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Bebop Spoken There

Walter Trout: "I don't know why John Mayall put up with me for so long. But I've been sober for 32 years now, not a beer nor a joint," - (Blues Matters! Aug/Sep 2020)

Teddy Wilson: "Mildred Bailey was a much better singer than Billie [Holiday]." - (DownBeat August, 2020)


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".


11,740 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 880 of them this year alone and, so far, 17 this month (August 4).

Coming soon ...


Thursday 6: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Album review: Allison Neale - Quietly There

Allison Neale (alto sax); Peter Bernstein (guitar); Dave Green (bass); Steve Brown (drums).

Just when I was beginning to think that the art of lyricism had been lost, that the values of Paul Desmond, Lee Konitz and Art Pepper no longer had a place in our music, this CD arrived. It was probably pushed through the letter box by a postman who maybe wondered as to how I found the time to listen to so many CDs. It's something I wonder about myself and the truth is that, there could be a massive bonfire coming up shortly! One certainty is that this disc won't be among the blazing inferno!

Allison Neale is one of those players where the gender card isn't played. If it was, I know quite a few guys who would be heading for the hills.

A Giant Step Forward - maybe

Coltrane's Giant Steps is, to put it simply, the finest modern jazz album ever issued. I love my Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Wardell Gray, Sonny Rollins - even  Miles' jazz albums - like a mother loves her kids but, Giant Steps is so much more. It is the definitive tenor/soprano saxophone album. Show me the man who can better Trane's solo on the title track then I will crown him Count, Duke, Earl, King, President, Sir - and that's just for starters!

Paul Ruddick keeping his distance

Today (Thursday 6), basking in the sun, seemingly without a care in the world, a socially distanced Paul Ruddick was spotted working out on No More Blues

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Album review: Evan Christopher & David Torkanowsky - Live at Luthjen's

Evan Christopher (clarinet); David Torkanowsky (piano).

Recorded live in New Orleans at what is described as "a historic venue" by a duo who pay homage without lip service to the music that began life Way Down Yonder in New Orleans which just happens to be the first track. Apart from the opening, out of tempo chorus, few would have recognised the tune so beloved of Dixie bands the world over which is no bad thing bringing, as it does, a refreshing vitality to the old warhorse.

Preview: Taupe on the radio

Jamie Stockbridge, Mike Parr-Burman and Adam Stapleford met at Newcastle University. The alto sax, guitar and drums threesome formed Taupe, describing themselves as 'power-jazz commandos' and, with appropriate student attitude, took no prisoners with their full-on, thrilling attack on the ear of a legion of followers. 

Since graduating Taupe have continued to write, record and tour and, earlier this year, the boys featured on Radio 3's Freeness. On Saturday (midnight, August 8) there is another opportunity to hear what they're all about with a quick repeat of the January edition of Corey Mwamba's award-winning programme.  

Busker's Night in Jarrow

Weather permitting, the Jarrow Gin and Alehouse will be restarting its popular Buskers'  Night 0n Thursday - this time outdoors. Probably won't be any jazz but - who knows? On buskers' nights anyone can turn up - maybe even the nearby residents who, hopefully, can blow or pluck something other than picking up the phone.

The return of the Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Thursday 6

Tomorrow, Thursday, sees the long awaited return of the Vieux Carré Jazzmen. In lockdown since March, Brian Bennett's boys will reconvene at the Holystone pub on Whitley Road for the band's usual one o'clock start. The big difference is the gig will be outdoors. The good news is the weather forecast is set fair with temperatures topping 22°! 

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

The Chicago Cellar Boys @ Bix Virtual Jazz Fest 2020 - August 1

Andy Schumm, John Otto, Natalie Scharf (reeds); Paul Asaro (piano, vocals); Leah Bezin (banjo); Dave Bock (brass bass) 

This year's Bix Jazz Fest, scheduled to take place at the Rhythm City Casino Resort in Davenport, Iowa, took refuge in the now familar online world in which many musicians, however reluctantly, now reside. Now in its forty ninth year - and not to be confused with the 'other' Bix Fest in Racine, Wisconsin held earlier in the year - the event is a celebration of the music of Leon Bismark Beiderbecke. 

Album review: Charles McPherson's Jazz Dance Suites

Charles McPherson (alto sax); Terell Stafford (trumpet); Lorraine Costellanos (voice); Jeb Patton or Reb Porter (piano); Billy Drummond (drums); David Wong (bass); Yotma Silberstein (guitar).

