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Bebop Spoken There

Charles Lloyd: "I'm raring to go out to play, because I know I'll find something to explain the inexplicable." (DownBeat August 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, Mouthpiece Music: "Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"

Postage

14454 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 732 of them this year alone and, so far, 30 this month (August 11).

From This Moment On ...

August

Mon 15: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 15: Stu Collingwood Organ Trio @ Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. Blaydon Jazz Club.

Tue 16: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Durham. 7:00pm. Free (to reserve a table phone 0191 386 5556).

Wed 17: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 17: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 17: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 17: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 18: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 18: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 3:00-5:00pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 18: Castillo Nuevo @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30-8:30pm.
Thu 18: Newcastle Jazz Festival @ Bridge Hotel, Newcastle. Strictly Smokin’ Big Band. 7:00pm. Free (four-day festival ticket £40.00.). www.newcastlejazzfestival.co.uk.
Thu 18: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm. Guests: Dave Archbold (keys); Dan Johnson (sax); Josh Bentham (sax); Bill Watson (trumpet); Ron Smith (bass)

Fri 19: Jo Harrop & Jamie McCredie @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT!
Fri 19: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 19: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 19: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 19: Jo Harrop & Jamie McCredie @ St Cuthbert’s Centre, Crook. 7:30pm.
Fri 19: Newcastle Jazz Festival @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Harry Keeble Duo + Northern Monkey Brass Band. £15.00. (four-day festival ticket £40.00.). www.newcastlejazzfestival.co.uk.
Fri 19: Mo Scott @ The Millstone, South Gosforth, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Scott w Gary Dunn, Neil Harland & Paul Smith.

Sat 20: Newcastle Jazz Festival @ Tyne Bank Brewery, Newcastle. All day event (from 1:30pm): Riviera Effect + Alter Ego + Graham Hardy Quartet + Jo Harrop & Jamie McCredie + Ivo Neame Quartet. £17.00. (four-day festival ticket £40.00.). www.newcastlejazzfestival.co.uk.
Sat 20: Anth Purdy @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free (donations).

Sun 21 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 21: Newcastle Jazz Festival @ Tyne Bank Brewery, Newcastle. All day event (from 1:30pm): Lindsay Hannon & Alan Law + Knats + David Gray’s Flextet + Ben Gilbert Trio + Emma Rawicz. £17.00. (four-day festival ticket £40.00.). www.newcastlejazzfestival.co.uk.
Sun 21: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Alice Grace Quartet: “Weavers of Dreams” @ the Gala Theatre, Durham - May 27

(© Malcolm Sinclair)

Alice Grace (voice); Mark Williams (guitar); Paul Grainger (double bass); Abbie Finn (drums)

Posters for Ballet Cymru’s forthcoming adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream dominated the foyer at the Gala. But different dreams were on the menu for the midday May Gala audience – summoned up by the enthralling Alice Grace Quartet.

The programme promised “toe-tapping medium swing and stirring ballads” and we were not to be disappointed. After the gently swinging Nat King Cole ballad opener A Weaver of Dreams treated the audience to both her remarkable voice and the superb interplay of her band, Alice invited the audience to join in with voice and feet to the opening riff of the upbeat Horace Silver classic Sister Sadie. This had the audience engaged in every sense, although Sadie’s encounter with Alphonso Brown seems hardly the stuff of dreams. Both songs gave Alice the opportunity to feature her scat singing and Mark his solo dexterity.

The tempo (and temperature) came back down for Blame it on my Youth, another Nat Cole reference, for me the pick of the set. Alice’s voice was crystal clear, Mark’s solo had the audience entranced, Paul’s melodic solo and Abbie’s gently understated brushes added to the perfection. A pin could have dropped, so captivated was the audience.

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
Alice’s set-list revealed her influences, although the interpretation was always hers. Devil May Care, (Billie?), then the promised Ella tribute in Love me or Leave me, followed by a strong nod to Sarah Vaughan with If I Knew Then What I Know Now, the latter returning to the dream theme (and the beauty of hindsight) with the line “If I had only taken your dreams and made them part of mine”. More dreaming on Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Mercer’s I Thought About You (Miles, but also Ella again) with “Moon shining down on some little town, And with each beam, the same old dream”. And Nat Cole again with the “a little shy and sad of eye” Nature Boy, to conclude the set.

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
It’s difficult to say what was best about the music; Alice’s voice and vocalese, Mark’s exquisite guitar backing and intense solos, Paul’s melodic bass, or Abbie’s sensitive percussion. Or was it rather the interplay of these four accomplished musicians weaving their own musical tapestries? I missed Alice’s ‘old’ quartet when they first appeared at Durham’s (now closed) Empty Shop, but the current band made an impressive Gala debut and will be certainly enthusiastically welcomed back. For now the next concert is back to Midsummer (Midsummer’s Day, June 24) featuring two of today’s dream weavers in the Abbie  Finntet. Get your tickets now - it certainly won’t disappoint. Brian E  

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