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Farewell Blues

R I P Terry Shannon - November 5, 1929 - October 29, 2022
R I P Oliver Soden - ? - November 6, 2022
R I P Top Cat Daphne - ? - November 24, 2022.
R I P Louise Tobin - November 11, 1918 - November 26, 2022

Bebop Spoken There

Kenny Barron: "During the pandemic I got to do a lot more cooking. As long as you can read you can cook." - (DownBeat December, 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

14845 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 1094 of them this year alone and, so far, 93 this month (Nov. 30).

From This Moment On ...

November

December

Sun 04: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 04: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 04: Remi Harris & Tom Moore @ Bowes & Gilmonby Parish Hall, Co. Durham. 7:30pm.
Sun 04: Liane Carroll @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00. adv., £12.00. door.
Sun 04: Let Spin + Ceitidh Mac @ Bobik's, Punch Bowl, Jesmond, Newcastle (8:00pm).

Mon 05: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 05: Sia Ahmad & Raymond MacDonald @ Blank Studios, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Tickets: £5.00. from www.seetickets.com. Live recording session - note no late admissions. BYOB.

Tue 06: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Durham. 7:00pm. Free (table reservations 0191 386 5556). Feat. Johnny Murphy (keyboards).

Wed 07: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 07: Jam session @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 12 noon-3:00pm.Free. New!
Wed 07: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 07: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 07: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 08: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Last one of the year, resuming Jan 26.
Thu 08: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 3:00-5:00pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 08: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm.
Thu 08: Christmas Crooners @ Alnwick Playhouse. 7:30pm.
Thu 08: Musicians Unlimited @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. £5.00. on the door.

Fri 09: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon. £25.00. 'Afternoon Jazz with Festive Lunch'.
Fri 09: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 09: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 09: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 09: Jason Isaacs @ Northern Rugby Club, Gosforth, Newcastle. 7:00pm. £25.00 (inc. two course Xmas meal). Isaacs performing with backing tapes.

Sat 10: Lindsay Hannon & Martin Douglas: Life Drawing & Improvised Music @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 2:00-4:00pm. TBC.
Sat 10: Alan Barnes Octet: A Jazz Xmas Carol @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £20.00. All-star band!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

John McLaughlin and the Fourth Dimension + the James Herring Band, play the music of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Vic Theatre, Chicago USA, November 18

John McLaughlin (guitars), Gary Husband (keyboards, drums), Etienne M'bappe (bass, vocals), Ranjit Barot (drums, vocals).
(Review by Steve T)
If you read any of the growing literature about John McLaughlin, the Mahavishnu Orchestra (MO) and Jazz/Rock/Fusion, there are three constants among those who saw the original band: that this was a musician of staggering intensity and virtuosity, that people thought it was all him - we'd heard electrified violins and moogs but never played like this - and that their lives were changed by the experience.
A friend of mine always said the classic rock bands I saw as a ten/eleven/twelve-year-old must have gone over my head, but I was familiar and comfortable with music by all of them, except the Mahavishnu Orchestra. I already knew the media and the charts weren't for me, but as I stared, open-mouthed in disbelief, anything became possible, as John might say, between nothingness and eternity.
This is to be his farewell tour of America, I suspect with his love of all things India, due to Trump's policy towards 'foreigners'. He's been tentatively dipping back into the MO back catalogue in recent years but this is the first time he's done it lock, stock and...
Jimmy Herring came on first with a busy drummer - you ain't gonna get far doing Billy Cobham and Narada Michael Walden if you're not, a funkin' bass player and a keyboard player mixing synths and piano with real Hammond and a close proximity Fender Rhodes.
I only definitely recognised one piece which I thought may have been Weather Report, but it's likely he opened with John McLaughlin from Bitches Brew though I haven't heard it for many years. They did fifty-five minutes and he never spoke. 
Quick change around and the Fourth Dimension occupied the other side of the stage. This set was more recognisably Mahavishnu, plus a tribute to Paco de Lucia, the only other constant in his guitar trios and the only other guitarist who may have been his equal, entitled El Hombre Que Sabia (the Man who Knew),  
Lila's Dance from Visions of the Emerald Beyond found Etienne playing a bass solo in place of the Jean Luc Ponty spacey violin original, and Johns own solo lacked the fire of the original. A slower piece I didn't recognise followed but doesn't necessarily mean slow playing from the man, demonstrating there's no conflict between speed and soul, a criticism he's faced ever since he dazzled the world with his dexterity when he launched the MO at the start of the seventies.
More Mahavishnu and keyboards and bass were out demonstrating the vitality of a brilliant guitar/drums partnership, and John has played with Tony Williams and Trilok Gurtu as well as Cobham and Walden.
Some Indian singing from Ranjit brought keyboardist Gary Husband to the Herring band drum kit for a percussion duel.
It all happened so quickly, like a flash of lightning, and both groups were on stage, Herring keyboardist now on violin, John with a twin-neck announced some music from the early seventies. A protracted intro to Meeting of the Spirits hit like a sonic boom catching the audience off-guard and launching a roller-coaster ride through the biggies from the original band and choice cuts from my favourite MO album, the afore-mentioned Vision of the Emerald Beyond, featuring Ponty, Walden, Ralph Armstrong and Gayle Moran, (then married to Chick Corea) plus strings and horns.
This included Eternity's Breath with Etienne and the violinist sharing the vocals and Ranjit handling them on Earth Ship, the one to point to when people accuse McLaughlin of lacking soul. 
The myth surrounding the MO largely focuses on the original band (McLaughlin, Cobham, Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman and Rick Laird) and this is the line-up some call the greatest band ever. But this is in no small part due to their impact live but the two albums by the next band are also remarkable, though anything since should be avoided.
Any doubts about the sense of travelling from the North East of England to Chicago dissipated in an instant. It went up a couple of notches from Herring to the Fourth Dimension, but this was the dawning of a new day and the world just may be ready to wake up. I've long thought that if the jazz establishment ever fully accepts Jazz-rock, John will be widely accepted as the most important Jazz artist since Trane. As we pleaded for an encore, one chap next to me kept shouting. 'Thank you John' and I don't think he meant just for the night.
I've no doubt people generally leave a Herring gig enthusing about what a fantastic guitarist he is, but on this tour, silence seems the best policy. It takes two guitarists to do John, even when he's one of them. I saw him a couple of years back and was amazed a man in his mid-seventies can still play like that, but tonight I agreed with Jeff Beck and Pat Metheny, that he's still the greatest living guitarist now.
It takes two world-class drummers to do Cobham and Walden but the bass players all but took turns. My only disappointment would be the exclusion of One Word, my personal favourite from the original band, which could have given scope for something with the two fine bass players; but I quibble.
Many times in my life I've experienced an adrenaline rush during a concert but this is only the second time (Maze in 82 the other) that it's lasted an entire set.
If he brings this to the UK, beg, borrow, steal, sell your granny to secure a ticket. 
Historic and life-changing all over again.
Steve T

2 comments :

Brian said...

Great review, Steve. Thank you.

Steve T said...

Review of previous night in current Prog Mag.

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