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Bebop Spoken There

Charles Lloyd: "I'm raring to go out to play, because I know I'll find something to explain the inexplicable." (DownBeat August 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

14438 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 716 of them this year alone and, so far, 13 this month (August 6).

From This Moment On ...

August

Thu 11: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 11: Baghdaddies @ Cumberland Arms, Newcastle. Time TBC.
Thu 11: Indigo Jazz Voices: Little Big Band Special @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. POSTPONED!
Thu 11: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm. Guests Donna Hewitt (sax) Josh Bentham (sax) Garry Hadfield (keys).

Fri 12: Ben Gilbert Trio @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm.
Fri 12: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 12: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 12: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.

Sun 14: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 14: Tees Valley Jazzmen @ Hammer & Pincers, Preston le Skerne. 1:00pm.
Sun 14: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ West Park, South Shields. 2:00pm.
Sun 14: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 14: Anth Purdy @ Blues & Bourbon, Newcastle. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 14: Castillo Nuevo @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30-8:30pm.
Sun 14: Sunday Night Am Jam Special @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Note start time.

Mon 15: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 15: Stu Collingwood Organ Trio @ Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. Blaydon Jazz Club.

Wed 17: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 17: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 17: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 17: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Monday, December 02, 2019

CD Review: Calum Gourlay Quartet - New Ears

Calum Gourlay (bass); Helena Kay (tenor sax); Kieran McLeod (trombone); James Maddren (Drums).
(Review by James Henry).

As a sort of a Scot, and a card carrying Fifer, my own old ears picked up on receipt of this CD. With a name like Calum Gourlay, this chap had to be one of the brothers, and possibly even a fellow Fifer. A little bit of research established that Calum is originally from Glasgow (well, I might forgive him that) but was brought up in Fife, even playing in the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra (total redemption). And, two of his quartet also come from the proper North: Helena Kay (tenor saxophone) hails from Perth, and Kieran McLeod (trombone) is from Aberdeen. Like me, these three live in exile in England, committed to missionary work and waiting for the call from the blessed Nicola*. I pity the poor drummer in this quartet: coming from Sussex, James Maddren may rely on translators.

New Ears is a joy to behold, even down to the kitten on the album sleeve, which hides its new ears behind the CD. New Ears is Calum Gourlay’s first album as a bandleader, and is the debut release for the Calum Gourlay quartet.  Calum Gourlay leads a resident big band in the Vortex Jazz Club in London, and all four members of the quartet play in the big band. All are relatively recent alumni of London jazz conservatoires and already have impressive CVs.

The quartet is unusual in composition, lacking traditional chordal instruments. Devoid of this conventional comfort, tenor saxophone, trombone and bass have to work together to create the chordal control and continuity cherished by our conventional ears. The playing is tight and one soon ceases to miss the comping control of piano or guitar. The ensemble work is so precise that the music begins to evoke the big band that begat this wee band. There are also extended improvised sections, where James Maddren holds the group together allowing the other three to weave skilfully together, and more often than not Calum Gourlay joins in with the improvisation as an equal to the two horns.

All seven tracks are original works, written by Gourlay especially for the Quartet. For me the stand-out track is Blue Fugates, an extended blues composition, inspired by the Blue Fugates of Kentucky. For the curious, Blue Fugates aren’t birds, trees or mountains. Rather, Blue Fugates are a clan of people in the backwoods of Kentucky who inherited the blood disorder methaemoglobinaemia, which gave their skin a curious blue hue (an unusual inspiration for a tune, but check it out on Wikipedia if you want to know more). Be Minor, the opening track, has a folky feel and the head becomes an ear-worm after a few listens. Solstice has a slow, brooding quality: one imagines the long days of mid-summer.    

Although generally melodic, and never straying far from conventional forms, New Ears isn’t always an easy listen. After a few tracks one develops new ears, and the going gets easier. After a few listens everything makes sense, and it gets better and better. Calum Gourlay has a rich deep bass sound, perfectly complimented by Helena Kay and Kieran McLeod on horns. James Maddren is the glue that holds the album together. New ears are the result.
James Henry.

*Sturgeon, of course.

Available on Ubuntu Music: UBU 0043.

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