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Bebop Spoken There

KT Reeder: "The idea of teaching somebody to improvise is just bloody ridiculous. In this country jazz has been appropriated by universities. They have jazz courses, and they churn out people who have a degree in jazz, which makes me feel very nauseous, the idea that you can be trained to do jazz." - (Giant Steps by David Burke)

Archive quotes.

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.

Postage

13,248 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 667 of them this year alone and, so far, 75 this month (May 16).

Coming soon ...



May 20: Vieux Carré Jazzmen at The Holystone (Indoors!)
May 20 Maine Street Jazzmen are back at Sunniside Social Club. 8:30pm start.
May 23: Vieux Carré Hot Four are back at The Spanish City.

June 21: Jazz in the Afternoon are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club. (Revised date).
June 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club. (Revised date).

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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