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Bebop Spoken There

Julian Lage: "Charlie Christian's the greatest ever, in my opinion." - (DownBeat, February 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!"


15103 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 122 of them this year alone and, so far, 20 this month (Feb. 6).

From This Moment On ...


Thu 09: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 4:00pm (this week only). Free.
Thu 09: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. £5.00.
Thu 09: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm. Guest band: Just Friends: Ian Bosworth (guitar); Richie Emmerson (sax); Dave Archbold (keys); Ron Smith (bass); Mark Hawkins (drums).

Fri 10: Alan Barnes w Dean Stockdale Trio @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm. £7.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 10: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 10: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 10: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 10: Alan Barnes w Dean Stockdale Trio @ Traveller's Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. £12.00.

Sat 11: Slowlight Quartet @ The Rooms @ Immediate Audio, Unit 24, Morley's Yard South, Albion Row, Byker, Newcastle NE6 1PQ. 2:30pm. Tickets:
First gig of four (1/4). The Slowlights feat. YVA.
Sat 11: New Century Ragtime Orchestra @ King's Hall, Newcastle University. 7:00pm. £15.00. on the door.
Sat 11: Slowlight Quartet @ The Rooms @ Immediate Audio, Unit 24, Morley's Yard South, Albion Row, Byker, Newcastle NE6 1PQ. 7:30pm. Tickets: Second gig of four (2/4). The Slowlights feat. YVA. SOLD OUT!
Sat 11: Vermont Big Band & the Coast Connection @ The Seahorse, Whitley Bay FC. 7:30pm. £10.00. (inc. hot buffet), raffle. SOLD OUT!
Sat 11: The Rebelators @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 12: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon. LAST SESSION!
Sun 12: Slowlight Quartet @ The Rooms @ Immediate Audio, Unit 24, Morley's Yard South, Albion Row, Byker, Newcastle NE6 1PQ. 2:30pm. Tickets: Third gig of four (3/4). The Slowlights feat. YVA.
Sun 12: Am Jam @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 3:00pm. Free. Jam session, all welcome.
Sun 12: Jive Aces @ Queen's Hall, Hexham. 7:30pm.
Sun 12: Slowlight Quartet @ The Rooms @ Immediate Audio, Unit 24, Morley's Yard South, Albion Row, Byker, Newcastle NE6 1PQ. 7:30pm. Tickets: Fourth gig of four (4/4). The Slowlights feat. YVA. SOLD OUT!
Sun 12: Sylvain Darrifourcq-Manuel Hermia-Valentin Ceccaldi @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. JNE promotion (upstairs).

Mon 13: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 13: Central Bar Quintet @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 7:30pm. £5.00. First set: The Central Bar Quintet plays Horace Silver's The Tokyo Blues (featuring Pete Tanton). Second set: standards & more (no jam session).

Tue 14: ???

Wed 15: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 15: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 15: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 15: Durham Univesity Jazz Orchestra w. Tiny Fred's Collective @ Mark Hillary Arts Centre, South Road, Collingwood College, Durham. 7:00pm. 'Jazz Night 1'. The evening begins with a jam session followed by a concert performance.
Wed 15: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 15: Syd Lawrence Orchestra: Big Band Brass @ Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Album review: Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Henry Franklin - Jazz Is Dead

(Press release)

Laying in the bouquet of any jazz ensemble of any era is the bass. A compass on which the rest of the ensemble relies on, the bass is the provider of the heartbeat, the rhythm, & feel. There is one such maestro whose own legacy, much like their instrument, has been obscured while remaining ever present. Through a closer listen it becomes evident that the music and career of Henry “The Skipper” Franklin is among the most luminous of any jazz artist. 

A native of Los Angeles, Henry Franklin came of age while the city was producing a crop of exciting jazz talent. As a teenager, Franklin took lessons from bassists George Morrow and Al McKibbon. Morrow had logged sessions with Max Roach and Sonny Rollins, and McKibbon is best known for appearing on Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool. Paul Chambers became Franklin’s idol, whose subtle style he yearned to emulate. While still a teenager, Franklin began to perform with a young Roy Ayers, and soon could be found sharing stages with trailblazers like Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, as well as Boogaloo king Willie Bobo. One of his earliest studio appearances, with South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, netted the hit “Grazing in the Grass”. 

Franklin’s solo output is best remembered for his two solo outings with the Black Jazz label- “The Skipper” & “The Skipper At Home”. Together, they form one of the most compelling diptychs in the entire post-bop canon. The first veers from kinetic workouts to Sanders-esque meditations, shifting stylistically but grounded by Franklin’s restraint. On the follow-up, the lines between genre blur even further, teetering between chaos and comfort. Here, as well as on equally important entries from labelmates Gene Russell, Calvin Keys, and Doug Carn, Franklin reconfigures the bass into the emotional foreground, meshing rhythm with melody. 

Franklin’s lasting impact on jazz can be evidenced by the long list of legends who sought him out for tours and recording sessions. Throughout his career, he has performed and recorded with Bobbi Humphrey, Freddie Hubbard, Hampton Hawes, Pharoah Sanders & Woody Shaw. In 1979, he collaborated with Stevie Wonder on the sprawling “Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants”, earning another hit record. Young bassists today, such as Eric Wheeler, emulate Franklin’s melodic and fluid style. Franklin has appeared on songs sampled by A Tribe Called Quest, The Avalanches, Masta Ace, Earl Sweatshirt, Black Sheep, and Gang Starr, to name but a few. Prior to the pandemic, one could hear Franklin performing at La Sierra University, with legends like Airto and Azar Lawrence making guest appearances. Recognized by his peers and contemporaries, Franklin’s entry for Jazz Is Dead gives the living legend his flowers and recognizes the contributions The Skipper has made as one of jazz’s most influential heartbeats. 

The album features musicians including Jonathan Pinson on drums, Jeff Parker on guitar, Scott Mayo on flute, David Urquid on saxophone, Clinton Patterson on trumpet and Nicholas Baker on percussion. Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammed also feature on piano and percussion. 

More info about Henry “The Skipper” Franklin:

Best known to curious ears for his work on the trailblazing independent Black Jazz label, Henry “The Skipper” Franklin reconfigured the bass into the emotive focal point of some of the label’s most well-regarded releases. “He was so cool about everything that was happening, one slide on that bass and the whole universe shifted”, recalls Muhammad. “(Franklin’s former collaborator) Hugh Masekela had just passed. It’s hard to highlight how something so subtle gets into the music, but it does.” “Working with Henry was like a warm Spring Day,” adds Younge.

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