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Bebop Spoken There

Steve Fishwick: “I can’t get behind the attitude that new is always somehow better than old”. (Jazz Journal, April 15, 2019).

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

16542 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 422 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (June 17).

From This Moment On ...

June

Fri 21: Alan Barnes with Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT!
Fri 21: Joe Steels’ Borealis @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 21: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 21: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 21: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 21: Soznak @ The Bike Garden, Nunsmoor, Newcastle NE4 5NU. 5:00-9:00pm. Free.
Fri 21: Errol Linton + Michael Littlefield & Scott Taylor (King Bees) @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle. 7:30pm. £20.00. Blues double bill.
Fri 21: Alan Barnes with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ Seventeen Nineteen, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Fri 21: Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ Alnwick Playhouse. 8:00pm. ‘Ella & Ellington’.
Fri 21: Mark Toomey Quartet @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. Opus 4 Jazz Club.

Sat 22: Jason Isaacs @ Stack, Seaburn SR6 8AA. 12:30-2:30pm. Free.
Sat 22: Abbie Finn Trio @ The Vault, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free.
Sat 22: Hejira: Celebrating Joni Mitchell @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors). £22.50.
Sat 22: Rockin’ Turner Bros. @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 23: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 23: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Matt Carmichael @ St Mary’s Church, Wooler. 3:00pm. Carmichael (saxophone), Fergus McCreadie (piano), Charlie Stewart (fiddle). ‘Scottish jazz, folk-roots & landscape’ Wooler Arts: Summer Concerts.
Sun 23: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Bede Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 23: Leeway @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 23: Jazz Jam @ Fabio’s Bar, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 24: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 24: Remy CB @ The Hoppings, Newcastle Town Moor NE2 3NH. 5:00-7:00pm.

Tue 25: Louise Dodds & Elchin Shirinov @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Wed 26: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 26: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 26: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 27: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 27: Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Jazz Orchestra @ Arc, Stockton. 8:00pm.
Thu 27: The Joni Project @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Joni Mitchell.
Thu 27: Lindsay Hannon’s Tom Waits for No Man @ Harbour View, Roker, Sunderland. 8:00pm.
Thu 27: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 27: Loco House Band @ Bar Loco, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 27: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Neil Brodie (trumpet); Garry Hadfield (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass)

Sunday, May 24, 2020

CD Review: Chris Montague - Warmer Than Blood


Chris Montague (guitar); Kit Downes (piano); Ruth Goller (electric bass).

In a recent lockdown interview with London Jazz News, the composer of this CD Chris Montague was asked what was the first album he purchased as a "jazz musician". Montague's reply is interesting as he said that when he was 14/15 years old he bought a John McLaughlin compilation in HMV in Newcastle ('Why not from Windows ?' I imagine the BSH editor wondering). Not a bad choice for a young teenage aspiring guitarist but also interesting for the message he took from McLaughlin's music. He said, "It felt like a completely different aesthetic to the other stuff I'd been into which was much more blues/rock oriented". Clearly it opened his eyes to the possibilities of guitar playing and music generally.

Although one wouldn't think of McLaughlin listening to this album it definitely has it's own aesthetic with constantly varying soundscapes and a warm (> 98.6F) emotional feel.

Although Montague has been involved in many recordings and with a number of well known groups this album is his first under his leadership and it is wonderful. The music is original and imaginative, as well as being experimental and improvised but without the negative connotations that are sometimes attached (often unfairly) to those words. Some of this is due to Montague's subtle compositions and guitar playing but much is also the result of the complex interactions between him and his two colleagues; long-time collaborator, pianist and ECM recording artist, Kit Downes, and electric bassist Ruth Goller. The absence of drums creates spaces for the three of them that gives the music an intriguing delicacy both engaging and stimulating.

The opening track Irish Handcuffs (Introduction) is a beautifully judged improvised guitar solo by Montague that leads into the second track, the full Irish Handcuffs with close rhythmic inter-play between a 'prepared' piano and electronically enhanced guitar with the electric bass in there as well producing a very vibrant and intricate mixture. This piece demonstrates Montague's ability to integrate unusual musical forms with the use of hocketting, a medieval musical form with a quick alteration of notes between two voices (or in this case, two instruments) giving a very distinctive sound. Apparently this effect is used in Indonesian gamelan music, Andean siku, Russian kuvutsi, rara street processions in Haiti and King Crimson. As my Irish granny would have said "It's a long way from hocketting he was born" (Gateshead, actually) but it creates a fascinating and gripping effect.

The title track Warmer Than Blood is a musical interpretation of a poem by Fiona Sampson which begins "The black beast who sleeps/under your feet raising/his back sometimes sending/shivers up your spine" and gives you a feel of the atmosphere of this piece which is subtly dark and mysterious.

A number of pieces were written for his family. FTM for his young son starts slowly and meditatively but builds up to a more frantic staccato finish and the track, Moira, inspired by his grandmother, is a heartfelt and beautiful guitar improvisation (her views on hocketting are not known).

The one standard, melodic 'tune' on the album is perhaps appropriately given the title Not My Usual, but the quality of composition across the whole album is shown by the fact that it does not stand out as something different or a 'relief', but as another fine piece of music with its place amongst all the others.
The final track Rendered began as a commission for the opening of Jimi Hendrix's flat in the house where Handel once lived and, as there wasn't much musical inspiration there, apparently Montague got started by rubbing manuscript paper onto wood chipped wallpaper (come to think of it Hendrix was inclined to rub his guitar against certain delicate parts of his body in live performance).

But however it was created this is another gorgeously musical track with beautiful repetitive bell-like sounds from the piano and guitar and ending with the sounds of the sea or the wind or maybe blood rushing through the veins.

Throughout the album all three musicians are in intuitive harmony with each other and have created some fantastic music to help deal with lockdown. My album of the year!
JC

Irish Handcuffs (Introduction); Irish Handcuffs; Warmer Than Blood; FTM; C Squad; Not My Usual Type; The Internet; Moira; Rendered.

Available now from Whirlwind Recordings.

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