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Bebop Spoken There

Tineke Postma: “ I had a huge crush on him [Sting] when I was a teenager ". Jazzwise, June 2024.

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!"

Simon Spillett: A lovely review from the dean of jazz bloggers, Lance Liddle...

Josh Weir: I love the writing on bebop spoken here... I think the work you are doing is amazing.


16462 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 342 of them this year alone and, so far, 54 this month (May 18).

From This Moment On ...


Tue 21: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Alice Grace Vocal Masterclass @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 6:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 22: Daniel Erdmann’s Thérapie de Couple @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 23: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 23: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Thu 23: Immortal Onion + Rivkala @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 23: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Jeremy McMurray (keys); Dan Johnson (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Bill Watson (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 24: Hot Club du Nord @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 24: Swannek + support @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. Time TBC.

Sat 25: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Bywell Hall, Stocksfield. 2:30pm.
Sat 25: Paul Edis Trio w. Bruce Adams & Alan Barnes @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:30pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sat 25: Nubiyan Twist @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Sat 25: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 26: Tyne Valley Youth Big Band @ The Sele, Hexham. 12:30pm. Free. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Alice Grace @ The Sele, Hexham. 1:30pm. Free. Alice Grace w. Joe Steels, Paul Susans & John Hirst.
Sun 26: Bryony Jarman-Pinto @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Clark Tracey Quintet @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Saltburn Big Band @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 26: SARÃB @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Mon 27: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Preview: The Great North Big Band Jazz Festival (March 4-6)

It's that time of year again, it's the return of the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival (GNBBJF)! On Friday (March 4), starting with a double bill of big bands, the GNBBJF is back! As we know all too well, the pandemic brought an abrupt halt to just about everything, including the 2021 edition of the much-loved Chester le Street extravaganza. At eight o'clock on Friday evening there is the mouth-watering hors d'oeuvres of Mick Donnelly's Musicians Unlimited and the specially-assembled Festival Big Band. And there's more, much more...

Dean Stockdale Trio @ the Railway, Stockport - Feb. 27

Dean Stockdale (keys); Gavin Barras (bass); Gaz Hughes (drums). 

Dean Stockdale plays frequently in the north east but not so often in the Greater  Manchester area so it was good to see him once again leading his trio through a selection of standards and originals here at the Railway. 

After a bass intro, Dean got straight into some medium tempo improvising and only played the theme on the final thirty two bars of a number which turned out to be Take the A Train. He was given great support  on all twelve tunes by the first rate rhythm team of Barras and Hughes.

Soul Time! @ The Oxford Tavern, London – Feb. 21

(© Pam Clarke)
Steve Fishwick (trumpet, flugelhorn); Leon Greening (piano); Matyas Hofecker (double bass); Matt Home (drums).

In two long sets the band played ten tunes either composed, arranged, or recorded by the pianist, organist and vibes player Bobby Timmons. If anyone expected just the basic Bobby Timmons soul jazz themes and nothing more, the very first tune of the evening, Stella B (named for Timmons’ wife), which began with a long improvised solo from Steve Fishwick (not for nothing is he widely known as one of the best jazz trumpet players ever produced by the UK), followed by something similar from Leon Greening, made it clear that that was not all that was on offer.

Abbie Finn Trio @ The Globe - Feb 27

Abbie Finn (drums); Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Paul Grainger (double bass)

A third gig in ten days found the Abbie Finn Trio at full throttle on this Newcastle Jazz Co-op gig. A set list comprising cuts from the trio's debut album Northern Perspective, some new material (a second album is due out later in the year) and a selection of standards entertained the Railway Street audience and those watching online.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Pete Long w. Strictly Smokin' Big Band - The Jazz Planets @ Sage Gateshead - Feb. 26

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
I'd heard Pete Long's Ellington/Strayhorn inspired suite based around Gustav Holst's classical masterpiece The Planets back in 2018 at Cadogan Hall. On that occasion clarinetist, composer, arranger Long's creation was performed by a team of top London musicians. Last night the question was as to whether their north eastern counterparts could cut it with the same aplomb and assurance. 

