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Bebop Spoken There

Tony Kofi: "I bought myself an alto saxophone and learned from mum's record collection Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Doris Day" - (Jazzwise April, 2020).

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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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COVID-19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Friday, January 25, 2019

CD Review: Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee - The Newest Sound You Never Heard

Ran Blake (piano); Jeanne Lee (vocal)
(Review by Lance).

It's argued that the GASbook has run its course. That just about every song from the masters that was worthwhile has been played, backward, forwards and just about every which way but loose by the good, the bad and the ugly and the only thing left is for original compositions by today's young Turks. 

Not something I personally go along with, there is life in the old book yet. However, I can understand today's breed of jazz musician not being totally au fait with the grand tradition why should they? "Who's this Kern fellow? He died before I was born. I wrote my next number sitting on the bus..."

I can understand both points but, an original number is not going to draw older people in just as a number by Carmichael, H, isn't going to mean a lot to the younger audience.

There is an in-between area where both extremes can meet.
Pop music!

Back in the sixties, jazzers either viewed the beat group boom with disdain - we'll squash these upstarts just like we did the Nazis and the Japs - or else they adopted the 'if we can't beat 'em join them attitude'. Neither worked. The invaders didn't retreat into the sea  and Basie's Beatle Bag, or Ella singing Hard Day's Night was, like some of Sinatra's attempts (Everybody's Twistin'), embarrassing and did nothing to bridge the ever-increasing divide. Paradoxically, in later years, they, the popsters, were queuing up to record the music they so arrogantly dismissed in their puberty years. Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and quite a few others discovered that Porter, Kern, Gershwin etc. weren't so bad after all!

Then, more recently, singers in particular, discovered a magic formula. A mix of standards, chart hits and an occasional original = all bases covered.

Enter Blake and Lee.
They worked the above recipe out over 50 years ago as this album shows.

A double CD, recorded live in Europe back in 1966/67 featuring two of jazz's most mystical figures. A singer with a smoky laid back voice that takes you down paths few others have done. Shirley Horn, Sheila Jordan, Blossom Dearie, Norma Winstone have walked these late night streets and Jeanne Lee has done too. Alone, camaraderie in spirit only.

She improvises, sometimes swingingly, sometimes stark and uncompromising. Not much scatting but, when she does, I'm reminded of our best gal Zoë Gilby - uncanny.

Pianist Blake, Lee's collaborator until her death in 2000, is one of the relatively unsung heroes of jazz piano despite a career spanning nearly 6 decades and a worldwide following. His name should be on everyone's lips alongside Monk, Peterson, Garner and all the other great names.

The material is true to the formula and needs to be listened to again and again to appreciate the magic that they draw from each other.
Lance

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