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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

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.

Postage

13,508 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 926 of them this year alone and, so far, 90 this month (July 27).

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Album (4 CD set): Chris Barber - A Trailblazer's Legacy

Presentation wise, possibly one of the finest 4 CD sets ever issued, and it's not bad musicwise either.

To deal with the packaging first. A hard backed 90 page booklet crammed with photos, flyers, testimonials to Barber from many rock stars ranging, alphabetically, from Andy Fairweather Low to Van Morrison giving an indication of just how far reaching his influence was. A detailed appraisal of the 69 tracks by Alyn Shipton, who collaborated with Barber on the bandleader's autobiography Jazz me Blues, is equally compelling. To make things totally comprehensive there's also photos and text from his parallel universe - that of a motor racing driver. This will sit just as easily on your bookshelf as it will on your CD shelf after it eventually makes way on your coffee table for some inferior product like Wagner's Der Ring cycle.

All well and good but, what about the music?

It's as near perfect a compilation as possible. The band's first recordings with future bopper Dickie Hawdon and Ben Cohen on trumpets. His stint with Ken Colyer. The long-lasting frontline partnership with Pat Halcox, Monty Sunshine and, of course, Ottilie Patterson. 

Eventually, the music weaves its way 70 years forward and to his final recording - a live version of Savoy Blues recorded at Pizza Express in 2018 with the aforementioned Alyn Shipton on bass.

Needless to say there are also tracks by several of the various American instrumentalists that Chris Barber recorded and toured with such as Sammy Price, Albert Nicholas, Edmond Hall and Louis Jordan as well as blues and gospel deities - Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and James Cotton. 

Many readers, myself included, will have most of the early tracks on the original Tempo, Nixa and Decca singles, EPs and LPs as well the various reissues on Lake CDs. However, my one minor quibble is that there are no examples from my favourite Barber album - Battersea Rain Dance - no doubt some legal/label glitch prevented it. Nevertheless, if you're up for five hours of listening to some legendary British jazz ... 

I can't recommend this too highly. Forget about the Balls, the Bilks and the men who wore funny uniforms, this is what British jazz meant to so many for so many years. Only Humph came close.

It's a limited edition so don't hang about. Release date is July 23 - Last Music Company (distribution by Proper Records) and some of the flash boys are already asking forty squid. However, if you shop around you can pre-order for around £25.95. Lance

Tracks.

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