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Farewell Blues

R.I.P. HRH Queen Elizabeth ll (1926 - Sept. 8, 2022).
R.I.P. Trevor Tomkins (1941 - Sept. 9, 2022).
R.I.P. Gordon McGregor (Sept. 11, 2022).
R.I.P. Ramsey Lewis (1935 - Sept. 12, 2022).
R.I.P. Pharoah Sanders (Oct. 13, 1940 - Sept. 24, 2022).
R.I.P. Sue Mingus (April 2, 1930 - Sept. 24, 2022).

Bebop Spoken There

Larry Klein: "- in a certain way - Leonard [Cohen] is the greatest songwriter ever." - (Jazzwise October 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!

Holly Cooper, Mouthpiece Music: "Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"

Postage

14602 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 880 of them this year alone and, so far, 80 this month (Sept. 26).

From This Moment On ...

September

Wed 28: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 28: Battle of the Bands @ NE Volume Music Bar, Yarm Lane, Stockton. Doors 6:00pm. Tickets: £5.00. adv., £6.00. on the door. Participants inc. Milne Glendinning Band.
Wed 28: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 28: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 28: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 28: Black is the Color of My Voice @ Alnwick Playhouse. 7:30pm. One woman stage play (the life & times of Nina Simone).
Wed 28: Laura Jurd @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 29: Ushaw Ensemble @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 1:15pm. Free.
Thu 29: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 3:00-5:00pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 29: Czajka & Puchaz + Mark Solborg + Anthropology @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Thu 29: ‘58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:30pm.
Thu 29: Peter Morgan Trio @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 30: Adam Johnson @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 30: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 30: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 30: Pete Churchill & Noel Dennis: Exploring the Jazz Metaphor in Leadership & Management @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 2:30-4:00pm. Workshop.Tickets: £3.30 (inc. bf). A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: FILM: Bird (Dir. Clint Eastwood) + Swing Bridge (in the bar) @ Forum Cinema, Hexham. 6:30pm.
Fri 30: Orphy Robinson + Maniscalco-Bigoni-Solborg + Nicole Mitchell + Binker Golding-Alexander Hawkins-John Pope-Paul Hession @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle (7:00pm). A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: Ushaw Ensemble @ St Mary’s Church, Holy Island. 7:30pm.
Fri 30: Alter Ego @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. CANCELLED!
Fri 30: King Bee @ The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club, Independent, Sunderland. 9:00pm. £22.50. DJs + King Bee.

October

Sat 01: Dale Storr @ St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. £10.00.
Sat 01: Nicole Mitchell & Alexander Hawkins @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 01: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Pete Churchill. £25.00. Enrol at: www.jazz.coop.
Sat 01: Orphy Robinson (in conversation); Beck Hunters w John Pope & Laura Cole; Daniel Levin; Black Top w Mariam Rezaei @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 6:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 01: Simon O'Byrne @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Solo guitar & vocals.
Sat 01: King Bees @ Grainger Market, Newcastle. 9:00-9:45pm. A Great Market Caper multi-bill event. Superb Chicago blues band. Doors: 6:30pm. Tickets: £10.00. + bf.

Sun 02 RUTH LAMBERT TRIO @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 02: Helena Anahita Wilson @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sun 02: Smokin’ Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm.
Sun 02: Zoë Gilby Trio w Noel Dennis + John Garner & John Pope + Dilutey Juice @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. £7.00.
Sun 02: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 02: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 02: Lindsay Hannon's 'Tom Waits for No Man' @ Three Tanners Bank, North Shields. 6:00pm. Free.
Sun 02: Celebrating the Life & Music of Pharoah Sanders @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. £8.00. on the door. Feat. Sue Ferris, Paul Gowland, Tom Atkinson, Jude Murphy, Jeff Armstrong.
Sun 02: Shifa + Bex Burch & Leafcutter John + Farida Amadou @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.

Mon 03: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 04: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Durham. 7:00pm. Free (to reserve a table phone 0191 386 5556).
Tue 04: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Dean Stockdale, Paul Grainger, Tim Johnston.
Tue 04: Blue Jazz Quartet w Rivkala @ The Ship Isis, Sunderland. 7:30pm. Free.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

One Night in Birdland

Fats Navarro (trumpet); Charlie    Parker (alto sax); Bud Powell (piano); Curley Russell (bass); Art Blakey (drums).
  (By David Brownlow)

  In this year of the Centenary of the birth of   Charlie Parker, a chance to look back at a gig       he played when bebop was at its height.

