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Bebop Spoken There

Greg Abate: "So many sounds are ugly now. There are no harmonics, no chords. What do people hear these days? Why do things have to change from that good music?" (JazzTimes June/July 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:"Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"


14378 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 597 of them this year alone and, so far, 2 this month (July 2).

From This Moment On ...


Sun 03 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 03: Smokin’ Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm.
Sun 03: Ruth Lambert & Martin Craggs @ The Exchange, North Shields. 1:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: Abbie Finn Trio @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: Wild Women of Wylam @ The Exchange, North Shields. 4:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 5:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: Jazz Jam @ The Exchange, North Shields. 6:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: Jeffrey Hewer Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 04: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Wed 06: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 06: Michael Bublé @ Durham County Cricket Club, Chester le Street. Doors: 5:00pm.
Wed 06: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 06: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 06: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 07: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 07: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 3:00-5:00pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 07: Lara Jones + Echo Juliet @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 07: Thursday Night Prayer Meeting @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free admission (donations).
Thu 07: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 07: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 08: Alex Clarke Quartet @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm. £7.00.
Fri 08: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 08: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 08: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.

Sat 09: Jazz Stage @ Mouth of the Tyne Festival: Zoë Gilby Duo (12 noon); Vieux Carré Jazzmen (1:35pm); Harmony Brass (3:10pm); Ruth Lambert Quartet (4:40pm). Outdoor stage adjacent to Tynemouth Priory.

Sunday, July 03, 2022

The Wild Women of Wylam @ The Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival. The Exchange, North Shields - July 3

(© The Exchange)
Helen Walker (trumpet); Jude Murphy (vocals/bass); Andrea Harris (vocals); Caroline Guirr (keys); Alison Paton (drums).

These women of Wylam are wild. I'm not sure if they are wanton but they're certainly wonderful!

The wildness began with what sounded like an orgasmic shriek (if my memory serves me correctly) before Andrea and Jude shared vocals on what may have been called Give me Your Love. This was good. The WWOW are the blonde bombshells of 2022 irrespective of the colour of their hair.

Jude did Twisted courtesy of Wardell Gray and Annie Ross, singing superbly and playing nice bass lines. Andrea sang Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered complete with the verse and a virtuosic, almost a coloratura, finale that left the audience totally bewitched without being at all bothered and bewildered! In between Helen blew a lovely trumpet solo.

Helen was on the money again on Senor Blues; a number that also had Caroline playing some runs that you don't find in Czerny!

Spats Langham's Hot Fingers with Emily Campbell @ Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club - July 2

Spats Langham (guitar, banjo, ukulele, vocals); Danny Blyth (guitar, mandolin, clarinet, bass clarinet, harmonica, vocals); Malcolm Sked (double bass, tuba); Emily Campbell (vocals)

Almost four years to the day, Spats Langham's Hot Fingers returned to St Augustine's Parish Centre to play to an expectant full house. Mr Langham is a popular chap in Darlington, attracting fans from all parts...Darlington, Norton, Tyneside and Florida. Yes, this Saturday lunchtime concert was introduced by the Hot Fingers' leader as: A truly International Gathering. And with our American friend in the audience it was fitting that much of the material performed over two sets originated on the other side of the Atlantic. 

The House of the Black Gardenia @ The Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival. The Exchange, North Shields - July 2

(© The Exchange)
Elise Rana (vocals/washboard); Graham Hardy (trumpet); David Gray (trombone); Jim McBriarty (tenor, alto sax/clarinet); Katja Roberts (violin); Elliott Rush (piano); Michael Littlefield (guitar/ banjo/vocals); Neil Hopper (bass/sousaphone); Kit Haigh (drums).

