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Bebop Spoken There

George "Big Nick" Nicholas: "This band [George Adams-Don Pullen Quartet] is a bitch on roller skates, baby. They'll run you over if you ain't ready" (JazzTimes April, 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! --

Postage

14250 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 469 of them this year alone and, so far, 69 this month (May 19).

From This Moment On ...

May.

Wed 25: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 25: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 25: Four @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 25: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 26: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 26: Deep Pope + Garner & Pope @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm. £7.00.
Thu 26: 58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:30pm.
Thu 26: Knats @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Thu 26: Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Orchestra @ Arc, Stockton. 8:00pm.
Thu 26: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 26: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 27: Alice Grace Quartet @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm.
Fri 27: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 27: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 27: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 27: Fergus McCreadie Trio @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm.

Sat 28: Whitley Bay Carnival: Northern Monkey Brass Band (1:00-1:45pm & 4:00-4:45pm); Baghdaddies (2:00-2:45pm & 5:00-5:45pm) @ Spanish City Plaza Arena, Whitley Bay. Northern Monkey Brass Band (2:30-2:45pm) @ Rainbow Corner (Marine Ave.), Whitley Bay.
Sat 28: Jack Logan & the Swing Section @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 29 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 29: Musicians Unlimited @ Hartlepool United Supporters’ Club, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 29: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 29: Groovetrain @ Tyne Bar, Newcastle. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 29: Zoë Gilby Quartet @ Allendale Village Hall, Northumberland. 7:30pm.
Sun 29: Two of a Mind: Sue Ferris-Steve Summers Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00 adv., £12.00. door.
Sun 29: Cedric Burnside @ Cluny, Newcastle. Superb Mississippi hill country blues!

Mon 30: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 31: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Stu Collingwood, Paul Grainger, Rob Walker.

Friday, February 14, 2020

CD Review: Pete Whittaker, Art Themen, George Double - Thane & The Villeins

Art Themen (tenor sax); Pete Whittaker (organ); George Double (drums).
(Review by James Henry)

Just once in a while one chances upon a new album that is just perfect, and love at first listen.  Thane & The Villeins is one of those rare gems.  Organ trios are unusual, and can be a tad heavy, especially if the mighty Hammond is given full rein.  Thankfully, Themen, Whittaker and Double give us a light and playful synergy in this collection of quirky tunes, to be released today (February 14).

Thane & The Villeins is a new project from Art Themen, and the album celebrates his 80th birthday. Themen has had a truly remarkable career, for many years combining work as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon and playing saxophone with Stan Tracey, Alexis Korner and other British jazz luminaries. Now retired from his clinical duties, Themen is still going strong as a jazz musician, and there is still an energy and invention to his playing that makes it constantly exciting. Pete Whittaker gained experience in the 1990s playing in rock bands, including The Wonder Stuff, but has come back to jazz, and has mastered the Hammond organ, clearly influenced by the great Jimmy Smith.   Drummer George Double has worked with Dame Shirley Bassey, Marc Almond and Alan Barnes, to name but a few.

The album is a celebration of the tenor saxophone canon, with clear homage to Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and Hank Mobley. A strong groove guides the collection of 10 tracks, set up beautifully by Double’s unwavering drumming, and Whittaker’s funky use of the Hammond bass. The band begin with Recado Bossa Nova by Djalma Ferreira.  Hanky Panky (Dexter Gordon) begins as a tight syncopated swing, morphing into a wild improvisation by Themen.  And What if I Don’t? (Herbie Hancock) gets a relaxed, bluesy groove. I’m An Old Cowhand (Mercer) gives George Double his first solo (and a chance to play the horse’s hooves). The pace only really relaxes for Willow Weep for Me (Ronell) and Themen and Whittaker both take sensitive solos. As a finale we get Sweet Emma (Nat Adderley), an ideal showcase for all that is good about the Hammond organ, where Whittaker rustles up a gospel-like fervor, aided and abetted by Themen, and the album romps on: only a slow fade can stop the ecstasy.

It is impossible to fault Thane & The Villeins.  Themen and Whittaker complement each other faultlessly, blending seamlessly at times, and Double keeps order with steady but imaginative drumming. Simon Paterson’s mixing and mastering are clear and well balanced, adding to the perfection.

So, we have a collection of funky, quirky tunes, a strong groove and a stunning debut album for this brand-new organ trio.  Jazz doesn’t get much better than this.  But why call the album “Thane & The Villeins”?   Well, buy the album and the sleeve note will reveal all.  
(Released February 14, Hadleigh Jazz Records)
James Henry

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