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Bebop Spoken There

Rickie Lee Jones: "There's lots of music and not so much celebrity. I guess I'll stay here [New Orleans] for a while if it doesn't get washed away in the flood." - (The Observer 18.04.21)

Archive quotes.

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.

Postage

13,107 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 526 of them this year alone and, so far, 81 this month (April 16).

Bar Manager Required

The Jazz Co-op are looking for an experienced bar manager who can be available to start when The Globe reopens in May.

Preference will be given to a suitably qualified person who lives relatively near to The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD.

Interested parties please follow this link.

Coming soon ...

April 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at The Holystone.

May 20 Maine Street Jazzmen are back at Sunniside Social Club.
May 23: Vieux Carré Hot Four are back at The Spanish City.

June 2: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club.
June 7: Jazz in the Afternoon are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Album review: Redman, Mehldau, McBride, Blade - RoundAgain

Joshua Redman (soprano/tenor sax); Brad Mehldau (piano)] Christian McBride (bass); Brian Blade (drums). 

A rare eventfour superstars who first lit up the sky together 26 years ago and went on to individuapre-eminence, now re-uniting as a collective constellationA challenge to music industry normsand also to Heraclitus: No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”    Blade sees it differently: “This band is like a turntable where the stylus was lifted but the turntable is still spinning. We just had to drop the needle...”

The album comprises seven new numbers: three from Redman, two from Mehldau, and one each from the others.   While the origins of the music, as Blade suggests, are familiar from the players’ past, and the music recognizably holds on to core jazz tradition, the band nonetheless leave behind restrictive forms and the songs have a satisfying balance of adventure and structure. Needless to say, the playing is outstanding in all respects: four masters of their instruments live up to the billing. Although these four have not recorded together since 1994, Mehldau and Redman are frequent partners with remarkable rapport, and Redman was joined by Mehldau and Blade for Walking Shadows which impressed the hell out of our editor-in-chief in 2013

The opener, Undertow, drags you in with a circling piano part soon joined by Redman’s rich inter-locking tenorrelaxing into a subtle, meandering piano solo, all inter-woven with remarkable drums and bass, before a muscly sax solo turns up the heat. Moe Honk is more light-hearted with call and response piano/sax leading into fun and games by all, with an effortlessly fast but melodic bass solo.  

Redman's Silly Little Love Song is slow, soulful and gospel stylewith comforting progressions echoing the likes of  I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be FreeIf here is a popular hit in the album with potential for covering, this is it! 

The title track by Redman, Right Back Round Again, is another delight. Opening with a classic Mehldau repeated vamp in unison with agile bass, developing into a high speed skittering sax thread, driven by remarkable light-as-air bass and drums.  Redman swaps to soprano for a more angular bluesy workout on McBrides’ Floppy Dissfollowed by Mehldau’s more discursive Father The final number, written by Blade, Your Part to Play, is the most emotional and varied of the album - easing gently in with tender, smouldering sax slowly building in intensity, and then subsiding 

Overall, an enormously satisfying, in places exhilarating, master class not only in instrumental and ensemble playing, but in seemingly effortless musical ideas and expression.  Reading my words, as I write them, I’m struck by the difficulty of assessing and appreciating this band:  their reputations put the listener on guard, wanting a miracle at every turn, and raising expectations to impossible levels.  

So, while Round Again may not be a landmark moment in jazz, it’s certainly a worthy milestone. More than that, in these days of virtuosity becoming almost commonplace, it’s a reminder that virtuoso talent can also deliver great and accessible music, ideas and emotions.  
Chris K 

Released July 10 2020, Recorded September 10-12, 2019 New York 
Try/buy CD, LP and digital here.

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