King Bees pulled out at the eleventh hour so in stepped the House of the Black Gardenia who themselves had to shuffle the pack with Hardy and McBriarty occupying the trumpet and sax chairs. Rana, after apologising for King Bees' absence, announced that they did have in actual fact two members of KB in the band. Littlefield we knew was one but who was the other. By a process of elimination, I presume that either Rush or Haigh weren't there. Help please.*

The evening began with a taster session by Swing Tyne for wannabe swing dancers and I was impressed at how quickly most of them picked it up - I should have taken part myself!

Saturday, July 02, 2022

Aycliffe Radio: Jazz Time Sundays 6.30pm-8.00pm (repeat Tuesdays 8.00pm-9.30 p.m.)

Playlist 03/07/22. (Repeated 05.07.22)

Request for Sedgefield PRG, Chris Barber + Ottilie Patterson.

Request from the Abbie Finntet: Oscar  Peterson, Rob McConnell, Cannonball Adderley.

Requests from Darlington Big Band: Dave Douglas Quartet, Albert Ayler, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz Quartet, Rob McConnell, Marshall Gilkes/ WDR Big Band, Michael Brecker.

What’s on in the NE : Michael Bublé, Tees Valley Jazzmen, Alex Clarke Quartet.

Ahmad Jamal Trio - Perfidia

Happy 92nd birthday to one of my favourite pianists - Lance

The Niffi Osiyemi Trio @ The Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival. The Exchange, North Shields - July 1

(© The Exchange)
Niffi Osiyemi (vocals). Alan Law (piano)  Ifede Osiyemi (bass guitar)

This was the first of a whole smorgasbord of music at The Exchange this weekend and what a way to start. The theme of the evening was ‘Speakeasy’ and while feather boas and headdresses were not obligatory, there were a few who rose to the occasion, none more so than NIffi herself who was indeed dressed to impress.

On this occasion Niffi’s brother, who has just this week followed in his sister's footsteps and qualified as a doctor (congratulations) stood in for regular bassist Paul  Grainger who was engaged at a  jazz gig elsewhere.  Ifede Osiyemi is known for his work with Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra and, also from that campus, the Bold Big Band but on this occasion he was there to do his sister proud as was Alan Law on piano who since his retirement from his day job has been seen more and more frequently at the piano, most recently backing Ruth Lambert at a sell out gig at The Lit and Phil.

But back to the Speakeasy at The Exchange.

Friday, July 01, 2022

RIP John Whitehill

John Whitehill died today, July 1. For many years blues fans throughout the region and beyond listened in awe to John's immaculate guitar playing. Those who attended gigs at the long since demolished Broken Doll pub in Newcastle will have fond memories of hearing John play with the Blues Burglars, later going on to tour across Europe with Paul Lamb and the King Snakes. 

Album review: Matt Anderson Quartet - The Town and the City

Matt Anderson (tenor & soprano saxophones); Alberto Palau (piano); Will Harris (double bass, electric bass); Jay Davis (drums)

Leaving Yorkshire for London, saxophonist Matt Anderson quickly established himself in the capital city and today (July 1) sees the release of the Yorkshireman's third album. The Town and the City features his regular quartet - Alberto Palau, piano, Will Harris, bass, and drummer Jay Davis - and to quote Anderson: One of my aims with this record was to make a ‘proper’ jazz album. And a proper jazz album it is, in the spirit of small group recordings by Sonny Rollins and Wayne Shorter. 

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Lights Out by Nine @ Hoochie Coochie - June 30

John Frame (vocals); John Beresford (trumpet); Paul Haddow (trombone); George Morrison (tenor sax); Alan Kyle (guitar, backing vocals); John Stevenson (keyboards, backing vocals); Dougie Hunter (bass, backing vocals); Malc Herpich (drums)

A top soul band, a hip venue and Coors at £3 a pint - get there early to get a seat was the uppermost thought in my mind. For some unfathomable reason it wasn't the uppermost thought in many other people's mind - their loss and a more tangible one for Warren!

