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Bebop Spoken There

Pat Thomas: “He’s definitely one to watch, he's going to be a breath of fresh air for the jazz scene. What I like is he [Xhosa Cole] plays like Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins - you don't hear anybody come from that. He knows tunes like "Fried Bananas" by Dexter Gordon and he can play free as well." - (The Wire September 2021)

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! --


13,698 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 1115 of them this year alone and, so far, 59 this month (Sept. 17).

From This Moment On ...


Fri 17: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 17: Rendezvous Jazz @ Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 17: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 17: Abbie Finn's Finntet @ Traveller's Rest, Cockerton, Darlington. 8:00pm.

Sat 18: Baghdaddies @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 18: David Gray Trio @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 19: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 19: Musicians Unlimited @ South Durham Social Club, Westbourne Road, Hartlepool TS25 5RB. 1:00pm. South Durham Social Club aka Steelworks or Steelies. New venue for Teesside's premier big band.
Sun 19: Hand to Mouth: Lindsay Hannon & Bradley Johnston @ St James' & St Basil's Church, Newcastle. 3:00pm.
Sun 19: Green Tangerines + Knats @ Punch Bowl Hotel, Newcastle. 3:30pm.
Sun 19: Alice Grace Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 20: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public)
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Celebrating TITTB's 20th anniversary & Dave Weisser's forthcoming birthday! Limited gig tickets (£1.00.). Free live stream.

Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 23: Jeremy McMurray & the Jazz Pocket Orchestra @ Middlesbrough Town Hall 8:00pm. .
Thu 23: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside, Gateshead. 8:30pm. .

Fri 24: Sue Ferris Quintet @ Gala Theatre, Durham. 1:00pm.
Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 24: FILM: Jazz on a Summer's Day + Swing Bridge Trio (in the bar) @ Forum Cinema, Hexham. 7:00pm.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Album review: Brandon Goldberg - In Good Time

Brandon Goldberg (piano, Rhodes); Josh Evans (trumpet); Stacy Dillard (tenor, soprano sax); Luques Curtis (bass); Ralph Peterson (drums) + Antoine Drye (trumpet - 1 tk).

Brandon Goldberg was 15 when he recorded this, his second album, just under a year ago. He also arranged most of the tunes as well as composing some originals. What an amazing talent. Not only does he swing like a hardened pro but his sensitivity on a ballad whether soloing or accompanying has to be heard to be believed. His unaccompanied rendition of Someone to Watch Over me is up there with the gods. Tatum, Peterson, Garner and co may be long gone but there is no shortage  of would be successors and Goldberg is surely high among them.

Nik Svarc Trio @ the Lit & Phil, Newcastle - Sept. 17

Nik Svarc (guitar); Andy Champion (bass); Steve Hanley (drums)

An interesting session that was quite different from your average trio gig. Whether it's piano, bass and drums or, as was the case this afternoon, guitar bass and drums trio gigs can be formulaic - particularly when you have a ringer in the band. However, when that ringer is bassist Andy Champion, filling in for organist Martin Longhawn, you soon realise that he is better than your average dep. Champion is rated among the best bass players in the UK so, no worries there.

Exclusive! Autumn international jazz events announced

(Press release)

JazzLeeds autumn programme is a complete festival of music in itself. We are presenting more than 30 concerts to help people come back to live gigs again. Jazz is attracting a lot of interest these days from a new young audience – our programme includes all types of jazz with something for all tastes. We have some superb international evening concerts the Chief highlights are two women who have set the jazz world by storm – pianist and composer Nikki Iles who will be bringing her Nikki Iles Big Band to Seven Arts for two performances on October 7th, and jazz vocalist Liane Carroll who will be playing a rare date with top Scottish pianist Brian Kellock on December 2nd. 

George Mraz (1944 - Sept. 16, 2021)

I was in the bar (surprise!) at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Den Haag when I encountered Muriel who was a friend of Margaret Barnes and a rather special friend of  Fred Hunt. Muriel had a way of latching on to musicians and, on this occasion, she'd latched on to bassist George Mraz.

"Hey Lance, say hello to George Mraz - Lance plays sax". 

We shook hands and George, who I knew from listening to him on record with Art Pepper said. "we're trying to get a jam together bring your horn along."

I beat a hasty retreat.

