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Bebop Spoken There

Julian Lage: "Charlie Christian's the greatest ever, in my opinion." - (DownBeat, February 2023)

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

15094 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 1113 of them this year alone and, so far, 11 this month (Feb. 4).

From This Moment On ...

February

Mon 06: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 07: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre. 7:30pm. House trio: Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Rob Walker (drums). Jam session reverts to a first & third Tuesday in the month schedule.

Wed 08: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 08: Jam session @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 1:00pm. Free. TBC.
Wed 08: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 08: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 08: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 09: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 4:00pm (this week only). Free.
Thu 09: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. £5.00.
Thu 09: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm. Guest band: Just Friends: Ian Bosworth (guitar); Richie Emmerson (sax); Dave Archbold (keys); Ron Smith (bass); Mark Hawkins (drums).

Fri 10: Alan Barnes w Dean Stockdale Trio @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm. £7.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 10: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 10: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 10: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 10: Alan Barnes w Dean Stockdale Trio @ Traveller's Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. £12.00.

Sat 11: Slowlight Quartet @ The Rooms @ Immediate Audio, Unit 24, Morley's Yard South, Albion Row, Byker, Newcastle NE6 1PQ. 2:30pm. Tickets: www.wegottickets.com.
First gig of four (1/4). The Slowlights feat. YVA.
Sat 11: New Century Ragtime Orchestra @ King's Hall, Newcastle University. 7:00pm. £15.00. on the door.
Sat 11: Slowlight Quartet @ The Rooms @ Immediate Audio, Unit 24, Morley's Yard South, Albion Row, Byker, Newcastle NE6 1PQ. 7:30pm. Tickets: www.wegottickets.com. Second gig of four (2/4). The Slowlights feat. YVA. SOLD OUT!
Sat 11: Vermont Big Band & the Coast Connection @ The Seahorse, Whitley Bay FC. 7:30pm. £10.00. (inc. hot buffet), raffle. SOLD OUT!
Sat 11: The Rebelators @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 12: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon. LAST SESSION!
Sun 12: Slowlight Quartet @ The Rooms @ Immediate Audio, Unit 24, Morley's Yard South, Albion Row, Byker, Newcastle NE6 1PQ. 2:30pm. Tickets: www.wegottickets.com. Third gig of four (3/4). The Slowlights feat. YVA.
Sun 12: Am Jam @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 3:00pm. Free. Jam session, all welcome.
Sun 12: Jive Aces @ Queen's Hall, Hexham. 7:30pm.
Sun 12: Slowlight Quartet @ The Rooms @ Immediate Audio, Unit 24, Morley's Yard South, Albion Row, Byker, Newcastle NE6 1PQ. 7:30pm. Tickets: www.wegottickets.com. Fourth gig of four (4/4). The Slowlights feat. YVA.
Sun 12: Sylvain Darrifourcq-Manuel Hermia-Valentin Ceccaldi @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. JNE promotion (upstairs).

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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