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Bebop Spoken There

Charles McPherson: “Jazz is best heard in intimate places”. (DownBeat, July, 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.


16590 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 483 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (July 14).

From This Moment On ...


Sat 20: Snake Davis & Helen Watson Duo @ Chopwell Community Centre NE17 7HZ. 7:30pm. £17.50.

Sun 21: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 21: Salty Dog @ The Globe, Newcastle. 3:00pm.
Sun 21: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free. Sun 21: The Big Easy @ The White Room, Stanley. 5:00pm.
Sun 21: Ben Crosland Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 22: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 23: Nomade Swing Trio @ Newcastle House Hotel, Rothbury. 7:30pm. £10.00. Tickets from Tully’s of Rothbury or at the door (cash only). A Coquetdale Jazz event.

Wed 24: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 24: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 24: The Ronnie Scott’s Story @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Wed 24: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 24: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Thu 25: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 25: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Garry Hadfield (keys); Noel Dennis (tpt); Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Adrian Beadnell (bass).
Thu 25: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Fri 26: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 26: Stuart Turner @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Fri 26: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Fri 26: Bold Big Band @ Old Coal Yard, Byker, Newcastle. 9:30pm. A Newcastle Fringe Festival event.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Reminiscing in (and out of) Tempo by Andy Hudson. Part Five - The JVC Years

Of the hundreds of events and TV programmes that I produced, the essential ingredient for success has always been the quality of “The Team” and this was no better demonstrated than in the JVC Jazz Parades.

For the eight years that I was at the helm, I never encountered a more joyous, hard-working and successful bunch.*

When we started, there were extra complications in “importing” musicians in that US trade unions required an “exchange”. Whereas we wanted BB King, Miles Davis, Ray Charles etc the US did not want Ball, Barber, Bilk, Tracey, Rendell and their like…but they did want Rolling Stones, Elton John, Wham, and other mega names. My ultimate Mr Fixit, Brian Theobald, who worked out of his Ronnie Scott’s Club Office had evolved some Byzantine formula that was able to trade MAN-DAYS as they were called when there was little PC pressure. What Ella made of her Man-day gig at the Festival Hall we never knew.

By about ’86 this requirement had disappeared. Potentially, with this matter unresolved after Brexit, promoters  will once more be forced into dealing with something similar plus the added nonsense of carnets, itemising instruments/equipment crossing borders - I’m glad I’ve retired and emigrated.

Just as a side issue here, by accident I found a fool-proof way of expressing carnets. Back in ’72, that great drummer Jackie Denton, Impulse Studio’s Dave Wood and myself were driving a truck back from the Pau Jazz Festival with all the Newcastle Big Band’s equipment, when Jackie had an unfortunate alimentary malfunction of the gastronomic description oft described as a “follow through.”

We pulled over somewhere in Central France and Jackie went into a copse and stream to clean himself up. For reasons best known to Jackie alone, he then deposited his soiled clothing in the back of the truck. For the next 48 hours we drove slowly through La Belle France (Tres Chaud) with a bit of wine tasting and fine dining (as you do). We approached Calais where we were stopped by the sort of border official grumpiness that French officials are all trained in to PhD level.

He waved at the back signalling us to open up for checks. I unlocked the chain and he stepped forward to open the doors - gagging and spitting he slammed them shut and indicated us to depart. However,  I digress.

The requirement for JVC was much more formal in the UK than what they supported in Nice and other European festivals so, as any of those readers who were there will recall, we did, as a norm, double headliner shows sometimes with two shows: a 6:30pm and a 9:00pm show e.g  Brubeck/Shearing – Spyro Gyra/Stanley Jordan – Art Blakey/Brubeck.

Researching around these concerts for corroborative chronology, it’s like they never existed. I’d be interested in the views of those of your readers who might have attended from 1983-90.

There’s a study on jazz festivals in London – It gets one line (they never contacted me who produced all of them. Flimsy research methinks). Capital Archives are closed and JVC is no longer (it was subsumed into Mitsubishi I think). I will have access to my files in George Wein’s NY office but not for a few weeks until they get back from Newport. I may revisit the JVC Jazz Parade. 

