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Bebop Spoken There

Roy DuNann: "I would have sent him [Ornette Coleman] home ... It wasn't music at all for me" (JazzTimes May 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! --


14264 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 483 of them this year alone and, so far, 83 this month (May 26).

From This Moment On ...


Sat 28: Whitley Bay Carnival: Northern Monkey Brass Band (1:00-1:45pm & 4:00-4:45pm); Baghdaddies (2:00-2:45pm & 5:00-5:45pm) @ Spanish City Plaza Arena, Whitley Bay. Northern Monkey Brass Band (2:30-2:45pm) @ Rainbow Corner (Marine Ave.), Whitley Bay.

Sun 29 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 29: Musicians Unlimited @ Hartlepool United Supporters’ Club, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 29: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 29: Groovetrain @ Tyne Bar, Newcastle. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 29: Zoë Gilby Quartet @ Allendale Village Hall, Northumberland. 7:30pm.
Sun 29: Two of a Mind: Sue Ferris-Steve Summers Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00 adv., £12.00. door.
Sun 29: Jam session @ Fabio's Bar, Durham. 8:00pm. A Durham Uni Jazz Soc event. All welcome.
Sun 29: Cedric Burnside @ Cluny, Newcastle. Superb Mississippi hill country blues!

Mon 30: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 31: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Stu Collingwood, Paul Grainger, Rob Walker.


Wed 01: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 01: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 01: Four @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 01: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 02: The Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Walled Garden, Gibside National Trust, NE16 6BG. 12.30 - 3.30pm.
Thu 02: (?) Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 02: House of the Back Gardenia @ Gilsland Village Hall. 7:00pm.
Thu 02: The Blues Band @ Whitley Bay Playhouse. 7:30pm.
Thu 02: Thursday Night Prayer Meeting @ The Globe, Newcastle. Featured performers: Tony Bevan & Williwaw. 7:30pm. Free admission (donations). Upstairs.
Thu 02: Atom Eyes @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 02: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 02: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 03: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 03: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 03: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 03: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Bywell Hall, Stocksfield. 2:00pm.
Fri 03: Sam Braysher Trio @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm. Braysher, Matyas Gayer, John Williamson.
Fri 03: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Vault, Hexham. 7:30pm (doors). £15.00.
Fri 03: Lee Bates @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Blind Pig Blues Club.

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Cheltenham Jazz Festival: Saving Grace featuring Robert Plant @ Henry Weston Big Top - May 1

Robert Plant (vocals, percussion); Suzi Dian (vocals, accordion, guitar); Matt Worley (various string instruments, vocals); Tony Kelsey (various string instruments, vocals); Oli Jefferson (drums, percussion, vocals).

Every year Cheltenham stretches the boundaries of jazz beyond the recognition of almost everyone, sometimes giving a bog-standard chart act the Great American Songbook to take a stab at, or some other deception. Most festivals do this, but Cheltenham really stretches it, but it gets the crowds in and enables it to get all-sorts of jazz on.


I’ve struggled to make any real connection between Robert Plant and jazz, except I think he contributed to some ‘serious’ music, and – as one of the biggest stars on the planet – I doubt anybody was going to persuade him to do a bunch of Frank Sinatra songs.

Britain’s first great rock band Cream were the amalgamation of a blues wannabe and two established jazz musicians, one of them – years later - claiming they weren’t a rock band but a jazz band. The first and greatest ever American rock bands – Hendrix, Zappa, Beefheart, Santana – were all more or less equal parts blues and jazz, as were the early British progressive rock bands: Soft Machine, Jethro Tull and King Crimson.

By the time we get to Led Zeppelin in 1969, we’re really down to the blues, with an evolving folk influence from around 1971.


Strictly speaking, I was too young for Led Zeppelin, but luckily – or unluckily depending on your point of view – my brother and his mates weren’t, or at least they knew people who weren’t. Led Zeppelin marked a change from the music of my parents and older siblings to the music of my nearest siblings.


This was not a gig for taking notes, wedged into a child’s seat amongst thousands more sardines. It’s worth noting – in this Queen obsessed country – that Robert Plant was the singer in – depending on how you count - the second most successful group ever (behind the Beatles) and the sixth most successful act ever (add Elvis, Michael Jackson, Elton and Madonna).


That was over four decades ago and in recent years he’s found considerable success singing alongside American bluegrass/ folk singer Alison Krause, the only albums I’ve heard by him since Led Zeppelin. I’d assumed Portuguese singer Suzi Dian would simply take the place of Krause but didn’t particularly recognise any of the songs from their two albums. She arrived playing accordion and would later play guitar briefly; it was hardly necessary or audible. Plant is used to playing with three musicians who could create an enormous amount of sound; Rick Wakeman once said that Led Zeppelin sounded like there was ten of them. This band were the same playing amplified acoustic instruments.


The nearest I can think of is When the Levee Breaks which closes the album Led Zeppelin Four Symbols.


After the first song, Matt Worley’s tech swapped his guitar for a banjo and I thought this is the connection to jazz. Plant would later say he used to go to a record shop ran by a John Coltrane expert and – later still – that he’d known many people who smoked folk or jazz cigarettes. He was charismatic, funny and often seemed forgetful but assured us he knew exactly what he was doing, occasionally swearing but without it sounding forced and pathetic.

I listen to lots of white, male singers who I forgive, but he’s one of maybe half a dozen who I actually like. He didn’t scream at all and his voice was deeper than in the seventies, but was still sounding good and held his own against the fabulous Dian. Mostly it was duets but she took the lead on a couple, including one from the last ten years. However, the songs were mostly historic, some even older than the Yardbirds he claimed. One via late twenties country blues titan Blind Willie Johnson, another from Ireland via Kentucky, a cover of a song by California hippies Moby and another from vintage blues artist Memphis Minnie via Donovan.

The music was a mix of southern church music (avoiding the oxymoron white gospel), early blues, country, bluegrass and rock and he observed he’d found himself in a folk group, referencing the Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention and finishing the set with one by one of the Fairport’s favourite alumni Richard Thompson, Dian singing the choruses of Aretha’s Chain of Fools and Bobby Moore’s Searching for my Love, which features on the latest Plant/Krause album.


Finishing time had passed but I imagine, if you’re Robert Plant, such things don’t trouble you, and the audience weren’t going anywhere until we’d had at least a yell from the Led Zeppelin songbook. The encore came and went and we got the five of them huddled at the front of the stage singing something à cappella which I’m guessing was called Goodbye. Still nobody was going anywhere until he begged them to turn the house (big top) lights on.


Everybody seemed to forgive him.  Steve T

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