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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.


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 ...


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:
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.

Saturday, March 07, 2020

CD Review: John Di Martino - Passion Flower

John Di Martino (piano/arranger); Eric Alexander (tenor sax); Boris Kaslov (bass); Lewis Nash (drums) + Raul Midon (vocal, Lush Life).
(Review by Lance)

Compositions by Strayhorn, piano and arrangements by Di Martino, tenor by Alexander and top notch bass and drums - what could go wrong?


Fourteen superb compositions by Strayhorn. Compositions that, somehow or other, managed to keep Duke's name off the credit sheet. As a composer, Bill - as his mother called him - was surely Ellington's equal although the truth will probably never be known as to their overall relative input.

Still, that is one for the historians and the investigative journalists - they haven't yet come to a verdict on Shakespeare/Bacon so we may have to wait a bit longer. What is important here is the music we're hearing and it is well worth hearing. Alexander has long been my favourite American tenor player which means my favourite tenor player! He reincarnates Dexter, Wardell, Hank, Joe and so many more Bb reed players without losing his own individuality. Tone, phrasing, ideas - he has them in spades.

Leader Di Martino made a good choice - not least in sitting himself on the piano stool. His solos and arrangements totally capture the images Strayhorn created. Like Duke, the titles fit the tune. Daydream is just that, a languorous  statement of the theme followed by some agitated tenor sax that suggests the daydream may be moving towards stormy waters. However, Di Martino and Kazlov on bass restore tranquility before Alexander takes it out in a frenzied coda.

Possibly Strayhorn's best known piece, Lush Life, receives a smoky baritone vocal from Raul Midon that slots in easily alongside the various male singers that Ellington used over the years.

Away from the Ellington Orchestra, I don't think Sweet Pea's music has ever been better presented. From the swinging Johnny Come Lately to the exotic Lotus Blossom via U.M.MG (Upper Manhattan Medical Group) and other classic pieces this is the real deal.

Back in the day, I worked alongside Hughie Aitchison (father of Colin - our man in Hong Kong) who knew more about Ellington than Ellington himself and I would have loved to be able to go back in time, listen to the album and dissect it with him. I suspect he may have liked it - I certainly do.

Like a flower, it's a lovesome thing.

Johnny Come Lately; Lush Life; Rain Check; Star-Crossed Lovers; Isfahan; Chelsea Bridge; Daydream; Passion Flower; U.M.MG; Blood Count; Take the A Train; A Flower is a Lovesome Thing; Absinthe; Lotus Blossom.

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