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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 ...


Tue 16: The Horne Section’s Hit Show @ Middlesbrough Town Hall. 7:30pm.
Tue 16: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Bradley Johnston, Paul Grainger, Bailey Rudd.

Wed 17: Bailey Rudd (Minor Recital) @ The Music Studios, Haymarket Lane, Newcastle University. 11:40am. Bailey Rudd (drums). Open to the public.
Wed 17: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 17: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 17: The Horne Section’s Hit Show @ The Gala, Durham. 7:30pm. SOLD OUT!
Wed 17: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 18: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 18: NONUNONU @ Elder Beer Café, Chillingham Road, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Thu 18: Knats @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 8:00pm (doors 7:30pm). £8.00. + bf. Support act TBC.
Thu 18: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Ragtime piano.
Thu 18: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guest band night with Just Friends: Ian Bosworth (guitar); Donna Hewitt (sax); Dave Archbold (keys); Ron Smith (bass); Mark Hawkins (drums).

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.

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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