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Bebop Spoken There

Steve Fishwick: “I can’t get behind the attitude that new is always somehow better than old”. (Jazz Journal, April 15, 2019).

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!

Holly Cooper, Mouthpiece Music: "Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"

Simon Spillett: A lovely review from the dean of jazz bloggers, Lance Liddle...

Josh Weir: I love the writing on bebop spoken here... I think the work you are doing is amazing.

Postage

16542 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 422 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (June 17).

From This Moment On ...

June

Sun 23: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 23: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Matt Carmichael @ St Mary’s Church, Wooler. 3:00pm. Carmichael (saxophone), Fergus McCreadie (piano), Charlie Stewart (fiddle). ‘Scottish jazz, folk-roots & landscape’ Wooler Arts: Summer Concerts.
Sun 23: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Bede Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 23: Leeway @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 23: Jazz Jam @ Fabio’s Bar, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 24: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 24: Remy CB @ The Hoppings, Newcastle Town Moor NE2 3NH. 5:00-7:00pm.

Tue 25: Louise Dodds & Elchin Shirinov @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Wed 26: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 26: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 26: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 27: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 27: Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Jazz Orchestra @ Arc, Stockton. 8:00pm.
Thu 27: The Joni Project @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Joni Mitchell.
Thu 27: Lindsay Hannon’s Tom Waits for No Man @ Harbour View, Roker, Sunderland. 8:00pm.
Thu 27: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 27: Loco House Band @ Bar Loco, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 27: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Neil Brodie (trumpet); Garry Hadfield (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass)

Fri 28: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 28: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 28: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 28: Pete Tanton’s Chet Set @ Warkworth War Memorial Hall. 7:30pm. £10.00.
Fri 28: Paul Edis @ St Cuthbert’s Centre, Crook. 7:30pm.
Fri 28: Ant Law, Alex Hitchcock, Jasper Høiby & Sun-Mi Hong @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm. £15.40., £13.20.

Sat 29: Spat’s Langham’s Hot Fingers @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club.
Sat 29: Vermont Big Band @ Seahorse Pub, Whitley Bay Football Club. 7:30pm. £10.00. (inc. hot buffet).
Sat 29: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

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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