Total Pageviews

Bebop Spoken There

JD Allen: "...art in itself is now a luxury that you need a lot of finances to do." - (DownBeat October 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! --

Postage

13,822 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 1239 of them this year alone and, so far, 66 this month (Oct. 18).

From This Moment On ...

October

Mon 18: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 18: Zoë Gilby Quartet @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. Blaydon Jazz Club.

Wed 20: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 20: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 20: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 20: Jeremy McMurray & the Jazz Pocket Orchestra @ Middlesbrough Town Hall. 8:00pm.

Thu 21: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 21: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Bar Loco, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra.
Thu 21: Alter Ego @ St James' & St Basil's Church, Newcastle 7:30pm.
Thu 21: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 21: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 22: Mick Shoulder Quartet @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. Quartet featuring Alex Clarke (BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year finalist).
Fri 22: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 22: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 22: Paul Edis Trio w Ruth Lambert @ St Cuthbert's Centre, Crook. 7:30pm.
Fri 22: Michael Feinstein @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Fri 22: Peter Morgan Trio @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sat 23: Mary Coughlan @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 23: Têtes de Pois @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 24 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 24: Musicians Unlimited @ South Durham Social Club, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 24: Voices of Virtue Gospel Choir @ The Globe, Newcastle. 4:00pm.
Sun 24: Milne Glendinning Band @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Book review: The History of Jazz (3rd Edition) – Ted Gioia (Oxford University Press)

This newly revised edition of Ted Gioia’s book is the best history of jazz that I have read. Over 520 pages he covers the evolution of the music as it arose out of the swamps of Louisiana, met with various influences on the way, grew across the US, adapted to technological developments, exploded out of its linear narrative in the 1950s and 60s as it explored many different roads and became the many headed beast we know and love today.

We start in 1819 with slaves in Congo Square, New Orleans playing string and percussion instruments from their homelands. This music is Americanised (or American music was Africanised), meets with church music and French and Spanish influences, unique in the USA to New Orleans, and, by the time of the Civil War, becomes something that might be recognised as jazz. 

We follow the journey to Chicago and thence to New York. By this time there are early jazz recordings and writings to draw upon. Up to this point, it’s a simple story and it appears as one where a new development comes on the shoulders of previous activities. I suspect that a lot more was going on outside of these three centres but the lack of a historical record makes it impossible to cover every nook and cranny. He manages to follow most of the new routes in jazz with the explosion of free jazz, fusion, socially conscious music, chamber jazz, Latin jazz and so on. In later chapters he is still more enthused by the music expanding and growing than he is with the Wynton Marsalis led retrenchment of the 80s. He closes with a statement of faith in that he believes that jazz musicians will continue to adapt and to incorporate whatever the wider world throws at them.

Gioia tells his story through a mixture of overviews showing how the music developed, the social and technological impacts on it and short critical biographies of the main players in any one era, the length of the entry dictated by their importance in the development of jazz. Thus, most are a couple of pages long whilst Ellington and Miles Davis are given several pages across several chapters. There is some discussion about musical notation and techniques but not enough to lose the non-musician like me.

Of course, one of the purposes of a book like this is to either introduce you to new performers or to encourage you to dig out recordings that haven’t been played for a while. Thus, I took a break to listen to a couple of hours of Bud Powell, before returning to the story, having already spent time in the company of Louis Armstrong and Art Tatum.

It is a very US-centric view of jazz, though this edition includes more information from around the rest of the world in recent years. There is only a passing mention of the great jazz made in the UK in the 60s and 70s, summarised into only a list of names, but more recent developments that show modern artists mixing Afro-Caribbean influences and hip-hop is covered in slightly more depth. There is also recognition of European jazz as well.

I finished it a couple of days before the recent Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music in Newcastle and came away from that thinking that some of the musicians I heard  (John Pope, Fergus McCreadie) are punching holes in the tradition and taking the music to new places whilst many American musicians are still bound to older ways. Maybe these next steps will turn up in the next edition.

I heartily recommend this book and suggest you all write to Santa so he can bulk buy before he starts his round and drop a copy down the chimney to good jazz fans everywhere. Dave Sayer

The History of Jazz (3rd Edition) – Ted Gioia (Oxford University Press - ISBN: 9780190087210)

No comments :

Blog Archive