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Bebop Spoken There

Maurice J. Summerfield: "Over dinner one night Barney [Kessel] told me about his seminar The Effective Guitarist, and in 1972 my company presented the first of twelve annual UK seminars in Newcastle upon Tyne." - (Just Jazz Guitar, September 1997)

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

15080 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 99 of them this year alone and, so far, 99 this month (Jan. 30).

From This Moment On ...

February

Wed 01: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 01: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 01: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 01: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 01: Moonlight Serenade Orchestra UK: Glenn Miller & Big Band Spectacular @ Darlington Hippodrome. 7:30pm.

Thu 02: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 02: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 2:30-4:30pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 02: Paul Skerritt Duo @ Tomahawk Steakhouse, High St., Yarm. 8:00pm.
Thu 02: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm. Guests: Dave Archbold (keys); Josh Bentham (tenor sax); Donna Hewwitt (alto sax); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 03: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 03: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 03: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 03: Abbie Finn Trio @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Fri 03: Dilutey Juice @ Bobik's, Punch Bowl, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Fri 03: Smoove & Turrell @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors). £25.00.
Fri 03: Struggle Buggy @ Prohibiton Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Blind Pig Blues Club.

Sat 04: Alligator Gumbo @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm.
Sat 04: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: John Pope - Up Your Rhythm Game. £25.00. Enrol at: www.jazz.coop.
Sat 04: King Bees @ Grainger Market, Newcastle. 6:30pm (doors). Live music, comedy, DJs, food stalls. £10.00. advance, £15.00. on the door. Blues band King Bees on stage 9:45-11:15pm. A Great Market Caper event.
Sat 04: Jives Aces @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm.
Sat 04: Renegade Brass Band @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors).
Sat 04: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. £3.00.

Sun 05 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 05: Rivkala @ Cumberland Arms, Newcastle. 6:00pm.
Sun 05: Jive Aces @ Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Sun 05: Dale Storr @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 05: Jam No.13 @ Fabio's, Saddler St., Durham. Free. Durham University Jazz Society jam session. All welcome (students & non-students alike).

Mon 06: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 07: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre. 7:30pm. House trio: Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Rob Walker (drums). Jam session reverts to a first & third Tuesday in the month schedule.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

CD Review: Keith Jarrett – Munich 2016

Keith Jarrett   (Piano)
(Review by Chris K)

Amid the slew of releases marking the ECM label's 50th birthday, a Keith Jarrett solo concert, recorded in the label's Munich home. The piano god goes back a long way with ECM, with the solo Facing You (1971) recorded in the studio, followed by multiple incarnations in trio and quartet form as well as his trademark completely improvised solo slots on piano and organ.  It was his solo Köln Concert (1975) which opened the door to jazz for a generation of new listeners and established ECM financially, as it became the all-time best-selling solo jazz album (and all-time best-selling piano album) with over 3.5 million copies.

Jarrett is a divisive figure, famously ranting at audiences for coughing during his creative moments, while often indulging himself with (distracting and ludicrous) vocal accompaniments ranging from grunting to tuneless singing.  His perceived high-handedness has inspired stories such as the jazzer who gets to heaven and hears some beautiful music. He asks St. Peter who's playing:  "Oh, that's God. He thinks he's Keith Jarrett".

Regardless of the man, his musical legacy over 50 years is remarkable and he has arguably re-defined the genre. He has audibly influenced many generations of players (anyone amongst our north-east canon care to comment?).  An excellent perspective, with detailed analysis, was published by Peter Elsdon: 'Style and the Improvised in Keith Jarrett's Solo Concerts', in Jazz Perspectives (2008). 

I first encountered him on Miles' 70s Live Evil followed by the Köln Concert, but I have later come to love the wonderful "European Quartet"  ECM recordings (especially My Song), with Garbarek, Danielsson and Christensen, and his many remarkable Standards Trio albums (with Peacock and DeJohnette).

Enough of the past, how does the latest concert compare with a long list, and more particularly, the landmark Köln Concert?   His creative process has changed from long, freeform and more or less continuous songs, into "medleys" of shorter, well defined pieces. I for one find this to be a more digestible format, and maybe easier for him to present musical ideas more coherently. In this style, the Munich Concert has two CDs of 12 improvised tracks (I-XII) averaging 6 minutes in length. The opener is the longest at some 14 minutes, but some are short and sweet - done and dusted in three or four minutes.

This is, unsurprisingly, a more mature and nuanced Jarrett. That's not to say his early work was not musically mature: his 70s albums were densely written, complex in places and of course, with massive technical accomplishment.   But the Jarrett of this century sounds more relaxed. The frantic, helter skelter, sometimes showy pyrotechnics of his 70s work has given way to deeper and more considered moods.  This is good news for those who decried the schmaltzy and excessive passages of the Köln Concert, but I can't help feeling it was that very exuberance that gave birth to the wholesome melodic and rhythmic inventions which characterised that album.

This offering does have gorgeous passages, from his characteristic tuneful ballads through to up tempo blues romps. Track III builds to a bluesy feast, with trademark smears of crunchy chords. Track IV with a rolling left hand blues is followed by limpid Debussy-like impressionism, (with hints of Rachmaninov 2?!). The melodic blues and ballads are punctuated by more dissonant constructions and harmonic block chordal work outs.

While the improvised recital is well crafted with contrasting sections, there is palpable relief when the intensity subsides to three closing standards - the normal routine for Jarrett's solo outings. Answer Me My Love and It’s a Lonesome Old Town are given gorgeous and reverent treatments, and the Somewhere Over the Rainbow encore does indeed sound divine.

Altogether, this is a worthy offering to the altar of ECM on its landmark 50th anniversary, but not a landmark in itself. I'd wholeheartedly recommend a listen for those who know the Köln Concert, but don't expect the raw exuberance of the 70s - instead find the complex and pensive mood reflective of our times.
Chris Kilsby

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