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Bebop Spoken There

Roseanna Vitro: "Have you ever tried singing a bridge to a Charlie Parker song? It just looks like the craziest thing in the world to me.'" - (DownBeat, January 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! --

Postage

13848 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 67 of them this year alone and, so far, 67 this month (Jan. 20).

From This Moment On ...

January 2022

Fri 21: Emma Fisk & James Birkett @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. POSTPONED!
Fri 21: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 21: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 21: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 21: John Law @ Durham Cathedral. 7:30pm. £20.00. POSTPONED!
Fri 21: Dean Stockdale Quartet @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. £8.00. Opus 4 Jazz Club.
Fri 21: Jude Murphy & Dan Stanley @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sat 22: East Coast Swing Band @ East Bedlington Community Centre. 7:30pm. £5.00.
Sat 22: MGB @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. The Milne-Glendinning Band.
Sat 22: Ian Millar & Dominic Spencer @ Hamsteels Community Centre, Esh Winning. 8:00pm. £10.00.

Sun 23 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 23: Musicians Unlimited @ South Durham Social Club, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 23: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 23: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 3:00pm.
Sun 23: Anth Purdy: Swing Jazz Guitar @ Blues & Bourbon, Newcastle. 3:00pm.
Sun 23: Svarc Hanley Longhawn @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00 adv., £12.00. door.

Mon 24: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 24: Vels Trio + Knats @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 8:00pm. POSTPONED!.

Tue 25: East Coast Swing Band @ East Bedlington Community Centre. 10:00am - 12 noon. Rehearsal session (open to the public). .
Tue 25: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Murray Wankling, Paul Grainger, King David Ike-Elechi.

Wed 26: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 26: Classic Swing @ Venue, Cramlington NE23 6UT. 1:00pm. .
Wed 26: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public). .
Wed 26: Four @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm. .
Wed 26: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 27: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. .
Thu 27: Tobias Sarra & John Garner @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm. .
Thu 27: 58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:30pm. .
Thu 27: Knats’ Night @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Knats + guests. .
Thu 27: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm. CANCELLED! .
Thu 27: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 28: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 28: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 28: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 28: Ian Millar & Dominic Spencer @ Bishop Middleham Village Hall, Ferryhill. 8:00pm. £10.00.
Fri 28: Struggle Buggy @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Blues band.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Kansas Smitty's House Band @ Ronnie Scott's - May 7

Giacomo Smith (alto); Pete Horsfall (trumpet/vocal); Alec Harper (tenor); Adrian Cox (clarinet/vocal); Joe Webb (piano); Dave Archer (guitar); Ferg Ireland (bass); Will Cleasby (drums).
(Review by Sebastian Scotney of LondonJazzNewsKansas Smitty's House Band at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival Photo credit and © John Watson / jazzcamera.co.uk)
The Kansas Smittys are on a roll. Their Ronnie Scott’s date on Monday came after no fewer than four shows at Cheltenham. “We played a lot, we didn’t sleep a lot,” explained leader Giacomo Smith - and before long they’ll be off to play at a festival in Nantes in France.
Into my mind came a distant memory. I once reviewed a date of a small band led by Giacomo Smith at Boisdale Canary Wharf in April 2013, LINK

There I was five years ago in the role of “the-only-audience-member-who-sort-of-knows-when-to-applaud-because-this-music-needs-some-kind-of--response-dammit”, dutifully checking out the end just about every solo and every number. That was then, this is now. That was before the “Kansas Smitty’s” name had even been dreamt up, before their well-deserved success started to take wing. The formula, the bar which is their home and all that has worked just brilliantly. Audiences love this band. Everybody loves this band.
There were things that I didn’t understand then, and probably never will, like the obligatory apostrophe in “Kansas Smitty’s”. And then there are things I didn’t understand then but certainly do after the Ronnie Scott’s gig. It was a mystery why the Smitty’s (that apostrophe...just move on Seb) needed two distinct line-ups the “Big Four” and the “House Band”. The Big Four was always going to work. Its portability, its tight brotherhood feel, the quality of the people in it…. never needed much justification. Last time I checked it had done over 1,000 gigs, in other words it had proved its purpose and become a way of life for its key personnel. But, I had wondered, what was the “House Band” all about? As I say, it all made sense before my eyes on Monday.

There were the Big Four members in the middle of the Ronnie’s stage (Giacomo Smith - on alto sax only), Pete Horsfall (trumpet and vocal), Ferg Ireland (bass) and Dave Archer (guitar) who by dint of all that gigging are by now the tightest, cheeriest band on these isles. Definitely “played-in” in every sense.

And then you start adding. Joe Webb on piano. He spent most of the gig with his neck craned, facing away from the keyboard, his gaze not wanting to miss any the action in the middle, and again and again making a wonderful contribution to it. Lightness of touch, some great energetic solo-ing, a sense of fun. And then there is Will Cleasby at the drum kit. Twenty-one years old, I was told. Twenty...One! And in the band for most of the past year. And a real find. Alert, creative, and able to propel the whole band. And then tenor saxophonist Alec Harper. He justified having been brought back over from the US for his light, airy, Ike Quebec-ish tenor feature on Ellington’s All Too Soon (it was written for Ben Webster) but also is an impeccable ensemble player. And the virtue of clarinetist and vocalist Adrian Cox was plain to see from the moment he was asked to do a victory lap of Ronnie’s before lighting the place up with another Ellington tune, Jump for Joy. And what a very great singer Adrian Cox is. 

The description here, and the fact that two big moments were Ellington-inspired might start to give the impression that the band sticks to one style. They don't. They go further back into Jelly Roll Morton, and their arrangements also step forward into the directions of, say, Mingus or Marty Paich. And they have a way of sounding like much more than an octet, more a “small band that sounds like a big band.” And by the end the audience (to the extent that the Ronnie’s benches permit it) were on their feet to show their approval.

Kansas Smitty’s are now a regular fixture at Ronnie’s. They have a healthy young fan base which is still growing. And that phrase “a band to watch” which I used in 2013 has a different meaning now. They were a joy to watch.  And to hear. 
Seb. 
(Kansas Smitty's House Band are at Sage Gateshead on November 9 - Lance)

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