George Mraz was one of the great modern jazz bassists and the iconic list of those whose rhythm sections he enhanced in Wikipedia is phenomenal - and to think I shook his hand!

He was 77 and, on the strength of that fleeting handshake, I'll  never forget him.

Sadly missed - Lance

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Nicola Farnon Trio @ J's & B's - Sept. 16

Nicola Farnon (double bass, vocals); Richard Wetherall (piano); Phil Johnson (drums).

When I was relatively young, my parents took me to hear the Glasgow Orpheus Choir in a Newcastle Church - it may have been the Brunswick Methodist
Church down that back alley between Fenwicks and Waterstones.

Although I was somewhat reluctant about going, when I heard the choir in full voice I couldn't but fail to be impressed by the sound that reverberated around the room and, in later years, it made me realise how churches had been built to accentuate and enhance the choir's acoustics. Hearing, say, The Easter Hymn from "Cav" in a church or a cathedral is one of those experiences that can turn committed atheists into becoming, at least, agnostics. 

Jazz trios don't fare quite so well in God's house.

Rendezvous Jazz gigs.

Rendezvous Jazz have a couple of gigs next month apart from their regular Friday lunchtime gigs at the Monkseaton Arms:

Saturday Oct. 9: Forest Hall Constitutional Club, 5 Park Drive, Forest Hall NE12 9JN. Admission is free and is a fund-raising event for Blood Cancer - UK. 8:00pm - 10:30pm. Please wear something red.

Saturday Oct. 16: Memorial Hall, Darras Rd., Ponteland NE20 9NX. 7:00pm - 10:00pm. £16 per person. Tickets from Stuart Blair 01661 822367. Ponteland Rotary Club event. Special guest, pianist Ian Wynne.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Preview Nicola Farnon Trio @ J's & B's - Sept. 16

Nicola Farnon (double bass, vocals); Richard Wetherall (piano); Phil Johnson (drums).

Tomorrow night promises to be something rather special at J & B's - a session by the Nicola Farnon Trio. I last heard Nicola at the Ushaw Jazz Festival a couple of years back and I look forward to hearing her again - this time with Richard Wetherall on piano and Phil Johnson on drums. It will be well worth getting the number 63 from Blackett St (opposite a branch of a well known bakery chain) at 6:39pm or 7:08pm.

Paul Hartley Quartet @ The Railway, Stockport - Sept. 14

Paul Hartley (guitar); Andrzej Baranek (keys); Ed Harrison (bass); Dave Walsh (drums).

Paul’s guest tonight was Andrzej Baranek. A man well known in these parts as a hard-driving pianist who can handle any jazz situation - particularly hard bop. However, the ten tunes chosen were mainly standards, two of which were on Suzanne Fonseca’s set list when she played this venue two days ago, Misty and Honeysuckle Rose. Andrzej gets a great sound from his keyboard so the house upright was not utilised.


(Press release)

On Tuesday 14th September 2021, Boisdale’s Patron of Music Jools Holland and Ferne McCann hosted The Boisdale Music Awards on the Yamaha Music London stage at Boisdale of Canary Wharf, in celebration of the greatest musicians in jazz, soul, blues, reggae and pop.


The evening began with a VIP cocktail reception where the star studded guests including Emeli Sande, Birdy, Kenney Jones, Naughty Boy, Tallia Storm, Suzi Quatro, Omar and Paul Young enjoyed Tequila Codigo 1530 Rosa Paloma cocktails before a three course gala dinner of Boisdale classic dishes served with incredible wines from Terrazas de los Andes.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Album review:: Thomas Clausen Trio - Back2Basics

Thomas Clausen (piano); Thomas Fonnesback (bass); Karsten Bagge (drums)

This is my kind of album. A top class piano, bass and drums trio playing a choice selection of standards - brilliantly.

That most of these tunes have been recorded in one form or another by just about every modern jazz legend poses the question as to why? It also poses another question - why not?

Andy Hudson remembers George Wein

GEORGE WEIN 1925-2021
(George Wein (r)  on his 90th
birthday w. Andy Hudson)

As the Americans say…"Way to go" and to learn that my old friend and business partner had died in his sleep at 95 was still a shock as he had an indestructible air about him.