The answer was an unequivocal yes they could and did!

Most of the band were featured. Sue Ferris' baritone on Jupiter - The Bringer of Jollity. Dick Stacey hit the high notes on Mars - The Bringer of War and Michael Lamb (or was it Pete Tanton?) starred as Mercury - The Winged Messenger.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Jazz Time Aycliffe Radio. Playlist - Feb. 27

Jazz Time Sundays 6.30pm - 8.00pm (Repeat Tuesdays 8.00pm - 9.30pm.

Playlist Feb. 27

Mardi Gras: Louis Armstrong's Hot Five, Red Allen All Stars.

Request: Billy Strayhorn.

Abbie Finn and Harry Keeble make their selections:

Roy Hargrove, Joe Henderson, Gary Burton/Chick Corea, George Garzone, Art Blakey, Seamus Blake.

What’s on in the NE: T J Johnson. (Darlington New Orleans Club)

Request: Kenny Garrett.

Mardi Gras: King Oliver: Dipper Mouth Blues.

New Release: Fergus McCreadie.

Joe Venuti.

King Bees @ The Hotspur, Newcastle - Feb. 25

Michael Littlefield (guitar, vocals); Scott Taylor (harmonica, vocals); Ted Harbot (double bass); Giles Holt (drums) + Mick Cantwell (vocals)

King Bees made a return to the Hotspur on Percy Street without the unavailable Dom Hornsby, placing the onus on Michael Littlefield to come up with the chords. No problem, Littlefield's the man! It was gone a quarter to nine before Tyneside's ace blues band took to the floor. 

From Willie Dixon to Little Walter to Muddy Waters, this was Chicago blues at its finest. Back in the day the South Side guys must've played every roadhouse juke joint coast to coast. More's the pity Newcastle's Hotspur pub wasn't on their radar! King Bees' Michael Littlefield and Scott Taylor sing the blues better than most, the former playing superb blues guitar licks, the latter blowing harp as good as anyone you care to name. 

Friday, February 25, 2022

Album review: Scott Silbert Big Band - Jump Children

If I describe this as being one for nostalgia buffs it shouldn't be taken in any way as a derogatory comment. Unless, your educator has indoctrinated you in to believing that jazz began with Miles and that his predecessors only played for money - like who didn't? - this is as perfect an example of just why folks back then not only loved the music but danced to it too!

The big band era was when jazz or swing was at its peak. Ellington, Basie, Goodman, Dorsey et al brought the music into the ballrooms, the concert halls and, via radio, the living room.

Album review: Cecil Taylor Unit - The Return Concert

Cecil Taylor (piano); Jimmy Lyons (alto sax); Sirone (double bass); Andrew Cyrille (drums)

The album's full title - The Complete, Legendary, Live Return Concert at The Town Hall NYC November 4, 1973 - marks the release of all the material recorded at the New York Town Hall concert almost fifty years ago. In the pre-digital age it wasn't viable to market a free jazz album running to almost two hours. Now, compressed onto a two-disc CD package, we get to hear Taylor in full, unexpurgated, vintage form. The established Cecil Taylor Unit (the CTU - Jimmy Lyons and Andrew Cyrille) was augmented for the occasion by bassist Sirone (Norris Jones).

Knats @ Hoochie Coochie - Feb. 24

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

Knats' regular 'last Thursday in the month' residency at Hoochie Coochie once again saw the place packed. Tonight’s gig was held in collaboration with 'Stand Up To Racism'. A rousing opening address was given urging people to attend rallies throughout March and then the music began!

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Happy Birthday Andy Hudson (Feb. 22)

We're a couple of days late - sorry Andy - but on Feb. 22 Andy Hudson reached the (relatively) young age of 75.

Andy's association with jazz, not just in the north east (Newcastle Big Band, Newcastle Jazz Festival, Cleveland Jazz Festival), but also various London Jazz Festivals such as Ally Pally, Capital and others in partnership with George Wein (pictured on a rare visit with Andy to Blaydon Jazz Club) have been well documented within these pages.

