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Bebop Spoken There

Jeff Coffin: "I'm trying to find a creative way of being creative." - (DownBeat June 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.


13,348 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 766 of them this year alone and, so far, 40 this month (June 11).

From This Moment On


Fri 11: Faye Aspinall @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Solo, ‘postmodern jazz singer’.

Sat 12: Tribute to Gerry Hughes (Tees Hot Club) @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 12 noon (jazz 2:00-3:30pm). £5.00. Outdoor event. Details from 01642 823813.

Sun 13: Vieux Carré Hot Four @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay (12 noon).

Sun 13: Sunday Jazz @ The Radio Rooms, Berwick (2:00pm).

Sun 13: Charlotte Keeffe Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. (8:00pm). £10:00. Advance booking essential at:

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

A (belated) book review. Gay Talese - Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and other essays

If I state that this is probably the finest piece of non-fictional journalism ever published I will probably be accused, as we BSH writers often are, of going over the top when we discover a new talent. Not that Gay Talese can be defined as new, the articles in this anthology date from 1961 to 1997 and Talese is still around - now aged 89.

The book isn't about jazz, nor is it totally about Frank Sinatra although that particular essay is one of the most astute observations of what life was like for those in and around the great man's day to day activities. It is universally regarded as one of the most influential American magazine articles of all time after it was published in Esquire magazine in 1966.

In the previous paragraph, I wrote that the book isn't about jazz, and it isn't, whilst yet it is. Talese's prose displays all the dexterity of a Stan Getz solo, the urbanity and sophistication of an Ellington composition as well as the astute observations of someone able to get just close enough to see it like it is. He gets the meaning out of words when he writes them the way that Sinatra does when he sings them.

Apart from Sinatra, Talese writes about boxers, Joe Louis, Floyd Patterson and Mohammed Ali - not about their fights but about their post fight careers. He goes to Dublin with Peter O'Toole, takes a witty look at the fashion magazine hierarchy, describes a life or death situation faced by an Italian tailor with a Mafioso Godfather after a customised order for a suit went wrong as well as an essay about an obituary writer who can't wait for his subjects to die so that his pre-written articles for the New York Times get published.

It's all there and much more.

My only regret is that it took me all these years to discover this book which came out in Penguin format in 2011. For this, my thanks go out to my dear friend Liz who brought it to my attention and to her son Kevin who brought it to hers!

Thank you both.


Gay Talese - Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and other essays. Penguin Modern Classics ISBN 978-0-141-19415-8

1 comment :

Liz said...

My pleasure Lance. As I said, it lay on my bookshelf for ages after my son bought it for me as a Xmas present. When I did pick it up again during the darkest of pandemic days and with little else to read, I was overjoyed, and could not believe the extraordinary writing skill of Gay Talese!! When you find something like this, all you want to do is share it with like minded people, and that is what Lance is doing!

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