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Bebop Spoken There

Ambrose Akinmusire: “ I am certainly always aware of what the masses are doing. And when I see too many people going one way, I'm going another way - even when I don't know what's over that way". DownBeat, March, 2024.

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

16233 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 115 of them this year alone and, so far, 59 this month (Feb. 23).

From This Moment On ...

February 2024
Tue 27: Meditative Soundscapes - Improvised Music @ Earthlings - Healing Cafe, Buckingham St., Newcastle NE4 5QR. 7:00-8:30pm. Feat. Johannes Dalhuijsen, Richard Herdman, Nick Bagnall & Michael Olatunji.
Tue 27: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm (7:00pm doors). £12.00., £10.00. (adv.).

Wed 28: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 28: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 28: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 29: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 29: Student Performances @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 4:00pm. Free. Inc. Olly Styles (saxophone).
Thu 29: ’58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:00pm. Free.
Thu 27: Student Jazz Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Thu 29: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Josh Bentham (alto sax); Graham Thompson (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

March
Fri 01: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 01: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 01: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 01: Wind Ensemble + Big Band + Jazz Combo + R&B Band @ Boiler House, Newcastle University. 5:30pm. Free.
Fri 01: Joseph Carville Trio @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Fri 01-Sun 03: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. From 8:00pm Friday. Weekend ticket: £20.00.
Fri 01: TBC @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Blind Pig Blues Club.
Fri 01: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. £10.00. Day 1/3. Musicians Unlimited + Festival Band.

Sat 02: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. 11:00am. £15.00.. Day 2/3. Senior bands in competition.
Sat 02: Frog & Henry @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm.£10.00. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club. Superb Anglo-American band!
Sat 02: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: TBC. £25.00. Enrol at: www.jazz.coop.
Sat 02: The Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Repas7 by Night, 7 West St, Berwick TD15 1AS, 07900 627562. Tapas Specials from 5.00pm - showtime 8.00pm.
Sat 02: Cuba Libre @ Revolución de Cuba, Cloth Market, Newcastle. 6:00-9:00pm. Free.
Sat 02: Durham University Big Band @ Durham Students' Union, New Elvet, Durham. 7:30pm. £8.00.
Sat 02: Tom Remon & Laurence Harrison @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sat 02: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. £3.00. The band’s 25th anniversary gig!
Sat 02: John Logan @ The Dyvels, Corbridge. 8:00pm. Rat Pack-style swing.

Sun 03: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. 11:00am. £10.00.. Day 3/3. School & Youth bands in competition.
Sun 03: Smokin’ Spitfires @ the Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm. £7.50.
Sun 03: Alan Law Trio plays Ahmad Jamal’s At the Pershing: But Not for Me & more @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 2:00pm. £10.00. The music of Ahmad Jamal.
Sun 03: Alice Grace & Ben Helm @ St Francis’ Church, High Heaton, Newcastle. 2:00-5:00pm. £12.00. (children free admission). A Children’s Society fundraiser. Two x 30 mins sets. Refreshments available, child-friendly event with participation of children encouraged!
Sun 03: Sax Choir @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00-5:00pm. Free (donations). Monthly workshop, all welcome (participant and/or listener).
Sun 03: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 03: ’58 Jazz Collective @ St George’s Venue, Park Road, Hartlepool. 3:30pm (refreshments from 2:30pm). £6.00.
Sun 03: Down for the Count: A Century of Swing @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:00pm.
Sun 03: SH#RP Collective @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 03: Remy CB @ Blues & Bourbon, Nelson St., Newcastle. 9:00pm. Free. Newcastle University music student Remy Coulthard Boardman.

Mon 04: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 05: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Joe Steels, Paul Grainger, Michael Mather.

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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