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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.

Postage

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 ...

April

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).

Friday, August 05, 2022

Album review: Geoffrey Keezer & Friends – Playdate

Geoffrey Keezer (piano); Shedrick Mitchell (organ); Ron Blake (tenor/sop sax); Richie Goods (acoustic/electric bass); Kendrick Scott (drums) + Aayushi Karnik, Nir Felder (guitars); Munyungo Jackson (percussion); 19 piece orchestra on two tracks.

Well, I’m not sure this is allowed. This is an album of largely high energy jazz that sounds like it was made simply to be enjoyed. The blurb tells us that the name of the album is an homage to the idea of planning a playdate for a group of kids and that sense of fun pops up in several places across the album’s 43 minutes. There is a mix of styles and the music evokes all sorts of cinematic imagery; the music reaches back to golden era Blue Note but has a steady eye on challenges of the future as if to suggest the direction that this jazz thing might be going in.

Keezer’s name is not unknown within these walls as he has played on albums by some of my favourite artists, most notably Claire Martin and Tim Garland. His CV also includes sessions with Art Blakey, Art Farmer, Benny Golson and Christian McBride among others. This is his 23rd album under his own name and he gets an extra point for commissioning a cover that captures the fun of the album.

First track, Refuge, is an orchestrated piece that starts with the orchestra and a strong suggestion that it has been lifted from a film noir soundtrack. The fatal femme is in peril and bright street lights allow for sharp running shadows thrown onto stark white walls. But wait, what’s this? Rising from noir et blanc into technicolour comes something more modern. It’s a funky piece of post-bop with Keezer throwing shapes on the piano, long runs and left hand percussion before Ron Blake shows why he was invited onto the session. We’re ‘on a journey’ here until the modern slips back under the orchestral flourishes.

ILYBD is a fine piece of organ-led classic Blue Note, tho’ it is a Keezer composition. Mitchell, Goods and Scott provide the frame for Keezer and Blake to shine again,

Her Look, Her Touch is a lovely blues. Long, sentimental lines from Blake are under-pinned by tumbling notes from Keezer on piano and swirling organ from Mitchell, the tune’s composer. Like the opener, this is cinematic in that it conjures up images from a summertime romance, somewhere like the Amalfi Coast. (I’ve never been, they tell me it’s nice).

Tomorrow is a tune from the Brothers Johnson, best known in the UK for their 1977 hit Strawberry Letter 23. Siedah Garrett, who later sang with Michael Jackson, added lyrics to Tomorrow but whilst she gets a writer’s credit, this is an instrumental version.  A Jarrett-esque piano solo opens it before soft drums lead into a phat funk bass line. Soaring, optimistic sax is the icing on the cake; Nir Felder gives us some scything, rocky electric guitar before it’s bass player Richie Goods’ chance to take centre stage. A popping, running bass solo is backed by metronomic drums whilst Mitchell adds colour on the organ to broaden the sound.

Bebah is another widescreen orchestral song. It opens with a tragic lament played by Keezer and the orchestra with dramatic flourishes matched by Mitchell’s organ followed by Keezer and Blake playing a call-and-response duet before Blake takes off and makes the tune his. This was supposed to be an old fashioned blowing date and that’s what Blake is doing here. It’s a long, flowing solo which covers the full range of the tenor sax’s voice. Whilst the actual ’head’ arrangement is quite straight forward it is lifted up several leagues by the quality and energy of the soloing by Blake and, then, Keezer.

M’s Bedtime Stories is a co-write by Keezer and his wife, singer Gillian Margot McMillan. It’s really an ‘outroduction’ and in a club setting, I would expect each band member to be introduced in turn before they solo. It’s the basic quintet plus Aayushi Karnak on guitar on this track, so don’t sit there waiting for “J Arthur Rank on gong” would be my advice. It’s a swinging blues designed to take us home and Keezer is the standout again. It gets a “Yeah!” from me.

When I got to the end, I played it again, but louder. (The neighbours have got the builders in; it’s payback time)

Playdate is released on August 12 and will be available worldwide on Aug 12 on the Geoffrey Keezer Bandcamp page  as well as on streaming platforms everywhere. Dave Sayer

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