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Bebop Spoken There

Charles McPherson: “Jazz is best heard in intimate places”. (DownBeat, July, 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.


16611 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 1504 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (July 23).

From This Moment On ...


Thu 25: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 25: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Garry Hadfield (keys); Noel Dennis (tpt); Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Adrian Beadnell (bass).
Thu 25: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

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: Bailiwick + Sleep Suppressor + Christie/Chan @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors 6:30pm). ‘Experimental evening of jazz, punk and jazz-punk’.
Fri 26: Nomade Swing Trio @ Repas7 by Night, Berwick. 7:30pm. Free.
Fri 26: Stuart Turner @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Fri 26: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Fri 26: Bold Big Band @ Old Coal Yard, Byker, Newcastle. 9:30pm. A Newcastle Fringe Festival event.

Sat 27: BBC Proms: BBC Introducing stage @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 12 noon. Free. Line-up inc. Nu Groove (2:00pm); Abbie Finn Trio (2:50pm); Dilutey Juice (3:50pm); SwanNek (5:00pm); Rivkala (6:00pm).
Sat 27: Nomade Swing Trio @ Billy Bootlegger’s, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sat 27: Mississippi Dreamboats @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 27: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Sat 27: Theon Cross + Knats @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 10:00pm. £22.00. BBC Proms: BBC Introducing Stage (Sage Two). A late night gig.

Sun 28: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 28: Miss Jean & the Ragtime Rewind Swing Band @ Fonteyn Ballroom, Dunelm House (Durham Students’ Union), Durham. 2:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Sun 28: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, Union Quay, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Nomade Swing Trio @ Red Lion, Alnmouth. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Jazz Jam Sandwich! @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 28: Jeffrey Hewer Collective @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 28: Milne Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Mon 29: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 30: ???

Wed 31: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 31: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 31: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Friday, July 08, 2022

Album review: Theo Croker Quartet, Berliner Philharmoniker, Magnus Lindgren: Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic XII - Sketches of Miles

Theo Croker (trumpet);  Danny Grissett (piano); Joshua Ginsburg (double bass); Gregory Hutchinson (drums) + Berliner Philharmoniker w. Magnus Lindgren (conductor, tenor sax, flute)  

Jazz collisions with orchestras are not always happy occasions as the loss of small group intimacy and interplay may not be compensated by the extra symphonic power and variety. I placed much of the recent venture by Avishai Cohen (bass) with the Gothenburg Symphony in this category (REVIEW HERE). I feared the worst for this expanded take on Miles as well, but it turned out the Berliners under Magnus Lindgren had it sorted, as they have experience at these collaborations, with a series of recordings, most recently with a Mingus Centenary (REVIEW HERE) with the  same pianist and drummer. This album is a recording of a live concert in 2021 in honour of Miles, who played at the venue at the first Jazzfest Berlin in 1964, returning eight times.

The lead role is taken by Theo Croker, familiar to me as a post-bop player dabbling in electronica and hip-hop,  and revered by my son for his exciting and virtuosic modern style. Croker was born in Florida 1985, grandson of legendary trumpeter Doc Cheatham, resident in Shanghai for seven years before returning to the US.  In his seventh album, 2022's Love Quantum (MASTERWORKS MSWK988249.2), he makes the bold proclamation: "Long live music, jazz is dead" so I was curious to hear his genre-defying take on classic Miles!   I needn’t have worried, as Croker counts a sensitive, warm tone in his armoury, allowing an authentic and respectful contribution to this Miles retrospective, while still stretching the idiom with interesting technical and artistic updates.

The first of two CDs is a set of classics from Miles Davis‘ late fifties band while for the second  the Philharmonic join for three suites from “orchestral albums” Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain.  The first set of small ensemble tunes are a delight, casting fresh light on the classics. Croker’s superb technique gives an extra dimension, with sensitive and inventive soloing from all, jet propelled when needed by explosive drumming. Pinocchio runs smoothly into Milestones, followed by a glorious 12 minute exposition of Footprints, starting as a languid stroll,  building to piano and drum solos which brought the house down.  I’ve chewed over Footprints a lot recently, with a muscular live version by Knats and a sublime run through from Herbie  Hancock at Glasto with Terence Blanchard, and I have to say the Berliners topped the lot. My Funny Valentine luxuriates (perhaps too much!) over a relaxed 11 minutes, before So What charges off at a satisfying lick, with Lindgren adding rollicking tenor.

The second CD’s augmented arrangements are a natural extension to the originals, more big band than Philharmonic, with plenty of space and visibility for the quartet. Sketches of Spain has some work to do to match the original, but manages new ideas and spectacular breathy trumpet  while retaining the original cool.  The album closes with a sparky ten minute All Blues which holds the interest with powerful solos and thoughtful addition of Lindgren on flute.

While Miles famously wouldn’t return to his classics, there are certainly some enjoyable and new angles in this top class live homage. Chris K

ACT 9948-2 release August, 26, double-cd, double-lp & digital.

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