So, a belated happy birthday my good friend - Lance

Album review: Joy Ellis - Peaceful Place

Joy Ellis (piano); Henrik Jensen (bass); Adam Osmianski (drums)

Joy Ellis has made several appearances in the north east - a couple of gigs at the Globe and one at the Jazz Café. The gig reviews as well as a couple of CD reviews and a livestream review can be accessed here. All well received but, with a difference.

The gigs and the CD's praised her singing alongside her instrumental input - justifiably so.

Four @ The Exchange, North Shields - Feb. 23

Bernie Ranson (saxes, keys, vocals); Barbara Wilcox (keys, vocals); Dan Stanley (guitar); Harry Husaini (electric bass); Alan Wann  (drums) + Will Charlton (vocals)

Four at The Exchange was a misnomer tonight, we started with five and then for a short while there were six!

The regular quartet was joined for the evening by guitarist Dan Stanley showing that he was more than comfortable with the material. It was obvious that he knew his craft and he wasn’t shy in showing it! A teacher in the real world he finds it difficult to find the time to indulge himself - and us - but this being half term he was willing and able. Hopefully this won’t be the first and last time we see him at The Exchange.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Album review: Juan Carlos Quintero - Table For Five!

Juan Carlos Quintero (guitar); Joe Rotundi (piano); Eddie Resto (bass); Aaron Serfaty (drums); Joey DeLeon (perc.)

What is it about Latin bands? The music is so infectious - close your eyes and you're back in the 1940s doing the rhumba or the mambo or the cha-cha-cha with, say, Carmen Miranda at the Copacabana - open them and you're back to the cold reality of Covid and conflict.

Nevertheless, this album is nearer Birdland than the Copa and, whilst maintaining the rhythms from south of the border, successfully incorporates them into the jazz lexicon.

Paul Hartley Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Feb. 22

Gair Carson (reeds); Paul Hartley (guitar); Ken Marley (bass); Andy Bold (drums).

The gig started with the well-known On Green Dolphin Street, a great number to use as a warm up and Gair chose to play this on tenor sax. Carson continued to use his tenor on the second tune Remember, an Irving Berlin number which most modern jazz fans will recall was one of the tunes featured on that superb album Soul Station by the late great Hank Mobley.  Gail played  another tune from Soul Station to end the first set, This I Dig Of You. Carson  is an accomplished flute player and brought along two flutes, one of which was  an alto flute which he used to good effect on the ballad Darn That Dream.

The Black Swan jam session: Party! Party! Party! - Feb. 22

(Photo © Mike Tilley)
Some time ago the Jazz Cafe jam session, formerly at the Pink Lane venue now known as Prohibition Bar, relocated to the Black Swan in Newcastle Arts Centre. The fortnightly session has long since become the stuff of legend with stars and future stars - local, national and international - dropping by to jam with all-comers. This evening's session promised to be a little bit different. Jam session supremo Paul Grainger pulled a few strings and we were looking at a first time collaboration between Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra (NUJO) and Edinburgh University Jazz Orchestra (EUJO). It had all the makings of a memorable occasion... 

Red Ellen (Not to be confused with Red Allen)

Not a jazz item but, having been born and bred in Jarrow, and knowing some of our readers are based on South Tyneside and are acutely interested in social history I felt it would be of interest - Lance

(Press release)

A new play from multi award-winning poet and playwright Caroline BirdRed Ellen tells the remarkable story of Ellen Wilkinson, the revolutionary Labour MP who fought with an unstoppable, reckless energy for a better world. 