Tonight @ Hoochie

(Press release)

“LIGHTS OUT BY NINE are a perfect mixture of soul, funk and rhythm & blues, backed up by Hammond, Horns and Harmonies, and combined with a tight rhythm section to deliver a mixture of strong original material, along with a selection of classic tracks and gems from some of their favourite writers, including artists they have worked with, AWB, Hamish Stuart and Paul Carrack. Expect the sound of Southern Soul, and the STAX and Muscle Shoals stables!

Album Review: Vicki Burns – Lotus Blossom Days

Vicki Burns (vocals); Art Hirahara (piano); Sam Bevan (bass/arr.); Billy Drummond (drums); Dayna Stephens (tenor/bari sax tks 3, 4, 12); Josh Deutsch (trumpet tks 1, 2, 9); Mas Koga (flute/bari sax tk 2); Nick Vayenas (trombone tks 1, 9)

An album from yet another very good jazz songstress who is accompanied by instrumentalists who are well on the money. This poses the reviewer, with the problem of what to say that is original. I must do it otherwise the Editor-In-Chief will sack me! Help!

Album review: Lady Blackbird - Black Acid Soul

Lady Blackbird (vocals); Deron Johnson (piano, keyboards); Jon Flaugher bass); Jimmy Paxson (drums, percussion); Chris Seefried (guitars); Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews (trumpet on Nobody’s Sweetheart).

I notice Lady Blackbird getting a lot of love in the new edition of Jazzwise (the one with Charles Lloyd on the cover) as she’s on at the Love Supreme festival at glistening Glyne in Sussex, so I thought I’d dig out this album and give it another listen. Actually, it didn’t take much digging as it’s lived in a pile next to the CD player since I bought it last year.

The Clark Tracey Orchestra: Duke Ellington - Music from the Sacred Concerts @ York Minster - June 29

A curate's egg!

It may seem unfair to dismiss some of Ellington's finest work played by sixteen of the UK's top jazz musicians with those three words but, so be it.

The difficulty for me was the attempt to integrate the music with the various ecclesiastical, often quite lengthy, portions of the concert/service.

The fact that the congregation, that filled the caverness and architecturally beautiful building, appeared to comprise of jazz people, regular churchgoers, tourists and curious freeloaders meant that what appealed to one didn't necessarily appeal to the other with the exception of Junior Laniyan whose hoofing pressed everyone's buttons.

Mike Hope w. Paul Hartley Trio @ the Railway, Stockport - June 28

 (© Jeff Pritchard)
Paul Hartley (guitars); Mike Hope (tenor sax); Ed Harrison (bass); Dave Walsh (drums).

Right on time at precisely 9 pm in walked Mike Hope and, without further ado, launched into Charlie Parker's Cool Blues. Those of you who, like myself, started listening to jazz on 78 rpm records will no doubt remember that Parker made a big impact when he recorded that number on the US Dial label, which was issued here in the UK on the Vogue label. Ross Russell who founded Dial records in 1946 had a big seller with Cool Blues and including the great Erroll Garner as pianist on this disc was an inspired move.

Black Swan jam - June 28

It was going to be an I'm Old Fashioned jam session. Best laid plans 'n' all that don't/can't take account of who the sitters-in are likely to be. From one session to the next it's anyone's guess who'll turn up. And that's the attraction of these fortnightly sessions in Newcastle Arts Centre, isn't it? 

The hardcore turned up - Abbie, Harry, Showtime, Edgar, Ian et al. New faces showed up, as did a university vacationing Early Bird alumnus. As the Black Swan began to fill up, the house trio - Messrs Dean Stockdale, Paul Grainger and Paul Wight - attended to business, Harry Bemsha Swing Keeble the first to throw his hat into the ring. Richard Rutherford set up the familiar, pulsating bassline to The Chicken, Abbie Finn spelling southpaw Wight, David Gray leaping up to grab a piece of Jaco's classic number. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Album review: Caleb Wheeler Curtis - Heatmap

Caleb Wheeler Curtis (alto sax); Orrin Evans (piano); Eric Revis (bass); Gerald Cleaver (drums).

