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Bebop Spoken There

Dee Dee Bridgewater: “ Our world is becoming a very ugly place with guns running rampant in this country... and New Orleans is called the murder capital of the world right now ". Jazzwise, May 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 ...


Mon 20: Harmony Brass @ the Crescent Club, Cullercoats. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 20: Michael Young Trio @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 6:30-8:30pm. Free.
Mon 20: Joe Steels-Ben Lawrence Quartet @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00.

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.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Album review: Walter Smith III & Matthew Stevens – In Common III

Walter Smith III (tenor sax); Matthew Stevens (guitar); Dave Holland (bass) Kris Davis (piano); Terry Lynne Carrington (drums)

I remember seeing Walter Smith III in a group he led in the Northern Rock Hall at Sage Gateshead; Michael Janisch, bassist and Whirlwind label founder, was also in the group. They scorched the varnish off the walls, but Smith made the novice’s mistake of not bring any CDs with him so I bought Banned in London by the pianist Aruan Ortiz instead and that turned out to be a real gem.

But I digress. In Common III is the third in a series that has seen Smith and Stevens meet up with a different rhythm section for each album. This time round a couple of jazz legends in Holland and Carrington have joined in along with Kris Davis who I hadn’t heard of before but who is, on this performance, no slouch whatsoever.

This isn’t a leaders plus rhythm section set up; Davis, Holland and Carrington are part of the group and were, clearly, expected to bring their own ideas and personalities to the session. Their contributions are significant and the album would have been a different, less interesting, beast without them.    

There are 15 tracks on the album, varying in length between 1:40 and 5:30 so you get a lot of what are really sketches. Some are fully fledged tunes whilst others are pieces of electronica that pulse, throb and yowl distractingly but, on occasion serve as an introduction to the next number. I can’t find the composer’s credits so I’m not sure of who is responsible for what.

We get a short intro to the album with Shine, a duet of just Smith and Stephens before track 2, Loping, does what it says on the tin. Carrington’s drumming and extended cymbal splashes creates the space for the others. By way of contrast, Oliver is altogether more knotty and complex with free pianism, electric moans, stabbing sax and wedges of discordant guitar. Hornets gives Davis the space to dance along the line between free playing and bebop and she shows all her strengths in a series of runs, either solo or in duet with Stephens. Again, you notice that it’s what Carrington and Holland aren’t playing, it’s the space, (man)! The brevity of Hornets is one of the album’s major frustrations. Maybe live it is allowed to realise its potential.

Orange Crush has long mournful notes from Smith over frantic piano exercises from Davis. There’s an industrial undertone to her playing, she’s like Charlie Chaplin on the factory floor in Modern Times. After, which follows, is more pastoral, languid and hopeful. It’s spacious and romantic and could be the last dance of the evening.

Lite is more electronica but For Some Time is more human. It’s dominated by the dance between hand drums and piano with the others chipping in round the side. Holland holds it all together.

Variable is another piece of nominative determinism. Variable it is! It’s free with Davis to the fore. Smith has said that “it was written to be played in many tempos, meters and approaches but was not discussed prior to recording it”.

The last two tracks, Familiar and Miserere are in my comfort zone. The former is a melodic piece of bop, with wonderful, wooden drumming from Carrington and the closer is delicate, resigned, if not exhausted. They should play this last in any concert and the last closing note would release all the tension in the audience to, I imagine, thunderous applause.

It’s a teasing, frustrating album in many ways but it has clear strengths and it’s riveting in parts. Even the electronic pieces serve as contrasts to the others and the freer and more mainstream pieces need them as part of the whole. You’d miss them if they weren’t there.  Dave Sayer

Available March 11 on Whirlwind Recordings.

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