I met him first whilst putting together the Jazz Festival in Middlesbrough, of which most say "Oh that one with Ella and Oscar in it".  Paradoxically the only 2 acts on that enormous bill that were not George’s were Ella and Oscar, All the rest were from the "Newport" stable for that summer. As I have said before in this excellent publication, it was George that took me out of the North East to work with him on festivals elsewhere.

George Wein

Received the sad news that pianist and promoter George Wein died yesterday (Sept. 13) aged 95. A tribute from his good friend and long term business partner Andy Hudson will follow shortly. 

Photo taken at Blaydon Jazz Club on Tyneside when he visited with Andy Hudson in 2016.

May he Rest In Peace. Lance.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Album review: Roseanna Vitro w. Bob Dorough, Sheila Jordan, Marion Cowing - Sing a Song of Bird

That I would receive two recordings by Sheila Jordan within a few days brings to mind the phrase Manna from Heaven. Fortunately Sheila is still with us but Bob Dorough isn't and nor is the inspiration for this fine album - Charlie Parker.

Although the album is in Vitro's name - herself a long established, and very fine, American jazz singer - there is plenty space for Bob and Sheila as well as a relative newcomer Marion Cowing.

Suzanne Fonseca Quartet @ The Railway, Stoockport - Sept. 12

Suzanne Fonseca (trombone); Adrian Wilkinson (clarinet, tenor sax); Gavin Barras  (bass); Robin Dewhurst (piano).

It was a rainy night in Stockport, but it didn’t matter as the regular jazz fans were out in force and ready for their Sunday night jazz therapy. The last time Suzanne played here on August 15 she had a line-up of guitar, bass and drums but this time it was piano bass, no drummer and, of course, Adrian Wilkinson on reeds.

The Future Looks Rosé ...

We're always on the look out for jazz references where you'd least expect t0 find them and, over the years, we've had Jazz Apples in the supermarkets, beers such as Geordie JazzBitches Brew and a Yardbird Pale Ale popping up. If a Hyundai Jazz or a Hyundai Getz is parked next to my Chevy on the levee I pop a BSH card under the windscreen wiper - got to be better news for the driver than a parking ticket.

Today I was in Home Bargains looking for my next ready meal and I discovered a wine labelled West Coast Swing (I'd strayed into the wrong aisle) and decided that, at £4.99, it belonged in my basket. Turns out it's at least a couple of quid cheaper than what the online pirates (plus postage) are asking.

Sunday Night @ the Globe: Matt Holmes' Ari Hoenig Quintet - Sept. 12

Matt Holmes (drums); Liam Brennan (alto sax); Francis Tulip (guitar); Will Markham (piano); James Owston (bass)

Ari Hoenig is probably the hottest property in NYC percussion circles which, in actual fact, probably means the world so to step into his shoes is surely a daunting challenge for any drummer to take up.

That Holmes picked up the gauntlet so successfully, given that he's young and British may come as a surprise to some but it can happen - ask any tennis fan!

The second set of this tremendous gig was based around Hoenig's album Punkbop - Live at Smalls although I'm not sure where the punk fits in although, upon reflection, maybe it is a good description. The bop element is at the core but there is also this free, metal, feel about it suggesting that another jazz tributary is feeding the big river.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Tonight @ the Globe.

Just a reminder of tonight's Jazz @ the Globe that features NYJO's drummer Matt Holmes playing the music of Ari Hoenig.

In the photo, guitarist Francis Tulip is showing off his legs one of which was recently broken.

Readers are invited to send a suitable caption.

Follow this link  for my preview of tonight's gig which will be nothing less than fantastic - Lance

Adrian Cox revisits Richard Bennett's Thriller Rag - September 12

Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals)

Adrian Cox conducted today's Sunday Service from a conservatory somewhere en route to Tyneside.Way back in 2000, at the age of fifteen (!!!), our clarinetist made his first recording as a sideman with Richard Bennett's New Orleans Jazz Band, and today's live stream gig revisited the album, Thriller Rag (Lake Records LACD139). Something like eighty fans were online to listen to Adrian play clarinet and sing a selection of familiar tunes and recount numerous stories of his time on the road with Bennett. 

The Tyne Valley Big Band @ Royal Quays Marina - September 11

A beautiful autumn day. A trip to the coast, a look in at Cullercoats Crescent Club (quiet), a wander round Tynemouth Metro station market (busy), a visit to Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade (this was Heritage Open Days' weekend, but it's open year round) overlooking the Tyne estuary and out to the North Sea, and on to Coble Dene to catch one of the region's most popular big bands.

