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12,000 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1140 of them this year alone and, so far, 87 this month (Oct. 27).

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

Abbie Finn Trio - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity (upstairs). It’s Abbie’s birthday!

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00-10:00pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.


Neil William & Ben Holland - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm-10:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity. Jazz standards from the 1920s & 30s.


Alice Grace & Pawel Jedrzejewski - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm-10:00pm. £10.00. Online booking (to book a table). Limited capacity. Alice & Pav join a multi-bill of entertainers (magician etc) to celebrate Prohibition Bar’s fifth anniversary. SOLD OUT!

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Album review: Orlando le Fleming - Romantic Funk: The Unfamiliar

Orlando le Fleming (upright and electric bass); Philip Dizack (trumpet - all tracks except 6); Will Vinson (alto sax); Sean Wayland (keys/synths); Kush Abadey (drums - except tracks 3 & 5); Nate Wood (drums - tracks 3 & 5)

Remember the 70s?   Funk and fusion,  Jaco and Stanley Clarkesynths and electric bass to the fore, with the upright parked in the corner of the room?  Well,  this second outing for young bassist Orlando le Fleming’s Romantic Funk project, this time on the ever adventurous  Whirlwind Records seems to be his take on the heady days of Weather Report and RTFhis self-avowed homage to the “high-intensity fusion. As much as I enjoyed (and still enjoy) the classics of that era, I was wary of this album by aunfamiliar New York bass-led outfit, fearing the worst excesses of the ultimate blunt instrument! And trust me I know how to do blunt on the bass... 

I needn’t have worried - it turns out the leader is not some New York born throwback to funkadelia, but  a British, Royal Academy trained bassist, better known as a sophisticated exponent of the upright version of the instrument. Unbelievably, he also played county cricket in his teens!  Some awful jokes to be avoided here I’m sure... 


The flavour of le Fleming’s compositions, and the virtuoso playing, is very much at the sophisticateend of harmonand rhythm, think Weather Report rather than late era disco-polluted funk of the 1980s. That’s not to say it is without groove and excitement - they know how to turn on the power, especially when driven by the outstanding and fiery Nate Wood on kit. 

The album kicks off with a fat bass-led relaxed groove on I’ll Tell You What It Is Later joined eventually by a pensive alto and trumpet melody, with hints of mid-period Weather Report,  moving up to a smoky trumpet work out. The overall sound is a little glitzy to my ears, with synth filling out the palette, but plenty of interesting and precise interchanges.  The drum patterns and feel are undeniably contemporary, with none of the Latin tinges or flat out blasting of the 70s funksters. Waynes is in a similar vein, with an ever shifting,  intricate bass and drums part under cool and sinuous sax and trumpet 

The Myth of Progress follows a similar pattern of a catchy but detached melody over a repeated groove, with a relaxed and stylish bass solo to showcase le Fleming’s chops Struggle Session is anything but – more of a relaxed free form study.  FOMO Blues ups the tempo, with le Fleming being pushed hard by Nate Wood’s inventive and unusual beats, making a lively platform for a synth workout by the impressive Aussie Sean Wayland.  

More Melancholy dialthe tempo down, and the emotion up, with a strong tune carried by legato Shorter-esque sax lines and another lyrical bass solo The well named Mischievous tests out the meters under some cheeky synth and sax, before the stand out closer, The Inexpressibleapparently dedicated to lFleming’s family.  

This is a luxurious return to the style of le Fleming’s previous outputs like From Brooklyn with Love in 2010, and sees the leader reverting to upright bass. Maybe my ears just prefer the upright after all these years!  

Altogether,  a worthy  and engaging shot at thinking person’s funk, with strong compositions and stellar playing, and I’d see them play live like a shot.  But I wouldn’t swap this for my Weather Report vinylsand my personal feeling is that the music has moved on from funk, even when played and written as well as this.  

Chris K 

Release date September 18, recorded Jan 2020 NYC.  Buy CD, 12″ LP 180g Limited Edition Blue With White Splattered Vinyl, and digital at

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