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Bebop Spoken There

Art Hirahara: "Playing with people is the most important thing to me, and not playing with people is torture." - (DownBeat August, 2020)

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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".

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11,772 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 912 of them this year alone and, so far, 49 this month (August 13).

Coming soon ...

August

Saturday 15: Anth Purdy - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. Free (donations). Purdy’s solo ‘Swing Jazz Guitar’ show. Limited capacity.

Thursday 20: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Maine St. Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, 27 Sunniside Rd., Gateshead NE16 5NA. 8:30pm.

Friday 21: Lindsay Hannon - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 9:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Book Review: Francis Davis - In the Moment, Jazz in the 1980s

(Review by Steve T)

I got interested in this because I wanted to see how it would deal with jazz-funk and smooth jazz. I liked the former, though I think it's as relevant to soul music as jazz, but abandoned it as it descended into the latter.

Unsurprisingly, it's all but ignored but, on the odd occasion it gets a mention, it suffers the derision. The following is typical: "(violinist John) Blake served as MD for pop-jazz saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. for five years in the mid seventies, a lucrative gig".

The book is broken down into twenty six essays and articles, mostly on specific artists and are largely as interesting as their subject.

The chapter on Wynton and Branford Marsalis is interesting because, at the time of writing, Wynton was the leading jazz musician of his generation, which isn't how most people perceive him now. 

Reading about Roscoe Shelton, I realised I'd never heard anything by the Art Ensemble of Chicago, who played the London Jazz Festival last year. Now rectified, they're like a cross between Sun Ra and the original Mothers, whom they were contemporary with

Arthur Blythe was someone I came at from the wrong end. The first time I heard of him was on the latent jazz-funk scene, and the album Put Sunshine In It whereupon the book refers to him as 'a victim of critical backlash, and in 1985, he finally caved into pressure and recorded a blatantly commercial album.    

John Lewis reminds me of my late father-in-law yelling MJQ at me, as a badge of intelligence and taste to line up with classical music, SinAtra and marching/big bands. Not to my taste and I wasn't tempted though I certainly found the chapter interesting.

Ran Blake was new to me and I await an album winging its way from Japan.

And the final chapter is of course Miles Davis, but Miles from the eighties, where nobody thought this was one of his great eras, but people still cared whether the latest album was better than the one before. As the title of the book says, it's in the moment.

With other chapters on David Murray, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and George Russell, it's perhaps not a classic, but is fascinating at times.     
Steve T.

Francis Davis - In the Moment, Jazz in the 1980s. Diane Publishing Co. (1996). ISBN: 9780756792190

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