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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)

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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'"

Postage

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MILES WATSON

Monday, February 08, 2021

Wandering Monster: Live stream From The Globe (a Jazz Co-op/Jazz North East co-promotion) - Feb. 7

Ben Powling (tenor sax); Calvin Travers (guitar); Aleks Podraza (piano); Sam Quintana (bass); Tom Higham (drums).

(Photo courtesy of Rob Heron/Screenshot collage courtesy of Ken Drew)

Contemporary jazz quintet Wandering Monster performed a live set at The Globe in Newcastle on a wintry Sunday evening, and it turned out to be one of the highlights of the month so far. Although many music lovers are apprehensive about live streamed gigs, Wandering Monster’s musical talent, dynamic energy and invigorating improvisation allowed the virtual audience to truly feel as though they were in the room. This, combined with brilliant sound technicians and camera work, made the gig a pleasure to watch - and a stunning listen.


Their music is warm, soulful and nuanced, yet also manages to push the boundaries of genre and challenge the listener through complex rhythmic, melodic and harmonic improvisation. Double bassist Sam Quintana composes the band’s pieces, and in performance we got to hear some of their newest, unheard works - the chance to hear a new, exclusive track makes the concept of live stream gigs even more compelling. 

The gig opened with the band’s atmospheric take on Jaco Pastorius’ Okonkole y Trompa, immediately arresting the audience’s attention through the subtlety and beauty of their playing. Reshaping this track as their own was a clever introduction to the gig, and the almost tentative yet deep saxophone melody played by Ben Powling allowed the audience to really connect with the music, albeit virtually. Powling also illustrated his own musicianship through beautiful tone and control. It was brilliant getting the chance to watch such accomplished musicians interacting live, bouncing off one another’s ideas in performance, and attentively listening and responding to each other’s choices. 


The band also performed both Metropolis and Division from their newest release, featuring some amazingly tasteful yet thought-provoking solos from Calvin Travers on guitar, Aleks Podraza on piano, and Tom Higham on drums. Wandering Monster really managed to strike the balance between engaging the audience emotionally, and engaging them musically and intellectually. Their sound is so modern, yet also incorporates blues elements, bop language, and clearly nods to the jazz tradition as a whole. Every piece performed was complex rhythmically, and yet the grooves were accessible and made you want to nod along. The energy of the performance and the live element really came across - and that is not an easy feat. 


The audience were also treated to two new compositions during the course of the gig - one named Zenna, and one so new that it was still untitled. Although Zenna featured more experimental playing and improvisation, the warmth of the playing and the musical choices was not lost. Some freer jazz can feel disorientating and dark, yet Wandering Monster’s choices were exhilarating. Throughout the performance, their sound felt cohesive and connected, which bodes well for their new releases to come.


The band ended the performance with a track from their eponymous debut album - Samsara - a brilliant end to the gig. The five musicians know exactly how to build tension and anticipation underneath solos, so that there is a satisfying and climactic release once they return to the original melody. The abrupt end to the last piece of the set left the audience with a sense of contentment, yet wanting more. Wandering Monster deserve genuine recognition and acclaim for their music, and the opportunity to see them play during such a difficult time for live performers was a rare pleasure. 

Evie Hill

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