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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

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.

Wed 17: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 17: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 17: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 17: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Album review: Lee Morgan – The Complete Live at the Lighthouse (Blue Note)

Lee Morgan (trumpet, flugelhorn); Bennie Maupin (tenor sax, flute, bass clarinet); Harold Mabern (piano); Jymie Merritt (bass); Mickey Roker (drums) + Jack DeJohnette (drums on one tk)

The postman struggled up the drive with this box set and two tiles were shattered in the hallway as it landed. I’m glad I ordered the 8 CD version as I understand that the 12 LP sets are delivered by donkeys liberated from their usual travails of carrying overweight Americans up to castles in Crete. It is a bit of a beast, but it’s also what you would have wanted from 8 CDs of Lee Morgan with a hot band raising the roof in Hermosa Beach, California in July 1970.

This is, effectively, the third iteration of Lee Morgan, whose career had been derailed twice by drugs. By the time of the visit to The Lighthouse he was back up to full strength. Credit for this is usually given to Helen Moore/Morgan who had taken him in, fed him, retrieved his horn and his coat from the pawnbrokers and would effectively manage the rest of his career. Less than two years later she would also be the one who shot him dead. You have to get through that cloud hanging over this music to get to the gems within.

Some of this music had been released as a single album and then later as a 3 CD set but this is the first release that contains all of the music from 12 sets played across 3 days. There are, actually, only 33 tracks, (excluding introductions), 21 of which haven’t been released before, so as you can imagine they all, pretty much, get a good seeing to. In fact, the best way to think about this release is to take everything you ever liked about Lee Morgan and kick it up a notch or three in terms of the excitement level. Many of the tracks clock in over ten minutes, with the longest Absolutions, over 22 minutes. This departure from the sharp, punchy tracks such as studio classics like The Sidewinder is more about the opportunity to expand and to work ideas through; it’s about freedom from constraint rather than a lack of discipline. Everyone solos as if they have a lot to say and all the time they need in which to say it.

Morgan emphasises during the introductions that they will be playing mainly new material so The Sidewinder gets one run through whilst others (Nommo, Absolutions, The Beehive, I Remember Britt) each crop up a few times. It’s a lesson in the history of bop from its earliest shapes in the late 40s to the driving hard bop of Blakey up to the then new developments, now regarded as post-bop. The band wouldn’t stay together for long after this session, with Maupin, for example, joining Miles Davis and playing on Bitches Brew, Jack Johnson, On the Corner and Big Fun.

Four of the five band members contribute compositions, with only Roker missing out, though Morgan’s contributions are two tunes from much earlier in his career. This gives the collection quite disparate voices that still cohere as a single whole. Coltrane’s influence shines through in Maupin’s playing while Mabern covers a spectrum from rapid runs to heavy percussive playing. Merritt is the anchor, solidly rooting the rest of the band. Morgan plays with great power, but stylistically, has moved on from his earlier working of rhythm and blues into jazz and, on these recordings, displays a wider range of voicings that fits in with his colleagues’ expansive compositions.

This was an unwise purchase but my buyer’s remorse dissipated more and more as I worked my way through it. Probably another one for your Christmas list. Dave Sayer

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