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Bebop Spoken There

Charlie Musselwhite: "I used to see these posters in the windows of the [Chicago] blues clubs advertising Elmore James and Muddy Waters which knocked me out. I was making a note of the addresses and at night I'd go back and listen to the blues until 4-5 in the morning." - (Blues Matters! Aug/Sep 2021)

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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

13,530 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 948 of them this year alone and, so far, 112 this month (July 31).

Thursday, May 20, 2021

And the next event is a tenor saxophone contest between ...

Bring back the jam sessions - I mean the real, no-holds-barred battle royals of yore. They're a part of jazz folklore. Hawkins blowing all night and early morning trying to cut the cats in Kansas City. Flip, Illinois and others making a name for themselves and some dough for Norman Granz on the JATP tours. Dexter and Wardell smashing the place up blowing The Chase

I remember the disappointment when I first heard JATP  at Newcastle City Hall back in May 1958. This was going to be something, I thought, and it was. How could it not be with Stan Getz, Sonny Stitt, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy and Roy Eldridge on the bill?

It was good, it was great, but it wasn't fantastic. They played their individual sets with the rhythm section but, in reality, they were there as the warm up acts for Ella and Oscar who, by then, were Granz's pet poodles.

I've often thought that the true jam session began its decline that night. I know the jam in name has never ceased but the cutting edge competitiveness is no longer there. Even at the Black Swan/Jazz Café jams it isn't until the final thrash that all the musicians who've played a couple of safe numbers with the house trio and have hung  around until the end are given the opportunity to put their hat in the ring in the hope of emerging as the undisputed numero uno - at least for that night.

I know a lot of musicians will argue that jazz is about working together and making something lasting and worthwhile rather than the ephemeral, sadistic, pleasure of seeing the vanquished, close to tears, packing his/her horn away and leaving by the fire exit. But, think about the legend of Charlie Parker and the episode with Jo Jones' cymbal - Bird never left by the fire exit again! Lance

1 comment :

Mike Farmer said...

Liked your piece about Jam Sessions. Years ago, before the play-along books and before the music establishments took an interest in Jazz, the only way to learn to play was by ear. I used to a pub in Manchester called the Lower Turks Head alto sax in hand and hope the resident trio would allow me to sit in. In those days the tempos were sometimes ultra-fast and you would never see music on the band stand unlike nowadays. I'm hoping as normality returns that Jam Sessions occur again.

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