Album launch @ the 606: Harvey / O'Higgins Project - that's the way to live - Sept. 11

Dave O'Higgins (tenor sax); Graham Harvey (piano); Jeremy Brown (bass); Josh Morrison (drums).

As I reviewed the album only 17 days ago there is little to add except to say that seeing and hearing the numbers performed live (via livestream) only rubber-stamped what I said in my review - "Highly recommended, swinging post-bop jazz for anyone with ears for the truth". Lance

Read the full review here

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Curtis Stigers is at Ronnie's and elsewhere ...

I like Curtis Stigers. When he puts his jazz hat on - and he does have more hats than Imelda Marcos has shoes - he's a contender. So, the news that, after his final date at the South Kitchen and Jazz Parlour in Philly tomorrow night, he's heading for the UK and Europe sounded good..

He opens at Ronnie's on Thursday Sept. 30 and hangs around until Sunday Oct. 3 before jetting off to Denmark and Germany.

Phil Schaap (1951 - Sept. 7, 2021)

Dave Brownlow has brought to my attention the passing of Phil Schaap on Sept. 7. Dave's description of  Phil Schaap as: historian, educator, record producer, DJ, raconteur, broadcaster and probably the world's foremost authority on the  music  of Charlie Parker is a concise  and accurate description of a man who Dave sums up as being A great loss to jazz...

Phil Schaap was 70.

Rest In Peace. Lance


The Tenement Jazz Band @ the Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - Sept. 10

(Photo © Kaveh Emami)

Chuck Deerness (trumpet); Paddy Darley (trombone); Steven Feast (reeds); John Youngs (banjo, guitar); Simon Toner (bass)

I've heard this Edinburgh based band several times over the past few years and, to my jaded jazz ears, this was the best yet - suddenly those jaded jazz ears of mine weren't jaded at all! 

Front man Youngs announced the music as trad jazz. Traditional jazz yes, trad jazz no! There is a difference.

I've heard very few bands that can deliver such an infectious rhythm as these guys do - and without a drummer. Certainly the swing dancers didn't seem bothered by the absence of metronomic thumps on the bass drum.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Hand to Mouth @ The Lit & Phil - September 9

Lindsay Hannon (vocals); Bradley Johnston (guitar)

Following some fifteen months enforced inactivity, Newcastle's Lit & Phil lunchtime jazz concert series resumed in July. Understandably, the venue's management imposed severe restrictions on audience numbers resulting in the first two events of the year in July and August making a loss.  What to do? How to save the series? Ask two of the region's best if they'd perform at a fundraising concert, that's what! 

'58 Jazz Collective Update

Kevin Eland informs me that Hops and Cheese's monthly Jazz Club with the '58 Jazz Collective is back! The regular six piece jazz band is joined by monthly guest singers and musicians for what promises to be some excellent nights of live jazz plus craft beers, real ales and a fantastic selection of cheeses!

Out Now: Pianist Paul Edis Releases Debut Album The Still Point Of The Turning World

(Press release)

“An absorbing piano recital” - Record Collector Magazine


via Lateralize Records


‘A brilliant young pianist.’ – The Guardian

Today, British jazz pianist Paul Edis has released his mesmerising debut solo album, The Still Point Of The Turning World. The full album is available now via Bandcamp.

“Start Over seemed to sum up the dreamlike atmosphere of this album perfectly,” Edis explains. “There’s something about this jazz-waltz feel that has always inspired me as a musician and as a writer – exploring these rhythmic possibilities is almost like inhabiting a polyrhythmic personality.” 

Spice of Life Jazz Club Update

(Press release)

After 18 years running the Club, including the last 18 months of enforced closure, I have reluctantly decided the time is right to hand over the reins to someone willing and able to carry on the good work. Accordingly well known drummer and entrepreneur Richard Pite will be taking over when the Club reopens on Monday 4th October.

Richard has considerable experience having presented quality jazz at venues such as Belgravia’s Boisdale and Sloane Square’s Cadogan Hall. Also, most importantly, his musical inclinations are closely aligned to ours.

That does not mean however I intend to disappear from the scene. In addition to supporting the Club I look forward to hearing plenty more great jazz, enjoying your company and downing the odd glass or two of McMullen’s excellent ale.

