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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.

Postage

16382 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 262 of them this year alone and, so far, 59 this month (April 20).

From This Moment On ...

April

Mon 22: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 23: Vieux Carre Hot 4 @ Victoria & Albert Inn, Seaton Delaval. 12:30-3:30pm. £12.00. ‘St George’s Day Afternoon Tea’. Gig with ‘Lashings of Victoria Sponge Cake, along with sandwiches & scones’.
Tue 23: Jalen Ngonda @ Newcastle University Students’ Union. POSTPONED!

Wed 24: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 24: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 24: Sinatra: Raw @ Darlington Hippodrome. 7:30pm. Richard Shelton.
Wed 24: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 24: Death Trap @ Theatre Royal, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Rambert Dance Co. Two pieces inc. Goat (inspired by the music of Nina Simone) with on-stage musicians.

Thu 25: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 25: Jim Jams @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 1:15pm. Jim Jams’ funk collective.
Thu 25: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 25: Death Trap @ Theatre Royal, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Rambert Dance Co. Two pieces inc. Goat (inspired by the music of Nina Simone) with on-stage musicians.
Thu 25: Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Jazz Orchestra @ Arc, Stockton. 8:00pm.
Thu 25: Kate O’Neill, Alan Law & Paul Grainger @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 25: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Neil Brodie (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass); Garry Hadfield (keys).

Fri 26: Graham Hardy Quartet @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 26: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 26: Paul Skerritt with the Danny Miller Big Band @ Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Fri 26: Abbie Finn’s Finntet @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. Opus 4 Jazz Club.

Sat 27: Abbie Finn Trio @ The Vault, Darlington. 6:00pm. Free.
Sat 27: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 28: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: More Jam Festival Special @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free. A ’10 Years a Co-op’ festival event.
Sun 28: Swing Dance workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00-4:00pm. Free (registration required). A ’10 Years a Co-op’ festival event.
Sun 28: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox: The '10' Tour @ Glasshouse International Centre for Music, Gateshead. 7:30pm. £41.30 t0 £76.50.
Sun 28: Alligator Gumbo @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ’10 Years a Co-op’ festival event.
Sun 28: Jerron Paxton @ The Cluny, Newcastle. Blues, jazz etc.

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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