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Bebop Spoken There

Charles Lloyd: "I'm raring to go out to play, because I know I'll find something to explain the inexplicable." (DownBeat August 2022)

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!"

Postage

14438 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 716 of them this year alone and, so far, 13 this month (August 6).

From This Moment On ...

August

Wed 10: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 10: Castillo Nuevo @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30-8:30pm.
Wed 10: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 10: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 10: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 11: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 11: Baghdaddies @ Cumberland Arms, Newcastle. Time TBC.
Thu 11: Indigo Jazz Voices: Little Big Band Special @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. POSTPONED!
Thu 11: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm. Guests Donna Hewitt (sax) Josh Bentham (sax) Garry Hadfield (keys).

Fri 12: Ben Gilbert Trio @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm.
Fri 12: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 12: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 12: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.

Sun 14: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 14: Tees Valley Jazzmen @ Hammer & Pincers, Preston le Skerne. 1:00pm.
Sun 14: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ West Park, South Shields. 2:00pm.
Sun 14: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 14: Anth Purdy @ Blues & Bourbon, Newcastle. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 14: Castillo Nuevo @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30-8:30pm.
Sun 14: Sunday Night Am Jam Special @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Note start time.

Mon 15: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 15: Stu Collingwood Organ Trio @ Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. Blaydon Jazz Club.

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Album review: Benjamin Croft - Far and Distant Things

This marvellous, boundary-blurring collection shows that progressive rock from its 1970s heyday and jazz rock from around the same time were twins, separated at birth with nary enough space between them to slide a Rizla. There is an obvious debt to Return To Forever (Chick Corea is thanked in the liner notes for inspiration) but classic Yes, the less absurd music by ELP and Todd Rundgren’s Utopia are also obvious touchstones. The choice is, therefore, between calling the Jazz Police or sitting back and enjoying what’s on offer.

The Jazz Police would probably cite the list of keyboards used as evidence for the prosecution. The liner notes list 17 different ones including some familiar names such as Steinway and Yamaha pianos and the Hammond B3 organ. For the rest of the list I’m on less familiar ground. Whilst the keys are the dominant sound, (it is Croft’s album, after all) he frequently steps back and lets others in the band and his guests take the lead. The guitar cuts through where it should and the brass, which might sound out of place in front of all the electronics, doesn’t. Track 4, SAD (Spatial Awareness Disease) exemplifies this as Croft’s synthesiser squelches and meteorological swirls give way to heraldic brass from Vizzutti and Vollam.  

This ability to turn on a sixpence is what gives this album its freshness and originality. Some of the melodies seem straightforward and accessible but that is just to suck you in as changes in key and instrumentation take you in a direction you couldn’t have predicted. Tudor Job Agency, for example, builds from a simple melody, reminiscent of Hill Street Blues, into something more complex with Finnerty’s guitar sharing solos with Moore’s bass over Laurie Lowe’s increasingly complex drum fills.  

Benjamin Croft has played the cruise ships and backed artists as various as Belinda Carlisle, Lesley Garrett and the Temptations and has performed in the pit for Straight from the Heart in the West End, as well as working on The Voice and Britain’s Got Talent. This album is a complete volte-face from those experiences and an opportunity for Croft’s own compositions and his musicianship to take centre stage. He shows the debt to his influences but is more than the sum of them. The highly esteemed Edward Kennedy Ellington is quoted as saying, “There’s only two types of music, good and bad.” Far and Distant Things is amongst the good stuff.

Far and Distant Things is released this Friday, August 6 and there is more information about Croft and his album on his website which is at Benjamin Croft (benjamincroftmusic.com) Dave Sayer 

Benjamin Croft (keyboards) + (collective): Allen Vizzutti, Randy Brecker, Mike Miller Andy Davies, (trumpet); Helen Vollam (trombone); Gareth Lockrane (flute, piccolo); Henry Thomas, Flo Moore (bass guitar); Tristan Maillot, Chad Wackerman, Laurie Lowe (drums);  Frank Gambale,  Barry Finnerty, Carter Arrington (guitar).

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