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Bebop Spoken There

Ethan Iverson: "Oscar Peterson famously said that Bud [Powell] played just too many wrong notes. He was really critical of Bud as a player, which I think is not right." - (DownBeat March 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'"


12,557 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 276 of them this year alone and, so far, 127 this month (Feb. 28).

Wednesday March 3


Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Album review: Janinah Burnett - Love the Color of Your Butterfly

Janinah Burnett (vocals); Terreon 'Tank' Gully (drums, producer, co-arranger) and on various tracks: Christian Sands, Sullivan Fortner, Keith Brown (piano); Luques Curtis, Ben Williams (bass); Casey Benjamin (vocoder)

Well I certainly get some strange albums to review and this must surely be one of the oddest! Good in parts and rather peculiar in others. Nothing to do with the instrumentalists, who are long established jazzmen. Ms Burnett is a woman who possesses two voices, one an operatic soprano and the other a sultry alto jazz voice. The intention on this recording was to produce what our singer terms 'clazz' – a meeting of the American indigenous genres of spirituals, blues, jazz and soul with the classical idioms that she is used to performing in opera.

This very brave attempt to marry these forms is, I think, only partially successful. Creole Girl has effective jazz accompaniment but the voice switches between full soprano and jazz voice, which I found disconcerting and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. What Is This Thing Called Love? was cleverly linked with Bizet's Habanera from Carmen (both songs have pretty much the same meaning) but the two voice problem spoilt the track, as was the case on several tracks.  

On the other hand. the more successful songs, were well worth listening to. In a Sentimental Mood was done as straight jazz with a piano solo. TGTT (Ellington) was sung wordlessly in a soprano voice, and somehow worked. Someday We'll All Be Free is a spiritual where the soprano voice and effective drum beats sounded good.  I Loves You Porgy is meant to be opera so that worked well. Lament paired with Strange Fruit actually worked because of the contrast of voices which brought out the meaning of Strange Fruit well. Perhaps the way forward for 'Clazz' is shown in the final track, Honeysuckle Rose, which was sung as a swinger, and in a rather higher register jazz voice.

It seems to me that Ms Burnett, a world-renowned soprano who has performed in New York City both on Broadway and at The Met., is on to something interesting on this debut album but it's not yet fully developed. I daresay that she could record an album of jazz songs as her sultry jazz voice is very pleasing. Adding a classical dimension to the jazz would take a bit more thought.

The CD is available from February 12 on the Clazz Records label, via the usual suspects.


Ann Alex

Creole Girl; What Is This Thing Called Love?/Habanera; E Lucevan Le Stelle; Keep Your Eyes On the Prize; My Love; In a Sentimental Mood; TGTT; Someday We'll All Be Free; Kiss of Life; Lament/Strange Fruit; I Loves You Porgy; Honeysuckle Rose Retro Intro; Honeysuckle Rose

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