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Bebop Spoken There

George "Big Nick" Nicholas: "This band [George Adams-Don Pullen Quartet] is a bitch on roller skates, baby. They'll run you over if you ain't ready" (JazzTimes April, 2022)

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

14250 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 469 of them this year alone and, so far, 69 this month (May 19).

From This Moment On ...

May.

Wed 25: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 25: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 25: Four @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 25: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 26: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 26: Deep Pope + Garner & Pope @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm. £7.00.
Thu 26: 58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:30pm.
Thu 26: Knats @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Thu 26: Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Orchestra @ Arc, Stockton. 8:00pm.
Thu 26: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 26: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 27: Alice Grace Quartet @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm.
Fri 27: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 27: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 27: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 27: Fergus McCreadie Trio @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm.

Sat 28: Whitley Bay Carnival: Northern Monkey Brass Band (1:00-1:45pm & 4:00-4:45pm); Baghdaddies (2:00-2:45pm & 5:00-5:45pm) @ Spanish City Plaza Arena, Whitley Bay. Northern Monkey Brass Band (2:30-2:45pm) @ Rainbow Corner (Marine Ave.), Whitley Bay.
Sat 28: Jack Logan & the Swing Section @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 29 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 29: Musicians Unlimited @ Hartlepool United Supporters’ Club, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 29: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 29: Groovetrain @ Tyne Bar, Newcastle. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 29: Zoë Gilby Quartet @ Allendale Village Hall, Northumberland. 7:30pm.
Sun 29: Two of a Mind: Sue Ferris-Steve Summers Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00 adv., £12.00. door.
Sun 29: Cedric Burnside @ Cluny, Newcastle. Superb Mississippi hill country blues!

Mon 30: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 31: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Stu Collingwood, Paul Grainger, Rob Walker.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Album review: Matt Ridley - The Antidote

Matt Ridley (bass); Alex Hitchcock (saxes); Ant Law (guitar); Tom Hewson (piano/keys); Marc Michel (drums)

I don’t know why it was this album that set me off waxing philosophically on the nature of the jazz combo and its longevity. The basic bass/drums/keys rhythm section plus frontline looks to have been with us since the big band leaders sat down with their accountants and realised that the personnel budget needed a dose of austerity. That this template has been with us for over 70 years means that any musician who wishes to use it must do so in a way that keeps it fresh; that there’s bite in the old dog still.

So how do you do that? In Matt Ridley’s case you do it with strong compositions and arrangements, a slightly unorthodox line up (guitar instead of a horn) and lots of energy and commitment. The writing includes elements of classical and prog-rock influences, some of the tunes are through compositions whilst others allow more space for improvisation. The second half of the album is a suite that includes a balled, Adagio For The Fallen Stars in memory of the musicians that lost their lives to covid in the last year.

The inclusion of Ant Law on guitar rather than a bit of brass is justified entirely by those moments when his voice rises out of the group mix and takes the tune up several energy levels. This is heard to best effect on Ebb And Flow, which starts with a flurry on the piano, bowed bass and lyrical saxophone and then, at about the five minute mark Law lifts off with a solo that builds to sharp stabbing, long notes, supported by Marc Michel who hits everything at least twice and at great volume.  At other times he performs delicate runs that sit in front of the bass and drums, there but hard to discern, but an obvious part of the whole. The presence of the guitar also allows the band to move seamlessly between jazz and rock.

Yardeville, which follows is a tribute to Jason Yarde and John Turville. It opens with a bass/drums/piano trio over which Hitchcock, then, floats an elegant romantic solo on tenor.

In his interview in the current edition of Jazzwise Ridley describes the cover of Wayne Shorter’s Infant Eyes as “a bit of a breather in the middle of the album.” It closes the opening half of the album and leads into the Suite, for which there is no overall title.

Part I of the Suite, Gautamo, starts off all energy and then breaks down into a Tom Hewson piano solo with the bass digging in behind him. Hitchcock’s solo that follows is borne upon a wave of furious drumming. 

Part III is the Adagio. A quick search gives us Ellis Marsalis, Bucky Pizzarelli, Wayne Rooney, Manu Dibango, Tony Allen and Ron Matthewson, amongst many others who died of covid and other causes last year and this is their ballad to the fallen. It’s mainly a showcase for Hitchcock; elegant sax lines build into something angrier, but some pastoral moments are in there as well.

The closer, Finale, is Part IV of the suite and all the band get an opportunity to solo in front of Michel’s drums. He seems to follow the ‘We never solo, but we always solo’ philosophy from Weather Report,’ and he provides solid support to everyone else’s efforts, exploiting the space that the production on this album allows him. The band come back together for a quick blow before the curtain falls.

If you’re troubled by trying to work out how you keep an old format like the jazz quintet fresh, listen to Matt Ridley, it seems he has the antidote.

There is more information about Matt Ridley and this album HERE on the Ubuntu website and on his own website which is HERE

The Antidote is released on July 23 through all the usual outlets, including Bandcamp.

Dave Sayer

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