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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.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Barbara Gracey Thompson MBE: 27 July 1944 - 9 July 2022

What follows is a personal tribute and not an obituary.  Barbara Thompson and her Paraphernalia provided my first introduction to jazz as a student in the late 1970s/early 1980s.  The Solent Suite at Southampton Guildhall was the venue. I can still picture the subterranean space, where I and a couple of student (and now lifelong) friends sat with our beers listening to Paraphernalia performing tracks from Wilde Tales.  After the gig a vinyl copy of the album (no CDs then) was duly purchased from what is now known as the “Merch” table.  I still have the disc.

My next encounter with the band was probably when I had moved to work in the north east in the old Royal Infirmary at Sunderland.  This is where I met my wife and she and I saw Barbara Thompson and Paraphernalia at the Darlington Arts Centre. This encounter provided my wife’s introduction to Jazz.

We later moved to the Tyne Valley and were able to see the band in Queen’s Hall, Hexham – the almost perfect small (but not too small) venue for jazz. The album du jour was Breathless, which I am listening to as I write.  On the inside of the CD insert, in red marker pen, are the treasured signatures of Barbara Thompson and Jon Hiseman.

It was a great shock to hear in 1997 that Barbara Thompson had developed Parkinson’s Disease, the effects of which she courageously overcame to continue composing and teaching.  Indeed, despite initially having to withdraw from playing, she was subsequently able to contribute to several recordings.

A poignant moment for me was the 2020 release of Journey to a Destination Unknown:  Barbara Thompson MBE – The autobiographical story of her musical life (ISBN 978-1-9163206-2-8).  This is a beautifully presented hardback book and gives a fascinating insight into Barbara’s life. I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in Barbara Thompson and her music.

Barbara Thompson MBE will be sorely missed.  In her lifetime she made a fantastic contribution to jazz and the musical life of this country and elsewhere.

Requiescat in pace. 

Hugh C

Link to Alyn Shipton tribute (see comment).

8 comments :

Jude Murphy (on F/b) said...

Oh hell, not unexpected I guess but very sad nonetheless. The Paraphernalia album was also the first jazz record I bought. An inspirational musician.

Richard Emmerson (on F/b) said...

I was at the Darlington Arts Centre gig. She was a fantastic musician and obviously very courageous at dealing with her illness. I love her playing in the David Jason series A Touch of Frost. She will be missed.

Chris Kilsby said...

A sad day, but the end of a fabulous career, not only as a player and composer, but as a genuine star. She and the amazing Jon Hiseman were surely the power couple of UK jazz: looks, talent, energy...the works. I saw then twice as a student in Sheffield in the early 80s, with a large and appreciative "cross over" audience, pulling people like me in from guitar blues/rock. These were the heady days of Weather Report and other bands who seemed to do their own thing, mixing jazz, blues, rock, just making great music. And she was in the vanguard: looking back, it doesn't get much better than she (and Paraphernalia) was!
Chris K

John Hudson (on F/b) said...

Saw/heard her in the early days with the New Jazz Orchestra and at the Torrington Jazz Club, North Finchley, with Art Theman. Progressed from there to become a top class, great musician......R.I.P.

Hugh said...

A warm tribute from Alyn Shipton: https://www.jazzwise.com/news/article/barbara-thompson-27-july-1944-9-july-2022

Peter Bevan said...

I can only endorse these comments but thought Hugh and Richard might appreciate a note that the Darlington Arts Centre concert was in October 1986, part of our first Darlington Jazz Festival. I'll try and send a copy of the flyer to Lance separately.
There were too few performances in this area but I also have a note that I saw Barbara with Paraphernalia in February 1992 at the Dovecote Arts Centre in Stockton, then in October that year at the Inn Off The Park, Middlesbrough and finally at the Arc in Stockton in October 2000.
As well as the biography that Hugh comments on I'd also recommend the wonderful CD set, Barbara Thompson Live at the BBC, which was issued a couple of years ago. The 27 complete radio shows range from a superb New Jazz Orchestra set and a quintet with Art Themen to a host of performances by Paraphernalia showing how it developed over the years.

Hugh said...

Thanks, Peter: 1986, yes, that date would concur with when I was at the gig.

Steve Andrews said...

I remember we booked Barbara Thompson and her band at Washington Jazz Club (Biddick Farm Arts Centre). I can't remember the date, but I'm guessing 1980-ish. A very impressive and individual saxophonist who went on to have a great career, though sadly blighted by illness.

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