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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...


16034 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 1041 of them this year alone and, so far, 73 this month (Nov. 27).

From This Moment On ...


Tue 28: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Victoria & Albert Inn, Seaton Delaval NE25 0AT. 12:30pm. ‘Afternoon Jazz Tea Party’ £12.00. Tickets from: 0191 237 3697.
Tue 28: Full Score & Durham University Jazz Orchestra @ St Oswald’s Church, Durham. 7:00pm. £8.00., £7.00. conc., £6.00. DSM. ‘Singing with a Swing’. In support of the Angel Trust.
Tue 28: Pete Tanton’s Chet Set @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. £12.00., £10.00. Doors 7pm/Music 8pm.

Wed 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 29: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 29: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 30: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 30: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 7:30pm (7:00pm doors). Tickets: £25.00. inc. buffet. A Gatsby themed evening.
Thu 30: Jools Holland's R & B Orchestra @ Newcastle City Hall. 7:30pm.
Thu 30: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.
Thu 30: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. Guest band night: Mark Toomey Quintet (Mark Toomey, sax; Paul Donnelly, guitar; Jeremy McMurray, keys; Peter Ayton, bass; Mark Robertson, drums). 9:00pm.

Fri 01: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 01: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 01: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 01: Paul Skerritt @ All Saints’ Church, Eastgate, Co. Durham. 7:00pm. Xmas Tree Fest.
Fri 01: Alligator Gumbo @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Fri 01: Nu Sound Brass @ Billy Bootlegger’s, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free.
Fri 01: Struggle Buggy w. Jim Murray @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Blind Pig Blues Club. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sat 02: Paula Jackman's Jazz Masters @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. £10.00.
Sat 02: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Steve Glendinning. £25.00. Enrol at:
Sat 02: Abbie Finn Trio @ Claypath Deli, Durham. 7:00pm.
Sat 02: Tenement Jazz Band @ John Marley Centre, Newcastle. Swing Tyne Winter Social. £8.00. + bf. Advance purchase only, no admission at the door. BYOB. Lindy hop workshop from 11:00am. £39.00.
Sat 02: Zoë Gilby Quartet @ The Masham, Hartburn Village, Stockton. 7:00pm. Feat. Noel Dennis.
Sat 02: Classic Swing @ The Nuthatch, 9 - 11 Bedford St, Middlesbrough TS1 2LL. 7:00-9:00pm. Classic Swing in trio format.
Sat 02: Paul Skerritt w. Danny Miller Big Band @ Westovian Theatre, South Shields. 7:30pm.
Sat 02: Vermont Big Band @ Whitley Bay FC. 7:30pm. £10.00. (inc. hot buffet). Tickets available from WBFC’s Seahorse pub club house.
Sat 02: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Ponteland Social Club, Northumberland. 7:30pm. £18.00 (inc. stotties & soup supper). A fundraiser for Hexham Constituency Labour Party.
Sat 02: Tom Remon & Laurence Harrison @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sat 02: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. Xmas party night inc. buffet & special raffle. £3.00.
Sat 02: Groovetrain @ The Unionist Club, Laygate, South Shields. 9:00pm.

Sun 03: The Central Bar Quartet @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 2:00pm. £10.00. The Central Bar Quartet plays Lou Donaldson’s Gravy Train. Featuring Jamie Toms.
Sun 03: Paul Skerritt @ Smith’s Arms, Carlton, Stockton-on-Tees. 7:00pm.
Sun 03: Johnny Hunter Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 03: Jam session @ The Schooner, Gateshead. 8:00pm. Free.

Mon 04: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 04: Northern Monkey Brass Band @ People’s Kitchen, Bath Lane, Newcastle. From 5:30pm. On-street gig supporting the work of the People’s Kitchen charity. Wrap up warm! Donate!
Mon 04: Michael Young Trio w Lindsay Hannon @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 7:00pm. Free.
Mon 04: James Birkett Trio @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00.
Mon 04: Durham University Jazz Orchestra + Durham University Big Band @ Durham Castle DH1 3RW. 8:30pm. £6.00.; £5.00. concs; £4.00. DSM. ‘Jazzy Christmas’.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Meditatin’ with Trane in San Francisco

(Report by Dave/Photos courtesy of Pam)

