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Bebop Spoken There

Tineke Postma: “ I had a huge crush on him [Sting] when I was a teenager ". Jazzwise, June 2024.

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Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

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Holly Cooper, Mouthpiece Music: "Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"

Simon Spillett: A lovely review from the dean of jazz bloggers, Lance Liddle...

Josh Weir: I love the writing on bebop spoken here... I think the work you are doing is amazing.

Postage

16462 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 342 of them this year alone and, so far, 54 this month (May 18).

From This Moment On ...

May

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Alice Grace Vocal Masterclass @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 6:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 22: Daniel Erdmann’s Thérapie de Couple @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 22: Olly Styles (saxophone): Stage 2 recital @ The Music Sudios, Newcastle University. 10:00am. Free, all welcome.
Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 23: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 23: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Thu 23: Immortal Onion + Rivkala @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 23: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Jeremy McMurray (keys); Dan Johnson (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Bill Watson (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 24: Hot Club du Nord @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 24: Swannek + support @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. Time TBC.

Sat 25: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Bywell Hall, Stocksfield. 2:30pm.
Sat 25: Paul Edis Trio w. Bruce Adams & Alan Barnes @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:30pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sat 25: Nubiyan Twist @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Sat 25: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 26: Tyne Valley Youth Big Band @ The Sele, Hexham. 12:30pm. Free. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Alice Grace @ The Sele, Hexham. 1:30pm. Free. Alice Grace w. Joe Steels, Paul Susans & John Hirst.
Sun 26: Bryony Jarman-Pinto @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Clark Tracey Quintet @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Saltburn Big Band @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 26: SARÃB @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Mon 27: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 28: Bold Big Band @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

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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