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Bebop Spoken There

George "Big Nick" Nicholas: "This band [George Adams-Don Pullen Quartet] is a bitch on roller skates, baby. They'll run you over if you ain't ready" (JazzTimes April, 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! --

Postage

14250 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 469 of them this year alone and, so far, 69 this month (May 19).

From This Moment On ...

May.

Wed 25: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 25: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 25: Four @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 25: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 26: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 26: Deep Pope + Garner & Pope @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm. £7.00.
Thu 26: 58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:30pm.
Thu 26: Knats @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Thu 26: Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Orchestra @ Arc, Stockton. 8:00pm.
Thu 26: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 26: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 27: Alice Grace Quartet @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm.
Fri 27: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 27: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 27: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 27: Fergus McCreadie Trio @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm.

Sat 28: Whitley Bay Carnival: Northern Monkey Brass Band (1:00-1:45pm & 4:00-4:45pm); Baghdaddies (2:00-2:45pm & 5:00-5:45pm) @ Spanish City Plaza Arena, Whitley Bay. Northern Monkey Brass Band (2:30-2:45pm) @ Rainbow Corner (Marine Ave.), Whitley Bay.
Sat 28: Jack Logan & the Swing Section @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 29 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 29: Musicians Unlimited @ Hartlepool United Supporters’ Club, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 29: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 29: Groovetrain @ Tyne Bar, Newcastle. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 29: Zoë Gilby Quartet @ Allendale Village Hall, Northumberland. 7:30pm.
Sun 29: Two of a Mind: Sue Ferris-Steve Summers Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00 adv., £12.00. door.
Sun 29: Cedric Burnside @ Cluny, Newcastle. Superb Mississippi hill country blues!

Mon 30: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 31: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Stu Collingwood, Paul Grainger, Rob Walker.

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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