Following on from Russell's Q & A session with Charles McPherson this, the actual album, authenticates everything the interview suggested it might be - and more!

That McPherson is one of the greats of the alto saxophone we have known since his early days with Mingus and the Parker biopic Bird - not forgetting a memorable session at Newcastle's Corner House.

Inspired by and dedicated to his daughter Camille of the San Diego Ballet, the original music had me entranced. Magnificent sounds somewhat inadequate!

Book review: Jonny Dale - The Jonny Dale Experience

Liverpool drummer Jonny Dale has written his first book - The Jonny Dale Experience. Jonathan Philip Edward (aka "JPED"), born in 1949 in London, might not be a household name among jazz drummers but, nonetheless, he is a worthy subject for an autobiography. 

Having known and played with him for two years in the NW of the UK, I can assure one and all that he is a first rate professional. His beat is solid, he has an admirable stylistic range  and demonstrates a flexibility when working with a variety of bands that is remarkable.

Happy Birthday, Pops. Join Our Virtual Party on August 4!

(Press release from Louis Armstrong House Museum)
Hear Tributes From Over 50 Participating Musicians!
Enjoy Live shows, Interviews, Archival Photos & Audio!
Learn About Some New Educational Programming!

Album review: Meraki - Meraki

Jacky Naylor (piano); Nick Jurd (double bass); Jonathan Silk (drums)

I first saw this trio at the Lit & Phil in April 2019 and I was very impressed. So I was delighted to receive their debut eponymous album which was recorded shortly after the culmination of that tour. The CD certainly doesn’t disappoint providing fond memories of that evening just over a year ago.

When a piano trio gets it right there is little better and this outfit has that great knack of taking one on a marvellous journey as the music ebbs and flows with grooves, melodies and intricate passages. It  is hard to single out specific pieces as one tune seems to effortlessly flow into another keeping the mood throughout. Every so often a hot spot is hit which resonates warmly putting one in a place of musical bliss.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Recreating the Jazz Couriers - Livestream. Auugust 3

Simon Spillett/Pete Long (tenor sax); James Pearson (piano); Tim Thornton (bass); Ed Richardson (drums).

This looked to be the best stream so far in a year that has seen music transcending time zones and delivering live sessions that may never be heard again. Imagine John Hammond, back in the 1930's, listening on his car radio to a remote broadcast from a club in Kansas City by the fledgling Basie Band. The reception wouldn't have been good but good enough for Hammond to recognise what he was hearing.

Tonight, I was listening to the above musicians paying tribute to The Jazz Couriers and they blew up a storm at Ronnie's just as the originals did in the old days back at the Flamingo Club.

Album review: Pepa Niebla – Renaissance

Pepa Niebla (vocals, compositions); Toni Mora (guitar, compositions); Maxime Moyaerts ( piano); Alex Gilson (double bass); Daniel Jonkers (drums)

An enjoyable CD that 'reflects a New York contemporary jazz influence' (I quote from the notes) which I wish I had the technical know-how to explain better. It sounds like someone walking along a street in NYC, an apparently simple tune on voice, guitar and piano, with unobtrusive backing from the rest, lots of singing with the main melody notes accompanied, and a definite forward thrust to the sound, much repetition of phrases, and a generally very rich, satisfying feel.

I knew a programme when a programme was a programme

The nearest I got to seeing Frank Sinatra - apart from in movies and on TV - was when W.H.Smith relocated from Eldon Square to Northumberland St, both in Newcastle. To make the move easier they had a massive sale that seemingly went on forever and I bought many books and records at knockdown prices. One of the items I purchased (for £1.95) was a programme from Sinatra's 1980 concerts at the Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall.

Just when you thought it was safe to go into a jazz club... find it isn't!

The long awaited reopening of Ronnie Scott's had been scheduled to be reopened to the socially distanced public this past weekend with some eye-catching concerts but alas, like most venues worldwide, The powers that be decreed otherwise. Better to be safe than to be sorry seems to be the motto and who  are we to argue?

One of the events that wouldn't have needed the chuckers out chucking them in was scheduled for tonight in the form of a tribute to what many consider to have been the UK's greatest ever modern jazz group - The Jazz Couriers.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Album Review: Bob Dylan - Rough and Rowdy Ways

Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar); Charlie Sexton (guitar); Bob Britt (guitar); Donnie Herron (steel guitar, violin, accordion); Tony Garnier (bass); Matt Chamberlain (drums).

