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Bebop Spoken There

Faye McCalman: "For a while I would hear other artists and feel that I need to be like that person, have what they have; but then I realised that everyone has their own thing and what I connect with most is when I can tell an artist is just being themselves." - (Jazzwise July 2021)

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.


13,367 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 785 of them this year alone and, so far, 59 this month (June 16).

From This Moment On


Sat 19: Jude Murphy @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle (8:00pm).

Sun 20: Vieux Carré Hot Four @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay (12 noon).

Sun 20: Knats @ The Globe, Newcastle (8:00pm). Advance booking essential: SOLD OUT. Livestream available from £7.50.

Mon 21: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club (1:00pm). POSTPONED!

Wed 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club (1:00pm). POSTPONED!

Thu 24: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside 1:00pm).

Thu 24: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead (8:30pm).

Fri 25: Hot Club du Nord @ St Mary's Parish Hall, Barnard Castle. 7:00pm. Tickets: £15.00. + bf. A Barnard Castle Rotary Club event.

Fri 25: Archipelago + Faith Brackenbury @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle (8:00pm). £10.00. & £8.00. Echoes to the Sky album launch. A GCT Jazz Club-Jazz North East co-promotion.

Fri 25 Alter Ego @ Traveller's Rest, Cockerton, Darlington (8:00pm). POSTPONED!

Friday, December 18, 2020

Playback session @ Smitty's - John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman

Jalen N'Gonda (vocals); Alec Harper (tenor sax); Deschanel Gordon (piano); Ferg Ireland (bass); Will Cleasby (drums).

(Screenshot courtesy of Ken Drew)

John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman - one of the great jazz vocal albums of all time. File it alongside your Sinatra's, Tormé's, Ella's and any other singer you care to name, it's up there with them and not as an also ran. No, that album is the tops.

This, as is the case with all Playback sessions, puts the reviewer and the listener in a predicament. How do you judge it? How do you compare?

The answer is that you don't. Instead, you look for the players to offer an alternative that is close enough to the original without being a pastiche which is how the guys worked it tonight.

N'Gonda has an amazing range capable of reaching up into the falsetto-sphere which I'd heard him exploit at previous gigs causing me to fear for his take on Johnny Hartman.

I needn't have worried, he was perfect. Close enough to get the feeling yet artistically distanced enough to be his own man.

The playlist followed the order of the album, opening with Irving Berlin's They Say it's Wonderful. This is my favourite Berlin song on the strength of just one word - and

They say that falling in love is grand, and... A lesser songwriter would have begun the next line with and but not old Irving he knew how to build the tension by hanging on to that seemingly inconsequential conjunction.

Dedicated to You followed by My One and Only Love and Lush Life kept the mood of the album intact. To give Jalen a chance to oil his vocal chords the band went to town on Coltrane's version of Body and Soul. Harper laying down the gauntlet for all tenor contenders. Good to hear Deschanel on piano. Since winning the BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year he's now making his mark in the Jazz Premier League in which Smitty's, let's be honest, is doing way better than Arsenal in that other Premier League!

Jalen bounced back for another classic You Are Too Beautiful and finished up with Autumn Serenade.

Superb, and not forgetting Ferg and tonight's Will - both solid in support.


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