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Bebop Spoken There

JD Allen: "...art in itself is now a luxury that you need a lot of finances to do." - (DownBeat October 2021)

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! --

Postage

13,822 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 1239 of them this year alone and, so far, 66 this month (Oct. 18).

From This Moment On ...

October

Wed 20: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 20: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 20: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 20: Jeremy McMurray & the Jazz Pocket Orchestra @ Middlesbrough Town Hall. 8:00pm.

Thu 21: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 21: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Bar Loco, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra.
Thu 21: Alter Ego @ St James' & St Basil's Church, Newcastle 7:30pm.
Thu 21: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 21: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 22: Mick Shoulder Quartet @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. Quartet featuring Alex Clarke (BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year finalist).
Fri 22: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 22: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 22: Paul Edis Trio w Ruth Lambert @ St Cuthbert's Centre, Crook. 7:30pm.
Fri 22: Michael Feinstein @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Fri 22: Peter Morgan Trio @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sat 23: Mary Coughlan @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 23: Têtes de Pois @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 24 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 24: Musicians Unlimited @ South Durham Social Club, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 24: Voices of Virtue Gospel Choir @ The Globe, Newcastle. 4:00pm.
Sun 24: Milne Glendinning Band @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 25: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 26: Classic Swing @ Ship inn, Monkseaton. 1:00pm. The post-lockdown resumption of the band’s weekly residency will be fortnightly until further notice.
Tue 26: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre. 8:00pm. The post-lockdown resumption of the Black Swan’s fortnightly jam session.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

CD Review: John Allee – Bardfly

John Allee (vocals, composer, arranger, additional lyrics); Mahesh Balasooriya (piano); Aaron Mclendon (drums); Dominic Thiroux (bass); Javier Vergara (saxophone); Matt Von Roderick (trumpet).
(Review by Ann Alex)

Is Lance favouring me with the most unusual, interesting CDs to review? I ask after listening to this latest humdinger by John Allee, veteran stage and TV actor and singer/songwriter from LA. We get 13 delightful tracks of songs from Shakespeare's plays, set to jazz, with some added lyrics by Allee, who adopts the persona of Feste the jester. The plays range from Othello to Henry IV to Hamlet and the music includes elements of blues, ballads, swing, and even hymns and spoken word.

I have a theory that jazz is especially suitable to accompany Shakespeare's work. I've heard it at many performances; the universal 'feel' sits well with the Bard's universal themes, and much of the music played in the time of Shakespeare was dance music anyway, their 'swing'. The CD begins with Allee speaking to us over a piano jazz groove, introducing the band and setting the scene. Then comes the calm, slow strains of Until the Break of Day, followed by Tomorrow Is St Valentine's Day, with suitably saucy-sounding comments from the trumpet.

Philomel/Hold Thy Peace (You Spotted Snakes) took me back to schooldays when I sang this, but this version is much more fun, done as swing with scat. Oh Mistress Mine is a song of seduction and the shortness of life, a common Shakespearian theme and Sigh No More is a sensitive ballad with a pleasing sax solo. The Hungry Lion is a sly creepy number about graveyards, with a final dissonant chord. Green Willow is gentle and sad and Full Fathom Five has a suitable 'under water' feel from the mellow instrumentation. Then comes the lively irony of Heigh Ho The Holly, and Allee brings out the meaning of the words skilfully ' most friendship is failing, most loving mere folly.' Come Away Death is slow with a bass solo, which is the right instrument to portray death (hope no bass players are offended). Then another death song Never Come Again, and a humorous song to finish, The Wind and the Rain, which outlines the stages of human life.

It goes without saying that the instrumentalists are well up to and beyond the mark. John Allee has performed in many Shakespeare plays, including Twelfth Night and he has also played in the Benjamin Britten musical version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. It is worth noting that the CD deserves careful listening to catch the full meaning of the lyrics, maybe hearing the album three times would hardly be enough. The CD has been available everywhere from October 11 on the Portuguese Knees Music label. See www.johnallee.com
Ann Alex

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