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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 ...


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: Tweed River Jazz Band @ The Radio Rooms, Berwick. 7:00pm (doors). £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’.

Sat 20: Record Store Day…at a store near you!
Sat 20: Bright Street Band @ Washington Arts Centre. 6:30pm. Swing dance taster session (6:30pm) followed by Bright Street Big Band (7:30pm). £12.00.
Sat 20: Michael Woods @ Victoria Tunnel, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Acoustic blues.
Sat 20: Rendezvous Jazz @ St Andrew’s Church, Monkseaton. 7:30pm. £10.00. (inc. a drink on arrival).

Sun 21: Jamie Toms Quartet @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm.
Sun 21: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 21: Lindsay Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man @ Holy Grale, Durham. 5:00pm.
Sun 21: The Jazz Defenders @ Cluny 2. Doors 6:00pm. £15.00.
Sun 21: Edgar Rubenis @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Blues & ragtime guitar.
Sun 21: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 21: Art Themen with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00. +bf. JNE. SOLD OUT!

Mon 22: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 23: Vieux Carre Hot 4 @ Victoria & Albert Inn, Seaton Delaval. 12:30-3:30pm. £12.00. ‘St George’s Day Afternoon Tea’. Gig with ‘Lashings of Victoria Sponge Cake, along with sandwiches & scones’.
Tue 23: Jalen Ngonda @ Newcastle University Students’ Union. POSTPONED!

Wed 24: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 24: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 24: Sinatra: Raw @ Darlington Hippodrome. 7:30pm. Richard Shelton.
Wed 24: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 24: Death Trap @ Theatre Royal, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Rambert Dance Co. Two pieces inc. Goat (inspired by the music of Nina Simone) with on-stage musicians.

Thu 25: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 25: Jim Jams @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 1:15pm. Jim Jams’ funk collective.
Thu 25: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 25: Death Trap @ Theatre Royal, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Rambert Dance Co. Two pieces inc. Goat (inspired by the music of Nina Simone) with on-stage musicians.
Thu 25: Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Jazz Orchestra @ Arc, Stockton. 8:00pm.
Thu 25: Kate O’Neill, Alan Law & Paul Grainger @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 25: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Neil Brodie (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass); Garry Hadfield (keys).

Monday, August 15, 2022

Album review: Brian Landrus - Red List

Brian Landrus (baritone sax, bass clarinet,  flutes); Corey King (vocals); Geoffrey Keezer (piano, keys); Jaleel Shaw (alto sax); John Hadfield (percussion); Lonnie Plaxico (bass); Nir Felder (guitar); Ron Blake tenor sax); Rudy Royston (drums); Ryan Keberle (trombone); Steve Roach (trumpet,  flugelhorn)

Brain Landrus is not just concerned about the Earth’s declining ecological diversity, he is absolutely furious and there are parts of this album that assail the ears in a way that attempts to convey the full force of his fury and the accompanying desperation. On this album he has focused on thirteen of the most endangered animals on the Red List, the International Union for Conservation of Nature list that identifies the global extinction risk status of animal, fungus and plant species. Jasper Hoiby covered similar ecological themes on his 2020 album Planet B and we can go back to Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On in 1971 for the high profile release that included the much covered recently Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology).

But what’s the point? To paraphrase Frank Zappa (I think) “Isn’t writing music about endangered species like dancing about football?” (And writing reviews of it even more so?). Or is this the first of many, timely, albums as more and more artists become engaged with the most important issue of the day? Landrus’ hope with this album is that “Red List will help to facilitate critical yet uncomfortable conversations about changing our global habit of destroying nature for our own gain.”

On the album Landrus addresses these themes in two ways. He writes about the diminishing natural environments and he intersperses these with specific pen portraits of the animals at risk. He draws on nature for some of his music. He is quoted in DownBeat (August 2022, a comment that Lance put up on BSH) that "I kept listening to these different calls from different animals, same species, and they were all using major thirds." I could have expected an album full of mournful laments but much of it celebrates the diversity of the disappearing habitats and the animals themselves as if to strengthen the cry of ‘Look what we’re losing!’

To the music itself. It’s a mix of bold widescreen soul/jazz with occasional dips into other styles, such as reggae, played by a core septet with guests. The opening track Canopy of Trees is an overture, a full voiced prog-rocky opening with thumping piano before a more fluid solo by Keezer leads into a bold brass chorus and a wistful baritone sax solo. It’s a rousing call to arms.

The title track, Red List, sees Landrus use the full range of the baritone’s voice. It both soars and laments. It’s another great example of his arranging as the soloists call and respond with the main body of the players or solos are wrapped around the themes. It breaks down for the last minute of the tune to suggest the peril ahead, as if it can’t continue to hang together.

The track, Giant Panda is dominated by the baritone sax which seeks to capture the movement and the look of the animal. It’s almost a modern day Carnival of the Animals, though tinged with tragedy.

Tigris is probably my favourite on the album. It builds from a guitar/bass/drums opening to a full band peak before a further baritone sax solo over rolling drums and punching percussion. Stabbing piano leads into a soaring, screaming tenor sax solo before Felder brings it home with a solo that incorporates staccato stabs and fluid runs.

Bwindi Forest, (now a nature reserve in South-West Uganda and home to the mountain gorilla), the most discordant track on the album, is full of rage whilst Congo Basin is all space and big skies. Up River is beautiful soulful jazz pushed along by Lonnie Plaxico’s electric bass. The next track Only Eight is another chance for Plaxico to shine, this time on acoustic bass, though only briefly - all of 48 seconds. 

Vaquita, dedicated to and a celebration of the animal (a species of porpoise found in the northern end of the Gulf of California, in Mexico. It is the smallest of all living cetaceans.) The music is 70s soul jazz that conjures up images of the ocean. The solos, by Landrus and Jaleel Shaw are elegant as if to reflect the movement of the porpoise through the water.

On the face of it the closer, Javan Rhino, is an electric boogaloo but it has a darker edge, a shadow emphasised by the baritone sax. The weight of tone is more pessimistic than a lighter toned instrument would have been. It’s not an optimistic ending.

This is an album without a wasted moment. The music reflects Landrus’ concerns and he has amassed a top flight group and arranged them brilliantly. It deserves greater success than it will receive commercially but its profile may be raised by both its timeliness and, I suspect, recognition in any relevant awards later in the year.

There is more information about the album and the issues it raises on Landrus’ website HERE. The IUCN Red List can be found at IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Red List was released in June and is widely available. Dave Sayer

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