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Bebop Spoken There

Billy Boy Arnold: “As long as you don't think old you're good.” - DownBeat, December, 2023.

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...

Postage

16034 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 1041 of them this year alone and, so far, 73 this month (Nov. 27).

From This Moment On ...

December

Sun 03: Smokin’ Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:30pm. £7.50.
Sun 03: The Central Bar Quartet @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 2:00pm. £10.00. The Central Bar Quartet plays Lou Donaldson’s Gravy Train. Featuring Jamie Toms.
Sun 03: Revolutionaires @ The Water House, North Road, Durham. 4:00pm. Rock 'n' roll excellence! Line-up inc. Pete Tanton.
Sun 03: Paul Skerritt @ Smith’s Arms, Carlton, Stockton-on-Tees. 7:00pm.
Sun 03: Johnny Hunter Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 03: Jam session @ The Schooner, Gateshead. 8:00pm. Free.

Mon 04: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 04: Northern Monkey Brass Band @ People’s Kitchen, Bath Lane, Newcastle. From 5:30pm. On-street gig supporting the work of the People’s Kitchen charity. Wrap up warm! Donate!
Mon 04: Michael Young Trio w Lindsay Hannon @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 7:00pm. Free.
Mon 04: James Birkett Trio @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00.
Mon 04: Durham University Jazz Orchestra + Durham University Big Band @ Durham Castle DH1 3RW. 8:30pm. £6.00.; £5.00. concs; £4.00. DSM. ‘Jazzy Christmas’.

Tue 05: Customs House Big Band @ All Saints Church, Cleadon. 7:00pm. Concert in the church hall. BYOB.
Tue 05: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Michael Young, Paul Grainger, Sid White. The best free show in town!

Wed 06: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 06: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 8:00pm. Free. Note later start time, concert performance (open to the public).
Wed 06: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 07: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free CANCELLED!
Thu 07: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay, Newcastle. 12 noon - 4:00pm. £26.00 (inc 3-course meal in in St Mary's Lighthouse Suite). SOLD OUT!
Thu 07: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm. All welcome.
Thu 07: Thursday Night Prayer Meeting @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.Donations. Feat. Mark Sanders. CANCELLED!
Thu 07: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. £5.00. Downstairs.
Thu 07: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 08: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 08: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 08: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 08: Hayley's Little Big Band @ Woodland Village Hall, Bishop Auckland. 7:00pm. £12.00.
Fri 08: Sleep Suppressor + Redwell @ Head of Steam, Neville St., Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00. (£8.00. adv); £5.00. student.
Fri 08: Hot Club du Nord @ St Cuthbert's Church, Shadforth, Co. Durham.
Fri 08: Têtes de Pois + Nauta @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £12.00., £8.00.

Sat 09: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Sat 09: Abbie Finn Trio @ Claypath Deli, Durham. 7:00pm.
Sat 09: Hayley's Little Big Band @ Middleton & Todridge Village Hall, Morpeth. 7:30pm. £12.00., £6.00.
Sat 09: Paul Skerritt @ Slaley Hall, Hexham NE47 0BX. 7:30pm. From £42.00.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Album review: Ben Wendel - High Heart

Ben Wendel (tenor sax); Michael Mayo (vocals); Shai Maestro, Gerald Clayton (piano, Fender Rhodes); Joe Sanders (double bass); Nate Wood (drums) 

A high octane fifth album for Ben Wendel, the Canadian tenor maestro based in New York, here with a sextet drawn from that city’s current elite. The album is a showcase not only for Wendel’s prodigious and muscular post-bop technique, but also for his compositions, executed brilliantly and sensitively by a band so much more than the sum of its stellar parts.

The eight substantial and original pieces are integrated in concept and execution, with the band often pairing up (sax vs vocals, piano vs Rhodes, and drums plus bass), but also locking together in clever and effective ways.  Wendel is noted for perhaps putting cerebral playing ahead of emotion and lyricism, and doesn’t miss the opportunity to play twice as many notes as Brecker or Redman would.  He has undoubtedly made space for the band here though, and for more emotions than just the trademark upbeat exhilaration.

This comes out most obviously with the spiritual, wordless vocals of Michael Mayo, soaring sublimely above busy arpeggios and skittering percussion, and trading with Wendel’s own plaintive sax voice.  

The opener, High Heart, sets out with Mayo’s measured hymnal over a hypnotic piano and drums backing, taken up by sax in the same vein, reaching a frenzied sax climax, before relaxing back to calm.  The standout Burning Bright does what its name suggests, with an angular Tigran-esque groove, followed up with flowing piano and sax lines. There is even some gorgeous Fender Rhodes for the 70s' throwbacks amongst us, wrapping up with a joyous anthemic proclamation to finish.   

Kindly takes it down in tempo, and hands a repeated distinctive voice-like phrase around the band to hypnotic effect. Less takes the heat down further, and into ambient territory with pure and aching voice soaring effortlessly over simple piano and effects.  

Drawn Away and Fearsome up the pace again, with swirling and cascading lines, insistent and interlocking, before Darling slows to a yearning and abstract sax reverie over slow piano arpeggios and busy, tapping rim shots and cymbal ricochets.  The album ends peacefully, with Mayo’s soothing balm laid down over circling piano, effects and clatter.  

On this evidence, Wendel has moved on from fiery technique and produced a deeply impressive and moving modern statement. You won’t find swinging, blue notes, or even modern classical here, but you will find an abundance of intelligent and intricate musicality, with a startling range of emotion unexpectedly thrown in.   

Chris K 

Release: October 30
: Personalised vinyl, CD, digital. 

Edition Music EDN1162 

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