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Bebop Spoken There

Charles Lloyd: "I'm raring to go out to play, because I know I'll find something to explain the inexplicable." (DownBeat August 2022)

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!"

Postage

14454 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 732 of them this year alone and, so far, 30 this month (August 11).

From This Moment On ...

August

Thu 18: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 18: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 3:00-5:00pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 18: Castillo Nuevo @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30-8:30pm.
Thu 18: Newcastle Jazz Festival @ Bridge Hotel, Newcastle. Strictly Smokin’ Big Band. 7:00pm. Free (four-day festival ticket £40.00.). www.newcastlejazzfestival.co.uk.
Thu 18: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm. Guests: Dave Archbold (keys); Dan Johnson (sax); Josh Bentham (sax); Bill Watson (trumpet); Ron Smith (bass)

Fri 19: Jo Harrop & Jamie McCredie @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT!
Fri 19: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 19: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 19: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri. 19: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Ayr Jazz Club, Fairfield House Hotel, Fairfield Rd, AYR KA7 2AS. 7:30pm. For accommodation call the hotel on 01292 267461. For tickets call Ayr Jazz Club Secretary, Stuart McLean, on 01292 590773.
Fri 19: Jo Harrop & Jamie McCredie @ St Cuthbert’s Centre, Crook. 7:30pm.
Fri 19: Newcastle Jazz Festival @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Harry Keeble Duo + Northern Monkey Brass Band. £15.00. (four-day festival ticket £40.00.). www.newcastlejazzfestival.co.uk.
Fri 19: Mo Scott @ The Millstone, South Gosforth, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Scott w Gary Dunn, Neil Harland & Paul Smith.

Sat 20: Newcastle Jazz Festival @ Tyne Bank Brewery, Newcastle. All day event (from 1:30pm): Riviera Effect + Alter Ego + Graham Hardy Quartet + Jo Harrop & Jamie McCredie + Ivo Neame Quartet. £17.00. (four-day festival ticket £40.00.). www.newcastlejazzfestival.co.uk.
Sat 20: Anth Purdy @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free (donations).
Sat 20: Boys of Brass @ Brandling Villa, South Gosforth, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 21 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 21: Newcastle Jazz Festival @ Tyne Bank Brewery, Newcastle. All day event (from 1:30pm): Lindsay Hannon & Alan Law + Knats + David Gray’s Flextet + Ben Gilbert Trio + Emma Rawicz. £17.00. (four-day festival ticket £40.00.). www.newcastlejazzfestival.co.uk.
Sun 21: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.

Mon 22: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 23: FILM: Space is the Place @ Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle. 6:25pm. Dir. John Coney (1974). Starring Sun Ra!
Tue 23: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Durham. 7:00pm. Free (to reserve a table phone 0191 386 5556).
Tue 23: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Steve Glendinning, Paul Grainger, Abbie Finn.

Wed 24: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 24: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 24: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

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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