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Bebop Spoken There

Greg Osby: “I have my own style, my own attitude, my own opinions about things. I'm not a follower". DownBeat, February, 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.

Postage

16233 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 115 of them this year alone and, so far, 59 this month (Feb. 23).

From This Moment On ...

February 2024

Fri 23: Mark Williams Trio @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 23: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 23: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 23: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 23: Salty Dog Trio @ The Greenhouse, Tynemouth. 7:00pm. £8.00. (£6.00. adv.). CANCELLED!
Fri 23: Crooners @ The Maltings, Berwick upon Tweed. 7:30pm. £30.00., £28.00.
Fri 23: Strictly Smokin' Big Band w Dennis Rollins @ Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Sat 24: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm (doors). Free (donations). A Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra event, all welcome.
Sat 24: Bradley Creswick’s Western Swingfonia @ Hexham Abbey, Hexham. 7:30pm. £15.00. A fundraiser for Hexham Abbey.
Sat 24: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 25: Musicians Unlimited @ The Park Inn, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 25: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:30pm. Free.
Sun 25: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 25: Lindsay Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man + Lee Maddison @ Laurels, Whitley Bay. 4:00pm (3:30pm doors). £11.00., £8.80. inc. bf. SOLD OUT!
Sun 25: Bex Burch + Rachel Musson @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £11.00. Two solo performances. JNE.
Sun 25: Jazz Jam @ Fabio's, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 26: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 27: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm (7:00pm doors). £12.00., £10.00. (adv.).

Wed 28: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 28: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 28: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 29: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 29: Student Performances @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 4:00pm. Free. Inc. Olly Styles (saxophone).
Thu 29: ’58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:00pm. Free.
Thu 27: Student Jazz Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Thu 29: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Josh Bentham (alto sax); Graham Thompson (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Saturday, March 05, 2022

British Jazz Vocalist and Songwriter Jo Harrop Releases New Album on Vinyl and Cd for U.S. Audience

The Heart Wants - release date April 25, 2022 on Lateralize Records

(Press release) 

JO HARROP is a British singer and songwriter who has been garnering a lot of attention for her smoky, intimate voice and heartfelt, intelligent lyrics. She released her second album, THE HEART WANTS, last year in Europe to rave reviews, and is now releasing the CD for the US audience on April 25, 2022, accompanied by a vinyl release in both Europe and the US. Jazz in Europe says, “THE HEART WANTS is a classic example of pure creativity, singularity, perfect vocals and least, but not last, a very important collaborative album.” 

(BSH review).

THE HEART WANTS is a wonderful introduction for North American audiences to a singer/songwriter who is bound to become a shining star in the jazz firmament. Written and recorded over the last year when the world came to a sudden standstill in the wake of the pandemic, THE HEART WANTS is about love and life, about losing and then finding oneself in the silence after the applause has faded away.

Harrop was born and raised in a small town in Northeast England. Her parents felt that music was not a proper career, so she had to learn music by ear, listening to the likes of Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, and Aretha Franklin. The turning point in her life came when her father took her to see Tony Bennett when she was just a teenager. Harrop relates, “I was so moved and inspired, I realized that I needed to sing. I wanted to be able to touch people with my music in the same way.”

Harrop chased her dream and moved to London where she started frequenting jam sessions and meeting musicians. It did not take long to establish herself as one of the most unmistakable voices on the British jazz scene. She got her professional start when an agency hired her to work as a session singer for iconic British and American pop artists, including Neil Diamond, Rod Stewart, and Gloria Gaynor.

It was during her session work that she met pianist HANNAH VASANTH, who became her close friend and collaborator. Playing jazz clubs around London, Harrop caught the attention of Mayank Patel, the owner of Hampstead Jazz Club and Lateralize Records. Patel says, “One of the advantages of owning a jazz club is coming across talented artists. When I first heard Jo sing, I recognized her potential immediately. She was just at the beginning of her career, and all she needed was a guiding hand to get her to where she is today. Everyone who sees Jo perform becomes her fan.” Patel brought her into the Lateralize family as her manager and record label, releasing Weathering the Storm (2020), a duo project featuring guitarist JAMIE McCREDIE.

Harrop has been writing lyrics for years, but the pandemic shutdown gave her the time and mental space to focus on her songwriting. “In an unexpected moment of stillness, when the world came to a sudden stop and confusion, and frustration and fear seemed to sweep across the earth, I finally began to work on the album that I had longed to make for many years,” Harrop explains. “Ideas that I had talked over with Hannah and Jamie began to unfold, and emotions that I’d always pushed aside began to spill onto the page.”

Harrop sent her first lyrics to PAUL EDIS, a highly regarded composer and arranger as well as a Lateralize recording artist. Those lyrics resulted in “If I Knew,” the first song written for the album. Harrop says, “That song became the key that unlocked the door to creating this album.”

Hannah Vasanth plays piano on a couple of songs and produced several of the tracks on the album. Paul Edis also plays piano on several of the tracks, and Jamie McCredie plays guitar and produced the other tracks. THE HEART WANTS also includes a large cast of top British musicians, such as pianist JASON REBELLO, who has won most of the major jazz awards in England, and TROY MILLER, who was in Amy Winehouse’s band for five years and has also worked with Chaka Khan, Donna Summer, George Benson, and Gregory Porter, to name a few. Also featured on the album is bass player CHRISTIAN McBRIDE, who came on to the project through a circuitous route of connections but was happy to participate after hearing Harrop sing.

THE HEART WANTS comprises mostly original songs co-written by Harrop, including the title tune “The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants,” which was inspired by a conversation after a gig with Vasanth over a little too much red wine. The song is about being so much in love that there’s no way out. Harrop wrote “Everything’s Changing” in the middle of the pandemic when people were separated from friends and loved ones. The lyric is a message of hope about better days ahead. “I Think You’d Better Go” is a bittersweet story set in a bar on a rainy day. It is about the temptation and desire of two people who can’t let their guard down in case things go too far. “Red Mary Janes & A Brand New Hat” is a tongue-in-cheek, quirky, swinging song about a girl who just wants to go out and sing dressed up in red Mary Jane shoes and a new hat.

“Hold On” is about a love that can never happen because fate stands in the way. “Life Inside” was begun but not completed by George Glew. Harrop put the finishing touches on the song, which deals with mental health and getting out of the dark places we sometimes find ourselves in. “What If” is a song about longing for love. It is a wish for another space and time where love can exist. “If I Knew” is about regret. It is about wishing you had more time to spend with someone who is no longer in your life. “Weather The Storm” features 21 other singers from around the world in the final choruses. The song is about how love can heal damaged relationships, whether they are couples, friends, or family.

Edis composed and wrote the lyrics for “Wise Words.” The song is about believing in yourself. Harrop says, “From the moment I heard this song, I wanted to record it. I feel like it was written just for me because I savor every word that Paul wrote.” Harrop also covers Tom Waits’ “Rainbow Sleeves” plus standards “If Ever I Would Leave You” by Lerner & Loewe and Duke Ellington’s “All Too Soon,” which Harrop performs as a tasty duet with McBride.

Jo Harrop is a soulful singer. Her smoky, sultry voice draws you in with its intimacy. Her songs often tell stories of longing and regret, but they are never truly rueful. Her voice conveys the bittersweetness and hope that is always there, right below the surface. Although this is just her second album, with the stellar arrangements by Vasanth and McCredie and backing by a top-notch band, Harrop sounds as if she’s already lived a thousand lifetimes.

THE HEART WANTS is set for release on CD and vinyl in the USA on April 25, 2022 on Lateralize Records, and will be available everywhere.

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