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Bebop Spoken There

Raymond Chandler: “ I was walking the floor and listening to Khatchaturian working in a tractor factory. He called it a violin concerto. I called it a loose fan belt and the hell with it ". The Long Goodbye, Penguin 1959.

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.


16350 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 230 of them this year alone and, so far, 27 this month (April 11).

From This Moment On ...


Sat 13: Giles Strong Quartet @ Claypath Deli, Durham. 7:00-9:00pm. £10.00.
Sat 13: Phantom Bagman + Forgetmenots @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:30pm.£5.00. + bf. Upstairs.
Sat 13: Rockin’ Turner Brothers @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Downstairs.

Sun 14: Am Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 14: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 14: Alan Law, Jude Murphy & Tim Johnston @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 14: JazzMain @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 15: Dave Newton @ Yamaha Music School, Seaforth St., Blyth NE24 1AY. 1:00 - 1:45pm. £8.00. + bf. Newton, solo piano.
Mon 15: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 15: Hideout @ Cluny 2, Newcastle. 7:00pm. £7.50 + £1.33 bf. Feat. Sleep Suppressor + Flat Moon.
Mon 15: Russ Morgan Quartet @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00.

Tue 16: The Horne Section’s Hit Show @ Middlesbrough Town Hall. 7:30pm.
Tue 16: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Bradley Johnston, Paul Grainger, Bailey Rudd.

Wed 17: Bailey Rudd (Minor Recital) @ The Music Studios, Haymarket Lane, Newcastle University. 11:40am. Bailey Rudd (drums). Open to the public.
Wed 17: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 17: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 17: The Horne Section’s Hit Show @ The Gala, Durham. 7:30pm. SOLD OUT!
Wed 17: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 18: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 18: NONUNONU @ Elder Beer Café, Chillingham Road, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Thu 18: Knats @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 8:00pm (doors 7:30pm). £8.00. + bf. Support act TBC.
Thu 18: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Ragtime piano.
Thu 18: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guest band night with Just Friends: Ian Bosworth (guitar); Donna Hewitt (sax); Dave Archbold (keys); Ron Smith (bass); Mark Hawkins (drums).

Fri 19: Cia Tomasso @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. ‘Cia Tomasso sings Billie Holiday’. SOLD OUT!
Fri 19: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 19: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 19: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 19: Lindsay Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man @ Seventeen Nineteen, Hendon, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Fri 19: Levitation Orchestra + Nauta @ Cluny 2, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors). £11.00.
Fri 19: Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 8:00pm. ‘Ella & Ellington’.

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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