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Bebop Spoken There

Jennifer Wharton: "People forget that the trombone is so glorious. It can be like going to church, or getting ready for battle. It can be a lot of things....For a longtime I was the only female trombonist in New York," - (DownBeat May 2021)

Archive quotes.

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.


13,218 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 637 of them this year alone and, so far, 45 this month (May 11).

Coming soon ...

May 20: Vieux Carré Jazzmen at The Holystone (Indoors!)
May 20 Maine Street Jazzmen are back at Sunniside Social Club.
May 23: Vieux Carré Hot Four are back at The Spanish City.

June 21: Jazz in the Afternoon are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club. (Revised date).
June 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club. (Revised date).

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Album review: Dave Stryker – Baker’s Circle (Strikezone Records)

Dave Stryker (guitar); Walter Smith III (tenor sax); Jared Gold (organ); McClenty Hunter (drums); + Mayra Casales (percussion on two tracks).

Back in the olden days (February 2020) this is the sort of album I would have played as a wake up on my daily commutes, a bit of electric boogalooing up and down the A1. It still carries enough heft to bring some light and life into lockdown.

Dave Stryker is not a name known to me though his history includes stints with Jack McDuff and Stanley Turrentine, (including sessions at times with Freddie Hubbard and Dizzy Gillespie) and he appears on Charenee Wade’s ‘Offering: A Tribute to Gil-Scott Heron and Brian Jackson’ which is a favourite in this reviewer’s house. His main focus since Turrentine died has been his organ trio with Gold and Hunter, augmented on this album by Walter Smith III. Smith is another firm favourite round here. He appeared with Michael Janisch in the Northern Rock Hall at the Sage a few years back and his 2018 album Twio is another that was high on the playlist in the car and in the small back room when it came out in 2018.

Track one, Tough, starts as an ensemble boogie with all the band rocking away, a slow interlude allows WSIII to build a solo from tentative notes to a series of fuller fatter tenor runs, Jared Gold’s solo on organ is more full bodied from the off, with the drummer roaring and rolling in the (not too far) background.

El Camino, with Mayra Casales on additional percussion, is more of a dance track with a long run from the leader who then hands the baton over to WSIII, the space behind his solo filled with stabbing organ flourishes and punchy drums, before Stryker comes back in with a needlepoint solo.

Dreamsong calls to mind very early solitary mornings in closing bars and fluorescent lights on wet city streets; you can almost see the pork pie hats. Cole Porter’s Everything I Love is equally romantic, though this time there is someone else in the room as an object of affection.

Rush Hour, a Jared Gold composition, does what it says on the tin. It’s taken at a higher pace, organ and drums pushing the band along, along with Gold grandstanding to keep the energy levels up.

Superstar, a Leon Russell/Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett tune, is probably best known in the UK from the Carpenters’ cover. It’s a laid back early 70s groove.

The title track is named in memory of Stryker’s colleague, Professor David Baker, at the Indiana University Music School; The Circle was the turning circle where Professor Baker waited for his lift at the end of the day. The song is a mid-paced funky roller with Hunter covering a lot of ground on drums. People with working feet can dance to this; me, notsomuch.

Next there is a cover of Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues. Covers of this or of Mercy, Mercy, The Ecology Song seem to be almost compulsory now. This is more pulsing urban funk with slower passages to evoke the tragedy of the decay that Gaye witnessed and led him to write the song.

Love Dance is another accurate description; a laid back groove for when lights are low, slow and spacious with Stryker soloing over Jared Gold’s swirling organ. It sounds like the band are taking a breath and conserving their energy for last track, Trouble (No.2). It’s a cover of a song by Lloyd Price who first recorded Stagger Lee. It’s a boisterous swinging strut an all-in, all cylinders firing romp to close with.

This is largely energetic, good time music, and, if I ever go back to work, it
’s going in the car with me.

Dave S

Tough, El Camino, Dreamsong, Everything I Love, Rush Hour, Superstar, Baker’s Circle, Inner City Blues, Love Dance, Trouble (No. 2)

Baker’s Circle is released on March 5 and will be available from all the usual suspects and from

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