyone could sing that low, or that high, let alone making it sound as good as this.
Not surprisingly, Hendricks wanted it done right. ‘Each singer,’ he stated in an email written in 2010, ‘must have a copy of this album, to which they should listen first thing each morning and the last thing each night until the performance. No other way will they be able to keep pace with the endless subtleties and nuances the work is fraught with.’

It helped that they had Hendricks’s daughter Michele as one of the soloists, along with New York veteran Kevin Fitzgerald Burke and also a woman introduced by Churchill as a ‘national treasure’ – Norma Winstone.

Before the main event they limbered up with some other tunes with Hendricks lyrics: It’s Sand, Man, followed by Summertime; then I’ll Bet You Thought I’d Never Find You, introduced by Burke as the first song to be written about stalking. His vocal solo was fabulously trumpet-like. Then Hi-Fly (sung by Winstone); Ev’rybody’s Boppin’ (sung by Michele Hendricks, with an amazing high-velocity scat solo); and finishing off with Li’l Darlin’ and O Pato.

But it was the album that everyone had come to hear, and the Project did not disappoint. As everyone who has heard it knows, Miles Ahead is a sweet and lyrical listen, but tunes like My Ship or Lament reveal new harmonic beauties when sung by a choir of this calibre. It was a highly emotional occasion for Churchill, particularly as he told the story of Blues for Pablo, whose lyrics Jon Hendricks had to change when he learned from composer Gil Evans that it was about the Spanish Civil War, and not what he’d thought it was about.

Hendricks has been working on this project since the late Sixties, and was finally rewarded last February in New York when he witnessed this ensemble perform it for the first time. Tonight they were sensitively backed by Dave Whitford on bass and Steve Brown on drums.
Peter Jones

3 comments :

Lance said...

This got me back to listening to Miles Ahead again. Reminding me, as if I need to be reminded, what a wonderful arranger/composer was Gil Evans. Listen to his arrangements for Claude Thornhill and how far advanced they were of the other swing bands of the time. This vocal project, however, needs to be heard far and wide - are you listening Sage Gateshead?

John Warren (on F/b) said...

It was sublime. And you missed something special if you weren't there. Make sure you buy the album when it comes out.

Elaine Crighton (on F/b). said...

It was one of the best things I've ever seen. Totally joyful and goosebumpy throughout!

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