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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.

Postage

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).

2021 APPJAG (All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group)

Click here to vote.

VOTING ENDS ON MAY 14.

Coming soon ...



May 13: Vieux Carré Jazzmen at The Holystone (weather, unfortunately, not permitting). CANCELLED!

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).

Friday, March 19, 2021

Album review: Steve Gadd Band - Live At Blue Note Tokyo

Steve Gadd (drums); Walt Fowler (trumpet/flugelhorn); Kevin Hayes (keys/vocals); Jimmy Johnson (bass); David Spinoza (guitar).

On a day when the morning cloud has diluted the morning sun, such that there is a barely homeopathic trace of warmth or heat coming through I sit down in the hope of hearing something to lift the spirits. The Steve Gadd Band Live At Blue Note,Tokyo was recorded towards the end of the olden days on December 18, 2019. Maybe this would be a reminder of happier times.

I don’t really know much about Steve Gadd as a bandleader. I’ve heard of his extensive session work but I’d always associated him with yacht rock, soft jazz and those Eric Clapton albums from the period when his suits (Anthony Price, Versace, Armani) were more interesting than his music. Music that was niiiice but had no edge, that you would admire for the craft, but not the art. Such is the way of the music snob.

Reading about Gadd, it’s clear that he has played with everyone except the guy from the chip shop who thinks he’s Elvis and next door’s cat. The list of albums he has contributed to fills 20 pages of close typing; in 1975 he was on 24 releases and thirty years later his credits had reduced to, a still hugely impressive, 21. I wonder if, during all the hours of packing and unpacking his kit he ever considered a life as a session flautist.

And so to Live At Blue Note. On first listen it comes in like a sheep and goes out like a wolf. Opener, Where’s Earth?, with Walt Fowler’s trumpet to the fore sounds like very late period Miles doing Human Nature or Time After Time. Doesn’t She Know By Now is an equally laid back groove with everyone in the band taking relaxed solos until it all starts to spark at about the four minute mark when they begin to sound like a band playing together not just five blokes in the same room at the same time. 

Hidden Drive is more dinner jazz with some cocktail bar tinkling from Kevin Hays and guitar noodling by David Spinozza which briefly turns into something more passionate but this is dissipated when the rest of the band drops out. Contrast that with Rat Race which just sounds like it was recorded louder and is all-in from the start.

Perhaps the pace doesn’t help either. Most of the tunes are slow to medium paced shuffles, so the Latin funk of One Point Five stands out as a sign of life, building as it does into a Gadd solo.

There is a lot of great musicianship on display here, and I especially like Jimmy Johnson’s rolling bass funk lines, but it lacks that spark to really start it burning. There are brief flashes when it feels like it’s going to take off but these are, too frequently, closed off with a wrap up at the end of the song. Maybe they should have let some of the tunes extend into jams and allowed more development and more challenge, (I could definitely have lived with another ten minutes of Way Back Home as it rolled it’s way from Johnson’s bass explorations into a lively honky-tonk piano with a heavy duty left hand).

Maybe you had to be there.

Available April 2 via usual suspects.

David Sayers

Where’s Earth?; Doesn’t She Know By Now; Timpanogos; Hidden Drive; Walk With Me; One Point Five; Way Back Home; Rat Race; Watching the River Flow.

STOP PRESS: Steve Gadd is taking part in an hour long Zoom call in support of the Mark Jon Bolderson Foundation. Mark was a Hexham based drummer and percussion tutor at Durham University who died in 2017.   Further details of the Foundation and the Steve Gadd Zoom call are HERE

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