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Bebop Spoken There

Greg Osby: “I have my own style, my own attitude, my own opinions about things. I'm not a follower". DownBeat, February, 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

Fri 23: Mark Williams Trio @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 23: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 23: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 23: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 23: Salty Dog Trio @ The Greenhouse, Tynemouth. 7:00pm. £8.00. (£6.00. adv.). CANCELLED!
Fri 23: Crooners @ The Maltings, Berwick upon Tweed. 7:30pm. £30.00., £28.00.
Fri 23: Strictly Smokin' Big Band w Dennis Rollins @ Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Sat 24: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm (doors). Free (donations). A Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra event, all welcome.
Sat 24: Bradley Creswick’s Western Swingfonia @ Hexham Abbey, Hexham. 7:30pm. £15.00. A fundraiser for Hexham Abbey.
Sat 24: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 25: Musicians Unlimited @ The Park Inn, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 25: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:30pm. Free.
Sun 25: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 25: Lindsay Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man + Lee Maddison @ Laurels, Whitley Bay. 4:00pm (3:30pm doors). £11.00., £8.80. inc. bf. SOLD OUT!
Sun 25: Bex Burch + Rachel Musson @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £11.00. Two solo performances. JNE.
Sun 25: Jazz Jam @ Fabio's, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 26: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

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).

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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