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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

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).

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

The 8-Bit Big Band - Backwards Compatible

I've opted to post the press release rather than attempt a review. This isn't a cop-out on my part. I totally go along with the blurb. It's quite a fantastic album that does everything that it says on the tin.  There's plenty jazz - big band, small band, killer solos from saxist Grace Kelly and crooning from Benny Benack III - with appropriate Nelson Riddle style backing. It's quite amazing. However, not being a gamer (I don't think chess counts alongside this lot) I don't feel qualified to review it other than on unrelated musical terms where it goes close to achieving the global supremacy it's aiming for - Lance.

(Press release)

Charlie Rosen, a New York-based lifelong musician and lifelong gamer, thinks of video game music as a musical tradition unto itself: the “Video Game Songbook.” Mr. Rosen’s arrangements of video game tunes are brilliant, boisterous, and—befitting the medium—delightfully playful.      - Forbes

The 8-Bit Big Band is thrilled to explore the “Great Video Game Songbook” with the release of their electrifying new album Backwards Compatible. Their third full length release, Backwards Compatible expands this ever growing contemporary body of music with a symphonic orchestra made up of over 70 of New York City’s finest musicians. Musical Director and newly minted Tony nominee Charlie Rosen arranged and produced the project’s 13 imaginative renditions of some of the world's most popular video game music. 

Special guests include Grace Kelly, Adam Neely, Benny Benack III, Leo P., Zac Zinger, Sam Dillon, Steven Feifke, Andrew Gould, Tiffany Mann, and the vocal sextet Accent. Backwards Compatible was mixed by GRAMMY award winning engineer John Kilgore, and mastered by engineering veteran Alan Silverman, who has worked on more than 80 GRAMMY nominated or winning albums throughout his career. Backwards Compatible features a winning musical combination: melodies that are instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever traversed through immersive game worlds, and dazzling arrangements, with impeccable musicianship that will appeal to music lovers across the board.

Since its inception in 2017, the 8-Bit Big Band has become a viral sensation. Their fully produced music videos, regularly uploaded to their YouTube channel, has aggregated over 9 Million views, and over 200,000 subscribers, followers, and listeners across the globe, selling out large-scale concert venues in New York City and Boston to date. The ensemble was founded by Charlie Rosen, who at the age of 30, already has 11 Broadway shows, and countless Off-Broadway and regional productions under his belt. A man of many talents, Rosen has worn the musical hats of arranger, orchestrator, music director, pit musician, and music supervisor. This year, he received his first Tony Award nomination - for his orchestrating work on the Broadway production Moulin Rouge.

He has long seen video game music as the perfect vehicle to reach a broader audience, and introduce listeners to the jazz artform. With over 1.2 billion gamers in the world, Rosen surely has a point. “As a lifelong gamer who also grew up listening to the best in orchestral and big band music, I see the music of many video games as musically equivalent to other great works of music set to media such as film scores and Broadway shows,” said Rosen last year ahead of their sold out concert at Sony Hall earlier this year. “Many carry the same quality of melody and composition when it comes to quality, scope, and emotional appeal for audiences. The crowd reaction when we play our versions of themes from favorites such as Mario, Tetris, and Legend of Zelda is overwhelming, not just because it’s amazing music on its own, but also because of the strong memories and nostalgia evoked in an audience that played these games throughout childhood. I truly believe that video game music deserves to be included in a ‘New American Songbook,’ just like classic film and Broadway music has been canonized by the Golden Age American Songbook.” In a 2019 New York Times feature, journalist Elizabeth Harris notes “Mr. Rosen exists as a sort of bridge between genres and generations, embracing Broadway standards, pop songs and the music of Tetris.” 

Backwards Compatible explores musical selections that were prominently featured in iconic video games without sacrificing one iota of the band’s focus on stunning musicality.  This awe-inspiring release begins with “The Chrono Trigger Main Theme”, a reimagined arrangement of the theme from the 1995 game Chrono Trigger.  Taking a nod from the Jaco Pastorius track “Kuru/Speak Like a Child”, the album begins with improvised lines from all of the players growing into an expansive soundscape featuring pianist Steven Feifke blazing through this tribute to electric big band jazz fusion.  Featuring the vibrant Grace Kelly on alto sax, the band tackles a Tower of Power inspired funk arrangement of “Hydrocity Zone” from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (1994).

Featuring celebrated vocalist and trumpeter Benny Bennack III crooning in the style of Frank Sinatra and soloing on trumpet, the band gives a rousing rendition of “Want You Gone” from the popular game Portal 2 (2011).  The band displays its virtuosity in a powerful Arabic-tinged, metal-infused jazz fusion performance of “Super Mario Land Underground” from Super Mario Land (1989) with a boundary pushing performance on the baritone sax by the inimitable Leo P. 

Rosen demonstrates his stellar musicianship on the bass with a Jaco-inspired introduction and melody to the popular soundtrack selection “Dire Dire Docks” from Super Mario 64 (1996).  Zac Zinger is featured on the EWI in a smooth big band rendition of “Birdman” from the game Pilot Wings 64 (1996).  This lush arrangement is followed by a mesmerising performance by vocal jazz sextet Accent on a contemporary jazz version of “Lost in Thoughts All Alone” from Fire Emblem: Fates (2015).

Bass player and composer Adam Neely is featured as a soloist on a nimble orchestral jazz arrangement of the game music standard “Saria’s Song” from The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time (1998), which is followed by a dazzlingly dynamic and powerful vocal performance from the amazing Tiffany Mann on the James Bond inspired “Snake Eater” from Metal Gear Solid 3 (2004).  To take us into the end of our journey,  Grace Kelly delivers an uplifting and jubilant take on the new modern game music hit “Jump Up Super Star” from Super Mario Odyssey (2017), followed by a farewell from the band with a classic swing big band take on the “End Theme from Super Mario World” (1990).

In the words of Charlie Rosen, “This album was born as a collaboration between a collection of some of the most creative, talented, and open-hearted artists and musicians that gathered together to showcase that when performed with heart and skill, Video Game Music deserves to take its place alongside other legendary bodies of musical work. We hope you enjoy listening as much as we did creating, and long live Video Game Music!”

Label: Teamchuck Records - Catalogue Number: 8BBB01

Track List:

1. Intro to Album 3

2. Chrono Trigger Main Theme - feat. Steven Feifke (from Chrono Trigger)

3. Gourmet Race - feat. Sam Dillon (from Kirby Super Star)

4. Hydrocity Zone - feat. Grace Kelly (from Sonic the Hedgehog 3)

5. Want You Gone - feat. Benny Benack III (from Portal 2)

6. Metaknights Revenge - feat. Buttonmasher (from Kirby Super Star)

7. Super Mario Land Underground - feat. Leo P. (from Super Mario Land)

8. Dire Dire Docks - feat. Charlie Rosen (from Super Mario 64)

9. Birdman - feat. Zac Zinger (from Pilot Wings 64)

10. Lost in Thoughts All Alone - feat. Accent (from Fire Emblem Fates)

11. Saria's Song - feat. Adam Neely (from Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

12. Snake Eater - feat. Tiffany Mann (from Metal Gear Solid 3)

13. Jump Up Super Star - feat. Grace Kelly (from Super Mario Odyssey)

14. Super Mario World End Theme (from Super Mario World

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