A working-class woman in a man’s world, Ellen Wilkinson campaigned tirelessly for social change - bringing in free school meals and leading the Jarrow March from the North East to London through York, Nottingham and the Midlands to deliver a petition to reduce unemployment and poverty. She was the only female minister in Attlee’s government, and served as a vital member of Churchill's cabinet, taking sole charge of air raid shelters during the war.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Preview: Ellington the Long way with the SSBB (Sat. 26)

On Saturday evening at Sage Gateshead there is a rare 'up north' appearance by Pete Long. A noted Duke Ellington authority, Long has been immersed in the legendary American's music for more than thirty years. At eight o'clock in Sage Two, Long will be joined by the mighty Strictly Smokin' Big Band to perform the music of Ellington and Long's Jazz Planets. Band leader Michael Lamb has been working on the charts in readiness for what promises to be a memorable occasion. To join Pete, Michael, the SSBB and the wonderful Alice Grace, call 0191 443 4666 to bag one of the few remaining tickets. Russell        

What they say and what they mean

1: Awesome - Pretentious.

2: Classic song - Has been recorded by everyone and their grandmother.

3: Extended solo - Should have quit ten choruses earlier.

4: Iconic - Has been dead for 50 years.

5: Legend - Has been dead for 51 years.

Abbie Finn Trio @ Holy GrAle, Durham - Feb. 21

Abbie Finn (drums); Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Paul Grainger (double bass)

Hot on the heels of a sold out performance at the Lit & Phil in Newcastle, this evening here at Durham's Holy GrAle micro pub the Abbie Finn Trio reprised much of the material heard in the Loftus Room last week. The brick-lined cellar on Crossgate is best described as 'snug'. It's doubtful a cat has ever been successfully swung in the intimate space, however, drummer Abbie, tenor saxophonist Harry Keeble and bassist Paul Grainger ensured it - the music - swung from the down beat.     

Monday, February 21, 2022

Helen Pillinger/Carole Williams Quintet @ the Railway, Stockport - Feb. 20

Helen Pillinger (tenor sax); Carole Williams (keys, trombone, vocals); Paul Hartley (guitar); Peter Hartley (bass guitar); Miles Pillinger (drums).

Tonight marked the debut at the Railway of drummer Miles Pillinger, the son of co-leader Helen,  and I certainly hope he makes a speedy return as he is the kind of drummer I like to hear. He proved to be ideal for this band as their repertoire covers a wide spectrum of Latin tunes, bebop themes and some interesting standards. He was given great support by Peter Hartley on bass guitar and it was apparent that a great deal of work had gone into the Helen Pillinger/Carole Williams  Quintet tackling the frequent tempo changes in some of the numbers.

Parlor Entertainments Harlem - Feb. 20

Marjorie Eliot (piano); Rudel Drears (piano, vocals), Nick Mauro (trumpet); Sedric Shukroon (clarinet, flute)

Three thirty Sundays, come rain, shine or pandemic, Marjorie Eliot opens her apartment to visitors from all over the globe. Pianist Eliot has been doing so since 1993, never missing a week. This afternoon/evening two guests dropped by.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Francis Tulip Group @ the Studio, Gala Theatre, Durham - Feb. 18

(© Malcolm Sinclair)

Francis Tulip (Guitar); Tuoyo Awala (electric piano); Stan Woodward (electric bass); King David Ike-Elechi (drums) + Ferg Kilsby (trumpet)

When we started the Gala Lunchtime Concert Series back in 2013, we advertised it as featuring both established and up-and coming north east musicians. We were unsure if there was an audience to sustain the concerts and if so who it would be. We quickly found we were filling a ready gap in the market and audiences quickly built to fill the available seats. We persuaded the Gala management to increase the capacity to 100, and for at least three years up until lockdown in March 2020, the box office was regularly turning disappointed customers away. Since re-opening in May last year audiences have slowly built back up – and it’s pleasing to see lots of new faces, albeit the dominant hair colour is silver and grey – but today’s concert was the first to sell out.

Sunday Night Jazz @ The Globe: The Tim Knowles Quartet - Feb. 20

(© Ken Drew)
Tim Knowles (guitar); John Pope (bass); Emma Johnson (tenor sax); Sarah Heneghan (drums).

The threat of yet another storm on the horizon persuaded me to watch this week's Sunday Night @ the Globe via the livestream option - it worked well for Tony Kofi at the 606 last night and it worked well at the Globe tonight plus you got the whole nine yards or, to be more precise, both sets.