I would like to express particular thanks to all who have supported the Club over the years. We couldn’t have done it without you!

This is the programme for October, including some familiar faces, some maybe less so.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Glenn Miller ain't missing...

Took my cat Daphne to the vet today. Always a worrying time. Fortunately, when I returned, the vet said, "It's all good news". Then she handed me the bill - It wasn't all good news!

However, I digress, what's money when the health of a feline friend is at stake even though she isn't currently miaowing to me.

No, as I left the vet's, there, opposite me, was the answer to the question that has intrigued musicologists since December 15, 1944!

Glenn Miller isn't in a watery grave, he's putting others into their graves be it six feet under or in a fiery furnace.

Album review: Strictly Smokin' Big Band - Harlem '58

Here it is, the first of three lockdown crowd funded albums. Harlem '58 is the Strictly Smokin' Big Band's homage to some of the all time greats, taking as its inspiration Art Kane's iconic photograph of fifty seven jazz musicians standing, some sitting, for a group portrait in Harlem, NYC. Organising a big band recording session at the best of times can't be easy, doing so in the middle of a pandemic must be nigh on impossible. Michael Lamb, the SSBB's MD, wasn't to be deterred... 

Boisdale Music Awards 2021

This prestigious annual event, hosted by Jools Holland and Ferne McCann, takes place at Boisdale of Canary Wharf Restaurant on Tuesday Sept. 14.

A ticket for this sumptuous feast of food and music would set you back anything from £129.95 up to £395.95. However, don't bother raiding the piggy bank as all tickets are sold!

Follow this link for the list of nominees. If you look hard enough you'll find that there's quite a few jazz and blues names in the mix. Lance

Tune In to Paul Edis

Tune in to Radio 3's In Tune programme today (Thursday) at five o'clock to hear Paul Edis (pictured at Ushaw, Durham) talking about his new album The Still Point of the Turning World (Lateralize Records). And, what's more, Paul will be playing music from the album on the BBC's studio piano! Russell

Album review: Steve Million featuring Sarah Marie Young – Jazz Words

Steve Million (piano, composer, lyrics); Sarah Marie Young (vocals); Jim Gailloreto (sax, flute); John Sims (bass); Juan Pastor (drums)

This CD is being promoted as the work of pianist and composer Million, who wrote all the songs, rather than the singer being the main attraction. But that is not to detract from the singing, which is full of clear-voiced expressiveness.

I wish I knew as much music theory as many jazz musicians do, so that I could explain more clearly why this album is so, so good. The songs are described as contemporary jazz tunes with a post-bop edge. I'd say they are very varied and interesting in a good way, with some original sounds and Monkish references, an influence which is acknowledged by Million. Every song just sounds so right, the lyrics fit well and the instruments play to perfection.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Album review: Sheila Jordan - Comes Love - 1960 Lost Session

Sheila Jordan (vocals) w. probably: John Knapp (piano); Steve Swallow or Gene Perlman (bass); Ziggy Willman (drums).

If, perchance, you discovered the legendary Buddy Bolden cylinder in a charity shop in Gateshead you'd maybe wonder who his musical associates were and, maybe, wonder what the fuss was all about - needless to say, we'll never know.

A similar situation exists in this previously undiscovered album by Sheila Jordan except that the fuss here is most fully deserved. The above personnel is pure speculation based on her sometime accompanists of sixty years ago.

It doesn't matter - they do the job and set up Sheila for what must surely be her all-time signature recording.

Jackie Milburn trips the light fantastic

I unearthed this rare photo of Jackie Milburn dancing at a function in Newcastle's Civic Centre circa 1982/3.

It would appear the former Newcastle and England centre forward was capable of adapting the footwork he showed on the field to the dance floor.

Assisting him in his terpsichorean movements were, I think, the Phoenix Jazzmen.

Grifftides update

Frank Griffith, whose own band, the Frank Griffith Quartet played the Railway at Stockport last Sunday (Sept. 5) - see review - sent me this update re his online radio show:

"This Thursday's programme - Grifftides - Jazz Under Arrest is sub-titled Movers and Groovers with the likes of Dreams, George Benson, Esther Phillips, Miles, John Mayall and Joe Farrell. The 1970s lives! It's on on Thursday at 9PM, UK time. DIG IT" - Frank.