When a 19-year old Bob Dylan arrived in New York in the freezing January of 1961, he headed straight for the coffee houses in Greenwich Village where anyone could play some songs and collect a few dollars by passing a hat around at the end of their set.  However, he quickly graduated to the more organised folk clubs like The Gaslight and Gerde's Folk City as performers were booked in advance and paid a fee.

At the time Greenwich Village was awash with clubs of all kinds, some specialising in folk or blues or jazz but many happy to present all kinds of music, as well as poetry and comedy entertainers. As Dylan was leading a somewhat bohemian life at the time, crashing on the floors of patient friends' apartments, he spent the days and nights visiting most of these clubs at one time or another and immersing himself in all kinds of music. 

Farewell my Lovely - R.I.P Jeanie Lambe

1979, I'd met this girl at a party, she claimed to like jazz. I mentioned that I was going to a gig at the Corner House the following night and did she fancy going? She did.

It was Jeanie Lambe, singing and looking beautiful alongside husband Danny Moss blowing tenor who my friend also thought looked beautiful - well maybe handsome! When we kissed goodnight, I guess we weren't kissing each other!

Sunday Service: Adrian Cox & Simon Picton - New Orleans Tradition - August 2

Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals); Simon Picton (banjo, guitar, vocals)

A Sunday Service with a difference. This week Adrian Cox went over to Twickenham to meet up with Simon Picton to play a duo set focussing on some of the great exponents of New Orleans' clarinet. As usual Adrian attracted a sizeable online audience and before the off comments scrolled up the screen at a rate of knots.

George Lewis, Emile Barnes and Raymond Burke were but three of Cox's subjects and Simon Picton expressed admiration for Danny Barker. Banjoist/guitarist Picton noted that Barker recorded with both Jelly Roll Morton and Charlie Parker, the only musician to do so. 

Preview: Sinatra @ Sage Gateshead

Tonight at Sage Gateshead there will be a rare, indeed unexpected, appearance by none other than the Chairman of the Board, Mr Francis Albert Sinatra. Well, not quite, but go with it...It was back in 2015 that the BBC Big Band took to the stage in Sage One, Sage Gateshead's world class 1700 seater concert hall to perform a centenary tribute to the man, Frank Sinatra. 

Abbie Finn Trio: Jazz on a Summer's Day @ The Hammer & Pincers - August 1

Abbie Finn (drums); Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Paul Grainger (double bass)

Lockdown eased, lockdown not eased, the government's shambolic handling of the ongoing pandemic continues apace. Between times a couple of tremendous gigs by the Abbie Finn Trio have drawn large crowds in Newcastle and Preston le Skerne, one in the manicured grounds of a church, the other in the unlikely setting of a tipi. Drummer Abbie is from around these here parts and many of her Durham Music Service friends turned up to show their support.

Album review: Louis Armstrong - Live in Europe

We don't get many albums by jazz's first great figure so when one arrived featuring a couple of early editions of the All-Stars it was a moment to savour as well as one to ponder upon.

In a sense it was, to use that hackneyed old cliché, a game of two halves. On paper, the personnel  for the 1948 Paris concerts looked to be the stronger. Teagarden, Bigard, Hines and Big Sid + Pops out front, was surely one of Armstrong's strongest line-ups - wasn't it? 

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Remembering Carmen McRae

DownBeat's 68th Annual Critic's Poll, where the wise and the wonderful throw hats and toupees into the ring and vote for their favourites. As with all polls - jazz or otherwise - some you go along with and some you gasp at with amazement.

However, few would kick at the choice of Carmen McRae's entry into the hallowed portals of The Hall of Fame - albeit via the Veterans Committee Poll which, to me, seems a little bit like getting in by the back door. Les Paul, Machito and Mario Bauza ended up in the pack although Mildred Bailey,  also deservedly, made the cut.

Album (LP) review; Wolfgang Lackerschmid & Chet Baker - ballads for two

Chet Baker (trumpet); Wolfgang Lackerschmid (vibes).

Without being drawn into the merits of vinyl over CD (and vice versa) I always feel there is something special about a vinyl album, especially the present day output such as this one by Dot Time Records and mastered by Gearbox Records, UK.

Of course, the artwork, the sleeve notes, and the production come to naught if the artists don't deliver.

Chet and Wolfgang deliver!

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