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Bebop Spoken There

Tineke Postma: “ I had a huge crush on him [Sting] when I was a teenager ". Jazzwise, June 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

16476 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 356 of them this year alone and, so far, 68 this month (May 24).

From This Moment On ...

May

Wed 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 29: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 29: Jazz Night @ The Tannery, Hexham. 7:00-9:00pm. Free. The first night of a new jam session!
Wed 29: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 30: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 30: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 30: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests Josh Bentham (sax); Neil Brodie (trumpet); Garry Hadfield (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass);

Fri 31: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 31: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 31: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 31: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Fri 31: Borealis @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm. CANCELLED!
Fri 31: Redwell @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

June

Sat 01: Enrico Tomasso’s Swing Company @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club.
Sat 01: Play More Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Steve Glendinning.
Sat 01: Hop, Skiffle & Jump: The Story of Skiffle @ 1719, Hendon, Sunderland. 6:00-9:00pm.
Sat 01: Edison Herbert Trio @ The Vault, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free.
Sat 01: Lindsay Hannon’s Tom Waits for No Man @ Dry Water Arts, Amble. 7:00pm. £15.00.
Sat 01: John Garner & John Pope @ Victoria Tunnel, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Sat 01: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 02: Musicians Unlimited @ West Hartlepool RFC, Hartlepool. 12 noon. Two sets (12 noon-1:00pm & 2:00-3:00pm). ‘Sunday Big Band Blast meets WHRFC’s Classic Car Show’.
Sun 02: Smokin’ Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm. £7.50.
Sun 02: Mark Williams Trio @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 2:00pm. £10.00.
Sun 02: Sax Choir @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 02: New Century Ragtime Orchestra @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 2:30pm. Free. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig. A 'pint sized' NCRO gig/rehearsal session feat. Dave Hignett, Jim McBriarty, Gavin Lee, Keith Stephen, Phil Rutherford with special guest drummer Nick Ward.
Sun 02: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 02: Anth Purdy @ The Quakerhouse, Darlington. 6:30pm. Free. ‘Swing Jazz Guitar’.
Sun 02: MSK @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 03: John Garner & John Pope @ Yamaha Music School, Blyth. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Mon 03: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 04: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Ben Phillips, Paul Grainger, Abbie Finn.

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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