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Bebop Spoken There

Ambrose Akinmusire: “ I am certainly always aware of what the masses are doing. And when I see too many people going one way, I'm going another way - even when I don't know what's over that way". DownBeat, March, 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.

Postage

16233 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 115 of them this year alone and, so far, 59 this month (Feb. 23).

From This Moment On ...

February 2024

Thu 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 29: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 29: Student Performances @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 4:00pm. Free. Inc. Olly Styles (saxophone).
Thu 29: ’58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:00pm. Free.
Thu 27: Student Jazz Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Thu 29: After Hours Student Jazz Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Curated set list, all welcome.
Thu 29: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Josh Bentham (alto sax); Graham Thompson (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

March
Fri 01: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 01: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 01: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 01: Wind Ensemble + Big Band + Jazz Combo + R&B Band @ Boiler House, Newcastle University. 5:30pm. Free.
Fri 01: Joseph Carville Trio @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Fri 01-Sun 03: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. From 8:00pm Friday. Weekend ticket: £20.00.
Fri 01: TBC @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Blind Pig Blues Club.
Fri 01: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. £10.00. Day 1/3. Musicians Unlimited + Festival Band.

Sat 02: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. 11:00am. £15.00.. Day 2/3. Senior bands in competition.
Sat 02: Frog & Henry @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm.£10.00. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club. Superb Anglo-American band!
Sat 02: The Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Repas7 by Night, 7 West St, Berwick TD15 1AS, 07900 627562. Tapas Specials from 5.00pm - showtime 8.00pm.
Sat 02: Cuba Libre @ Revolución de Cuba, Cloth Market, Newcastle. 6:00-9:00pm. Free.
Sat 02: Jeffrey Hewer Trio @ The Vault, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free.
Sat 02: Durham University Big Band @ Durham Students' Union, New Elvet, Durham. 7:30pm. £8.00.
Sat 02: Tom Remon & Laurence Harrison @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sat 02: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. £3.00. The band’s 25th anniversary gig!
Sat 02: John Logan @ The Dyvels, Corbridge. 8:00pm. Rat Pack-style swing.

Sun 03: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. 11:00am. £10.00.. Day 3/3. School & Youth bands in competition.
Sun 03: Smokin’ Spitfires @ the Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm. £7.50.
Sun 03: Alan Law Trio plays Ahmad Jamal’s At the Pershing: But Not for Me & more @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 2:00pm. £10.00. The music of Ahmad Jamal.
Sun 03: Alice Grace & Ben Helm @ St Francis’ Church, High Heaton, Newcastle. 2:00-5:00pm. £12.00. (children free admission). A Children’s Society fundraiser. Two x 30 mins sets. Refreshments available, child-friendly event with participation of children encouraged!
Sun 03: Sax Choir @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00-5:00pm. Free (donations). Monthly workshop, all welcome (participant and/or listener).
Sun 03: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 03: ’58 Jazz Collective @ St George’s Venue, Park Road, Hartlepool. 3:30pm (refreshments from 2:30pm). £6.00.
Sun 03: Down for the Count: A Century of Swing @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:00pm.
Sun 03: SH#RP Collective @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 03: Remy CB @ Blues & Bourbon, Nelson St., Newcastle. 9:00pm. Free. Newcastle University music student Remy Coulthard Boardman.

Mon 04: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 05: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Joe Steels, Paul Grainger, Michael Mather.

Wed 06: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 06: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 06: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Album review: Tigran Hamasyan - The Call Within

Tigran Hamasyan (piano/keys/vocal); Evan Marien (bass); Arthur Hnatek (drums) 

The eagerly awaited fourth album on Nonesuch records from the 33-year old Armenian piano messiah Tigran, appearing here with a trio as for Mockroot  (2015), rather than solo as for his other Nonesuch albums For Gyumri (2018) and An Ancient Observer (2017), and on his date at Sage Two last year    

Tigran’s music is as genre-defying as you could ask for, and while he has a distinct voice and is instantly recognisable, many readers here will instantly recognise it as “other” than their familiar blues/bebop jazz tradition – indeed Tigran himself refers to it as “electro-acoustic Armenian rock”!  However, mainstream jazz luminaries are falling over themselves to laud his genius and fearless forging of his won distinct path. When Herbie Hancock says, “Now, Tigran, you are my teacher” that’s good enough for me to give him a serious listen 

Tigran evokes fanatical responses from a highly knowledgeable following, which is not unique in jazz circles but seems now to be at an apex of technical expertise and understanding, as well as level of devotion.

An example is the video of Arthur Hnatek playing the drum part at the recording of the track New Maps released on YouTube (ase date) which received 11,000 views (in a month).  Transcriptions of the piano, bass and drum parts were posted on YouTube within days, and with similarly high views. Transcriptions are time consuming at the best of times, but for music of this complexity, and with note by note video reveal, these are works of art stemming from dedication beyond any human reason.  For what it’s worth, the piece is analysed as either alternating bars of 9/8 and 11/8, or as 20/16. The in-house drummer tells me to think of it as “almost like 4/4 but with every 'crotchet' made up of 5 beats rather than 4 semi quavers”.  

While Tigran’s complex rhythmic patterns and unfamiliar time signatures, with their origin in Armenian folk and dance music with a splash of prog-metal, provoke glee and fascination with young “Time Lords”, there is, thankfully, far more to his music than mind-bending technical virtuosity and precision.  Tigran seems to operate on a spiritual plane transcending the usual physical limits of instruments (think Mahavishnu or late Coltrane) - in his words “where the moment of the unconscious creation is the way to feel conscious”.

His inspirations are drawn widely here from maps poetry, Christian and pre-Christian Armenian folk stories and legends, and beyond! 

This is all very well – but what do the ten new compositions here sound like?   There is a sustained intensity and emotion well beyond even Tigran’s norm, so this is no casual, dinner party jazz album.  Once any attempt to count through the bars is abandoned, the pulse of the music drives and surges in an engaging (although never, to me, truly comfortable) groove, e.g. the opener 21 Levitation drives along in rhythmic groups of 21 (!) The repetitive intensity and rhythmic programmed precision of dissonant chords is darkbut never angry, as much modern “prog” and “metal” sounds to my earsUnderneath the harsh trappings, there beats the heart of piano trio, and ethereal melodies transcend the Sturm und Drangoften achieving peacefuleven joyous, catharsis after the turmoil.  

For every section of high tempo repetitive grooving set up by block chord piano, with doubling on bass, there are relaxed interludes of lyrical piano and synth on Space of Your Existenceand even whistling on Our Filmaugmented by vocals and cello 

The Dream Voyager and Old Maps evoke more of Tigran’s alter egoless frenetic and with sustained legato allowing the haunting melodies to break through.   The high energy returns for a prog-metal track, Vortex, driven harder by guest Tosin Abasi on 8 string electric guitar.  

37 Newlyweds is the most relaxed track, with eastern chanting intoning ominously over chiming piano chords.  

New Maps closes out the album in some style, and even has an art house video to match. After a while the fluctuating and cyclical beat is hypnotically relaxing  - sit back and say goodbye to 4:4! 

Overall a stunning new statement by Tigran and his remarkable band, who give as good as they get,  further charting hiunique path - not entirely removed from the mainstream tradition but sitting across other folk, classical and rock in spiritual and technical communion. Not for the fainthearted or those wedded to the familiar perhaps, but as an initial sceptic, I’d recommend investing in some  listening, as the rewards are deep and intense.  
Chris K 

Release date August 28. Preview and pre-order

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