To quote from the blurb: a heatmap is a way to show where the action is happening.

Well, there is certainly plenty action happening on this, the third album by fiery alto saxist Curtis. He's blistering, he's paintstripping and, when the music demands it, he's also tender and introspective. However, when the chips are down he goes for the jugular. Not a man to meet at a jam session in a dark alley or at a Wednesday night prayer meeting unless, like Curtis, you have Evans, Revis and Cleaver in your corner.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Album review (Various artists); Heart of Mine - The Songs of Ross Lorraine

(Press release)

Heart Of Mine is the new album from the unique and versatile composer and pianist Ross Lorraine. Heart Of Mine is produced by jazz figurehead Claire Martin and features the vocal talents of Liane Carroll, Gwyneth Herbert, Ian Shaw, Luca Manning, Sara Colman and Claire Martin herself: a cast of guest singers who represent the very best vocal jazz talent in the UK and internationally.

Each protagonist lends their own incomparable style to the project, creating a captivating showcase and a diverse and entertaining realisation of Lorraine’s original compositions. Moreover, the dexterous and imaginative talents of Rob Barron on piano, Mike Walker on guitar, Laurence Cottle on bass and Elliott Henshaw on drums further fortifies the project, making the sum of all parts a tour de force of musical brilliance.

The Darlington Big Band @ Dorman's, Middlesbrough - June 23

The first of this year's "Guest Big Band" nights featured the Darlington Big Band, normally led by Richie Emmerson who, unfortunately, was unable to be there. However, with Bill Watson doing the announcing and Kevin Eland leading the band we were in the very  capable hands of the two trumpet players.

The band, comprising 18 first class musicians several of whom are regular guests on the Tees Hot Club nights, gave the packed audience a truly special night of very professionally arranged  big band music.

Richard Weatherall Trio @ the Railway, Stockport - June 26

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Richard Weatherall (piano); Ed Harrison (bass); Eryl Roberts (drums).

In his opening announcement to the Railway audience Richard mentioned that he had recently been playing in Liverpool as part of the Frank Griffith Nonet and that he had had the use of an instrument costing £60,000. I don’t know how much the upright piano here at the Railway cost but Richard seemed very happy with it, and he certainly got a great sound out of it as he always does. The bass and drums duties were in the very capable hands of Ed Harrison and Eryl Roberts who are frequent visitors to this venue. 

Tune In to Marcus Roberts (Wednesday)

In March 2012, pianist Marcus Roberts produced a memorable performance at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival. In advance of a festival appearance in Hampshire this weekend, Roberts' trio will be live in the In Tune studio on BBC Radio 3, Wednesday (5:00pm).

Sunday, June 26, 2022

More Glastonbury

Further to  Russell's report I unfortunately missed  Sam Fender but I did catch Diana Ross, Herbie Hancock and  Kacey Mulgraves. They all did their own thing brilliantly.

What can I say about Diana? This self-confessed 78 years old icon  was supreme! With a hot horn section, a rhythm section to die for and a backing group augmented by several thousand fans who knew all the words of her hits she scored big time - even the security guards at the front of the stage were doing choreography!

Glastonbury: the Geordie Connection

This year's Glastonbury shindig appears to have been basking in mid-summer sunshine. Paul McCartney played non-stop for all of two and a half hours - not bad for an octogenarian. Diana Ross sang some of her greatest hits (the Supreme Ms Ross will be in concert at Durham County Cricket Club on Wednesday 29 June), and Herbie Hancock gave them Chameleon and more (Eddie Henderson, trumpet). And then there was Sam Fender...

How many liggies would you swop for a ligature?

Just been reading about a new sooper-dooper saxophone ligature which retails at $425 (they also do a budget version which is a snip at $225). My jaw dropped when I realised that the price didn't include the saxophone, a mouthpiece and a reed but was just for the bit that clips the reed to the mouthpiece!

