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Bebop Spoken There

Tineke Postma: “ I had a huge crush on him [Sting] when I was a teenager ". Jazzwise, June 2024.

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.

Postage

16476 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 356 of them this year alone and, so far, 68 this month (May 24).

From This Moment On ...

May

Sun 26: Tyne Valley Youth Big Band @ The Sele, Hexham. 12:30pm. Free. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Bellavana @ Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay. 1:00pm. Whitley Bay Carnival (outdoor stage).
Sun 26: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Alice Grace @ The Sele, Hexham. 1:30pm. Free. Alice Grace w. Joe Steels, Paul Susans & John Hirst.
Sun 26: Bryony Jarman-Pinto @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Clark Tracey Quintet @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Saltburn Big Band @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 26: SARÃB @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Mon 27: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 28: Bold Big Band @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Wed 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 29: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 29: Jazz Night @ The Tannery, Hexham. 7:00-9:00pm. Free. The first night of a new jam session!
Wed 29: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 30: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 30: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 30: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests Josh Bentham (sax); Neil Brodie (trumpet); Garry Hadfield (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass);

Fri 31: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 31: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 31: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 31: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Fri 31: Borealis @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm. CANCELLED!
Fri 31: Redwell @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

June

Sat 01: Enrico Tomasso’s Swing Company @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club.
Sat 01: Play More Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Steve Glendinning.
Sat 01: Hop, Skiffle & Jump: The Story of Skiffle @ 1719, Hendon, Sunderland. 6:00-9:00pm.
Sat 01: Lindsay Hannon’s Tom Waits for No Man @ Dry Water Arts, Amble. 7:00pm. £15.00.
Sat 01: John Garner & John Pope @ Victoria Tunnel, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Sat 01: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

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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