It's all happening on the West Coast - well some of it is! Lance

Not the Steve Oakes Quartet @ The Railway, Stockport – Sept. 7

Ed Kainyek (tenor sax); Freddy Garner (piano); Gavin Barras (bass); Tim Franks (drums)

Unfortunately, due to illness, Steve Oakes could not appear and also the featured guest Jim Collins on tenor sax was a no-show for the same reason. However, local pianist Freddy Garner was called upon to fill in for Oakes and saxman Ed Kainyak was on hand to play a major part in the proceedings. Tim Franks was on drums and I was pleased to see Gavin Barras was there with his bass.

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Preview: Sunday Night @ the Globe - The Matt Holmes - Ari Hoenig Quintet. Sept. 12

Matt Holmes (drums); Liam Brennan (alto sax); Francis Tulip (guitar); Will Markham (piano); James Owston (bass)

To be honest, the band's name isn't totally accurate. Ace NYC drummer Hoenig will not be playing although his music most certainly will and, in the more than capable hands of Matt Holmes, drummer with NYJO, I can guarantee it will well and truly be done justice.

Happy 91st Birthday to a Saxophone Colossus

Sonny Rollins, one of the - if not the - greatest tenor saxophonists of his generation was born on this day in 1920. We wish him well. Lance

Nick Tomalin remembers Bill Kinghorn

Brian Ebbatson has brought this tribute by Nick Tomalin on London Jazz News to my attention regarding Bill Kinghorn who died on April 28 this year aged 86.

Although born in Newcastle, to the best of my knowledge he wasn't active on the local jazz scene, his main areas of activity were Leeds and later London although he did hold a teaching post in Newcastle in 1967.

He was obviously a rare talent as Nick Tomalin has praised him at the very highest level.

I wonder if any of our readers have memories that they would like to add? - Lance

Monday, September 06, 2021

Frank Griffith Quartet @ The Railway, Stockport - Sept. 5

Frank Griffith (tenor sax, clarinet); Alan Jeffs (guitar); Dave Lynane (bass); Eryl Roberts (drums)

The last time Frank Griffith played this venue was before lockdown and his rhythm section contained a superb pianist, Micha Grey. However, for this gig he brought along another group of very capable musicians led by guitarist Alan Jeffs. 

Jeffs I remember from Jam Sessions that he ran at the Brewers Arms, Neston, in the Wirral area. It attracted many aspiring players from the Liverpool area.

Album review: Richard D. Johnson - First Glance

Richard D. Johnson (piano); Sharel Cassity (alto, soprano, tenor saxes); Alex Claffy (bass); Mark Whitfield Jr. (drums) + Paul Mutzabaugh (organ - tk 8)

Another fine recording from 'over there' by a group of musicians who maybe aren't household names 'over here' but certainly should be on the strength of this album alone.

Johnson, a jazz professor at The Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, composed all of the pieces, touching on the overwhelming sensation that the sight of beauty can elicit - I'll go along with that - hence the title First Glance.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Sunday Night @ The Globe: The Peter Morgan Trio - Sept. 5

Peter Morgan (piano); Vilda Kuby (bass); Paul Campbell (drums)

Peter Morgan, away from his duties as MD of the Customs House Big Band, played a couple of interesting sets at the Globe as indeed he did earlier this year in February during one of the lockdowns as part of the Jazz Co-op's ongoing livestreams that, ultimately, led to them picking up a couple of prestigious awards for their efforts.

The Globe, like BSH, didn't throw in the towel when all around were heading for the hills but followed the traditional show biz maxim that The Show Must Go On!

The Alice Grace Trio @ St James' & St Basil's Church - September 5

Alice Grace (vocals); Mark Williams (guitar); Paul Grainger (double bass)

Autumn in Fenham. The sun shone down on the gardens of St James' and St Basil's Church on Fenham Hall Drive in Newcastle as Alice Grace opened her afternoon set with Harold Arlen's Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Our star vocalist is noted for her attention to detail and her reading of Ted Koehler's lyrics was a delight. 