Reminds me of when I bought an upmarket lig - albeit not in the above price range. 

I tried it out and, would you believe it? I sounded like Earl Bostic! Only problem was I was trying to sound like Johnny Hodges!

Did Bird ever worry about ligatures? I doubt it - at least  not from a sax mouthpiece point of view.

Thoughts on ligs, reeds, mouthpieces etc. please - Lance

Aycliffe Radio: Jazz Time Sundays 6.30-8.00pm. (Repeat Tuesdays 8.00-9.30 p.m.)

Playlist 26/06/22 (Repeated 28.06.22)

 Request from Opus 4Oscar Peterson Trio, Miles Davis Sonny Rollins  


Zoe Gilbert/ Andy Champion pick their tracks and talk Jazz.

Charles Mingus, Masada Piram, Sheila Jordan, Rebecca Paris, Carmen McRae, Bill Evans, Ella Fitzgerald.


What’s on in the NE : Hot Fingers.


Request: Chet Baker.


New Release: Runar Norsett.

Strayhorn: Composer of the Week (June 27-July 1)

A welcome repeat of Composer of the Week (Monday to Friday this week at noon) features Billy Strayhorn. In the first of five programmes on Monday (Something to Live For), presenter Donald Macleod looks at Strayhorn's early years. The first track heard is Take the 'A' Train. Throughout the week many familiar compositions will be played, charting the life of the man who was born in Pittsburgh to his final days on Riverside Drive in New York. Friday's fifth and final programme (Riverside Drive) ends with Duke Ellington, alone at the piano, playing Lotus Blossom. The five part series was first broadcast in November 2018. Tune to BBC Radio 3 at noon, Monday to Friday. Russell    

Hancock's Half Hour

Glastonbury doesn't often feature on BSH however, tonight on BBC 4 from 8:00pm-9:00pm there's a one hour programme split between Herbie Hancock and Kacey Musgraves - country and western artist.

Prior to that on BBC 1 at  6:45pm Diana Ross struts her stuff. Lance

Saturday, June 25, 2022


George Melly: "I can't say I'm yet plugged in to punk rock, but who can tell? I like the safety pins! And I like the iconoclasm, in a way: I think it's healthy that people should revolt and rebel, on whatever cretinous level.(Crescendo November 1977).

George Melly: "I've always had a resistance to Ella, because I've felt her technical ability is so far in advance of her feeling." 
-  (Crescendo December 1977).

Jeremy Corbyn @ the Albion Gin and Ale House - June 25

It may be totally out of the (my) remit of BSH to post this item but, from day one when,  was it Blair, Chamberlain or Disraeli who lived rent free in Downing St?, I vowed that this site would be 100% apolitical. Music  is music, jazz is jazz and politics is politics and ne'er the twain shall meet.

Today, however, down at my local boozer - The Albion Gin and Ale House, in Jarrow - no less a person than the former leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn was holding court. 

The Finntet @ The Gala - June 24

Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Graham Hardy (trumpet); Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Abbie Finn (drums)

The Finntet is one of several bands keeping Abbie Finn busy. Heard variously in duo, trio, quartet and occasional big band format, drummer Finn leads the five piece Finntet. The material is of the hard bop variety and in playing some classic charts our County Durham-based musician has assembled a hard blowing, effortlessly swinging quintet.

Friday, June 24, 2022

ISQ: This Bird Has Flown (LIVE @ Pizza Express Live Soho 8/6/22)

(Press release)

As we’re celebrating 10 years of ISQ this year, I wanted to share an exclusive and unreleased video of a recent live performance of ‘This Bird Has Flown’ at PizzaExpress Live Soho a couple of weeks ago. This song is really special to me as it was the first song I ever wrote for ISQ and the first single and music video we released. The first time we played it through in rehearsal really marks the beginning of ISQ! It’s fascinating to see how much we’ve grown as a band and how this tune has evolved over the years in our live performances.

