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Bebop Spoken There

Maurice J. Summerfield: "Over dinner one night Barney [Kessel] told me about his seminar The Effective Guitarist, and in 1972 my company presented the first of twelve annual UK seminars in Newcastle upon Tyne." - (Just Jazz Guitar, September 1997)

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

15087 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 106 of them this year alone and, so far, 4 this month (Feb. 1).

From This Moment On ...

February

Fri 03: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 03: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 03: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 03: Abbie Finn Trio @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Fri 03: Dilutey Juice @ Bobik's, Punch Bowl, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Fri 03: Smoove & Turrell @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors). £25.00.
Fri 03: Struggle Buggy @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Blind Pig Blues Club.

Sat 04: Alligator Gumbo @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm.
Sat 04: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: John Pope - Up Your Rhythm Game. £25.00. Enrol at: www.jazz.coop.
Sat 04: King Bees @ Grainger Market, Newcastle. 6:30pm (doors). Live music, comedy, DJs, food stalls. £10.00. advance, £15.00. on the door. Blues band King Bees on stage 9:45-11:15pm. A Great Market Caper event.
Sat 04: Jives Aces @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm.
Sat 04: Renegade Brass Band @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors).
Sat 04: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. £3.00.

Sun 05 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 05: Rivkala @ Cumberland Arms, Newcastle. 6:00pm.
Sun 05: Jive Aces @ Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Sun 05: Dale Storr @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 05: Jam No.13 @ Fabio's, Saddler St., Durham. Free. Durham University Jazz Society jam session. All welcome (students & non-students alike).

Mon 06: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 07: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre. 7:30pm. House trio: Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Rob Walker (drums). Jam session reverts to a first & third Tuesday in the month schedule.

Wed 08: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 08: Jam session @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 1:00pm. Free. TBC.
Wed 08: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 08: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 08: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 09: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 09: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. £5.00.
Thu 09: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

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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