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Farewell Blues

R.I.P. HRH Queen Elizabeth ll (1926 - Sept. 8, 2022).
R.I.P. Trevor Tomkins (1941 - Sept. 9, 2022).
R.I.P. Gordon McGregor (Sept. 11, 2022).
R.I.P. Ramsey Lewis (1935 - Sept. 12, 2022).
R.I.P. Pharoah Sanders (Oct. 13, 1940 - Sept. 24, 2022).
R.I.P. Sue Mingus (April 2, 1930 - Sept. 24, 2022).

Bebop Spoken There

Larry Klein: "- in a certain way - Leonard [Cohen] is the greatest songwriter ever." - (Jazzwise October 2022)

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

14602 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 880 of them this year alone and, so far, 80 this month (Sept. 26).

From This Moment On ...

September

Mon 26: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 26: Lewis Watson Quartet @ Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. Blaydon Jazz Club.

Tue 27: Beth Clarke @ British Legion Club, West Jesmond, Newcastle. 1:00-4:00pm. Free.
Tue 27: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Durham. 7:00pm. Free (to reserve a table phone 0191 386 5556).
Tue 27: Black is the Color of My Voice @ Alnwick Playhouse. 7:30pm. One woman stage play (the life & times of Nina Simone).

Wed 28: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 28: Battle of the Bands @ NE Volume Music Bar, Yarm Lane, Stockton. Doors 6:00pm. Tickets: £5.00. adv., £6.00. on the door. Participants inc. Milne Glendinning Band.
Wed 28: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 28: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 28: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 28: Black is the Color of My Voice @ Alnwick Playhouse. 7:30pm. One woman stage play (the life & times of Nina Simone).
Wed 28: Laura Jurd @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 29: Ushaw Ensemble @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 1:10pm. Free.
Thu 29: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 3:00-5:00pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 29: Czajka & Puchaz + Mark Solborg + Anthropology @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Thu 29: ‘58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:30pm.
Thu 29: La Sonora Boreal’s Latin Jam Session @ The Globe, Newcastle (7:45pm). Free (donations). Latin jazz performance & jam session.
Thu 29: Peter Morgan Trio @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 30: Adam Johnson @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 30: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 30: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 30: Pete Churchill & Noel Dennis: Exploring the Jazz Metaphor in Leadership & Management @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 2:30-4:00pm. Workshop.Tickets: £3.30 (inc. bf). A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: FILM: Bird (Dir. Clint Eastwood) + Swing Bridge (in the bar) @ Forum Cinema, Hexham. 6:30pm.
Fri 30: Orphy Robinson + Maniscalco-Bigoni-Solborg + Nicole Mitchell + Binker Golding-Alexander Hawkins-John Pope-Paul Hession @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle (7:00pm). A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: Ushaw Ensemble @ St Mary’s Church, Holy Island. 7:30pm.
Fri 30: Alter Ego @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Fri 30: King Bee @ The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club, Independent, Sunderland. 9:00pm. £22.50. DJs + King Bee.

October

Sat 01: Dale Storr @ St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. £10.00.
Sat 01: Nicole Mitchell & Alexander Hawkins @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 01: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Pete Churchill. £25.00. Enrol at: www.jazz.coop.
Sat 01: Orphy Robinson (in conversation); Beck Hunters w John Pope & Laura Cole; Daniel Levin; Black Top w Mariam Rezaei @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 6:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 01: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm.
Sat 01: King Bees @ Grainger Market, Newcastle. 9:00-9:45pm. A Great Market Caper multi-bill event. Superb Chicago blues band. Doors: 6:30pm. Tickets: £10.00. + bf.

Sun 02 RUTH LAMBERT TRIO @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 02: Helena Anahita Wilson @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sun 02: Smokin’ Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm.
Sun 02: Zoë Gilby Trio w Noel Dennis + John Garner & John Pope + Dilutey Juice @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. £7.00.
Sun 02: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 02: Lindsay Hannon's 'Tom Waits for No Man' @ Three Tanners Bank, North Shields. 6:00pm. Free.
Sun 02: Celebrating the Life & Music of Pharoah Sanders @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. £8.00. on the door. Feat. Sue Ferris, Paul Gowland, Tom Atkinson, Jude Murphy, Jeff Armstrong.
Sun 02: Shifa + Bex Burch & Leafcutter John + Farida Amadou @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.

Mon 03: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

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.

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