Sheffield based Knowles, apart from being a fine guitarist is, according to his website, also an ethnomusicologist* and you don't get many of them at the Globe.

WR: Interchanges at The Cluny

(Press release)

Sunday 27th February at 8pm 


A live music event exploring the points of connection across genres 


Renowned music blog Written Records (WR) presents its first ever live event, Interchanges, at The Cluny in Newcastle this February. Interchanges is an exciting new music night exploring the places in which genres meet, and in which new sounds are discovered. The very first Interchanges event will explore the points of connection between jazz, hip hop and spoken word, through a mixture of live performance and recorded work at Cluny 2 on Sunday 27th February. 

Adrian Cox: Jazz at Vespers with George Lewis - Feb. 20

Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals); Finlay Milne (trumpet, vocals); Simon Picton (banjo); Richard Simmons (piano); Alyn Shipton (double bass) 

Alyn Shipton's band is on the road playing a few gigs. Adrian Cox is in the band and he took the opportunity to set up a Sunday lunchtime live stream featuring the five piece outfit. Shipton's hospitality made for a relaxed session in which to play music associated with George Lewis, particularly focusing on Lewis's 1954 Jazz at Vespers session, recorded 68 years ago tomorrow (February 21) at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Oxford, Ohio. 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

606 Livestream: Tony Kofi and the Organisation - Feb. 19

Tony Kofi (baritone sax); Pete Whittaker (organ); Simon Fearsby (guitar); Pete Cater (drums)

Just like old times - a Saturday night livestream from the 606! And what a belter!

A hard-bop band led by one of the best, if not the, best bari players around. On tonight's performance I'd back Tony Kofi against anyone. He was in blistering, painstripping form. Chorus after chorus, the ideas flowed non-stop. The unladylike storm that hit London's arena had nothing on this guy.

Album review: Ewan Bleach - Ewan the Night 'n' the Music

Ewan Bleach (saxes/clarinet); Colin Good (piano); John Kelly (guitar on all but "Deep Purple"); Martin Wheatley (guitar on "Deep Purple"); Jim Ydstie (bass).

With the exception of Jim Ydstie the above names are well known to BSH readers in both the north east and the north west as first class exponents of classic jazz frequently appearing at the Keswick Jazz and Blues Festival, Carlisle Jazz Club, Mike Durham's Classic Jazz Party and the Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club in various formations including Pete Horsfall's  Basin Street Brawlers and the strangely named Frog and Henry who played a fine session at the Black Swan in Sept. 2019. There were, of course, several livestreams over the next couple of years.

Byron Wallen plays Boards of Canada @ Gosforth Civic Theatre - Feb. 18

Byron Wallen (trumpet, conch shell, ugal?); Chris Jerome (keyboards); Paul Michael (bass guitar, synth); David Dyson (drums); Gayan Gamelan Ensemble: Tara Jerome (bonang panerus); Freddie Abel Parrish (saron); John Pawson (ugal?); Wilf Diamond (gongs)

Storm Eunice largely failed to disrupt Tynesiders' daily routines as Byron Wallen's eight piece band battled through storm-stricken southern parts of England, eventually arriving in the region in one piece. All things considered, a delay of less than half an hour to the scheduled start could be regarded as something of an achievement. No fanfare, no announcement, bandleader Wallen ambled onto Gosforth Civic Theatre's stage to muted applause.

Melissa Errico – Angel Eyes [Official Video] from Out of the Dark (The Film Noir Project)

Yesterday, reviewing David Finck's BASSic Instinct album, I referred to a forthcoming album that he was producing for singer Melissa Errico. I hope to have the full album shortly but, in the meantime, this promo video of Melissa singing Angel Eyes - complete with the rarely heard verse - is a good indication of what's to come. Shot in grainy black and white in Birdland and NYC it creates the perfect image of those old classic movies. The pianist is Tedd Firth, Bob Mann's on guitar and Lorin Cohen's on bass. Lance.
Ps: Follow the YouTube link on screen.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Album review: David Finck - BASSic Instinct

Finck's c.v. includes touring and recording with Woody Herman, Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, André Previn and a host of pop stars prior to becoming one of New York's first-call bassists and bandleaders adept in any musical situation as this album proves.

