Total Pageviews

Bebop Spoken There

Tineke Postma: “ I had a huge crush on him [Sting] when I was a teenager ". Jazzwise, June 2024.

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

16462 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 342 of them this year alone and, so far, 54 this month (May 18).

From This Moment On ...

May

Tue 21: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Alice Grace Vocal Masterclass @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 6:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 22: Daniel Erdmann’s Thérapie de Couple @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 23: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 23: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Thu 23: Immortal Onion + Rivkala @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 23: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Jeremy McMurray (keys); Dan Johnson (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Bill Watson (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 24: Hot Club du Nord @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 24: Swannek + support @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. Time TBC.

Sat 25: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Bywell Hall, Stocksfield. 2:30pm.
Sat 25: Paul Edis Trio w. Bruce Adams & Alan Barnes @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:30pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sat 25: Nubiyan Twist @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Sat 25: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 26: Tyne Valley Youth Big Band @ The Sele, Hexham. 12:30pm. Free. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Alice Grace @ The Sele, Hexham. 1:30pm. Free. Alice Grace w. Joe Steels, Paul Susans & John Hirst.
Sun 26: Bryony Jarman-Pinto @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Clark Tracey Quintet @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Saltburn Big Band @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 26: SARÃB @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Mon 27: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Prom 54: Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music @ Royal Albert Hall – August 29


(Review by Alison Bentley)

In the beginning Ellington created three Sacred Concerts. This Prom brought together a selection of pieces taken from all three concerts, including big band, choir, soloists - and tap dancer. In the Royal Albert Hall, there was no incense - just dry ice drifting above the stage.

In the Beginning God opened the Prom, and also the first Concert of Sacred Music, in 1965 (in Grace Cathedral, San Francisco.) Peter Edwards tonight played Ellington’s role as pianist and conductor, opening with groovy 6-note riffs (representing the 6 syllables of the repeatedly chanted title.) Rhiannon Jeffreys’ fine bari work felt pleasantly cocooned by the gorgeous band voicings. US jazz-soul singer Carleen Anderson’s voice was as deep and resonant as Brock Peters’ 65 version, but with some of Abbey Lincoln’s tragic grandeur. She intoned Ellington’s witty beat poem over the band’s stupendous swing, debating the pros and cons of a time before creation:
“No headaches, no aspirin…
No Barracuda, no Buffalo, 
No birds, no bees, no beetles.”
Her impassioned conducting of the choir (the BBC Singers with the UK Vocal Assembly) was like a dance all by itself. They chanted the books of the Bible, speeding up till “Revelation” sparked an explosive drum solo from Rod Youngs.

Something 'Bout Believing had rhythmic choral chants with hipster lyrics that brought to mind some pieces from Bernstein’s show Wonderful Town. There was a powerfully emotive blend of brass riffs, soli, and smooth choral backing for Ellie Smith’s luscious trombone solo. Mary Pearce sang The Lord’s Prayer like early Aretha, with Ife Ogunjobi’s trumpet bursts like affirmations of the vocal lines. Ellington wrote Praise God and Dance for classically-trained singer Alice Babs, and tonight Emma Tring brought her powerful, almost operatic voice into the mix over sombre chords. The piece erupted into swing, as Annette Walker tap-dancedleaning forward as if dancing into a strong wind. Perhaps it was the gale force of the band. Tring later sang the daring dissonances of Heaven, with Alam Nathoo’s sax in melting Johnny Hodges mode.

The third concert, premiered in Westminster Abbey in 1973, was written months before Ellington’s death, and has a quieter mood. My Love, with its meditative, repeated phrases, was sung here by not one but four singers with complementary voices, over long muted horn lines. Georgia Mancio, Zara McFarlane, Cherise Adams-Burnett and Carleen Anderson moved from understated sweetness to full gospel acrobatics.

Some pieces were a reminder that they were written at the height of the ‘60s civil rights movement, their message undiminished. Ain't But the One, originally from Ellington’s stage work My People, featured the triumphs of Old Testament heroes. Call and response between Daniel Thomas and choir was pitched against uplifting swing. At the time of the Second Concert Ellington was mourning the death of friend and collaborator Billy Strayhorn. In Father Forgive, Randolph Matthews recited a list of man’s inhumanities to man. The choir reassuringly repeated the response “father forgive,“ with its varied rich harmonies. Matthews sang Freedom with Anderson, her extraordinary high notes both fragile and strong. From piano trio to full band, with choral chants and harmonies, notes stacked into chords- the energy never flagged. There was a stirring Parker-ish solo from Nathaniel Facey and fiery tenor from Nathoo over the crescendoing choirIt all evoked Strayhorn’s idea of “four major moral freedoms”: freedom from hate, self-pity, fear and pride. Heritage (aka My Mother, My Father, and Love) from My People was the only piece not from a Sacred Concert, and Edwards had arranged it brilliantly for  Paris’, Thomas’ and Matthews’ Stevie Wonder-ish voices. Beverley Skeete had a little gospel grit in her voice in Tell Me It's the Truth, a lively jazz waltz.

Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander paid a personal, solo tribute in his Improvisation on Ellington. Ellington, he told us, had persuaded US Immigration to let the teenage Alexander stay in the country. Tonight, Alexander mixed Caribbean, gospel and Ellingtonian grooves in a superb medley- In a Magenta Haze, Take the A Train, Satin Doll, Solitude.

He joined singers Tawiah and Heidi Vogel in Come Sunday, African-American workers’ day of worship- “Please look down and see my people through.” The two voices were well-matched: Vogel deep and dramatic; Tawiah lighter, more like Lizz Wright. The melody was revisited in double time in David Danced, the choir’s lyric now “David danced before the Lord.” Monty Alexander smiled with pleasure at Renato Paris’ energised scat solo, while Annette Walker’s magic golden shoes drove the rhythm.

 These pieces were all being performed for the first time at the Proms. The audience loved them, and there are many more in the three Sacred Concerts. Maybe next year?
Alison

1 comment :

Unknown said...

Thank you for a really well informed and written review, an antidote to the superficial, self-regarding Clive Davis in the Times who must have attended a different prom if he found it "ponderous and plodding". Thanks again.

Blog Archive