Mo Scott @ The Globe - June 23

Mo Scott (vocals); Gary Dunn (guitar); Neil Harland (bass); Rob Walker (drums)

It was an 'I been drinkin'' night. In marked contrast to some gigs, this Thursday evening blues crowd kept the bar ticking over, then some. The Globe was busy, old friends meeting up, catching up, but, most of all, they were there to listen to the undisputed Empress of the Blues, Mo Scott.

By way of BB King, Ry Cooder, Jimi Hendrix and more, much more, Mo Scott sang the blues, a touch of country, soulful all the while. To her right, the one guitarist Mo would want in her band, Mr Gary Dunn. Variously foil to Mo and sublime soloist, Dunn is the business. To her left, the one and only Neil Harland. Bass lines to die for, NH is 'first call' and 'last call'. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Album review: Duke Ellington Live at the Berlin Jazz Festival 1969-1973 - The Lost Recordings

Duke Ellington (piano); Joe Benjamin (bass); Quinten 'Rocky' White Jr. (drums); Harold 'Money' Johnson (trumpet); Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax); Harry Carney (baritone sax/clarinet). Rec. Nov. 2, 1973. 

Cat Anderson, Cootie Williams, Mercer Ellington (trumpets); Lawrence Brown?? (trombones); Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope (alto sax); Paul Gonsalves, Harold Ashby (tenor sax); Harry Carney (baritone sax); Duke Ellington (piano); Wild Bill Davis (organ); Rufus Jones (drums), Baby Lawrence (tap dancing). Rec. Nov. 8, 1969.

The personnel in the booklet is incomplete. Based on my recollections of seeing both houses of Ellington's 70th Birthday Concert on Nov. 27, 1969 at Newcastle City Hall I think I can safely add Chuck Connors (trombone), Norris Turney (alto sax), Victor Gaskin (bass) and possibly, Rolf Ericsson (trumpet). The notes are in French, German and English and, because of the lack of visual contrast between text and background are almost indecipherable - will they never learn?

Album review: Chris Allard & Ross Stanley - Tortugas

Chris Allard (guitar); Ross Stanley (piano).

An interesting duo set by two fine musicians working in a format we don't usually associate  with them. It is, in many ways, as much an extemporised classical performance as an improvised jazz one - if there is a difference!

The interplay between guitar and piano brings to mind John Lewis and Milt Jackson with MJQ and, to my mind, exudes more warmth. They seem to have an intuitive sense of direction as to who's going where and as to what will and will not work.

It may be well rehearsed but, if it is, they have managed to retain a feeling of spontaneity. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Dean takes Oscar to the Lit & Phil!

At one o'clock on Friday, July 22 Dean Stockdale's Celebrating Oscar Quartet will be playing the music of the legendary Canadian pianist Oscar Peterson! Dean will be accompanied by A-listers Tim Williams (guitar), Gavin Barras (double bass) and Gaz Hughes (drums). Dean playing Oscar, it doesn't come much better than this! Note the date - Friday, July 22 . Call the Lit & Phil on 0191 232 0192 to reserve your seat or book online HERE - it's going to be a full house! Russell

Preview: Jazz and more at the Black Swan (June 23)!

Tomorrow (Thursday) sees the launch of a new monthly jazz night at the Black Swan in Newcastle Arts Centre. The venue's fortnightly jam sessions have become the stuff of legend and now there is the prospect of regular concerts, the first of which features Stu Collingwood's new Organ Trio. From Jimmy Smith through to Joey DeFrancesco, Stu's many influences will form a smokin' Hammond organ set. What's more, check out Stu's vocals! And, our man will be joined for the occasion by Harry Keeble (tenor sax) and Abbie Finn (drums). And there's more...

