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Bebop Spoken There

Steve Fishwick: “I can’t get behind the attitude that new is always somehow better than old”. (Jazz Journal, April 15, 2019).

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.


16542 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 422 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (June 17).

From This Moment On ...


Thu 20: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 20 Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle. 2:00pm. £4.00. Note new venue!
Thu 20: Karine Polwart & Dave Milligan @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm. £29.00., £23.00. Folk/jazz duo.
Thu 20: Richard Herdman & Ray Burns @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 20: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Josh Bentham (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Dave Archbold (keys); Dave Harrison (trumpet); Ron Smith (bass).

Fri 21: Alan Barnes with Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT!
Fri 21: Joe Steels’ Borealis @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 21: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 21: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 21: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 21: Soznak @ The Bike Garden, Nunsmoor, Newcastle NE4 5NU. 5:00-9:00pm. Free.
Fri 21: Errol Linton + Michael Littlefield & Scott Taylor (King Bees) @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle. 7:30pm. £20.00. Blues double bill.
Fri 21: Alan Barnes with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ Seventeen Nineteen, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Fri 21: Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ Alnwick Playhouse. 8:00pm. ‘Ella & Ellington’.
Fri 21: Mark Toomey Quartet @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. Opus 4 Jazz Club.

Sat 22: Jason Isaacs @ Stack, Seaburn SR6 8AA. 12:30-2:30pm. Free.
Sat 22: Abbie Finn Trio @ The Vault, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free.
Sat 22: Hejira: Celebrating Joni Mitchell @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors). £22.50.
Sat 22: Rockin’ Turner Bros. @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 23: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 23: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Matt Carmichael @ St Mary’s Church, Wooler. 3:00pm. Carmichael (saxophone), Fergus McCreadie (piano), Charlie Stewart (fiddle). ‘Scottish jazz, folk-roots & landscape’ Wooler Arts: Summer Concerts.
Sun 23: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Bede Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 23: Leeway @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 23: Jazz Jam @ Fabio’s Bar, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 24: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 24: Remy CB @ The Hoppings, Newcastle Town Moor NE2 3NH. 5:00-7:00pm.

Tue 25: Louise Dodds & Elchin Shirinov @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Wed 26: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 26: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 26: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

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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