Total Pageviews

Bebop Spoken There

Wendell Brunious: "Because the blues is not 1,4 and 5 or 1,4,5,2,1. You could wake up with a flat tyre or a headache this morning, that's the blues, man" - (DownBeat, Oct. 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!"


15878 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 885 of them this year alone and, so far, 83 this month (Sept. 30).

From This Moment On ...


Mon 02: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 02: FILM: Wattstax; 50th Anniversary @ Forum Cinema, Hexham. 8:00pm.

Tue 03: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Hallgarth St., Durham DH1 3AT. 7:00pm. Paul Skerritt's (solo) weekly residency.
Tue 03: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Michael Young (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Sid White (drums). CANCELLED!

Wed 04: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 04: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 04: Paul Skerritt @ Vespa Italian Bar & Steakhouse, Primrose Hill, Jarrow. From 7:00pm. To book a table - 0191 483 3355.
Wed 04: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 05: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 05: Sound the Trumpets @ King's Hall, Newcastle University. 1:15pm. Free.
Thu 05: Hot Club du Nord @ The Lubetkin Theatre, Peterlee. 7:00pm. £10.00. POSTPONED!
Thu 05: Thursday Night Prayer Meeting @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Thu 05: Tommy Bentz Trio + Mark Croft Duo + George Shovlin & George Lamb @ The Harbour View, Sunderland. 8:00pm. Free. Harbour View Speakeasy's USA blues double bill + Shovlin & Lamb!
Thu 05: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.
Thu 05: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 06: Alcyona Mick @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 06: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 06: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 06: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 06: WORKSHOP: Philosophy of Arts & Entertainment @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 2:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 06: Balo @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 6:20pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 06: Paul Skerritt @ 3Sixty Champagne Lounge, Hadrian’s Tower, Newcastle. From 7:00pm. To book a table - 0191 933 8591.
Fri 06: Lexer/Mayes/Noble + Semay Wu + Miman @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 7:20pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 06: Dulcie May Moreno @ The Vault, Hexham. 7:30pm. £20.00. Book in advance. Moreno with Alan Law, Paul Grainger & John Bradford.
Fri 06: Dean Stockdale Quartet @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm. 'Celebrating Oscar'.
Fri 06: Nu Brass Sounds: Big Brass Bash @ Billy Bootlegger’s, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free.
Fri 06: TBC @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Blind Pig Blues Club. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.

Sat 07: WORKSHOP: Philosophy of Arts & Entertainment @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 10:15am. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 07: Hot Club du Nord @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm.
Sat 07: Bugge & Niccols + Moore & Fairhall @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 07: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Steve Glendinning - All the Things You Are. £25.00. Enrol at:
Sat 07: Abbie Finn Trio @ The Vault, Darlington. 6:00pm. Free.
Sat 07: Rie Nakajima @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 6:20pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 07: Paul Skerritt @ 3Sixty Champagne Lounge, Hadrian’s Tower, Newcastle. From 7:00pm. To book a table - 0191 933 8591.
Sat 07: Samuel Blaser Trio + Toxvaerd & Zeeberg + Muramatsu & Welch @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 7:20pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 07: Anth Purdy @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 07: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. £3.00.

Sun 08: Zoë Gilby Quintet + Ubunye @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Line-up inc. Tony Kofi. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sun 08: Tommy Bentz Band @ Tyne Bar, Newcastle. 4:00pm. Free. USA blues band.

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).


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:

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.

Blog Archive