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Bebop Spoken There

Kelly Sill: "Just because everyone is playing through the changes in the same time doesn't mean they're actually playing together" - (JazzTimes March/April 2023).

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!"


15260 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 279 of them this year alone and, so far, 92 this month (March 29).

From This Moment On ...


Sun 02: Smokin' Spitfires @ The Cluny. 12:45pm.
Sun 02: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.

Mon 03: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 04: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Hallgarth St., Durham DH1 3AT. 7:00pm. Paul Skerritt's (solo) weekly residency.
Tue 04: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre. 7:30pm. House trio: Bradley Johnston (guitar); Paul Grainger (double bass); Abbie Finn (drums).

Wed 05: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 05: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 05: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 05: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 06: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 06: Thursday Night Prayer Meeting @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Donations. Feat. John Pope, Marie Shreer, John Garner.
Thu 06: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibtion Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.
Thu 06: Darlington Big Band @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Note earlier start time.

Fri 07: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 07: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 07: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 07: Gaz Hughes Trio @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Fri 07: Mark Toomey Quartet @ Traveller's Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 07: Finntet + Zoë Gilby & Andy Champion @ Bobik's, Punch Bowl, Newcastle. 8:00pm. JNE.
Fri 07: TBA @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig. Blind Pig Blues Club.

Sat 08: Me Lost Me + Ceitidh Mac + Heather Ferrier @ Bobik's, Punch Bowl, Newcastle. 7:30pm. JNE.
Sat 08: Joseph Carville Trio @ The Vault, Darlington Covered Market, Darlington DL1 5PN. 6:00pm. New venue, live jazz!
Sat 08: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. £3.00. RESCHEDULED from last week (Sat 01).
Sat 08: Robbie Reay @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Acoustic blues. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.
Sat 08: Anth Purdy @ Mr Tighe's, Bebside, Northumberland. 8:30pm.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Album Review: Cleveland Watkiss – The Great Jamaican Songbook Vol. 1

Cleveland Watkiss (lead vocals, backing vocals, synth, arrangements); Orphy Robinson (keys, vibes); Phil Ramocon (keys); Alan Nolan Weekes (guitars); Delroy Murray (bass); Carl Robinson (drums); Ava Joseph (backing vocals, ad libs, 1,2,5,6) + horn section (all tracks except 3, 5) Ray Carless (tenor sax); Byron Wallen (trumpet); James Wade-Sired (trombone)

This album is part of an Arts Council funded project concerning Jamaican music and Volume 1 suggests there is more to come, which will be very welcome if this CD is anything to go by. 

I'm not really sure if the music is appropriate for a jazz blog as the main 'feel' of the music is the entrancing 12, 12 12 of the ska beat from drum and bass, rather than the 1234 swing of jazz. However Watkiss is a co-founder of the Jazz Warriors and his musical credentials are wide, including pop, reggae and funk as well as enumerable mentions in these pages including guest appearances with Sheila Jordan at Sage Gateshead in 2009. And there are many jazz-like elements included in the music, such as short instrumental solos, and what sounds like improvised singing over fascinating instrumentation.

The songs were not familiar to me, but they apparently show the origins and development of Jamaican music and culture, concerning the life and times of the island's most inspirational figures. I would have loved more guidance about the meanings behind the lyrics. Many were love songs such as If I Don't Have You; Curly Locks is an amusing song about lovers who have different hairstyles, curly and dreadlocks; Night Nurse is a rather naughty saucy song asking the nurse's help, with the trombone sounding sexy, then playing a laughing sort of tone.

The final track, Red, Gold & Green, is a powerful song which appears to be celebrating Jamaica and the song is rounded off with the horns moving off into the Caribbean sunset. I'm not familiar with the names of the songwriters, Gregory Isaacs, Bobby Melody, Delroy Wilson and others. The instrumentation is skilled, all played over the ska/reggae beat, and I especially enjoyed the lively horns. The musicians assembled by Watkiss for this album are all celebrated UK jazz, pop, reggae and funk legends, such as multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson MBE, revered trumpeter Byron Wallen  (recently at Gosforth Civic Theatre) and Jamaican saxophonist Ray Carless.

Cleveland Watkiss MBE is a winner of the 2021 Ivors Composer Award for Innovation. His impact and legacy covers a broad spectrum of musical genres and he performs regularly at leading venues in the UK and internationally. He is a drum and bass vocalist and MC who has residencies at some of the world's biggest and best dance music events. He has worked with many other musical organisations, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra, the Northern Sinfonia, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and many more. There is an important UK tour associated with this CD which begins on March 26 this year with the album launch at Canary Wharf, but unfortunately there are no events up north. See

If I Don't Have You; Curly Locks; Joy In The Morning; What Is Man; Cool Operator; Babylon Too Rough; Only A Smile; Humanity; Night Nurse; Red, Gold & Green

Ann Alex

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