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Farewell Blues

R.I.P. HRH Queen Elizabeth ll (1926 - Sept. 8, 2022).
R.I.P. Trevor Tomkins (1941 - Sept. 9, 2022).
R.I.P. Gordon McGregor (Sept. 11, 2022).
R.I.P. Ramsey Lewis (1935 - Sept. 12, 2022).
R.I.P. Pharoah Sanders (Oct. 13, 1940 - Sept. 24, 2022).
R.I.P. Sue Mingus (April 2, 1930 - Sept. 24, 2022).

Bebop Spoken There

Larry Klein: "- in a certain way - Leonard [Cohen] is the greatest songwriter ever." - (Jazzwise October 2022)

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.

Ann Braithwaite (Braithwaite & Katz Communications) You’re the BEST!

Holly Cooper, Mouthpiece Music: "Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"

Postage

14602 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 880 of them this year alone and, so far, 80 this month (Sept. 26).

From This Moment On ...

September

Wed 28: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 28: Battle of the Bands @ NE Volume Music Bar, Yarm Lane, Stockton. Doors 6:00pm. Tickets: £5.00. adv., £6.00. on the door. Participants inc. Milne Glendinning Band.
Wed 28: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 28: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 28: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 28: Black is the Color of My Voice @ Alnwick Playhouse. 7:30pm. One woman stage play (the life & times of Nina Simone).
Wed 28: Laura Jurd @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 29: Ushaw Ensemble @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 1:15pm. Free.
Thu 29: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 3:00-5:00pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 29: Czajka & Puchaz + Mark Solborg + Anthropology @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Thu 29: ‘58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:30pm.
Thu 29: Peter Morgan Trio @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 30: Adam Johnson @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 30: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 30: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 30: Pete Churchill & Noel Dennis: Exploring the Jazz Metaphor in Leadership & Management @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 2:30-4:00pm. Workshop.Tickets: £3.30 (inc. bf). A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: FILM: Bird (Dir. Clint Eastwood) + Swing Bridge (in the bar) @ Forum Cinema, Hexham. 6:30pm.
Fri 30: Orphy Robinson + Maniscalco-Bigoni-Solborg + Nicole Mitchell + Binker Golding-Alexander Hawkins-John Pope-Paul Hession @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle (7:00pm). A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: Ushaw Ensemble @ St Mary’s Church, Holy Island. 7:30pm.
Fri 30: Alter Ego @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. CANCELLED!
Fri 30: King Bee @ The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club, Independent, Sunderland. 9:00pm. £22.50. DJs + King Bee.

October

Sat 01: Dale Storr @ St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. £10.00.
Sat 01: Nicole Mitchell & Alexander Hawkins @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 01: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Pete Churchill. £25.00. Enrol at: www.jazz.coop.
Sat 01: Orphy Robinson (in conversation); Beck Hunters w John Pope & Laura Cole; Daniel Levin; Black Top w Mariam Rezaei @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 6:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 01: Simon O'Byrne @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Solo guitar & vocals.
Sat 01: King Bees @ Grainger Market, Newcastle. 9:00-9:45pm. A Great Market Caper multi-bill event. Superb Chicago blues band. Doors: 6:30pm. Tickets: £10.00. + bf.

Sun 02 RUTH LAMBERT TRIO @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 02: Helena Anahita Wilson @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sun 02: Smokin’ Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm.
Sun 02: Zoë Gilby Trio w Noel Dennis + John Garner & John Pope + Dilutey Juice @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. £7.00.
Sun 02: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 02: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 02: Lindsay Hannon's 'Tom Waits for No Man' @ Three Tanners Bank, North Shields. 6:00pm. Free.
Sun 02: Celebrating the Life & Music of Pharoah Sanders @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. £8.00. on the door. Feat. Sue Ferris, Paul Gowland, Tom Atkinson, Jude Murphy, Jeff Armstrong.
Sun 02: Shifa + Bex Burch & Leafcutter John + Farida Amadou @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.

Mon 03: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 04: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Durham. 7:00pm. Free (to reserve a table phone 0191 386 5556).
Tue 04: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Dean Stockdale, Paul Grainger, Tim Johnston.
Tue 04: Blue Jazz Quartet w Rivkala @ The Ship Isis, Sunderland. 7:30pm. Free.

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Album review: Thana Alexa - ONA

This bold, powerful and compelling album slipped beneath the critics’ radar on its release a year ago but may be ripe for rediscovery since garnering two Grammy nominations this month. Self-released in March 2020, ONA has been nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album and for Best Improvised Jazz Solo, for Regina Carter’s two and a half minute violin solo, a melancholy, swirling dance for the lost, the fallen and the forgotten on the third track here, Pachamama.

Alexa has Croatian and American roots and was brought up in both countries. The album was inspired by the 2017 Women’s March on Washington and the stories of immigrant women in her own family. Her website states that “The album speaks to us musically about every facet of womanhood, conveying a message of strength and empowerment”, and I wouldn’t dispute that. This her second album after Ode to Heroes which was released in 2015

The album starts with ONA, the only track which has the lyrics provided; ‘ona’ means ‘she’ in Croatian. The Rosa Vocal Group sing a round in Croatian and from that rises a statement of feminist intent, “We must be better than/Just to be equal to/Even when we succeed/ We don’t get paid like you/Stop all your staring boy/ Your disrespectful noise/You’re wrong if you think I was born to be your toy/I am Woman/I am free/ I will decide what happens with my body….” delivered over rumbling bass and drums, like an advancing storm.

The album mixes modern vocalese with scat singing and, at times, blends voice and instrumentation in such a way that one rises seamlessly from the other, such as the interplay between Jordan Peters’ guitar and Alexa’s Bjork-ish declamatory vocals on Animal Instinct and again on the closer, a cover of Tears for Fear, Everybody Wants to Rule the World

At other times the music is stripped back to the rhythm section alone. Staaf plays some lovely Bill Evans-ish piano on Set Free, and You Taught Me starts as a delicate acoustic guitar ballad before unleashing its full-on power. Teardrop is a cover of a Massive Attack track from that band’s Mezzanine album that builds to a thunderous prog guitar climax while He Said She Said frames an argument with a modern, percussive piano trio backing before laying back into something more wistful in a duet with Becca Stevens that also brings in a simpler backing including a ukulele.

This a vehement and passionate album from a committed singer with an agenda; the music, the lyrics and the vocal performance all work together to support that. This is a tremendous piece of work.

‘ONA’ by Thana Alexa is available through the usual streaming services or on CD from here

Dave Sayer

Tracks: ONA; The Resistance; Pachamama; Set Free; You Taught Me; Teardrop; Cassandra; He Said She Said; Animal Instinct; Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Musicians: Thana Alexa (voice/compositions/arrangements/keys); Carmen Staaf (piano/Fender Rhodes/keys); Matt Brewer (acoustic and electric bass); Antonio Sanchez (drums;/perc/keys) plus the Rosa Vocal Group (track 1); Staceyann Chinn (spoken word track 2); Regina Carter (violin track 3); Becca Stevens (vocals/ukulele/charango/track 8).

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