Trefor Owen @ the Railway, Stockport - June 21

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Trefor Owen, Andy Hulme (guitars)

I was expecting Trefor to be fronting his usual line-up of two guitars, bass and tenor sax but tonight there was only two guitarists on the bandstand. Not sure why this occurred but it meant that we heard a grand total of fifteen tunes. We got to hear a varied selection of numbers ranging from show tunes, Wes Montgomery compositions and some well known standards.

Album review: Jean Toussaint Allstar 6tet – Live at The Jazz Café (Lyte Records)

Jean Toussaint (tenor sax); Dennis Rollins (trombone); Byron Wallen (trumpet); Andrew McCormack (piano); Daniel Casimir (bass); Williams Cumberbatch Perez (percussion); Shaney Forbes (drums)

This is a strange one. I noticed it on its release in 2019 and added it to my ‘git list’ of albums to look out for. Then it disappeared and turned up again online at a silly price on the big river. Then, on my last visit to that big fancy London a couple of months back, it was up for £12 in Ray’s Jazz in Foyles. A quick flash of plastic and it was in the bag. Then I was prompted by an e-mail from them at Sage Gateshead to flash the plastic again and book for Toussaint’s visit there on November 26 so I thought I’d give it another whirl and pass on my thoughts.

I got those washday blues

Photographic evidence shows the washed out remains of Monday evening's scribbled notes taken at Blaydon Jazz Club. The one indelible memory of Jamie Toms' gig is that it was a good one. To quote Porter Wagoner (a songwriter lauded by Dolly Parton and others): Just rubbin' and a scrubbin' and a raisin' 'em out, I gotta hang 'em out early I hope the sun comes out. Russell

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Album review: Brian Molley Quartet + Krishna Kishor - Intercontinental

Brian Molley (tenor/soprano saxes/flute); Tom Gibbs (piano); Brodie Jarvie (bass); Stuart Brown (drums) + Krishna Kishor (percussion)

A very good album from someone I hadn’t heard of before. It has a full, rich, panoramic sound that lets every voice in the group be heard clearly. The inclusion of Krishna Kapoor, on some tracks, both adds a new dimension and takes the group in a south Indian direction.

The opener, Crocodile and the Plover Bird starts with some solid, thunking acoustic bass before some lovely interplay between all the band. Lovely bluesy phrasing and a soaring sax solo by Molley is backed by dancing percussion and Tom Gibbs excelling with fluid runs on the piano. How this all fits with crocodiles and plover birds I’m not sure. (The plover is the avian toothpick that sorts out the debris that remains in the crocodile’s mouth after lunch.)

Blues, Jazz and Swing Festival @ The Exchange Theatre

(Press release)

The Exchange Theatre, North Shields  has an exciting Blues, Jazz and Swing Festival coming up starting on July 1

A weekend of performance, conversation and events celebrating the influence of jazz across the region.

With music to suit all tastes and events for curious jazz-novices or aficionados alike, this is a chance to dance, learn or just sit back in the café and enjoy the vibes.

Some events are ticketed, but all are Pay What You Feel, making it the perfect opportunity to try something new. If you are able, please give generously to help us to do more.

Gabe Baltazar (November 1, 1929 - June 12, 2022)

Sad to learn of the passing of saxophonist Gabe Baltazar.

Well remembered by myself from concerts and recordings by the Stan Kenton Orchestra. 

One particular concert that stands out was in 1963 at Newcastle City Hall. This was the band that had a section of mellophoniums - an instrument produced by Conn specifically for the Kenton outfit. Baltazar played lead alto and contributed some fiery solos in the manner of his predecessor Lennie Niehaus.  The band included Steve Marcus on tenor, Jiggs Whigham on trombone and Dee Barton on drums.

Jamie Toms @ Blaydon Jazz Club - June 20

(© R. Veitch)
Jamie Toms (tenor sax, soprano sax); Dean Stockdale (piano); Mick Shoulder (double bass); John Bradford (drums)

Okay, it's time to come clean, it looks as though notes taken at last night's Blaydon Jazz Club concert are in the wash. We'll find out in an hour or so. So, how did last night go? The sun shone, Black Bull regulars sat in the beer garden overlooking the Tyne, as did the evening's special guest, Jamie Toms, quietly writing out a set list. Messrs Dean Stockdale, Mick Shoulder and John Bradford joined JT for a quick pre-gig pint. 

