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Bebop Spoken There

Charlotte Keeffe: "I don't know what I'm going to play any more than you [the audience] do." - (Jazz North East/Jazz Co-op gig June 13, 2021)

Archive quotes.

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.

Postage

13,359 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 777 of them this year alone and, so far, 51 this month (June 13).

From This Moment On

JUNE

Wed 16: Washboard Resonators @ Punchbowl Hotel, Jesmond, Newcastle (8:00pm). SOLD OUT!

Thu 17: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside (1:00pm).

Thu 17: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead (8:30pm).

Fri 18: Jazz Jamaica @ Sage Gateshead (8:00pm).

Sat 19: Jude Murphy @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle (8:00pm).

Sun 20 Knats @ The Globe, Newcastle (8:00pm). Advance booking essential: www.jazz.coop.

Mon 21: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club (1:00pm). CANCELLED TFN.

Wed 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club (1:00pm). CANCELLED TFN.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

CD Review: Benjamin Croft – Ten Reasons To…

Benjamin Croft (piano, keyboards); Benet McLean ( violin); Andy Davies (trumpet, flugelhorn); Henry Thomas/Mario Castronari (bass); Tristan Mailliot/Saleem Raman (drums); Peter Miles ( voice)
(Review by Hugh C).

At age 7, Benjamin Croft began piano and trumpet lessons, later going on to study at Leeds College of Music.  His career has been eclectic since graduating, first playing on cruise liners and then moving to the US and touring the world as a session musician with several big-name acts.  He relocated to London in 2012, becoming a regular performer at London jazz venues.

10 Reasons To… is his first solo album of 12 original compositions and is a melange of styles and influences from his childhood onwards.  The CD artwork, by Andrew Skilleter, has a very ‘70s prog rock album feel, reproduced in the sonic landscape on the CD, which features a mixture of keyboard instruments including Steinway, Mini-Moog, Prophet 5 and Mellotron. 

100 Years at Sea Introduction opens the performance with an Edgar Allan Poe verse, The City in the Sea, voiced by the late Peter Miles (of classic Dr Who fame).  100 Years at Sea follows rapidly on, an upbeat slightly funky number with McLean’s violin to the fore.  One Million Years At Sea will take those of a certain age (and younger prog rock cognoscenti) straight back to the seventies with its synth sound. 

Bad Reputations continues the general feel, but with violin overlay – giving a distinct fusion, jazz-rock groove.  T.T.E (Time, Talent and Electricity) is the first of four tracks specifically dedicated to Croft’s keyboard heroes, in this case, Keith Emmerson, and with more of a jazz feel on Steinway piano, floating flugelhorn from Davies and prominent acoustic bass input from Castronari.  The Sycophant reintroduces the jazz-rock feel with a strong bass groove from Thomas on a Westone Thunder III over Mailliot’s rock drumming.

The Whispering Knight reintroduces the jazz feel with Davies on trumpet this time and Croft on Rhodes. No Oil For Sale (for Gustav Mahler) continues in the jazz vein, but with quasi-orchestral synth sequences.  The Legend of Bray (for Christopher Lee) features Thomas on acoustic fretless bass, this is probably the closest of all the tracks to a ballad with sweeping overlay by violin. 

Inside Immortality, at 1.29, is (ironically) the shortest track on the album but at least does lead swiftly into See You in Another Lifetime, a bass-heavy track with jazz-rock overtones (stadium jazz, rather than chamber jazz).  For Future Past (for Allan Holdsworth) closes the show with another vocal contribution by Peter Miles.  There is no stadium roar – this is very much a studio album: the band recorded at Livingstone Studios, London; the synths were recorded at Greystoke Studio and mixing was at The Nave Studios, Leeds.

Overall, this is an interesting album with a mixture of styles, including jazz.  Is this a jazz album?  Well – according to the constabulary, probably not, but it certainly features many styles of music that have been played under the jazz umbrella over the years.  Is it worth checking out – with an open mind about what might constitutes jazz? Yes.  The musicianship is superb from all quarters. The overall sound quality and flow are excellent, just don’t let the rozzers catch you listening!
Hugh C.
10 Reasons To… is available now.  Catalogue:  33 JAZZ275. 

PS: Those concerned with saving endangered species will be pleased to know that “No melodicas were used in the recording of this album”!

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