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Bebop Spoken There

Maurice J. Summerfield: "Over dinner one night Barney [Kessel] told me about his seminar The Effective Guitarist, and in 1972 my company presented the first of twelve annual UK seminars in Newcastle upon Tyne." - (Just Jazz Guitar, September 1997)

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!"


15080 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 99 of them this year alone and, so far, 99 this month (Jan. 30).

From This Moment On ...


Wed 01: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 01: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 01: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 01: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 01: Moonlight Serenade Orchestra UK: Glenn Miller & Big Band Spectacular @ Darlington Hippodrome. 7:30pm.

Thu 02: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 02: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 2:30-4:30pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 02: Paul Skerritt Duo @ Tomahawk Steakhouse, High St., Yarm. 8:00pm.
Thu 02: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm. Guests: Dave Archbold (keys); Josh Bentham (tenor sax); Donna Hewwitt (alto sax); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 03: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 03: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 03: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 03: Abbie Finn Trio @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Fri 03: Dilutey Juice @ Bobik's, Punch Bowl, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Fri 03: Smoove & Turrell @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors). £25.00.
Fri 03: Struggle Buggy @ Prohibiton Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Blind Pig Blues Club.

Sat 04: Alligator Gumbo @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm.
Sat 04: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: John Pope - Up Your Rhythm Game. £25.00. Enrol at:
Sat 04: King Bees @ Grainger Market, Newcastle. 6:30pm (doors). Live music, comedy, DJs, food stalls. £10.00. advance, £15.00. on the door. Blues band King Bees on stage 9:45-11:15pm. A Great Market Caper event.
Sat 04: Jives Aces @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm.
Sat 04: Renegade Brass Band @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors).
Sat 04: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. £3.00.

Sun 05 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 05: Rivkala @ Cumberland Arms, Newcastle. 6:00pm.
Sun 05: Jive Aces @ Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Sun 05: Dale Storr @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 05: Jam No.13 @ Fabio's, Saddler St., Durham. Free. Durham University Jazz Society jam session. All welcome (students & non-students alike).

Mon 06: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 07: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre. 7:30pm. House trio: Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Rob Walker (drums). Jam session reverts to a first & third Tuesday in the month schedule.

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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