Those Festival Hall dates ran for 8 years at an average attendance of more than 95% and made a substantial profit even before sponsorship. Perhaps this was when I discovered that one of the sad things about the jazz “industry” in the UK back then is that it seemed to be shy of making a profit.

There were some odd moments some amusing and some sad. I leave you to determine which...

·    Herbie Hancock arrived at the Festival Hall in a bit of a lather demanding to see me: Hi Herbie, welcome to London etc. etc.. What’s your problem?”

“We arrived at Heathrow and were met but Chick (Corea) had a white limousine and I had a black one.” Our transport manager had just booked two Limos and no colours were mentioned.

I burst out laughing and said “Herbie but you’re fucking black – Are you telling me that whites are better than blacks that’s a huge news story!” To be fair to Herbie, he immediately saw the point and joined in the laughter.

·    Double sell-out double bill -- Concert 1: 6:30pm  Brubeck (on the Baldwin grand piano  of which he was an endorser). Second half Shearing on the Bösendorfer - similar endorser.

·     Concert 2 reverse order…. A fair arrangement agreed by both artists. I had asked them if they would do a duet at the end of each show but they declined, I respected that at the end of show one, for practical and safety reasons as I knew that having two audiences (6000) would present logistical issues  of access/exit for the venue, but, at the end of show two I took a big gamble. Brubeck finished and Shearing was in the stage left wings sitting with his wife listening. Being the compere, I went on to gush and eulogise about the two and George came on to take a bow with  Dave and they returned to the wings to come back for a final bow, but, disaster for the audience, Andy Hudson at the piano. I started with the riff in 5:4 of Take Five and suggested that in the unlikely event of them coming back I would be playing my version of Take Five as I had found it an excellent procedure for clearing a room…but then added that perhaps you could persuade our artists to come back. The room went wild and Dave came back and mock remonstrated with me to clear off and moved on to the piano stool,  at the same time Big Clive Taylor - stage manager that night - single handily pushed on the Bösendorfer and George’s wife led him to the other, quickly produced, piano stool. The next 20 minutes were magic and I knew we would breach the curfew time but happily paid the overtime bill.

About a week later, down at the Nice Jazz Festival, back stage I was walking along and coming the other way was Dave Brubeck. He suddenly looked very fierce and yelled “ NO!” and then beamed, hugged me and said how much he had enjoyed that magic duet…Pure Showbiz!

Art Blakey who I had promoted many times was to do first half show one and second half show two and had been given a 1 hour slot, with a firm instruction from me that there would be no encores and he must finish or we would have issues. Now after nearly 30 years of running events and particularly “live” television at that time I had developed what some would say a bit of an OCD about timings. So when at 57 minutes in Art started a new number despite my off-stage indications and then refused to even look at me. One thing that ran through all my years of production was that I expected the highest behaviour from the artists who were getting the lion’s share of the show’s financial proceeds.

The late great Brian Theobald who was once again acting as local tour manager for Blakey had told Art not to mess with me.

Around about bar 32 I walked on stage with an active mike and made a joke as I took the drumsticks from Blakey’s hands and with the full tech back-up of sound /lights/houselights brought his set to a close.

The consequences of that were a tirade of “merferkels” from Art off stage accompanied by Brian hooting with laughter at Art and
saying “see! you didn’t believe me.” Media downside was my old friend the Sunday Times jazz critic Derek Jewell gave me a bad review the next day…Only time!

This week’s ramblings end - next up I will dwell on the first Soho Jazz Festival which the late Peter Boizot asked me to rescue with just over a week to go and also a one-off private gig that I produced with Ella Fitzgerald at Stoneleigh near Warwick. Andy Hudson.

*The Players were:-

Producers (Andy Hudson and George Wein)

Capital Radio (John Burrows)

Sponsor JVC (Japan with Mr Sugawa)

Their Agency (Dentsui)

JVC UK (Kurt Lowy MD)

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