A choice selection of standards and Finck originals all given a new twist and all peppered with impressive solos from, but not exclusively, Snitzer, Davis, Johnson, Mann, Ruby and, of course, the leader whose rich tone whether plucked or bowed adds an extra dimension. Strangely, Ryan Quigley plays on a couple of tracks although he doesn't solo.

Jazz Time - Aycliffe Radio Playlist

Jazz Time Sundays 6.30pm - 8.00pm (Repeat Tuesdays 8.00pm-9.30pm)

Playlist 20.02. 22

Requests: Ella Fitzgerald; Art Tatum/Lionel Hampton/Buddy Rich; Django Reinhardt; Chet Baker.

Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

The Abbie Finn Trio @ The Lit & Phil - Feb 18

Abbie Finn (drums); Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Paul Grainger (bass)

Storm Eunice having put paid to my being at the long anticipated gig by the Francis Tulip Group at the Gala Theatre in  Durham, I was pleased to find that there were a couple of seats available at an otherwise full house for Lunchtime Jazz @ The Lit &Phil. These monthly concerts have showcased some of the best jazz players from the north east and further afield and today was no exception with the first (and hopefully not last) appearance of the Abbie Finn Trio.

Preview: Auntie Joy 2 - Ryton, March 19

Following on from last September's inaugural Auntie Joy improv sessions, Nigel Pownceby has sent the following information on this year's events - Lance

We had a very good session last time out, with not previously seen improvisers joining more familiar faces, along with a number of very absorbed audience members in observer mode.

The session will be hosted by Faye MacCalman and John Pope.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Album review: Brev Sullivan & Blue Road Records Band - IRA The Tribute Album

Brev Sullivan, Leo Quintero (lead guitars); Miriam Stone  (acoustic & electric rhythm guitar); Javier Espinoza (bass); Yainer Horta (keys & soprano sax); Kevin Abanto (drums).

The late Ira Sullivan (he died in 2020 aged 89) was a jazz legend not always given the recognition he deserved. Equally outstanding on both sax and trumpet, performing with such luminaries as Charlie Parker, Art Blakey and Roland Kirk and mentoring future greats including Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorius he somehow slipped off a lot of people's radar.

Nevertheless, he was revered by the cognoscenti and justifiably so.

Joel Frahm Trio: The Bright Side - European tour

I reviewed the Joel Frahm Trio's album, The Bright Side in June last year and I was very impressed so when I heard that they were hitting Europe in April my interest was perked up even higher but, alas, only two UK dates - London and Leeds.

Album review: Ethan Iverson - Every Note is True

Ethan Iverson (piano); Larry Grenadier (bass); Jack DeJohnette (drums).

Iverson makes his Blue Note debut with the outstanding Larry Grenadier on bass and the legendary Jack DeJohnette on drums.

Although different to The Bad Plus, the band that Iverson founded and which many people still associate him with, there are similarities in as much as both successfully combine jazz with a contemporary rock/pop feel although the jazz element is invariably at the forefront on most of the tracks.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Dudley blows away the Vieux Carré

Dastardly Dudley threatened to blow away the Vieux Carré Jazzmen today. Band leader Brian Bennett made the decision to cancel the band's weekly Wednesday session at Cullercoats Crescent Club and, as luck would have it, most of the VCJ's loyal band of supporters got the message. As it turned out, at one o'clock, just as the VCJ were due to take to the stage (see photo), Dudley had yet to blow. Brian and the boys will be back next week, that's assuming Dudley and his pal Eunice haven't blown the roof off! Russell  

Railway Jazz Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport -- Feb. 15

Andrzej Baranek (keys); Alex Clarke (alto sax); Gavin Barras (bass); George Grundy (drums).

