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Bebop Spoken There

Dee Dee Bridgewater: “ Our world is becoming a very ugly place with guns running rampant in this country... and New Orleans is called the murder capital of the world right now ". Jazzwise, May 2024.

The Things They Say!

Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

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Simon Spillett: A lovely review from the dean of jazz bloggers, Lance Liddle...

Josh Weir: I love the writing on bebop spoken here... I think the work you are doing is amazing.

Postage

16434 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 314 of them this year alone and, so far, 26 this month (May 9).

From This Moment On ...

May

Sat 18: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:00-9:00pm. Free. Celebrating ‘10 years of the Jazz Jam!’. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, Tim Johnston. A Late Shows event.
Sat 18: SH#RP Collective @ Holy Name Parish Church Hall, Jesmond, Newcastle. 7:00-9:00pm. Tickets: £15.00. Bar available, BYO snacks. A Jesmond Community Festival event. All proceeds to Kabuyanda Charity (Ugandan health care).
Sat 18: Red Kites Jazz @ Staithes Café, Autumn Drive, Gateshead. 7:30pm.
Sat 18: Alligator Gumbo @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm.
Sat 18: Rockin’ Turner Brothers @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 18: Papa G’s Amigos special summer Latin set @ The Schooner, Gateshead NE8 3AF. 9:00pm. Free.
Sat 18: Late Night Special with Ruth Lambert & special guests @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 10:00pm-midnight. £5.00. (booking essential). Lambert & surprise jam session guests from down the years.

Sun 19: BTS Trombone Day @ Mark Hillery Arts Centre, Collingwood College, Durham University DH1 3LT. 11:00am-5:00pm. Free to British Trombone Society members (£10.00. & £5.00. to non-members). Recitals, workshops and mass blows.
Sun 19: Women Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. £25.00. Tutor: Andrea Vicari. Enquiries: learning@jazz.coop.
Sun 19: Ransom Van @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 19: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 19: Andrea Vicari Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 20: Harmony Brass @ the Crescent Club, Cullercoats. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 20: Michael Young Trio @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 6:00-8:00pm. Free. Opus de Funk: Horace Silver.
Mon 20: Joe Steels-Ben Lawrence Quartet @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00.

Tue 21: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Alice Grace Vocal Masterclass @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 6:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 22: Daniel Erdmann’s Thérapie de Couple @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 23: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 23: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Thu 23: Immortal Onion + Rivkala @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 23: The Doris Day Story @ Phoenix Theatre, Blyth. 7:30pm.
Thu 23: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Jeremy McMurray (keys); Dan Johnson (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Bill Watson (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 24: Hot Club du Nord @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 24: Swannek + support @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. Time TBC.

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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