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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.

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!"

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, April 07, 2019

Bill Laurance @ Sage Gateshead - April 6

(Review by Chris Kilsby)

A packed Sage 2 (including Level 2) for the fifth appearance at Sage Gateshead of the now well established "jazz maestro" pianist Bill Laurance.  This time solo, with one of Sage's Steinways augmented by various boxes of tricks to reproduce live the multi-effects on his new solo album Cables.  I had seen him twice before at the Sage, but with excellent bands, including colleagues from Snarky Puppy, the international jazz/funk collective phenomenon he co-founded.  I approached this gig with interest, to see if he could match the levels of composition and playing of those superb outings on his own. 

The first four numbers were on "clean" piano, starting with an old familiar favourite, December in New York, from his 2015 album, Swift. This gorgeous tune went down well, as ever, although I missed the deluxe rhythm section on the recording and previous outings.   A similar treatment of the second number, Chia, from Flint, 2014, and then onto the first new number, Ebb Tide.  Laurance's classically founded style in full flow here, with arpeggiated and repeated block chords, interspersed with long, meandering right hand runs and slides, varied and stretched to the maximum effect, wringing out the last drop of emotional highs and lows, much to the appreciation of the audience (and some of my party...)

Laurance is an assured performer nowadays, his easy rapport enhanced through lengthy, personal chats between songs. He addressed the issue of solo touring, saying how much he relished the simplicity and independence, and not waiting for the drummer to get out of bed for "lobby call". Now, I know some drummers, ironically, aren't good at being on time, but by now I was thinking a drummer (and bass player) of the calibre he is used to would be well worth waiting for!

The next number was one of only two mainly improvised pieces, based around House of the Rising Sun, perhaps an unspoken homage to our local Animals?  He then announced a change of mood, closing the first set with Kinsman, ramping up to the second "party set" by unleashing some of the synths, prepared sounds, loops and (lots of) reverb: moving away from Go Go Penguin and Einaudi territory, into Vangelis (!).
The second set opened with The Keeper introducing the drum machine, matching the "moral of this song, if there is one" which was "the significance of persistence". The idea was "try, try again", but I reckoned the tedium of the machine came through, and Laurance followed up, admitting he missed the chemistry of a drummer when faced with the "on-off" nature of the machine.  His introduction to the title track expounded the album concept as the "connected" nature of modern life and humanity, with the advent of AI and the machine. This was inspired by The Transcendent Man, a documentary film of Ray Kurzweil and his predictions of androids by 2029. 

The feel of the second set was rather more DJ than the album, including a session with vocoder before the final song, Cassini, inspired by the trajectory of the space mission to Saturn.  This held my attention well, with variety and structure, and a welcome dose of the melodic invention that catapulted him to fame.   Enthusiastic applause delivered a contrasting encore:  improvised clean piano for a change, showing real jazz chops around what my son's sensitive ears detected as the classic Caravan, but I guess the Michel Petrucciani version rather than that of Duke.

Overall, a well appreciated evening, but for me not reaching the heady heights of his previous ensemble efforts.  Too often, the playing fell back on the formulaic pseudo-classical, tending towards cheesy film-music at times, but obviously very popular with the paying public. The synth elements are more effective on the recorded work and detracted from Laurance's undoubted melodic inventiveness.   If the moral for this concert was to be "the significance of persistence", then please Bill, give the drummer (and the other fabulous musicians) another try!

Chris.

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