I was looking forward to hearing guitarist Bim Williams who was the advertised artist tonight but unfortunately the Covid virus had forced him to isolate so his place was taken by Andrzej Baranek and his Roland keyboard.  Alex Clarke was on board playing alto sax and no doubt she had a big say on which tunes were played. I thought it was a pity there was no mention on this month’s flyer of her appearance here as she has quite a few fans in this region. Even so the turnout was good for a Tuesday night and the music was well received by the audience most of whom stayed to the finish.

Announcing the 2022 Birmingham, Sandwell & Westside Jazz Festival

Looks good! Lance


(Press release)

Jazz North’s Northern Line scheme for the period 2022-2023 is now open for applications from artists across the North of England.

The 18-month programme supports northern artists to reach the next stage of their live performance career through subsidised touring and development in business skills across all areas of their work.

“We’ve spent a long time, and years of experience, listening to artists and industry experts to make Northern Line as flexible and unique to each artist as we can,” explains Jazz North’s Programme Manager, Heather Spencer. “It’s a massive privilege for us to meet and work with fantastic artists from across the north and help get their music heard by more people and on the stages they want to play.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Album review: James Kitchman - First Quartet

James Kitchman (guitar); Bruno Heinen (piano); Tom McCredie (bass); Shaney Forbes (drums)

After leaving the tranquility of rural Northumberland and the learning curve of Tyneside jam sessions, James Kitchman graduated from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance to become an in-demand composer and guitarist on the London jazz scene and other genres.

He has returned to the north east on several occasions most notably with the Joy Ellis Quartet and a contemporary trio - Glasshopper.

Preview: Byron Wallen @ GCT (Friday 18)

On Friday (Feb. 18) Gosforth Civic Theatre Jazz Club presents Byron Wallen. It's been a while since the trumpeter appeared in the region and this Newcastle concert will focus upon a recreation of Boards of Canada's influential album Music Has the Right to Children. Wallen's regular jazz unit will be augmented for the occasion by his rarely heard Gamelan Ensemble. Doors 7:30pm, tickets £22.00.  Russell

Stuart Fowler Quintet plays Clifford Brown - Max Roach Quintet @ Central Bar, Gateshead - Feb. 14

Stuart Fowler (trumpet); Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Alan Law (piano); Mick Shoulder (bass); John Bradford (drums) + Abbie Finn (drums).

Back in the day, before emasculated modern jazz trumpet players - no names no pack drill - monopolised the modern jazz/bebop scene, Fats Navarro and Clifford Brown, along with Dizzy, were the main men.

Fats had a tone, a sound, that went along with his name and Clifford became his natural successor.

The Clifford Brown - Max Roach Quintet was, perhaps, the first great post-Parker band - Silver, Blakey, notwithstanding.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Steve Pimlott Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Feb. 13

Steve Pimlott (tenor sax); Richard Weatherall (piano); Ed Harrison (bass); Phil Bennett (drums).

The first two tunes were originals written by Steve, Where by Now and Take That as a No, followed by an interesting mixture of well known standards and ballads plus  a Coltrane number and one by Charlie Parker. 

Tonite! Clifford Brown is on his way to Gateshead's Central Bar (Monday 14)!

This evening Gateshead's Central Bar is the only game in town. The legendary trumpeter Clifford Brown will be in town (aka Stuart Mclean-Fowler) playing Clifford Brown and Max Roach! Joining Clifford, sorry, Stuart, will be Harold Land (Harry Keeble), Richie Powell (Alan Law), George Morrow (Mick Shoulder) and Max Roach (John Bradford). 

Album review: Søren Kristiansen & Thomas Fonnesbæk - The Touch

Søren Kristiansen (piano); Thomas Fonnesbæk (bass)

Danish musicians Søren Kristiansen & Thomas Fonnesbæk Plays the Music of OP & NHOP is the album's sub-title which translates as SK & TF Plays the music of Oscar Peterson & Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen in a unique take on a classic jazz partnership by an evolving present day jazz partnership.

Sunday Night @ The Globe: JazzMain - Feb. 13

Nick Gould (tenor sax); Steve Grossart (keys); Iain Harkness (bass guitar); Kevin Dorrian (drums).

