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Bebop Spoken There

Greg Abate: "So many sounds are ugly now. There are no harmonics, no chords. What do people hear these days? Why do things have to change from that good music?" (JazzTimes June/July 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:"Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"

Postage

14378 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 597 of them this year alone and, so far, 2 this month (July 2).

From This Moment On ...

July

Mon 04: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Wed 06: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 06: Michael Bublé @ Durham County Cricket Club, Chester le Street. Doors: 5:00pm.
Wed 06: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 06: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 06: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 07: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 07: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 3:00-5:00pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 07: Lara Jones + Echo Juliet @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 07: Thursday Night Prayer Meeting @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free admission (donations).
Thu 07: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 07: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 08: Alex Clarke Quartet @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm. £7.00.
Fri 08: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 08: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 08: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.

Sat 09: Jazz Stage @ Mouth of the Tyne Festival: Zoë Gilby Duo (12 noon); Vieux Carré Jazzmen (1:35pm); Harmony Brass (3:10pm); Ruth Lambert Quartet (4:40pm). Outdoor stage adjacent to Tynemouth Priory.

Sun 10: Tusk X Yeah You @ Live Theatre, Newcastle. 12 noon. £10.00. All day event, line-up inc. Pat Thomas.
Sun 10: Jazz Stage @ Mouth of the Tyne Festival: Rendezvous Jazz (12 noon); River City Jazzmen (1:35pm); House of the Black Gardenia (3:10pm); Classic Swing (4:40pm). Outdoor stage adjacent to Tynemouth Priory.
Sun 10 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 10: Tees Valley Jazzmen @ Hammer & Pincers, Preston le Skerne. 1:00pm.
Sun 10: Shunyata Improvisation Group @ Saltwell Park, Gateshead NE9 5AX. 1:00pm.
Sun 10: Am Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 10: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 10: Anth Purdy @ Blues & Bourbon, Newcastle. 4:00pm.
Sun 10: Jazzframe @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Book review: Brian Gruber - Six Days at Ronnie Scott's, Billy Cobham on jazz fusion and the act of creation.

This is one of those books that you can't put down although, initially I thought I'd struggle to get beyond the first page, not being a big fan of fusion and it's practitioners.

That was then! Now, after devouring every word like someone coming off a hunger strike, I find myself listening to Bitches Brew and, if I had any any Mahavishnu albums I'd be listening to them too! Whilst I'd hardly describe myself as a convert, such is the impact of the writing, both by Gruber and Cobham, that you are drawn into the music without even hearing it!

Set over six nights at Ronnie Scott's it describes not only Cobham's playing behind Guy Barker's hand picked British big band (Paul Booth is in the line-up) but also includes the before and after (fly on the wall) conversations with a lot of memories along the way.

Intriguing is the meticulous attention Cobham pays to his kit. Three missing floor tom-tom legs almost became a world (jazz) crisis. Every drummer in the universe should study Cobham's tuning of his drums. He pitches them as carefully as any horn or string player so that he is in accord with what is going on around him.

But, apart from the description of the gig which sold-out 6 nights running, there are also his memories of the many previous highlights in his illustrious career. There was his time in the navy where, by a fortuitous posting, he was able to spend time at home and do some moonlighting jazz club gigs in the evening. His big time breakthrough with Horace Silver which brought him fame if not fortune leading to the ensuing super stardom with Miles, the Breckers, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and his present status where he has annually pulled full houses at Ronnie's for 11 consecutive years.

Needless to say, author Gruber extracts opinions from him on the various musicians he has worked with. He speaks frankly and honestly. His opinions, although never malicious, come across as genuine and observant.

To sum up, it's one helluva book. I didn't need to be at Ronnie's for those 6 nights - I've just been there! Every unheard note and drum beat is ingrained inside me.
Lance 

Available Amazon (£11.95 + pp)

Brian Gruber: Six Days at Ronnie Scott's, Billy Cobham on jazz fusion and the act of creation2018. ISBN 9781717493002.

2 comments :

Steve T said...

When you go to watch lots of guitarists, there's always lots of guitarists there. When you go to watch Billy Cobham, there's lots of drummers there. First time I saw him was with the Mahavishnu in 73 but it was a long time ago and I was ten and totally bedazzled by John. Playing the records years later, I realised how incredible he was and how he totally raised the bar in rock and jazz-rock drumming. I saw him at the Gala in Durham a good few years back with a Cuban band and he was pretty unremarkable. I later learned he'd had a bout of illness which could have been the reason. I last saw him at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival as part of his seventieth birthday. He was much better but obviously nowhere near the Mahavishnu years.
Years ago he did a drum clinic on Whistle Test and had two rock drummers (I think one was Queen's drummer) and he totally wiped the floor with them.
Incidentally, his replacement in Mahavishnu was Narada Michael Walden who was almost as stunning.

thegrube said...

Lance, I just wanted to thank you - belatedly - for your very kind comments. That book was a labor of love and the six days at Ronnie's overlaid with six decades of Bill's musical life worked out quite well. It's a difficult life, hanging at Ronnie's bar watching the shows for six nights drinking single malt scotch, and then backstage with the band, but someone's got to do it.

Bill is now in his mid-seventies and still going strong. i wanted to pay tribute to the men and women who keep creating and refining their craft.

Thank you again Lance.

Brian Gruber
briankgruber@gmail.com

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