A decent turn out (numbers slightly up on recent times), second hand CDs selling well, Blaydon Jazz Club was ready to welcome to the stage, Mr Jamie Toms. The tenor saxophonist's set list made for a refreshing change, the selection more post-Gasbook than usual with the 'modernists' in favour. Coltrane, Bergonzi, Brecker, myriad influences and or favourites of Toms, some numbers dating back to his student days, other selections emerging from lockdown times. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Album review: Beverley Church Hogan - Sweet Invitation

Beverley Church Hogan (vocals); John Proulx (piano); Bob Sheppard (tenor sax); Grant Geissman (guitar); Lyman Medeiros (bass); Clayton Cameron/Dean Koba (drums); Kevin Winard (perc).

Three years ago I enthused over BCH's debut album - Can't Get Out of This Mood. I loved it and, erroneously, assumed that that was it. In my defence, I based my assumption on the fact that she was 83 years old at the time. Most singers, by the time they reach such venerable status are either retired or well over the hill.

Dean Stockdale Trio @ the Railway, Stockport - June 19

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Dean Stockdale (keys); Gavin Barras (bass); Gaz Hughes (drums)

Things got underway tonight with a medium tempo version of Thelonious Monk’s blues, Blue Monk and although Dean was playing his Nord keyboard he got the sound just about as near to a good piano sound as it’s possible to get. With a first rate rhythm team of Gavin Barras and Gaz Hughes on board the scene was set for some excellent modern jazz and that is what this trio produced. 

Preview: Tonite! Jamie Toms plays Blaydon Jazz Club

This evening (Monday) Jamie Toms is the special guest of Blaydon Jazz Club. Fresh from a barnstorming performance with the Strictly Smokin' Big Band at the weekend, tenor saxophonist Toms joins the Mick Shoulder Trio at the Black Bull on Bridge Street in Blaydon. Toms and bassist Mick Shoulder will be in the esteemed company of pianist Dean Stockdale and drummer John Bradford. It's an eight o'clock start, £7.00. at the door. Support your local jazz club! Russell   

Sunday Night @ the Globe: Louise Dodds Quartet - June 19

(© Sheila Herrick)
Louise Dodds (voice); Tom Gibbs (piano); Andrew Robb (bass); Alyn Cosker (drums)

Ann Alex wrote a lovely review for BSH of Louise Dodds' current album The Story Needs an Ending so much so that I knew I had to hear Louise and the band doing it live when they stopped off at the Globe on their promotional tour of the album.

(© Sheila Herrick)
The fact that her superb backing trio included Alyn Cosker - a drummer rated by many as one of the best drummers, not just in  Scotland, not just in the UK but anywhere in the world - made it even more appealing but, here's the rub. Cosker hit everything so fff.....' hard that, to me, it diminished the emotional impact of  Dodd's deeply personal words. In her review AA described the drumming as 'lively' - it certainly was that!

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Joe Steels Trio @ J's & B's, Fenham, Newcastle - June 19

Joe Steels (guitar); Mick Shoulder (double bass); Abbie Finn (drums)

Joe Steels made a welcome return to Newcastle, this time in the company of Mick Shoulder and Abbie Finn. Heard of late at jam sessions on either side of the Tyne, Steels is one impressive guitarist. Working alongside the bass and drums pairing of Shoulder and Finn guaranteed a top quality performance and that's exactly what the St James' and St Basil's Church jazz congregation got. The weather kind enough to permit an outdoor session in the church grounds, guitarist Steels opened with Charlie Parker's Cheryl. Demonstrating sound technique, Steels' set list would comprise familiar bop material alongside a bunch of standards. 

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