If you dig Dexter or jump for Joe Henderson there are two options. Either check out their old Blue Note albums or go to a JazzMain gig.

Edinburgh tenor maestro Nick Gould has absorbed many of the elements of the above two legends in his playing and thrown in a few of his own for good measure much to the delight of all present and those who stayed in out of the rain and watched on livestream.

Knats @ “Bobiks at The Punchbowl” Jesmond - Feb. 13

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

I did not intend to review this gig - Knats have been reviewed at just about every gig they have played - I just intended  to get inebriated with family and friends of the band and I did - totally - but yet…

If you haven’t been to a Knats gig  my advice is to do so before these young musicians disappear next September to music colleges in London. Only Ferg, at 16 years old, will be around for another year before he too will be off.

Peter McToomey Quartet @ Dorman's Jazz Club Middlesbrough - Feb. 10

Mark Toomey (alto sax); Jeremy McMurray (piano); Peter Ayton (bass);and Paul Smith (drums);

A bit of detective work would have soon revealed the identity of the musicians as the quartet was comprised of some of the best jazz musicians in the area who are both familiar and highly regarded at Dorman's.

With the emphasis on bebop,the audience were given an evening of first-class jazz with leader Mark skilfully demonstrating  his knowledge of Parker influenced sax playing.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Preview: Abbie Finn Trio - Lit & Phil (Friday 18)

The Abbie Finn Trio's Lit & Phil concert was first pencilled in some time ago. Then the pandemic hit and the gig, along with everything else, was put on the back burner. Now, drummer Abbie brings her trio (Harry Keeble, tenor sax, Paul Grainger, bass) to the Westgate Road venue in Newcastle city centre to play a set of standards and original compositions. 

Since the release of the trio's debut album Northern Perspective Abbie has been gigging, teaching and treading the boards in a national touring stage production. A new album is in preparation and Friday's audience (February 18, one o'clock) will be treated to a sneak preview of some of the new material. To book your seat (tickets £7.00.), visit: or call the Lit & Phil on  0191 232 0192Russell

Tonight @ The Globe - JazzMain

(Pic © Debra Milne)
(Press release)

In bringing the ever-popular Scottish quartet JazzMain back to The Globe, we welcome back a foursome that will well and truly lift your spirits. Early last year when the band last performed at The Globe, we witnessed a real tour-de-force of quality jazz – music that was almost off-the-scale in its full-throttle, yet subtly nuanced, colourful and dynamic approach – in reality, you wouldn’t expect anything less from this band which has only had one change of personnel since its formation back in 2003.

Jeremy McMurray pays tribute to Gerry Denning

Just heard the sad news today that Stockton jazz trumpeter Gerry Denning passed away at the grand old age of 90. Gerry played with numerous bands over the years including the Tees Valley Jazzmen. As a young jazz musician, I learnt many things from him……including trying to busk lots of jazz standards! He and I played together many times over the years and had some great fun. Gerry wilI be best remembered for his beautiful warm and lyrical playing and his exhaustive repertoire of tunes!

One of the last times we played together was at the 60th anniversary of the butchers Blackwells of Norton (see photo).
RIP Gerry. 
Jeremy McMurray

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Book review: Val Wilmer – As Serious As Your Life

Readers of Jazzwise will recognise Val Wilmer as the doyenne of jazz journalists. She was first published when she was only 18 and is still producing articles today in her eighties. This book was first released in 1977 and a new edition came out in 2018.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought of Bill Shankly’s famous quote on seeing the title (Football’s not a matter of life and death. It’s more important than that). This is a collection of pieces about the ‘New Jazz’ in America from 1957 to 1977 and deals with those uncompromising artists who threw off any recognisable existing shackles in jazz and (mostly) failed to prosper as a result. It was a New York loft based phenomenon with occasional nods to Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans. It was a scene in which Wilmer fully immersed herself and, as a result, the writing matches the music. It feels as if she wrote the whole book in one sitting barely pausing to breathe. There is a dynamism and drive to the writing that, you feel, might have been dissipated if she stopped to sleep.

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