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Bebop Spoken There

Tineke Postma: “ I had a huge crush on him [Sting] when I was a teenager ". Jazzwise, June 2024.

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!"

Simon Spillett: A lovely review from the dean of jazz bloggers, Lance Liddle...

Josh Weir: I love the writing on bebop spoken here... I think the work you are doing is amazing.

Postage

16462 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 342 of them this year alone and, so far, 54 this month (May 18).

From This Moment On ...

May

Tue 21: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Alice Grace Vocal Masterclass @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 6:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 22: Daniel Erdmann’s Thérapie de Couple @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 23: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 23: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Thu 23: Immortal Onion + Rivkala @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 23: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Jeremy McMurray (keys); Dan Johnson (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Bill Watson (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 24: Hot Club du Nord @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 24: Swannek + support @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. Time TBC.

Sat 25: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Bywell Hall, Stocksfield. 2:30pm.
Sat 25: Paul Edis Trio w. Bruce Adams & Alan Barnes @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:30pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sat 25: Nubiyan Twist @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Sat 25: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 26: Tyne Valley Youth Big Band @ The Sele, Hexham. 12:30pm. Free. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Alice Grace @ The Sele, Hexham. 1:30pm. Free. Alice Grace w. Joe Steels, Paul Susans & John Hirst.
Sun 26: Bryony Jarman-Pinto @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Clark Tracey Quintet @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Saltburn Big Band @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 26: SARÃB @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Mon 27: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Book review: Peter Jones - This is Bop. Take 2

Having a fellow jazz singer and the author of This Is Hip, The Life of Mark Murphy examine the roots of bop vocalese and its innovator,  crooner/lyricist/raconteur, Jon Hendricks, is quite a challenge indeed. Author, Peter Jones carries this off with aplomb. A jazz journalist and singer/composer himself, Jones also won an ARSC award for one of the best books in 2018 by Jazz History Online.

"Jon Hendricks thought big and he knew no boundaries", writes Jones. He also quotes Hendricks regarding his inability to read music - "The secret of my art is ignorance, because I didn't know that you can't do this or can't do that". 

These themes resound throughout this 263 page tome which displays evidence of a copious amount of research. Interviews with band and family members as well as carefully documented performances and recordings from 1953 to 2016. The reader gets a complete picture of the  singer's musical and personal life in equal measure resulting in one really knowing the man. A no-holds barred account of Hendricks' successes as well as his difficulties, especially his questionable reputation in regard to his dealings with musicians, publishers  and collaborators.

In a long, frenetic and unpredictable, career, Hendricks sang  with an impressive array of jazz legends. These included Dizzy Gillespie, George Russell, Wynton Marsalis as well as singers, Dave Lambert, Annie Ross The Manhattan Transfer, Bobby McFerrin and Kurt Elling.  He was also awarded France's highest highest order of merit, the Légion d'honneur for both his service in World War II as well as his artistic achievements.

I  had the privilege of playing a number of gigs with The Jon Hendrick Explosion, a nine piece band he had going in the mid 1990s. I was mostly  though, involved with him as an arranger. This included several pieces from the Miles/Gil collaborations - Miles Ahead and Porgy and Bess from  the late 1950s. This job required painstakingly transcribing Gil's orchestrations for a 20 piece orchestra along with Miles' solos. The next step was to reduce them to work for the  9 piece Explosion ensemble  made up of 5 horns, guitar and rhythm section with Jon singing his lyrics to Miles' parts. The task was completed by myself in tandem with longtime Hendricks' arranger, Mark Lopeman.

This project planted the seed for an epic and heroic work Miles Ahead that was a collaboration of Jon and  Pete Churchill, that started around  2012 and had its world premiere in February 2017 at St Peter's Church in NYC. It was performed by a 26 strong  choir, The London Vocal Project, arranged and conducted by Churchill. Hendricks who was 95 and in hospital at the time was granted a short leave from his bed and appeared with his small entourage a few minutes before the downbeat to an awaiting front row seat. A truly triumphant arrival and who else but the doyenne of vocal bop could pull this off?

Peter Jones provides  many examples throughout the book of Hendricks' rather parsimonious honorariums for sidemen - and arrangers were of no exception here either!. An example of this was my transcription/arrangement of Gershwin's Bess, You is My Woman Now from Porgy and Bess. At the first run through of it at rehearsal we discovered that  the high Db that Jon had to sing at the close of the piece was just out of his  reach , making it necessary for me to transpose and recopy the entire chart down a semitone to C. Mind you,  this was before the days of computer music software (Sibelius, Finale,etc) enabling a chart to be instantly transposed at the press of a button. It had to be done by hand  with a quill calligraphic  pen. Needless to say, an additional fee was not on the cards but,.."the show must go on",..as they say. However, Jon was  such  a positive force and enigmatic figure that members of his supporting cast, (like me) were only too happy to pitch in when in need. The musical results and band camaraderie greatly outweighed the  bumps along the way to achieving them.

This is Bop presents a solid look into Hendricks' life- an extremely well rounded account- neither hagiography nor full on hatchetry. It will undoubtedy answer many questions about this innovative and gifted musician's  career and life.
Frank Griffith

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