Total Pageviews

Bebop Spoken There

Steve Fishwick: “I can’t get behind the attitude that new is always somehow better than old”. (Jazz Journal, April 15, 2019).

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

16542 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 422 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (June 17).

From This Moment On ...

June

Thu 20: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 20 Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle. 2:00pm. £4.00. Note new venue!
Thu 20: Karine Polwart & Dave Milligan @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm. £29.00., £23.00. Folk/jazz duo.
Thu 20: Richard Herdman & Ray Burns @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 20: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Josh Bentham (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Dave Archbold (keys); Dave Harrison (trumpet); Ron Smith (bass).

Fri 21: Alan Barnes with Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT!
Fri 21: Joe Steels’ Borealis @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 21: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 21: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 21: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 21: Soznak @ The Bike Garden, Nunsmoor, Newcastle NE4 5NU. 5:00-9:00pm. Free.
Fri 21: Errol Linton + Michael Littlefield & Scott Taylor (King Bees) @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle. 7:30pm. £20.00. Blues double bill.
Fri 21: Alan Barnes with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ Seventeen Nineteen, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Fri 21: Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ Alnwick Playhouse. 8:00pm. ‘Ella & Ellington’.
Fri 21: Mark Toomey Quartet @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. Opus 4 Jazz Club.

Sat 22: Jason Isaacs @ Stack, Seaburn SR6 8AA. 12:30-2:30pm. Free.
Sat 22: Abbie Finn Trio @ The Vault, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free.
Sat 22: Hejira: Celebrating Joni Mitchell @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors). £22.50.
Sat 22: Rockin’ Turner Bros. @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 23: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 23: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Matt Carmichael @ St Mary’s Church, Wooler. 3:00pm. Carmichael (saxophone), Fergus McCreadie (piano), Charlie Stewart (fiddle). ‘Scottish jazz, folk-roots & landscape’ Wooler Arts: Summer Concerts.
Sun 23: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Bede Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 23: Leeway @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 23: Jazz Jam @ Fabio’s Bar, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 24: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 24: Remy CB @ The Hoppings, Newcastle Town Moor NE2 3NH. 5:00-7:00pm.

Tue 25: Louise Dodds & Elchin Shirinov @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Wed 26: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 26: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 26: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

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