Total Pageviews

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

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. 4:00pm (this week only). Free.
Thu 09: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. £5.00.
Thu 09: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 10: Alan Barnes w Dean Stockdale Trio @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm. £7.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 10: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 10: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 10: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 10: Alan Barnes w Dean Stockdale Trio @ Traveller's Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. £12.00.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Pepperland @ Newcastle Theatre Royal - April 27

(Review by Russell)

The Mark Morris Dance Group concluded its 2019 British tour with a two-nighter at Newcastle's historic Theatre Royal before stopping off in Dublin on the way home to New York. Three elements combined to make Pepperland an unmissable experience; Mark Morris' acclaimed dance company, the Fab Four's Sgt Pepper as subject matter, and, piquing Bebop Spoken Here's interest, an all-star, jazz-infused NYC octet. 

This Saturday evening performance, the second of two nights, attracted a near capacity house. It seems likely that the greater part of the audience comprised dance aficionados and Beatles' fanatics with a smattering of jazz fans drawn to the Grey Street venue by the participation of Ethan Iverson.  

The Bad Plus' former pianist is currently renewing acquaintance with the Mark Morris Dance Group working once again with the MMDG Music Ensemble led by Colin Fowler. The musicians assumed their positions in the orchestral pit minutes before curtain up. Percussionist (think 'jazz drummer') Vinne Sperrazza occupied the centre ground facing the stage, flanked to his left by Iverson, similarly facing the on-stage dancers, and to his right, with MD Fowler absent from the Newcastle dates, George Shevtsov seated at a keyboard. To one side was theremin specialist Rob Schwimmer. A founding member of the NY Theremin Society (!), Schwimmer's cv is truly impressive with the following but a random selection of his collaborations - Simon and Garfunkel, Wayne Shorter, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Willie Nelson, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, T-Bone Walker, Maria Schneider, Teo Macero, Kurt Vonnegut(!), Sammy Davis Jr. Clearly, when a concert performance or recording session requires a theremin, Mr S is considered 'first call'!  

As the curtain rose the octet went to work. The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band formed the centrepiece with additional original material composed by Iverson. The title track opened, and would later close, the performance. The Fab Four's oh-so-familiar tunes were arranged by Iverson - With a Little Help from My FriendsWhen I'n Sixty-FourWithin You Without YouPenny LaneA Day in the Life - which were interspersed by pieces variously titled AdagioAllegroScherzo

On stage, wow! The MMDG stepped right out of a '60s psychedelic haze. Elizabeth Kurtzman's costume designs certainly evoked the era; the brightest of bright colours with an acrylic-like sheen, so bright the dancers periodically wore shades (yeah, man), the sort associated with the Lennon and McCartney Eastern mystic/guru years. The Music Ensemble's baritone vocalist Clinton Curtis introduced the cast one by one; Shirley Temple...Sonny Liston...Karl-Heinz Stockhausen... Marlene Deitrich...Oscar Wilde...Fred Astaire...Albert Einstein...Laurel and Hardy. Those familiar with the Sgt. Pepper album cover art will be able to visualise the numerous famous faces.*

The on-stage movement was largely fast and furious, the dancers assuming the roles of enduringly recognisable figures. The cardboard cut-out quality of the characters enabled Mark Morris' dancers to be assigned a gender other than their own. Astaire, Einstein, whoever, could be, and were, assumed by a female dancer, it mattered not. The pit musicians hit their cues, Iverson directing matters. Jacob Garchik (trombone) and Brian Krock (soprano sax and clarinet) were positioned with their backs to the stage, reading their parts with Iverson in their line of vision. Iverson's spicey Wilbur Scoville proved to be a highlight. A blues, of gut-bucket variety, it featured brilliant trombone playing by Garchik, Iverson himself incorporating stride patterns with Oscar-like dexterity, all the while directing the ensemble.  

The Mark Morris Dance Group's 2017 premiere of Pepperland (marking the  album's fiftieth anniversary) proved so successful the company decided it should go on tour. Fortunately Newcastle Theatre Royal was part of the 2019 tour itinerary, it had been a memorable occasion.      

It was, perhaps, lost on the visiting American dance company that Albert Stubbins took pride of place alongside the many famous names featured on the Sgt. Pepper album cover. The legendary Magpies' footballer didn't get a name check at the Theatre Royal, if he did there could have been a cry of Toon! Toon! Black 'n' White Army!   
Russell

1 comment :

Lance said...

Ref Albert Stubbins. The late drummer, Randy Heads, told me of the time when he was in a Newcastle cinema and the news that Albert Stubbins had been transferred to Liverpool flashed across the screen mid-picture. The uproar that followed meant that they had to stop the film until the 'Toon Army' of the day, many of them actual army, calmed down!

Blog Archive