It took a trip to California and to a church dedicated to John Coltrane to get Pam and myself into a place of worship and meditation.
The church in question, the St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church on Turk Street, San Francisco, was founded half a century ago by Marina and Franzo King following a visit on their first wedding anniversary to the city’s Jazz Workshop to hear Coltrane play A Love Supreme. They underwent a religious experience not dissimilar to Coltrane’s in 1957 and were inspired to launch a jazz-based church under a succession of names including the Yardbird Temple (they viewed Charlie Parker as John the Baptist to John Coltrane) in a succession of different locations mostly close to Fillmore Street, known in the ‘40s and ‘50s as the Harlem of the West for its dozens of jazz clubs.
Though dedicated to matters spiritual and cultural, the church has always worked on food, clothing and shelter programmes for the poor and in its early years partnered the Black Panther Party on these areas.

In 1981 they were invited to join the national fellowship of the (Episcopalian) African Orthodox Church and with the granting of sainthood to John Coltrane by the national church adopted the name they have today. It appears that not only the Roman Catholic Church has the power to bestow sainthood.

We attended the monthly guided meditation on the music of Coltrane’s A Love Supreme rather than a normal service. The church was decorated with images of Coltrane painted in the style of icons by Rev. Mark Dukes, a deacon of the church. The air was filled with incense and a recording of Coltrane’s My Favorite Things.

A nearly full house ranging from teenaged skate-boarders through to retirees, a fairly typical jazz audience plus the added youth element, listened to a young female cleric, Rev. Wanika Stevens, talk about Coltrane’s religious philosophy as expressed in A Love Supreme. The record was played and in the first movement, Acknowledgement, we chanted the words “A Love Supreme” nineteen times in unison with Coltrane. In the fourth and final movement, we spoke in unison with Rev Stevens.

The music, from Messrs Coltrane, Tyner, Garrison and Jones was as magnificent as ever and listening, eyes-closed, together with a large group of people did add something to the experience. Not I admit the intense experiences reported by some of the younger people when Rev. Stevens talked us down but she should have asked me back in the ‘60s when I bought the album.

Next to address us was a tall slim black man in a smart black suit, very much present around the church all afternoon, and now  introduced by Rev Wanika as Archbishop Franzo King, one of the church’s joint founders, who introduced his wife’s sister, Ann Mack, to sing an unaccompanied Body and Soul.  The two sisters, he told us, were daughters of an Armstrong Hot 5 trombonist (Kid Ory?)

Deep voiced and full of feeling; secular rather than spiritual was how Ms Mack’s voice and her performance struck us. Even given the traditions of black church music this version of Body and Soul came as quite a surprise. The names on her CV fitted with the performance: Teddy Edwards, Blue Mitchell, “Cleanhead” Vinson and Ray Brown.
With the end of Ann Mack’s song came the return of the Archbishop who, despite his official title of His Eminence The Most Reverend Archbishop F.W. King D.D. Archbishop Jurisdiction of the West, absolutely exemplified the delightful informality of this church, in that his serious message was expressed rather in the throw-away style of a hip stand-up comedian. He also had a lot to say about how, as a boy and a young man he learned to differentiate the styles of different jazz musicians.

After serving us chunks of freshly baked communion bread (and he stressed: not the pathetic biscuits as in most churches) and substantial cups of wine, he took out his tenor and invited any musicians present to come and join him and play.

We can’t say it was up to the standards of the Tuesday Jam at the Black Swan, with definitely no A-list House Trio along the lines of the Swan to provide a rock-solid rhythm section for the gig’s front line of two tenors, one alto and three women vocalists. But enthusiastic backing came from a conga drummer, a snare drum, a pianist and sundry hand percussionists.

I guess you’d have to leave pretty early for your bus Lance, so to make the trip worthwhile I suggest you aim for the church’s 50th birthday service at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral when all St John’s clergy – the majority of who are musicians – should be present, and if they’re all as good as the Archbishop the event should be worth reviewing.
Pam and Dave
P.S. Rev. Wanika Stevens was very interested to hear from Pam and I that quite a number of US musicians have made the trip to Newcastle. The musicians within the church already travel within the US to play. Anyone fancy hosting a visit?


Steve H said...

Fantastic! Must pay a visit sometime.

Russell said...


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