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Bebop Spoken There

Billy Boy Arnold: “As long as you don't think old you're good.” - DownBeat, December, 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!"

Simon Spillett: A lovely review from the dean of jazz bloggers, Lance Liddle...


16051 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 1058 of them this year alone and, so far, 12 this month (Dec. 6).

From This Moment On ...


Sun 10: Musicians Unlimited’s Xmas Party with Zoë Gilby Quartet @ Park Inn, Hartlepool. MU 1:00-3:00pm; Zoë Gilby Quartet 4:00-6:00pm. Tickets: £7.50.
Sun 10: Alan Law, Paul Grainger & Abbie Finn @ Darlington Market, Market Square, Darlington. 1:00pm. Free. A ‘Christmas Market’ outdoor gig. Wrap up warm!
Sun 10: Am Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00-4:00pm. Free.
Sun 10: Funk Soul Sista @ Stack, Seaburn. 5:00-7:00pm. Free.
Sun 10: Beth Clarke @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 10: Hayley's Little Big Band @ Whittingham Memorial Institute, Alnwick. 7:30pm. £12.00., £10.00.
Sun 10: Tele-Port @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Line-up inc. Zhenya Strigalev.

Mon 11: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 11: Interim Final Recitals @ Newcastle University. Details TBC.

Tue 12: Stu Collingwood Organ Trio @ Forum Music Centre, Darlington. 7:00pm. £10.00.

Wed 13: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 13: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 13: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 13: Bold Big Band @ Cluny 2, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 13: Giles Strong Quartet @ Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 14: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 14: Hot Fingers @ The Lubetkin Theatre, Peterlee. 7:00pm. £10.00.
Thu 14: After Hours Student Jazz Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 14: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. . Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 14: Niffi Osiyemi Trio @ Harbour View, Sunderland. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 14: Mo Scott ‘Little Mo’s Festive Appearance’ @ The Schooner, Gateshead. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 14: Tees Hot Club w. Kevin Eland, Josh Bentham, Garry Hadfield, Adrian Beadnell @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 15: Paul Edis @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT!
Fri 15: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 15: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 15: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 15: Paul Skerritt @ Black Horse Inn, Crook. From 7:00pm.
Fri 15: Paul Edis: A Jazzy Christmas @ St Cuhtbert's Centre, Crook. 7:30pm. £15.00. SOLD OUT! Waiting list open.
Fri 15: Zoë Gilby Trio @ Seventeen Nineteen, Hendon, Sunderland. 7:30pm. £12.00. POSTPONED!
Fri 15: Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle. 8:00pm. First night of two.
Fri 15: Darlington Big Band @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. £10.00. Opus 4 Jazz Club.
Fri 15: Baghdaddies @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £14.00.; £10.00.

Sat 16: Paul Edis: A Jazzy Christmas @ Sage Gateshead. 2:00pm. A Jazzy Christmas + Jambone.
Sat 16: Porritt & Barrett & Friends Xmas Special @ Cullercoats Watch House. 7:00pm. £4.00.
Sat 16: Milne-Glendinning Band @ The Vault, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free.
Sat 16: Red Kites Jazz Band @ The Staithes Café, Gateshead. 7:00pm--9:00pm.
Sat 16: Hayley's Little Big Band @ Ellingham Village Hall, Chathill. 7:30pm. £12.00., £8.00.
Sat 16: Paul Edis: A Jazzy Christmas @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Sat 16: Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Second night of two.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Book review: Billie Holiday – The Graphic Novel by Ebony Gilbert, David Calcano and Lindsay Lee

That word ‘novel’ carries a lot of baggage here. Of course the most famous fictionalised account of Billie Holiday’s life is her own autobiography Lady Sings The Blues with it’s famous opening, Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was eighteen, she was seventeen, and I was three.

Cartoonist Keith Knight provides a raison d’etre for this book in his foreword. It’s about teaching history through comics. ‘Dynamic stories like this need to be told in dynamic ways….Comix do that’ a teacher says.

Like Lady Sings The Blues this biography aims to capture a milieu rather than presenting the life as a series of events and it is graphic in both senses of the word in that it’s a picture book and it doesn’t shy away from depictions of drug use, overt and secondary racism, violence, imprisonment and alcoholism . All of the major musical characters are in there, (Lester Young, Artie Shaw and Count Basie) along with the predators who profited from her talent.

We follow her from prostitution in the back streets to Carnegie Hall through all of her ups and downs, her loves and losses, her adulation in France and being made to ride the hotel’s freight elevator back in the USA because ‘the guests are uncomfortable with negroes taking the public elevator’.

Billie is front and centre in most of the frames; several pictures fill a whole large (25cm x 25cm ) page with full page portraits of Young and Basie in particular. Billie’s in concert pictures are striking, with her surrendering to the music, reaching out, eyes closed. The dominant tones are purple and lilac with occasional splashes of red. Reminisces and flashbacks are in shades of brown sepia.

It is a book that repays a second look. There aren’t many words in it, (probably as many as are in this review) but the images reward a revisit. Whilst the detail is often limited there is an energy and movement to many of the images, not least those covering the violence inflicted on Holiday, both by her manager/lover, Louis Guy, and during her time in prison.

Throughout the book there are listening suggestions highlighted within the story (Easy Living, Them There Eyes, Strange Fruit, God Bless The Child, Good Morning Heartache, All of Me) which should send the reader to their online music provider to help them realise what Lady Day was all about, and why we still care about her, though I cheated and listened to an extended edition of Lady in Satin.

It’s a good idea to represent black icons in a way that makes their lives accessible to new generations and I enjoyed this book more than the last book I read about Billie Holiday (John Szwed’s Billie Holiday – The Musician and the Myth, which is a bit hit and myth). The bibliography at the end of The Graphic Novel refers to With Billie by Julia Blackburn and I would recommend that tome along with Stuart Nicholson’s biography of her if you want a more detailed, and true, telling of the story. Dave Sayer

Billie Holiday – The Graphic Novel by Ebony Gilbert, David Calcano and Lindsay Lee published by Fantoons; Illustrated edition (2021) (ISBN-10:1970047135, ISBN-13:978-1970047134)

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