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Bebop Spoken There

Victor Wooten: "People don't expect to have bass players get together and sound like music and not just like a bunch of elephants" (JazzTimes April, 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! --

Postage

14226 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 445 of them this year alone and, so far, 45 this month (May 13).

From This Moment On ...

May.

Sun 15 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 15: Tees Valley Jazzmen @ Hammer & Pincers, Preston le Skerne, nr. Newton Aycliffe. 1:00pm.
Sun 15: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 15: James Kitchman & Bruno Heinen @ Hexham Abbey. 7:30pm. £12.50. (ticket inc. admission to Abbie Finn Trio concert). Hexham Jazz Festival.
Sun 15: Trish Clowes’ My Iris @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00. adv., £12.00. door.
Sun 15: Abbie Finn Trio @ Hexham Abbey. 9:00pm. (£ see above). Hexham Jazz Festival.

Mon 16: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 16: Swing Manouche @ Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. Blaydon Jazz Club.

Tue 17: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Stu Collingwood, Paul Grainger, Abbie Finn.

Wed 18: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 18: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 18: Four @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 18: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 19: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 19: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 3:00-5:00pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 19: Castillo Nuevo @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30-8:30pm.
Thu 19: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 19: 58 Jazz Collective @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm. TBC.

Fri 20: Andrea Vicari Trio @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. Vicari (piano), Andy Champion (double bass), Abbie Finn (drums).
Fri 20: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 20: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 20: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 20: Swing Bridge @ Garden House Coffee, Hallgate, Hexham. 4:05pm.
Fri 20: Castillo Nuevo @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30-8:30pm.
Fri 20: Customs House Big Band w Ruth Lambert @ Exchange, North Shields. 7:30pm.
Fri 20: Andrea Vicari Trio @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. £12.00. Opus 4 Jazz Club. Vicari (piano), Andy Champion (double bass), Abbie Finn (drums).

Sat 21: Elkie Brooks @ Whitley Bay Playhouse. 7:30pm.
Sat 21: Jools Holland’s R & B Orchestra @ The Hippodrome, Darlington. 7:30pm.
Sat 21: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 22 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 22: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 22: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 22: Abstract Orchestra plays J Dilla @ Wylam Brewery, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Sun 22: Panharmonia @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00 adv., £12.00. door.

Mon 23: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

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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