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Bebop Spoken There

Ambrose Akinmusire: “ I am certainly always aware of what the masses are doing. And when I see too many people going one way, I'm going another way - even when I don't know what's over that way". DownBeat, March, 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.


16246 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 128 of them this year alone and, so far, 72 this month (Feb. 29).

From This Moment On ...


Sat 02: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. 11:00am. £15.00.. Day 2/3. Senior bands in competition.
Sat 02: Frog & Henry @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm.£10.00. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club. Superb Anglo-American band!
Sat 02: The Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Repas7 by Night, 7 West St, Berwick TD15 1AS, 07900 627562. Tapas Specials from 5.00pm - showtime 8.00pm.
Sat 02: Cuba Libre @ Revolución de Cuba, Cloth Market, Newcastle. 6:00-9:00pm. Free.
Sat 02: Jeffrey Hewer Trio @ The Vault, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free.
Sat 02: Durham University Big Band @ Durham Students' Union, New Elvet, Durham. 7:30pm. £8.00.
Sat 02: Tom Remon & Laurence Harrison @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sat 02: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. £3.00. The band’s 25th anniversary gig!
Sat 02: John Logan @ The Dyvels, Corbridge. 8:00pm. Rat Pack-style swing.

Sun 03: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. 11:00am. £10.00.. Day 3/3. School & Youth bands in competition.
Sun 03: Smokin’ Spitfires @ the Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm. £7.50.
Sun 03: Alan Law Trio plays Ahmad Jamal’s At the Pershing: But Not for Me & more @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 2:00pm. £10.00. The music of Ahmad Jamal.
Sun 03: Alice Grace & Ben Helm @ St Francis’ Church, High Heaton, Newcastle. 2:00-5:00pm. £12.00. (children free admission). A Children’s Society fundraiser. Two x 30 mins sets. Refreshments available, child-friendly event with participation of children encouraged!
Sun 03: Sax Choir @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00-5:00pm. Free (donations). Monthly workshop, all welcome (participant and/or listener).
Sun 03: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 03: ’58 Jazz Collective @ St George’s Venue, Park Road, Hartlepool. 3:30pm (refreshments from 2:30pm). £6.00.
Sun 03: Down for the Count: A Century of Swing @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:00pm.
Sun 03: SH#RP Collective @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 03: Mostly Moonlight @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Vocals/piano duo.
Sun 03: Remy CB @ Blues & Bourbon, Nelson St., Newcastle. 9:00pm. Free. Newcastle University music student Remy Coulthard Boardman.

Mon 04: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 05: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Joe Steels, Paul Grainger, Michael Mather.

Wed 06: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 06: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 06: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 07: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 07: Ray Stubbs R & B All Stars @ The Schooner, South Shore Road, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Thu 07: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Ragtime piano.
Thu 07: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. Guests: Mark Toomey (alto sax); Donna Hewitt (tenor sax); Garry Hadfield (keys); Ron Smith (bass); Mark Hawkins (drums). 8:30pm.

Fri 08: Noel Dennis Quartet @ The Old Library, Auckland Castle. 1:00pm. £8.00. Noel Dennis (trumpet, flugelhorn); Rick Laughlin (keyboards); Mick Shoulder (double bass); Tim Johnston (drums).
Fri 08: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 08: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 08: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.

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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