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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Gelly: "I honestly think that Danish singer Sinne Eeg must be one of the best jazz vocalists alive today, although I confess I haven't heard them all." - (Observer, 28.11.21)

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

14743 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 1362 of them this year alone and, so far, 78 this month (Nov. 24).

From This Moment On ...

November

Mon 29: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

December

Wed 01: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 01: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 01: Jools Holland’s R & B Orchestra @ Newcastle City Hall. Doors: 6:30pm. 1st night.
Wed 01: Four @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00-9:30pm. In the bar.
Wed 01: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 01: Tom Ollendorff @ Café Cathedral, Owengate, Durham. 8:00pm. £5.00. A Durham Jazz Soc. event.

Thu 02: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon. £22.00. Xmas lunch. Tel: 0191 691 7090.
Thu 02: Jools Holland’s R & B Orchestra @ Newcastle City Hall. Doors: 6:30pm. 2nd night.
Thu 02: Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Orchestra @ Billingham Catholic Club. 7:30pm. Fundraiser for SVP. Tickets: £5.00. from 07757 062798.
Thu 02: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 02: Tees Hot Club, Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 03: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon. £22.00. Xmas lunch. Tel: 0191 691 7090.
Fri 03: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 03: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 03: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 03: Classic Swing @ Saltburn Community Theatre. 7:30pm.

Sat 04: Play Jazz! Workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Clark Tracey. £25.00., book at: www.jazz.coop. .
Sat 04: Hot Club du Nord @ St Cuthbert’s, Hebron, nr. Morpeth. 7:30pm. Festive Special! SOLD OUT!.
Sat 04: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Greenside Community Centre, Ryton. 7:30pm. £5.00..
Sat 04: Clark Tracey Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £15.00. .
Sat 04: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Red Lion, Earsdon, North Tyneside. 8:00pm. £3.00. Xmas party.

Sun 05 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 05: Smokin’ Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm.
Sun 05: Musicians Unlimited @ South Durham Social Club, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 05: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 05: Glenn Miller Orchestra UK @ Stockton Globe. 3:00pm. Ray McVay & co.
Sun 05: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 7:00pm.
Sun 05: Knats @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 06: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

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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