Remembering jazz at the Blue Bell

Legend has it that back in the day there was a cracking Sunday lunchtime session at the Blue Bell pub (pictured) on Victoria Avenue in Felling, Gateshead. Memories, photos etc appreciated. Russell

Photo ID wanted

(Photo courtesy of Roly Veitch)
Here's another blast from the past sent to me this time by Roly Veitch whose uncle is the drummer in the photo. The bandleader was sax/clarinet player Freddy Stebbings seen here shaking some Latin percussion but, can anyone identify the flautist, who, judging by the length of the sax sling around his neck, doubled on tenor?

Stebbings, as I recall, led a band at a dancehall somewhere up on the West Rd. and later at Gateshead Railway Club. Judging by the attire, I don't think the photo was taken at the latter venue. Lance

Saturday, September 04, 2021

Georgina Jackson @ the 606 - Sept. 4

Georgina Jackson (vocals, flugelhorn); Graham Harvey (piano); Joe Pettitt (bass); Matt Home (drums).

Another delightful set livestreamed from the 606. Jackson sings well, connects with the audience and blows cool flugel.

A choice selection of tunes sung (and swung) made this an enjoyable hour and provided a refreshing alternative to the predominantly instrumental workouts of recent weeks - there's room for both.

To clap or not to clap ...

 ... That is the question or, to be more precise, do we applaud solos or do we make like the squares (pardon the jargon but I've just been looking through some early editions of DownBeat) who think of a cat as a feline friend (or otherwise) and wait until the final bar as they would do if they'd survived a Wagnerian opus?

My mother, God rest her soul, was horrified when she heard me playing a recording from a live concert and the audience applauding after a solo - "How uncouth" she said, although I did have to remind her that, after a crowd pleasing rendition of an aria in one of her beloved Verdi's operas, they would often reprise the aria.

Aycliffe Radio Jazz Time. How about some requests? - who do you want to hear?

Sunday 5th Sept Playlist: (as sent)

RIP: Ken Colyer's  w Ron Bowden; Ron Bowden w  Chris Barber;  Charlie Watts w. Jools Holland; The Charlie Watts Quintet; 

Requests:Ella Fitzgerald  Louis Armstrong; Louis Armstrong.  Blueberry Hill.mp3

Journey in British Modern Jazz: Stan Tracey; Harry Beckett; Neil Ardley, Ian Carr,
Don Rendell.

What's on: Scottish National Jazz Orchestra x 2.

(Duke Ellington); Lindsay Hannon; Preservation Hall Jazz Band; 

Autumn: Cannonball Adderley Feat. Miles Davis; Carl Saunders; Erroll Garner.

Missing comments found!

Apologies to Russell, Don Forbes, Brian Bennett and Mary Rodden of Springfield Jazz whose comments were inadvertently hidden.

See: Knats on TV in Hexham. Jazz is Where You Find it. Vieux Carré Jazzmen in Cullercoats. RIP Mac Rae (comment no. 14).


Friday, September 03, 2021

Album review: Sasha Dobson with Peter Bernstein - Girl Talk

Sasha Dobson (vocals); Peter Bernstein (guitar); Ian Hendrickson-Smith (alto sax); Steven Bernstein (trumpet, flugelhorn, slide trumpet); Smith Dobson (vibes); Mauro Refosco (perc.); Neal Miner (bass); Dred Scott (drums) + Kenny Wollesen (drums - 2 tks); Norah Jones (backing vocal on Girl Talk).

Another fine vocalist capable of putting her stamp on a good tune and maybe improving a not so good one. This has really been a wonderful year for girl vocalists - Samara Joy, Veronica Swift, Sarah Moule, Georgia Mancio, Rebecca Kilgore - Sasha Dobson is up there in that league. She has one of those voices that kind of curls around you. Peggy Lee and Anita O'Day created the same effect even though Sasha doesn't sound like either she's very much her own woman although the phrasing and the huskiness do sometimes bring to mind the former and her scatting the latter. 

Classic Swing @ the Crescent Club Cullercoats

(Pic by Russell)
Alan Marshall (alto sax); Tommy Moran (tenor sax); Neville Hartley (trombone); Jeremy McMurray (piano); Alan Rudd (bass); Tommy Graham (drums); Olive Rudd (vocals).

It was good to hear Classic Swing swing again in a new - to them - venue. The band offering an enjoyable alternative to the more New Orleans' style jazz usually associated with the club - there's room for all genres.

Apart from some tried and tested standards, Tommy Moran had penned a few originals that gave the band a mid-thirties small group sound, not too far removed from some of the later Lyttleton bands.

