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Bebop Spoken There

Tineke Postma: “ I had a huge crush on him [Sting] when I was a teenager ". Jazzwise, June 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.


16476 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 356 of them this year alone and, so far, 68 this month (May 24).

From This Moment On ...


Tue 28: Bold Big Band @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Wed 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 29: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 29: Jazz Night @ The Tannery, Hexham. 7:00-9:00pm. Free. The first night of a new jam session!
Wed 29: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 30: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 30: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 30: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests Josh Bentham (sax); Neil Brodie (trumpet); Garry Hadfield (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass);

Fri 31: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 31: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 31: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 31: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Fri 31: Borealis @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm. CANCELLED!
Fri 31: Redwell @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.


Sat 01: Enrico Tomasso’s Swing Company @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club.
Sat 01: Play More Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Steve Glendinning.
Sat 01: Hop, Skiffle & Jump: The Story of Skiffle @ 1719, Hendon, Sunderland. 6:00-9:00pm.
Sat 01: Lindsay Hannon’s Tom Waits for No Man @ Dry Water Arts, Amble. 7:00pm. £15.00.
Sat 01: John Garner & John Pope @ Victoria Tunnel, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Sat 01: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 02: Musicians Unlimited @ West Hartlepool RFC, Hartlepool. 12 noon. Two sets (12 noon-1:00pm & 2:00-3:00pm). ‘Sunday Big Band Blast meets WHRFC’s Classic Car Show’.
Sun 02: Smokin’ Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm. £7.50.
Sun 02: Mark Williams Trio @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 2:00pm. £10.00.
Sun 02: Sax Choir @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 02: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 02: Anth Purdy @ The Quakerhouse, Darlington. 6:30pm. Free. ‘Swing Jazz Guitar’.
Sun 02: MSK @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 03: John Garner & John Pope @ Yamaha Music School, Blyth. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Mon 03: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Tom Seals @ Blenheim Palace’s ‘Picnic at the Palace’ - July 22

Although the toll that the pandemic has taken on performing musicians is considerable and devastating, it is heartening to note the extent to which so many have adapted to our strange new world of virtual communication, reaching new audiences and forming connections with fellow musicians in a way that would have been more logistically demanding in less technologically-reliant times. 

The young Cheshire-based singer and pianist Tom Seals, protégé of Jools Holland, is a case in point. He has been busier than ever, launching ‘The Tom Seals Show’ online featuring interviews with international music stars, and even collaborating with comedian Matt Lucas on the viral Baked Potato Song (which raised over a million pounds for the NHS). 

On 22 July, Seals and his band ventured out of their lock-down garden set-up to the verdant grounds of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, to headline the launch of the estate’s summer series ‘Picnic at the Palace’. As part of the series, Jazz FM’s David Freeman has been invited to ‘curate’ weekly concerts (on Sundays) featuring stars from his show Blues and Boogie, of which Tom is one.  

With the audience well warmed up from the support acts, Tom Seals and band members (Harry Greene on sax and electric guitar, Nick Bayes on bass and Joel Barford on drums) launched into a perky cover of Ray Charles’ rhythm and blues classic Hallelujah, I Just Love Her So. What followed was a varied set which showed off the versatility of Seals’ musicianship. He brought inimitable vivacity to Bill Withers’ Just the Two of Us, a song which also gave Harry Greene the opportunity to show off his saxophone dexterity.  

Between songs we got a taste of Seals’ warm personality, as he engaged amicably with the socially-distancing audience. His cheeky quips and self-deprecating humour lend themselves excellently to the role of TV host, and it is no surprise that he has been able to make such a success of his online show. Clearly, the epithet he is earning for himself as ‘the next Jools Holland’ is not just sensationalized prophesising: he really has all of the talent and character to live up to it.

The richness and nuance of his vocals belies his young age; it would be all too easy to veer into an overly-indulgent, almost generically maudlin style in many of the slower covers – such as Leon Russell’s intimate love song A Song for You – but Seals infuses the melodic lines with a spirit that is unmistakably his own. And then there is his piano playing - characterful and fresh, each song replete with playful improvised material. A high point of the evening was an untitled, improvised boogie-woogie, which Seals prefaced with a brief homage to his mentor Jools, from whom he first learnt the ‘art’ of the genre. With an effortless but dynamic stride in the left hand, and dancing, nimble fingers in the right, off Tom went.

There were, however, two standout songs of the evening, both marked not only by pianistic wizardry but also by tightness of ensemble: first, a cover of Jamie Cullum’s These are the Days, with some very convincing scat passages and a fierce drum solo from Joel Barford. The second was a version of Jon Cleary’s When You Get Back (included on his 2017 EP Where I’m At), which was deliciously funky. By the end of the show, most of the picnickers were up on their feet dancing, nudged from the formality of Blenheim’s environs into Seals’ musical world of foot-stomping rhythms and infectious riffs. He is a remarkable talent, with an exciting future ahead. 

Tom Seals returns to Blenheim’s ‘Picnic at the Palace’ on August 16. (Tom’s first single Black Coffee comes out on August 1 on Right Track Records, distributed by Universal Music.  Link.)

Earlier on the bill for this preview show was Irish singer and pianist Kedar Friss-Lawrence with some Elton John crowd-pleasers, followed by the celebrated folk-rock fiddler Ric Sanders (of Fairport Convention), in duet with guitarist and singer Vo Fletcher. Their set ranged from the quintessential American fiddle tune Sail Away Ladies to some Beatles classics, rounded off in a rousing manner with a lively version of Leon Redbone’s Diddy Wah Diddy.  
Rachel Coombes

Individual photos by Clive Rose. 
Band photos by Simon Greene.
All photos.

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