In the bebop era, it was true to say that Bud Powell was not Charlie Parker’s best friend. Furthermore, it was also true that Bud Powell was not Fats Navarro’s best friend either…..Personality clashes, egos, mental health issues and drugs misuse were some of the factors involved in the cut-throat business of the jazz life – putting a band together and keeping it, getting gigs, having a recording contract, going on tour or trying to have any sort of family life were problems to overcome (as now). 

Bird was very astute in his choice of sidemen – he didn’t want to be outplayed on the bandstand. That’s why he employed either a young, faltering Miles Davis, an emerging Kenny Dorham, a brash Red Rodney, or a weak Benny Harris to be the front-line partner in his Quintet. Dizzy Gillespie was already ‘leader’ material himself and wanted his own bands; Fats Navarro, the virtuoso trumpeter was just too good and piano genius Bud Powell was too unreliable because of his personal problems. 

Bud suffered from mental-health issues throughout his life at times undergoing ‘unsuitable’ treatments ie electric shock, or police brutality i.e. the cosh about the head. Recent suggestions have been that Bud may have been suffering from Autism or the personality problem Bipolar Disorder. In today’s world, he would have received more knowledgeable treatment. Nevertheless, Bud was a very difficult person to manage as a musician – not only did he have a chip on his shoulder, he had the whole bag of chips…..! At times, he would goad or provoke other players – he even challenged Tatum, Parker, and Navarro about their playing abilities. As a result, Bird couldn’t have him in his band although he loved his playing and tried to give him bits and pieces of work from time to time.

Bud and Fats also had their ‘moments’ on the bandstand. On one occasion, Navarro, incensed by the pianist’s belligerence, attempted violently to crash his trumpet down onto the hands of Bud at the keyboard to the horror of the audience. Luckily for all concerned, the assault failed, the trumpet caught the wooden frame of the piano and was wrecked – Fats had to borrow a horn from someone else to finish the gig. On another occasion, Fats poured a whole flagon of beer over Bud while on the stage.

Bearing all this background in mind, it’s amazing to believe that an occasion should arise when Bird, Fats and Bud turned up for a jam session eager and ready to play on a Monday night at Birdland, NYC, in October 1950. They joined the ‘house’ rhythm team of Curly Russell on bass and Art Blakey on drums in a ‘one-off’ performance which we’re lucky enough to be able to listen to the extraordinary music played that night. This was through he efforts of a fan, Bill Hersch, who brought his tape-recorder into the venue as requested by Boris Rose, a sound engineer who was known for illegally selling-on tapes and discs to fans and to musicians. Make no mistake, this was to be a “cutting contest” in the tradition of jazz long ago

One track, Ornithology, stands out for its sheer brilliance. After a chaotic Powell intro, Bird takes the first solo (he always took the first solo!) Characteristically forceful, looking for new ideas, he’s not quite at his most fluent best. Navarro steps up next. On this night on the bandstand, he looked a pitiful sight to the shocked audience. Wracked by coughing and with a ghastly pallor to his face, his suit hung in folds around his once ample frame. Tragically, he was suffering from advanced Tuberculosis exacerbated by his heroin habit and he died only days after this gig – how he managed to play as well as he did was an extraordinary feat. Nevertheless, he outplays Parker with fantastic support from the rhythm section, his flights up into the higher register forming part of a typically well-thought-out effort. 

The piano takes up the fight next; Bud, inspired by what just happened, attacked the keyboard as only he could. With sweat dripping down his face, his right leg braced on the floor, features contorted in a grimace, his solo builds. Tension mounts, the crowd respond, Blakey reduces volume but drives relentlessly towards the piano player’s emotional and technical climax, and yes, it is Bud, Bud Powell, who wins this round! !  Frantic ‘fours’ bring the bout to a close.

 Listener alert!

A warning to anyone wishing to listen to this music – the sound fidelity is distinctly lo-fi, harsh with extraneous noise provided by the audience from the on-location recording done on  primitive gear and with subsequent transfer to disc – but very rewarding.
Dave B.                 

1 comment :

Yardbird said...

This is music of unbelievable quality my favourite piece is the astonishing version of The Street Beat to hear the three greatest musicians of their generation together is breathtaking.

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