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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.


16527 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 407 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (June 12).

From This Moment On ...


Thu 13: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 13: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. £5.00. Upstairs.
Thu 13: Musicians Unlimited @ Dorman’s, Middlesbrough. 8:00pm.
Thu 13: Jazz Guys @ Tynedale Beer & Cider Festival, Corbridge. 8:00pm.
Thu 13: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 13: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guest band: Musicians Unlimited

Fri 14: Mark Williams Trio @ The Old Library, Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 14: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 14: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 14: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 14: Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. ‘Ella & Ellington’. 7:30pm. £18.00.
Fri 14: Customs House Big Band @ Customs House, South Shields. 7:30pm. Donations (online, min. £3.00.).

Sat 15: Keith Barrett & Andrew Porritt @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 12 noon. Free. A Cullercoats Festival event.
Sat 15: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Sat 15: James Birkett & Emma Fisk @ Sunderland Minster. 7:30pm. £15.00., £8.00. (u16s free). ‘The Great American Songbook’. A Bishopwearmouth Choral Society event, conductor David Murray.
Sat 15: Jude Murphy & Dan Stanley @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 16: Jason Isaacs @ Stack, Seaburn SR6 8AA. 1:00-2:45pm. Free.
Sun 16: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 16: Gaz Hughes Trio @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. £10.00.
Sun 16: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 16: Gaz Hughes Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 16: Jazz Jam @ Fabio’s Bar, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 17: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 17: ‘Tower of Power’ @ The Library Bar, Saddler St., Durham . 7:30pm.Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Tue 18: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Victoria & Albert Inn, Seaton Delaval. 12:30pm. £13.00. ‘Jazz, Sausage ‘n’ Mash’…’with Onion Gravy’!
Tue 18: Jam Session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Stu Collingwood, Paul Grainger, Tim Johnston.
Tue 18: Libby Goodridge & Ben Davies @ The Lost Wanderer, Leazes Park Road, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £6.00. Triple bill, inc. Goodridge & Davies (jazz).

Wed 19: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 19: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 19: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

TJ Johnson @ Darlington New Orleans Club - March 5

TJ Johnson (piano, vocals); Alex Clarke (alto sax, tenor sax); Curtis Volp (guitar); Ed Harrison (double bass); Jack Cotterill (drums)

Saturday March 5 was a homecoming for jazz at St Augustine's, after the last two years. With Darlington bathed in early March sunshine, over 70 excited jazz fans queued up to pay their entrance fee.

T J Johnson is one of the UK's most popular jazz and blues musicians. He's been an entertainer on piano and vocals since he was 16 years old, when he was discovered by Pete Cotterill, drummer on the north west jazz scene (and Jack Cotterill's grandfather!), and joined the legendary Max Collie's Rhythm Aces in 1986, touring extensively across the UK, Europe and beyond. 

Alex Clarke is an amazing young talent on clarinet and saxes, and a 2020 BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year finalist. Alex will be well known to BSH readers, with recent appearances at the Lit and Phil, plus the Salute to Humphrey Lyttelton show at Newcastle's Black Swan venue. Ed Harrison is a fine young bass player, with technique across all jazz styles - he's played with our very own Dean Stockdale. Jack Cotterill is based in the Potteries, and another young talent on the UK jazz scene. It's not surprising that he started on the drums when he was a toddler, with dad and grandfather both drumming aces. Curtis Volp is another youngster, a busy multi instrumentalist specialising in guitar and banjo, from London. He's a recent graduate from the renowned Guildhall School of Music, has made festival appearances in Holland and France, and released to wide acclaim a duets CD with reeds specialist Michael McQuaid.

The room was buzzing with anticipation as the band took to the stage. Ray Sams, organiser of the Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club gigs, welcomed us all back - and we were off. We were treated to two 50 minute sets of highly entertaining jazz, blues and country. T J started out as a young folk and country music singer, before jazz took over - but he still loves to sing those old numbers about heartache and lost love. Several of the numbers were requests from fans in the audience - T J and his bands are hugely popular with the Darlington crowd. We got classics from Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, sung engagingly by T J at the Korg keyboard, with super Alex on sax, and rhythmic support from Ed, Jack and Curtis. T J loves to sing the blues too, and we got a swinging take on the Jimmy Witherspoon classic When the Lights Go Out. This really gave Alex and the rhythm section a chance to rock, and the audience loved it. Poor Butterfly closed a highly entertaining first set - first published in 1916, this was a feature for Alex, and she played it beautifully.

Ray's Raffle is a fixture at these Darlington gigs. Your BSH correspondent always buys a couple of strips, in the faint hope of reward. The stars must have been aligned on this occasion, as my number was the first one pulled out of the hat! My companion had the second ticket too - how's that for a coincidence! Anyway, after this exciting interlude, we were ready for another 50 minutes of TJ. We started with a trip to New Orleans, with Bourbon Street Parade - and rocking second line drumming from Jack Cotterill. Then it was a real, eclectic mix of country, blues, and jazz classics - Willie Nelson, followed by Lester Leaps In and Body And Soul (two fine features for Alex) and a gorgeous take on You Turned The Tables On Me. If you've ever wondered what happened in the Black Mountains, T J told us the sorry, mean tale of Black Mountain Blues - as originally recorded by Bessie Smith in 1930.

The next session at Darlington New Orleans Club is on Saturday April 2: The New Century Ragtime Orchestra, performing rags, hot dance numbers from the 1920s and early swing from the 1930s. Patti

See for more details.

Set list: My Old Kentucky HomeOn the Road AgainSongs from the Jazz CountryWhen the Lights Go OutCurse of an Aching HeartHe'll Have to GoPoor ButterflyA Man with the BluesWithout a SongRed WingBourbon Street ParadeYou Do Something to MeRambling FeverBlueberry HillLester Leaps InYou Turned the Tables On MeBody and SoulBlack Mountain BluesAngel Flying Too Close to the GroundIn a MellotoneRoll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.

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