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Bebop Spoken There

Willie Jones lll: "I often wondered what it would be like to play with Clifford Brown or Lee Morgan. For me, Roy Hargrove was the closest thing to that." - (JazzTimes, November 2021)

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

13683 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 1402 of them this year alone and, so far, 18 this month (Dec.5).

From This Moment On ...

December

Tue 07: Classic Swing @ The Ship Inn, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Tue 07: Customs House Big Band @ All Saints Church Hall, Cleadon. 7:00pm.
Tue 07: Dilutey Juice @ Little Buildings, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Tue 07: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre. 7:30pm. House trio: Dean Stockdale; Paul Grainger; Tim Johnston. NOTE EARLIER START!

Wed 08: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 08: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 8:00pm. Concert performance. Free admission.
Wed 08: Four @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00-9:30pm. In the bar.
Wed 08: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 08: Durham Uni Big Band + Durham Uni Jazz Soc Big Band @ Durham University Students' Union. 8:00pm.

Thu 09: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon. £22.00. Xmas lunch. Tel: 0191 691 7090.
Thu 09: Hot Club du Nord, Lubetkin Theatre, East Durham College, Peterlee. 7:00pm (doors). £10.00. + bf.
Thu 09: TBC + Knats @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm. £7.00. (£10.00. inc food).
Thu 09: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Thu 09: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 09: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 10: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon. £22.00. Xmas lunch. Tel: 0191 691 7090.
Fri 10: Zoë Gilby Trio @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm.
Fri 10: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 10: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 10: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 10: Secret Night Gang @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Fri 10: Jack Logan (replacement for Alter Ego) @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sat 11: Paul Skerritt @ Newcastle Central Station. 11:00am. On the concourse.
Sat 11: Life Drawing & Live Jazz @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 2:00-4:00pm. Lindsay Hannon & Martin Douglas. Book via: www.cobaltstudios.co.uk.
Sat 11: Boys of Brass @ Branding Villa, South Gosforth, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 12 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 12: Musicians Unlimited @ South Durham Social Club, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 12: Hot Club du Nord @ Hurworth Grange. 2:30pm. Festive Special! SOLD OUT!
Sun 12: Glenn Miller Orchestra UK @ Stockton Globe. 3:00pm. Ray McVay & co.
Sun 12: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 12: Am Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 3:00pm.
Sun 12: Sue Ferris Quintet (Musicians Unlimited’s Xmas Party) @ South Durham Social Club, Hartlepool. 4:00pm. Tickets: £6.00.
Sun 12: Jason Isaacs Big Band @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 5:00pm.
Sun 12: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 7:00pm.
Sun 12: Larry’s Brass Band @ The Vigilant Inn, South Shields. 7:00pm. Free. Brass band playing Xmas tunes!
Sun 12: corto.alto @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 12: Under the Surface @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00 adv., £12.00. door.

Mon 13: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 13: 6th Street Swing w Calvert & the Old Fools @ St Thomas Aquinas’ Church, Darlington. 7:00pm. £5.00. Swing dance (‘social dancing’) night.
Mon 13: Stuart Fowler Quintet plays Art Blakey’s album Moanin’ + jam session @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 7:30pm. £5.00.

Tue 14: Harry Keeble & Friends @ Forum Music Centre, Darlington. 7:30pm. Keeble (tenor sax); Dean Stockdale (keyboards); Paul Grainger (bass); John Bradford (drums).

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Album review: A second review* of The Royal Bopsters - Party of Four

Jazz vocal group, The Royal Bopsters, have just produced their second release - Party Of Four - which also includes veteran vocal bopsters, Bob Dorough and Sheila Jordan as well as bass giant Christian McBride on selected tracks. 

A master class of vocal jazz artistry, The Bopsters project vocalese in tight, intricate harmonies on a disc containing drama and  multi-layered harmonies that draw much inspiration from classic vocal groups of yore. These include Lambert, Hendricks and Ross (The Bopsters' 2015 debut CD, included guest spots from both Ross and Hendricks), the Hi Los, and The Manhattan Transfer. POF exudes  a deeply swinging  amalgam of vocal virtuosity with precise but fully breathing arrangements that effectively combine the yin and yang of this discipline.

The CD is dedicated  to founding member and alto singer, Holli Ross, who sadly succumbed to cancer in May 2020. Her vocal feature on Cuando Te Veal (When I See You) also includes her  English translation of the lyrics of this Tito Puente mambo classic. She also  contributed additional lyrics for Pete McGuinness' skillful and swinging  arrangement of But Not For Me. Her lyrics were implemented in a soli section based on a classic Chet Baker  scat solo where her lyrics question the song's loveless melancholic that wastes so much time on a fruitless endeavour like love.

As space does not enable one to discuss and cite  each track, one can be assured that each of the twelve entries are  gems. A rich and  effective blend of classic Broadway standards, epic jazz compositions, the aforementioned Puente mambo, down and  dirty blues swaggerings and an original song penned  by Pete McGuinness. All of which tot up to a seamless array of "old, then and now" repertoire.

The individual uniquenesses and strengths  of the Bopsters go a long way to making this foursome such a party. In the 1990s, as well as releasing four critically acclaimed solo albums, soprano Amy London spent three years singing lead in the vocal quartet in the hit Broadway show City of Angels. She also contributed lyrics to pianist, Steve Schmidt's song, Why'd You Do Me The Way You Did? as well as McGuinness' Our Spring Song. 
The aforementioned Holli Ross was a member of two other NYC vocal groups, String Of Pearls and Mad Romance. She was a highly accomplished lyricist having penned lyrics to Gil Evans' tune, Boplicity (Bebop Lives) recorded by Mark Murphy as well as Sarah Vaughan's I Have Waited So Long, recorded by Janis Siegal with the Count Basie Orchestra.
Bass singer and arranger, Dylan Pramuk delivers a vocalese solo based on Bill Evans' solo on Lucky To Be Me from his 1959 album "Everybody Digs Bill Evans". The workhorse of the group, he arranged eight of the twelve titles including Daydream, with an acapella treatment containing subtle harmonic shifts evincing a pristine clarity which delivers this Strayhorn gem with aplomb.
Tenor voice, Pete McGuinness is also a fine trombonist, composer/arranger and bandleader having released three exemplary CDs to date. His arrangement of Wayne Shorter's Infant Eyes, sparkles handsomely in its subtle and haunting splendour. His tour-de-force scatting and arrangement of My Shining Hour, brings the CD to a fervent close.
The Royal Rhythm Section includes pianist and Cincinnatian pal of London, Steve Schmidt. A longtime member of The Blue Wisp Big Band, Steve is a distinctive soloist and arranger/composer to boot.
Veteran stalwart NYC bassist, Cameron Brown,  has played with just about everyone including Dewey Redman, Don Cherry and Jim Pepper. 
Steve Williams, was Shirley Horn's drummer for 25 years having recorded fifteen discs with her. He brings the same sensitivity and flexibility (that he demonstrated with arguably the greatest jazz singer/pianist that ever was) to the musical needs of the Bopsters.
An epic release indeed, Party Of Four, is a must acquisition for fans, students and historians of jazz vocal groups. Grab it!
Frank Griffith

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