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Bebop Spoken There

Ambrose Akinmusire: “ I am certainly always aware of what the masses are doing. And when I see too many people going one way, I'm going another way - even when I don't know what's over that way". DownBeat, March, 2024.

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!"

Simon Spillett: A lovely review from the dean of jazz bloggers, Lance Liddle...

Josh Weir: I love the writing on bebop spoken here... I think the work you are doing is amazing.

Postage

16246 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 128 of them this year alone and, so far, 72 this month (Feb. 29).

From This Moment On ...

March

Sun 03: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. 11:00am. £10.00.. Day 3/3. School & Youth bands in competition.
Sun 03: Smokin’ Spitfires @ the Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm. £7.50.
Sun 03: Alan Law Trio plays Ahmad Jamal’s At the Pershing: But Not for Me & more @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 2:00pm. £10.00. The music of Ahmad Jamal.
Sun 03: Alice Grace & Ben Helm @ St Francis’ Church, High Heaton, Newcastle. 2:00-5:00pm. £12.00. (children free admission). A Children’s Society fundraiser. Two x 30 mins sets. Refreshments available, child-friendly event with participation of children encouraged!
Sun 03: Sax Choir @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00-5:00pm. Free (donations). Monthly workshop, all welcome (participant and/or listener).
Sun 03: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 03: ’58 Jazz Collective @ St George’s Venue, Park Road, Hartlepool. 3:30pm (refreshments from 2:30pm). £6.00.
Sun 03: Down for the Count: A Century of Swing @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:00pm.
Sun 03: SH#RP Collective @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 03: Mostly Moonlight @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Vocals/piano duo.
Sun 03: Remy CB @ Blues & Bourbon, Nelson St., Newcastle. 9:00pm. Free. Newcastle University music student Remy Coulthard Boardman.

Mon 04: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 05: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Joe Steels, Paul Grainger, Michael Mather.

Wed 06: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 06: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 06: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 07: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 07: Ray Stubbs R & B All Stars @ The Schooner, South Shore Road, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Thu 07: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Ragtime piano.
Thu 07: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. Guests: Mark Toomey (alto sax); Donna Hewitt (tenor sax); Garry Hadfield (keys); Ron Smith (bass); Mark Hawkins (drums). 8:30pm.

Fri 08: Noel Dennis Quartet @ The Old Library, Auckland Castle. 1:00pm. £8.00. Noel Dennis (trumpet, flugelhorn); Rick Laughlin (keyboards); Mick Shoulder (double bass); Tim Johnston (drums).
Fri 08: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 08: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free. CANCELLED! Back on March 15.
Fri 08: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Sat 09: Alex Fawcett Band + Lindsay Hannon Blues Trio @ Sedgefield Parish Hall. 7:00pm. £15.00. A Sedgefield Rock & Blues Club event. Tickets: www.sedgefieldblues.com.
Sat 09: Shunyata Improvisation Group @ Cullercoats Watch House. 8:00pm. Donations. A Watch House renovation fundraising concert.
Sat 09: Ray Stubb’s R&B All Stars @ The Peacock, Sunderland. 6:00pm. Free. Gig in the downstairs bar.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Jam Session @ The Black Swan - Feb. 11

(Review/photos by Lance).

Another evening of infinite variety that had no shortage of big hitters. 

It all began rather low key, albeit with some tasteful playing by the house trio, with Bradley setting the bar for the other guitarists present to aim at. A Jobim bossa, Travels - a tribute to Lyle Mays who'd died the previous day - and a bouncy bop number set the scene for Harry Keeble who, after an extended intro by the trio, went into 'S Wonderful before being joined by the tightly muted Ed for Days of Wine and Roses. Interesting contrast, Harry leaves no note unplayed whilst Ed leaves quite a few of them untouched.

One guy who explores the full range of his instrument is trombonist Showtime Gray. In the absence of Ray Burns, David was a shoo in to take the catwalk prize on the strength of his trousers, boots and woolly hat. His Bésame Mucho was as earcatching as his attire was eyecatching.

Harry returned to join him in the front line, Abbie took over the kit and guitarist Laurence  replaced Brad. Maiden Voyage and then Impressions were the test pieces and it was on the latter number that the joint began to jump. Harry blew one of his "Follow that" solos passing the ball to Ed who, in fairness didn't try to but opted for a more economical approach that, at times, was almost verging on the avant garde. Economical is rarely a part of Showtime's vocabulary and he fought fire with fire without getting burned.

Time for a break and a Tyneside Blonde (a beer) before the first of the singers took the mic. Irene Birkett gave us Love me or Leave me and I Can't Get Started. This may have been her Black Swan debut and I think she was, perhaps, a shade nervous. 

Jan is a tried and tested performer and, with able assists from Jordan on alto and Alan Law on piano, sang You Turned the Tables on me - such a great lyric by Sidney D.Mitchell* - and Cheek to Cheek.

The stakes were being raised. Andy Lawrenson unpacked his fiddle, Steve Summers saddled up his tenor and a drummer named Tom picked up the sticks.

It Had to be You had a nice Grappellian swing to it whilst St. Thomas saw all of the A-listers going for it with possibly the combativity prize going to Jordan for his blistering alto solo. They thought it was all over - Tom didn't! The drummer took a chorus or three before bringing le tout ensemble back for the ride out.

All this excitement was just too much to handle and it had to be calmed down before someone got hurt! 

Enter James Birkett and  Laurence Harrison. Ah ha, I thought, a guitar duet - I was only half right - James, husband of Irene and former tutor of Bradley had 6 strings at his disposal but Lawrence, who earlier had impressed in a variety of settings now had 88 at his finger tips (at least he would have had had it been a steam piano he was now sitting at). Yes the guitar man was now a piano man and the rest will go down in Black Swan fokelore. 

Polka Dots and Moonbeams brought conversation to a standstill as the impromptu duo silenced the room with the sheer magic of their playing and the instant empathy that only happens when Jupiter aligns with Mars or the moon has turned to gold. I was particularly impressed with Laurence's single-handed piano solo.

The clock was ticking and curfew time approaching. The troops were marshalled, Michael Mather the latest drummer, a new trumpet player, David Olantungi, and a cast of 1000s (or so it seemed) took off on Autumn Leaves. These leaves weren't drifting by any windows they were precipitating as the soloists blew up the storm which was the cue for Hurricane Julija to take the tiles off the roof (and we were in the basement!)

The Girl From Lithuania is something else! in the course of a few bars she is a jazz singer, a dramatic actress, a dancer, a you name it, every note, every word, every movement is meaningful. At times maybe a touch over the top but, with the bewitching hour approaching, who cares? The bewitching hour passed and Julija was now into what could well be her signature tune - Stormy Weather!

The weather outside was stormy but I hardly noticed...
Lance.


Paul Grainger (bass); Bradley Johnston (guitar); Mark Robertson (drums) + Jordan Alfonso (alto sax); Harry Keeble, Steve Summers (tenor sax); Ed Bell (cornet); David Olatungi (trumpet); David "Showtime" Gray (trombone); Alan Law (piano); Laurence Harrison (piano/guitar) James Birkett (guitar); Abbie Finn, Tom ?, Michael Mather (drums); Irene Birkett, Jan Spencelayh, Julija Jacenaite (vocals).

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