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Bebop Spoken There

Lakecia Benjamin: "From my early days with Clark Terry, he told me 'they see you before they hear you'... I'm just not from that school of thought where I'm gonna wear my jeans and T-shirt on stage and that's going to be respectable." - (Jazzwise, February 2023)

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!"


15056 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 75 of them this year alone and, so far, 75 this month (Jan. 25).

From This Moment On ...


Sat 28: Tyneside Improvisers Workshop @ Ye Olde Cross, Ryton. 2:00-4:00pm. All welcome.
Sat 28: Secular Sounds in a Sacred Place @ Holy Cross Church, Ryton. 4:30-7:00pm. £10.00. Continuous performance featuring: Christian Alderson, Faye MacCalman, Sally Pilkington, John Pope. Event preceded by a Tyneside Improvisers Workshop (2:00pm, see above).
Sat 28: Entartete Musik @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. A Brundibár Arts Festival event.

Sun 29: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.

Sat 28: Revolutionaires @ Brandling Villa, South Gosforth, Newcastle. 9:00pm. Rhythm & blues band.

Sun 29: Musicians Unlimited @ Park Inn, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 29: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 29: Revolutionaires @ Greens, Low Row, Sunderland. 6:00pm. Rhythm & blues band with a horn section (inc. Pete Tanton).
Sun 29: Hypnotic Brass Band @ Cluny, Newcastle. 7:00pm (doors). £20.00.
Sun 29: Jam No.12 @ Fabio's, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. Durham University Jazz Society jam session. All welcome (students & non-students).
Sun 29: Origin @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 30: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 31: ???


Wed 01: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 01: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 01: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 01: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 01: Moonlight Serenade Orchestra UK: Glenn Miller & Big Band Spectacular @ Darlington Hippodrome. 7:30pm.

Thu 02: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 02: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 2:30-4:30pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 02: Paul Skerritt Duo @ Tomahawk Steakhouse, High St., Yarm. 8:00pm.
Thu 02: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

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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