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Bebop Spoken There

JD Allen: "...art in itself is now a luxury that you need a lot of finances to do." - (DownBeat October 2021)

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! --

Postage

13,806 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 1223 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (Oct. 13).

From This Moment On ...

October

Sat 16: Women Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor Julija Jacenaite: Improvarium..
Sat 16: Emma Fisk & James Birkett @ St Mary's Church, Monkseaton. 7:30pm..
Sat 16: Triptych @ Sage Gateshead. 7:45pm. Trio with live visuals by Lisa Delarny. .
Sat 16: Rendezvous Jazz @ Memorial Hall, Ponteland. 8:00pm. Guest Ian Wynne (piano)..

Sun 17: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 17: Musicians Unlimited @ South Durham Social Club. 1:00pm.
Sun 17: Shunyata Improvisation Group @ Unitarian Church, Newcastle. 1:30pm.
Sun 17: Vula Viel @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 18: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Wed 20: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 20: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 20: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 20: Jeremy McMurray & the Jazz Pocket Orchestra @ Middlesbrough Town Hall. 8:00pm.

Thu 21: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 21: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Bar Loco, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra.
Thu 21: Alter Ego @ St James' & St Basil's Church, Newcastle 7:30pm.
Thu 21: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 21: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 22: Mick Shoulder Quartet @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. Quartet featuring Alex Clarke (BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year finalist).
Fri 22: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 22: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 22: Paul Edis Trio w Ruth Lambert @ St Cuthbert's Centre, Crook. 7:30pm.
Fri 22: Michael Feinstein @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Fri 22: Peter Morgan Trio @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sat 23: Mary Coughlan @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 23: Têtes de Pois @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Album review: Ben Crosland Quintet – Solway Stories

Ben Crosland (bass); Steve Waterman  (trumpet/flugel); Chris Allard (guitar); Steve Lodder (piano/keys); Dylan Howe (drums)

I’ve seen Ben Crosland perform in various groups over the years and would sum him up as ‘genial’ maybe human. He played with Waterman and Lodder in the trio Threeway, as the lynchpin of John Etheridge’s Trio North, leading an Octet for his Echoes in the Valley project from 2000 and many others. He fits this activity around the running of his Jazzcat record label and a career as a barrister in the courts of West Yorkshire. That’s barrister not barista - you’d want Crosland in your corner if you were trying to get off a life sentence.

Whilst the rest of the band may lack the wig and the gown they are, officially, no slouches. Waterman has played with most people of his generation on the UK scene; Lodder is best known in this house as an early, long-time associate of Andy Sheppard and Howe has led his own Blakey/Blue Note type jazz quartet and is a member of the Ian Dury-less Blockheads. Only guitarist Chris Allard is new to me.

As with Echoes in the Valley, the inspiration for Solway Stories comes from the scenery and the people of the North of England. This is a celebration of the wide open spaces, it is optimistic, warm, broad-brush stroke music of the freedom to be found away from the claustrophobia of the cities. It is cool music, but not the cool of nodding heads in smoky night clubs, rather, it is cool in a way that allows the tunes to develop. Not for Crosland the frantic intensity or showmanship of trying to squeeze in as many notes as possible into every tune. Much of it is music of memory and quiet contemplation but there are some nods to New Orleans in A Lil’ Sark Funk where Allard’s guitar hands over to a rolling piano solo from Lodder who then hands the baton onto Waterman for a trumpet solo, all in front of a high stepping back beat from Dylan Howe.

Powfoot takes us into Stevie Wonder playing with the Average White Band and Carsethorn could be a piece of 70s’ soul enhanced by psychedelic swirls from the organ.

The titles come from places that Crosland visited on a journey into South West Scotland with his mother, who died last year. The tunes are mainly named after villages in the Dumfries area (Powfoot; Beeswing; Islesteps; Carsethorn) or other places of local interest (Auchenreoch Loch).

I Do is a nod to the blacksmiths of Gretna Green. Despite the fact that the area may appear to be natural and unspoiled, the sleeve notes tell us that Powfoot was the site of a 9 mile long munitions factory during the First World War wherein they mixed gun cotton and nitro-glycerine to make cordite for shell propellant. Cordite was dubbed The Devil’s Porridge another of the song titles.  

My only reservation is to do with the production. There could be more separation, not least to help Crosland’s bass stand out more. He is a tremendous player, but his contribution is buried for much of the time. That gripe aside, it is a lovely album.

Solway Stories is released on May 28 and is available through the usual outlets. For more information about Ben Crosland visit Home (jazz-cat.com) Dave Sayer

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