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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.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Jimmy Jazz, included in ‘The Guts’ by Roddy Doyle (Vintage Books, 2013)

Jimmy Jazz is a short story appended to the end of The Guts, a 2013 novel by Roddy Doyle and features several of the same characters from the principal novel. It’s a ‘hidden track’ like Her Majesty at the end of Sgt. Pepper’s by the Beatles or English Rose by the Jam at the end of Setting Sons (I don’t know of any examples from the jazz world).

The protagonist is Jimmy Rabbitt, whom we first met as the manager/fixer in The Commitments. Jimmy is now working in the field of vintage Irish rock, assembling compilations and organising reunion tours. He hates jazz; as he says “He wasn’t a bigot, he was just right”. This goes back to a case of teenage sexual frustration when, as a teenager, Jimmy’s girlfriend told him that her parents were out for the day, but they arrived at her house to find her father very much at home and listening to Charlie Parker.

In an attempt to open his mind to jazz his wife buys Jimmy tickets to see Keith Jarrett in Dublin. Jimmy will take his pal, Outspan, (guitarist in the Commitments), with him. Outspan hasn’t heard of Jarrett and the conversation goes: -

“Keith Jarrett”

“The one out of Boyzone?”

“No”

“I’ve run out of Keiths”

“He’s a piano player”

“Like Richard Clayderman?”

Jimmy does his research. Jarrett sounds like a terror; he’d walked off stage because some ‘sham’ in the audience couldn’t stop coughing. This was all part of the Jarrett experience – “the tension, the terror. This wasn’t a gig, this was a concert.”

At the concert someone coughs, ‘The applause was dying. So was Jimmy’

The descriptions of the concert itself are, of course the high points of the story and serve as wonderful descriptions of the improviser’s art.

‘Jarrett was staring at the piano keys. His head was moving from side to side as if he was making his mind up.... Then he started playing. And it was incredible. Like he was composing the piece Jimmy was hearing and throwing it away at the same time…. And it was brilliant. Never played before. And it would never be played again… something so brilliant, gone… He wanted to stand up and catch a note and take it home’.

It’s a very short story, just 12 pages but it builds the tension and creates a release, like a good jazz piece and I’m jealous of a fictional character because he got to see Keith Jarrett live and I never did (I assume that Doyle was writing from experience).

I doubt many people from the jazz world will read Jimmy Jazz unless they are already Roddy Doyle fans, although, you never know, it may turn up in a collection of jazz writing one day.

The Guts is available from the usual online retailers, some second hand shops and selected branches of Oxfam. Dave Sayer

4 comments :

Lance said...

Great minds think alike Dave, as the saying goes. I have been thinking for awhile about posts/references to jazz in non-jazz literature although sometimes, with writing, there's a jazz feel to it even if it has nothing to do with music!
What do others think? Have you got jazz quotes from non-jazz books?

Anonymous said...

Interesting one, Doyle's a master. Hmmm but what's a ''non-jazz'' book? Conundrum of the day in this regard ponder this, isn't it demoralising when some ''bona fide'' jazz books, of the interesting-as-paint-drying direction aren't jazz even when the subject matter seems to deem it so? Perhaps every book is jazz except when become dull. But again into the mystic you can't improvise a book and have it consumed by a reader in real-time. More's the pity.

Lance said...

I should have been more specific. By non- jazz I mean novels that aren't jazz themed but have jazz incidents in them e.g On The Road.

Anonymous said...

OK, again ironies about how about Jazz (1992) by the Nobel winning Toni Morrison.

It's a ''non-jazz'' book because even though set in the Harlem of the 1920s when you might think jazz is centre to the time the narrative also extends back to the pre-jazz of the mid-19th-century American South.

In it the character Alice however does digress to comment according to the narrator that jazz ''disturb (s) her peace, making her aware of flesh and something so free she could smell its bloodsmell.''

Great idea for a thread!

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