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Bebop Spoken There

Ambrose Akinmusire: “ I am certainly always aware of what the masses are doing. And when I see too many people going one way, I'm going another way - even when I don't know what's over that way". DownBeat, March, 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.


16246 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 128 of them this year alone and, so far, 72 this month (Feb. 29).

From This Moment On ...


Mon 04: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 05: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Joe Steels, Paul Grainger, Abbie Finn.

Wed 06: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 06: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 06: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 07: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 07: Ray Stubbs R & B All Stars @ The Schooner, South Shore Road, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Thu 07: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Ragtime piano.
Thu 07: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. Guests: Mark Toomey (alto sax); Donna Hewitt (tenor sax); Garry Hadfield (keys); Ron Smith (bass); Mark Hawkins (drums). 8:30pm.

Fri 08: Noel Dennis Quartet @ The Old Library, Auckland Castle. 1:00pm. £8.00. Noel Dennis (trumpet, flugelhorn); Rick Laughlin (keyboards); Mick Shoulder (double bass); Tim Johnston (drums).
Fri 08: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 08: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free. CANCELLED! Back on March 15.
Fri 08: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Sat 09: Alex Fawcett Band + Lindsay Hannon Blues Trio @ Sedgefield Parish Hall. 7:00pm. £15.00. A Sedgefield Rock & Blues Club event. Tickets:
Sat 09: Shunyata Improvisation Group @ Cullercoats Watch House. 8:00pm. Donations. A Watch House renovation fundraising concert.
Sat 09: Ray Stubb’s R&B All Stars @ The Peacock, Sunderland. 6:00pm. Free. Gig in the downstairs bar.

Sun 10: Am Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:30pm. Free.
Sun 10: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 10: Salty Dog @ The Lounge, Blyth. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 10: Vintage Explosion @ Wylam Brewery, Newcastle.
Sun 10: Fraser Fifield: Secret Path Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 10: Jazz Jam @ Fabio's, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 11: Matthew Forster Quartet @ Yamaha Music School, Seaforth St., Blyth NE24 1AY. 1:00 - 1:45pm. £8.00. + bf.
Mon 11: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 12: Lewis Watson Quartet @ Newcastle House Hotel, Rothbury. 7:30pm.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

BSH interviews Mike Farmer (part one)

BSH: Mike, your reports on jazz in the northwest and the Railway in Stockport have drawn a lot of interest regarding the scene over there. However, before you tell us more about what’s going on in your neck of the woods, tell us about how you got into jazz. In other words, how it all began.

Mike: This would be when I was about fourteen and used to attend Moseley Hall Grammar School Cheadle and met two brothers John and Richard Rushton who were jazz fans but were also very good pianists who liked Bud Powell in particular. Bill Birch also went to Moseley Hall about the same time but I only found that out years later during one of our meetings to discuss his forthcoming book. I left school at fifteen as I found most of the lessons extremely boring and started a job right away at the Royal Automobile Club in Manchester. On the same bus to work every day were Alan Hare the well known big band leader and John Mayall who at the time was an art student. 

When I heard Earl Bostic on the radio playing his big hit Flamingo I felt a strong urge to get a saxophone so I walked into Stock and Chapmans on Oxford Street, Manchester, and paid a pound deposit and a pound monthly. This made me the owner of a silver alto saxophone which had Universal on the bell. As I knew next to nothing about how to play the thing I paid to have lessons from Nat Whitworth who was a fantastic teacher and worked in many big bands and also the Hallé Orchestra.

The first band I joined was the Paul Bromley Sextet. On piano in this band was my former school friend Richard Rushton who wrote out some great tunes which included Basie’s Hollywood Jump and Powell’s Bouncing with Bud. We rehearsed at Paul’s parents house in Woodford which had a full sized grand piano in the front room. One day John Mayall, who lived in a tree house in a field opposite popped in to listen and on hearing my solo on Over The Rainbow said to me "What happened to the middle eight?" I was so dumb in those days I thought you just blew whatever came into your head!   Always been grateful that he put me right about that. Things were going well in that group but just when we were creating a bit of interest locally I had to leave to do the dreaded National Service for two years. Dave Mott took my place in the group and as far as I know he is still active in this area.

BSH: From your reviews I gather that you’ve travelled the world and, from your comments, visited many clubs and festivals in a variety of places. Tell me about some of those experiences such as your favourite places as well as any that, shall we say, proved disappointing.

Mike: I have great memories of trips to New York City and visits to the many jazz clubs there.  My favourite jazz venue if I had to choose one would be the Village Vanguard which I visited about a dozen times. Other places I liked were the Half Note, Village Gate, Studio Rivbea, Metropole, Jazz City, the Jazz Gallery, Lincoln Center and of course there were events in Central Park at the Bandshell and the Woolman area. 

In 1973 George Wein staged the Newport In New York festival and he organised concerts all over the city in theatres and parks. I went to a couple of midnight jam sessions that he put on in Radio City. Carnegie Hall was another place he utilised for his shows. I was in NYC for three weeks and I heard many amazing musicians including some unknown ones that later became famous worldwide.

I also went to many jazz festivals in other countries and they used to be very good value and I shall always remember the first time I visited the North Sea Jazz Festival when it was located in The Hague, Netherlands. Great place to see the jazz legends but a bit of an endurance test. 

Went to the Nice Jazz Festival twice driving there in a 1963 Volkswagen Camper and also took in the Antibes Festival which was close by. One of the best festivals was the Malta Jazz Festival which takes place by the harbour in a very scenic setting. Another festival that I liked was the Berlin Jazz Festival. I went on three of the trips after I'd read about them in the Melody Maker and the concerts all took place in a superb modern theatre in the middle of a bombed out area. The only disappointing thing that happened was that on the third trip a day was lost due to the flight being diverted to another airport and then due to the delay the air corridor was closed and the plane could not take off 'til morning. 

In the UK I’ve attended jazz festivals in Newcastle, Brackley, Wigan, Glossop, Middlesbrough, Llandudno, Pengley, Appleby, Liverpool, Buxton, Brighton, and, most recently, Swanage.

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