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Bebop Spoken There

Walter Trout: "I don't know why John Mayall put up with me for so long. But I've been sober for 32 years now, not a beer nor a joint," - (Blues Matters! Aug/Sep 2020)

Teddy Wilson: "Mildred Bailey was a much better singer than Billie [Holiday]." - (DownBeat August, 2020)


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".


11,740 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 880 of them this year alone and, so far, 17 this month (August 4).

Coming soon ...


Thursday 6: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

A Sizzling, Smokin' Session @ The Bridge Hotel - July 25

(Review by Russell)

The Strictly Smokin' Big Band's latest public rehearsal mode outing found the band in scintillating form on a scorching evening in Newcastle city centre. The Bridge Hotel's upstairs function room is the SSBB's new base and this second open door event attracted a full house.

St Louis Blues big band style for starters and what a start! Rip-roaring big band jazz at its best. Can't We Be Friends? asked band vocalist Alice Grace. How could one refuse?! Ms Grace clearly enjoys working with the band and little wonder, it's the best band in town. A new chart - A Country Boy - featured an intro and soulful alto solo by birthday boy Keith Robinson. That's commitment for you...making a rehearsal session on your birthday! 

In a perfect early evening light AG sang I'm Beginning to See the Light against a picture postcard backdrop of mainline trains winding their way in and out of Central Station. One more tune before pulling into the sidings (ie a pint at the bar) and it was a good one...Beautiful Love

One short interval later the audience (regulars and new faces) met with a disconcerting sight...the five strong reeds' section, to a man (schoolboy?) filed in wearing shorts. Not so much a knees up rather a knees out. Arrgh! A Bruce Adams' chart resumed hostilities with MD Michael Lamb and Pete Tanton taking potshots at one another, just the sort of dust-up the pugnacious Adams relishes! 

Rollins' Doxy arranged for big band, Chick Corea's Spain with Jamie Toms blowing, Ms Grace leading a long and winding Caravan, could we have a third set? Chance would be a fine thing! Bing, Frank, Ella, they've all sung it, so why not AG? I Love Paris the tune, great stuff. Three weeks before the Newcastle Jazz Festival at the Tyne Bank Brewery the SSBB pulled out all the stops with depping drummer Dave Mckeague stoking the fires in the engine room alongside Michael Whent, Graham Don and Pav Jedrzejewski. 

As the SSBB Express hurtled down the track to its final destination (the Bridge Hotel's bar!) Ms Grace's Travelling Light nudged the ensemble into J Dilla hip-hop territory. Excellent. And that was it, save for MD Lamb's arrangement of Comes Love. It's no exaggeration to say a Strictly Smokin' Big Band rehearsal session is as good as a ten quid admission gig! 

Strictly Smokin' Big Band: Michael Lamb MD, Pete Tanton, Gordon Marshall, Dick Stacey (trumpets); Mark Ferris, Kieran Parnaby, David Barnes, John Flood (trombones); Jamie Toms, Dave Kerridge, Steve Summers, Keith Robinson, Laurie Rangecroft (reeds); Pawel Jędrzejewski (guitar); Graham Don (piano); Michael Whent (bass); Dave Mckeague (drums); Alice Grace (vocals) 

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