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Bebop Spoken There

Fergus McCreadie: "I think a lot of the best music is very political, and there are so many things going on in the world that I'm constantly angry at. But for me making music is not the space for that" (Jazzwise July 2022)

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:"Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"

Postage

14362 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 581 of them this year alone and, so far, 81 this month (June 26).

From This Moment On ...

June

Mon 27: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 28: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Dean Stockdale, Paul Grainger, Sid White.

Wed 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 29: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 29: Four @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 29: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 30: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 30: 58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:30pm.
Thu 30: Lights Out By Nine @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 8:30pm. Free.
Thu 30: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 30: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

July

Fri 01: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 01: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 01: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 01: Swing Manouche @ The Vault, Hexham. 7:30pm (doors). £20.00.
Fri 01: 1920s Speakeasy w live jazz @ The Exchange, North Shields. 8:00pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Fri 01: Struggle Buggy @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. Blind Pig Blues Club. 8:00pm.

Sat 02: Hot Fingers @ St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. £10.00.
Sat 02: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor Steve Glendinning: Latin jazz. £25.00. Enrol at: www.jazz.coop.
Sat 02: Talk: Storytelling & jazz as an expression of urban life @ The Exchange, North Shields. 1:45pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sat 02: The Commandments + On Parole @ The Exchange, North Shields. 2:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event. Rhythm & blues.
Sat 02: Geordie Jazz Man @ The Exchange, North Shields. 5:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event. Screening of Abi Lewis’ documentary film about Keith Crombie & the Jazz Café.
Sat 02: The Delta Prophets Trio @ The Exchange, North Shields. 6:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event. Rhythm & blues.
Sat 02: Swing Manouche @ Claypath Deli, Durham. 7:00pm.
Sat 02: Swung Eight & King Bees @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event. Swing dance + ace Chicago blues band.
Sat 02: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Greenside Community Centre, Ryton. 7:30pm.
Sat 02: Patrick Cromb @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 03 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 03: Smokin’ Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm.
Sun 03: TBA @ The Exchange, North Shields. 2:00pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: Abbie Finn Trio @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: Wild Women of Wylam @ The Exchange, North Shields. 4:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 5:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: Jazz Jam @ The Exchange, North Shields. 6:30pm. A Blues, Jazz & Swing Festival event.
Sun 03: Jeffrey Hewer Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 04: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Album review: Asaf Harris: Walk of the Ducks

Asaf Harris (tenor/soprano sax); Nitzan Bar (guitar); Guy Moskovich (piano); Omri Hadani (double bass); David Sirkis (drums)

The first of two new albums on my to do list from BSH Editor in Chief, both from Israeli artists, offering an opportunity to reflect on the phenomenal jazz talent emerging from Tel Aviv and often achieving breakthrough in NYC and Europe.  The case in point here is the young sax player Asaf Harris making his debut on Ubuntu, with a band full of yet more talented Israeli players previously unknown to me.

Harris joins a several decades long list of compatriots such as Avishai Cohen (x2 – bass and trumpet), pianists Shai Maestro, Yonathan Avishai, Nitai Hershkovits and Anat Fort; Gilad Hekselman (guitar), Omer Avital (bass), drummers Ofri Nehemya, Asaf Sirkis, Ziv Ravitz and Anat Cohen (clarinet).  The Israeli style, if there is such a thing, is a melting pot of music from “Poland to Morocco”, drawing heavily on Arab and Middle Eastern folk idioms, strongly melodious and emotional, often in odd (to Western ears at least) meters.  This flow of talent leads to claims that “Israel is a true jazz superpower, with around 200 – and counting – musicians currently based in New York and dotted around Europe”  (LINK).

Starting with bass player Avishai Cohen’s catchy and wholesome brand of melodic Middle Eastern groove (e.g. 2011 Seven Seas), my own enjoyment of the genre has deepened with the distinctive voices of trumpeter Avishai Cohen (Playing the Room) and the and subtle compositions of Shai Maestro (Human).  

On the evidence of his debut here, Harris is a worthy addition to this remarkable lineage. His music is strongly and distinctively programmed, with memorable phrases, and while the “eastern” folk flavour is mostly absent, instead they deliver confident contemporary “power-jazz” alternating with calmer classical tinged acoustic passages. The band already have a distinctive voice, with game playing, dynamics and stop-starts keeping the listener guessing, as well as some glorious flat out blowing on sax and guitar.

The opening tracks Helen Court 2020 Movement I and II, refer to Harris’ home in Brooklyn. This must have been a hell of a place, as the music evokes drama to my ears completely inconsistent with a “home” – I guess he was inspired by the Covid crisis and street protests. Harris’ smooth, powerful tone opens, builds gradually with angular guitar solo and frenetic drumming to a climax more Brecker than Shorter. The second movement luxuriates with cinematic arpeggiated piano and sultry sax.

The Gate Keeper opens and closes with recordings of a street protest in Israel, reminding us of the other side of life in Israel. This merges with an exhilarating drum solo and on to a jaunty, fast-paced and subtle whole band workout. The excellent Reconnecting coolly states a melodic fragment on breathy sax, and then works it over, swapping lead between over-driven plangent guitar and sax, by turns impassioned and soothing.

The title track was inspired by a family of ducks walking the street in Tel Aviv. While I can imagine the ducks waddling along to the opening angular rhythm, they must have taken off at supersonic speed to invoke the later proggy blistering guitar runs and sax, reminiscent of Soft Machine in their pomp, with Nitzan Bar’s Allan Holdsworth homage to the fore.

Zoom Out is a refreshing contrast, showing these guys can swing, while the very strong Will She Shine? is a more intellectual study, with probing clean guitar stealing the show over some Ben Wendell flavoured tenor.  The closing Five Years Old starts straight out of the Avishai Cohen  play book with piano riff in 5, and packs achingly beautiful guitar, tenor and piano solos into a delightful and accessible 9 mins.

Altogether an exciting,  confident and distinctive album with enough subtlety, passion and groove for all listeners to find something to revel in.  One to enjoy now, as well as to look out for the next episode! Chris K

Release Date: 6 May 2022,  CD & Digital Formats Ubuntu UBU0109

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