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Bebop Spoken There

John McDonough (reviewing Bright Red Dog’s In Vivo): “When you improvise on nothing, that’s what you get”. - DownBeat August 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.

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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

Ten albums by bass players - Part two

3. Charles Mingus – The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (1963)

One of the great Impulse modern jazz albums. If you don’t have this in your collection you should go and stand in the corner of the room until you feel better. Despite not containing any of Mingus’ best known tunes this is a tremendously strong suite of compositions that stands up against anything else recorded before or since, the opening track alone includes enough themes and variations to fill the career of a lesser composer. This album throws up the question whether Mingus is a greater composer than he is a bass player. Difficult to answer when, at times a huge, wide, interactive frenzy is built on the support provided by Mingus’ bass. He gives us soul, wailing plantation blues, weeping gospel, urban torch song, a folk waltz, frantic Mexicali strumming and Gershwinesque grandeur and it all hangs together. It would be a breath taking ballet.

4. Jaco Pastorius – Truth Liberty & Soul (1982, released 2017)

The Hendrix of the bass was a perfect fit for Weather Report’s ‘We never solo but we always solo’ ethos. I suspect that many bass players at the time heard Jaco with Weather Report and went off to train as accountants. This album was released in 2017 and I chose it as it’s a great showcase for his bass playing. Even when the band is at a roaring full throttle the bass is always prominent and always exciting and the playing of Peter Erskine on drums and Don Alias on percussion creates a rampaging three-headed rhythm beast. There is so much life and joy in this album, it’s almost overwhelming. Played at the right volume, it’s a great way to meet the neighbours.

An excellent 96 page booklet is included with the CD though ‘Jaco’ by Bill Milkowski is the essential reading if you want to get fully depressed about what was lost with his death in 1987.

5. Marc Johnson – Bass Desires (1986)

I was tempted to discuss Swept Away, Johnson’s more recent, and equally excellent, album with his wife Eliane Elias but went for this one as I like the work by both of the two featured guitarists, John Scofield and Bill Frisell. The guitar synthesizer that Frisell plays places it firmly in the 1980s, as do the mullets on the band photo on the inside cover. Johnson had been Bill Evans’ bassist towards the end of his career before forming this Bass Desires Band. Scofield provides curling, oblique, angular guitar in his trademark fashion, Erskine is constant in support, his drums bubbling under on each tune and Frisell’s guitar synthesizer adds washes of colour without muting the effect of what’s going on. Highlights include the Hollywood Chinese dance of Samurai Hee-Haw, Coltrane’s Resolution and the title track. Dave Sayer

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