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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.

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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