Alan Marshall was making his first appearance with the band and he blew some agile alto. Tommy, apart from his arrangements, also chipped in with some booting tenor whilst Neville Hartley - that most underrated of north-east trombonists - also slotted in seamlessly.

Jazz Pocket Orchestra dates

(Press release)
The band which comprises (l-r) Paul Donnelly (guitar); Paul Smith (drums) Jeremy McMurray (piano); Mark Toomey (alto sax); Peter Ayton (bass) also play ARC Stockton on Sept. 30 and Nov. 11 (see poster in right hand sidebar)

Knats on TV in Hexham - Sept. - 2

Ferg Kilsby (trumpet); Josh Mitchell-Rayner (keyboards); Stan Woodward (bass); King David Ike-Elechi (drums)

Watch the second of two great @HexhamTown Council Bandstand Sessions this evening this time featuring the great #JazzFusion Band #Knats here - 

Image, video courtesy of Hexham Town Council/Core Music.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting @ Bobik's - September 1

Tom Dixon's monthly improv night at the Punch Bowl Hotel in Newcastle made its debut in August. Inspired by Charles Mingus' Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, the event, in the first floor performance space on Jesmond Road, is designed to encourage one and all - participants and listeners - to come along and experience wholly improvised music. 

This second edition featured a solo piano set by Ben Lawrence. Later in the evening a series of ad hoc groupings would take to the stage to perform spontaneous improvisations. Pianist Ben travelled with his RD-800 keyboard from his Carlisle base to play a set of some forty minutes. 

Farewell to Mac Rae @ Holly Hill Social Club - Sept. 2

(Photos by Russell)
Liz Bacon (clarinet); Jim Blenkin (trombone, vocal); Ian Wynne (keys); Phil Rutherford (sousaphone); Paul Bacon (snare drum) + Bill Evans (snare drum); Matty McElvogue (trumpet).

Many of the local jazz musicians and fans turned out to say farewell to Mac Rae - the final half of the Rae Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band.

They gathered at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Felling, at The Crem in Gateshead and, finally, at the Holly Hill Social Club also in Felling.

It was a joyous occasion - if such a word is applicable - I guess Mac wouldn't want it to have been anything other than joyous.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Album review: Hannah Horton - Inside Out

Hannah Horton (tenor/baritone sax); John Crawford (piano); Rob Statham (elec. bass); Nic France (drums) + Ian Shaw (vocal - 2 tks).

Hannah Horton blows funky tenor, gutsy baritone and can write a good tune. Proof of this latter accomplishment is found in the five originals on the album - Two of which have vocals and lyrics by Ian Shaw.

However, nor is Hannah found wanting when playing other people's songs - she does them justice without treading on the toes or riding on the backs of the original versions. 

Jazz FM Awards - Nominees Announced

(Press release)

The nominees for the Jazz FM Awards 2021 with PPL and PRS for Music have been announced, once again recognising a diverse array of artists from the UK and abroad who have made a significant impact on the genre. This year’s ceremony will take place at Under The Bridge in West London on October 28th 2021 and will be available to livestream via Jazz FM. The Awards will celebrate music created and released between 1st January 2020 to the end of May 2021 to reflect the jazz community’s enduring creativity and innovation during the pandemic.

Jazz Bar at Edinburgh reopens tonight (Sept. 1)

Like so many venues, the Edinburgh Jazz Bar has had the shutters up for the past 18 months so that the news that it reopens tonight is good news indeed. This month's
programme is packed full of jazz and funk, featuring such names as Brian Kellock, Georgia Cecile, Colin Steele, Louise Dodds, Matt Carmichael, Fergus McCreadie, Martin Kershaw and many more.

Check out the programme for September. Lance

The Derrick Harris Trio @ The Railway, Stockport - August 31

Derrick Harris (guitar); Jez Platt (keyboards); Paul Smith (drums)

Although the flyer had the group listed as a quartet, it was in fact a trio. However, no one amongst the assembled jazz aficionados seemed to mind as the musicians turned in a fine performance on a very interesting selection of tunes. Harris is a self-confessed fan of the late great guitarist Wes Montgomery and the sound of his trio reminded me of an album by Montgomery that featured Melvin Rhyne on organ and which I now wish I hadn’t sold.

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