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Bebop Spoken There

Art Blakey: "You [Bobby Watson] don't want to play too long, because you don't know they're clapping because they're glad you finished!" - (JazzTimes, Nov. 2019)..

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!"


15867 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 874 of them this year alone and, so far, 72 this month (Sept. 25).

From This Moment On ...


Mon 25: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 25: Michael Young Trio @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 7:00pm.

Tue 26: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Hallgarth St., Durham DH1 3AT. 7:00pm. Paul Skerritt's (solo) weekly residency.

Wed 27: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 27: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 27: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 28: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 28: Alice Grace Quartet @ King's Hall, Newcastle University. 1:15pm. Free.
Thu 28: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm. All welcome.
Thu 28: Faye MacCalman + Snape/Sankey @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 28: Zoe Rahman @ Jesmond United Reformed Church, Jesmond, Newcastle. 7:30pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Thu 28: '58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:30pm.
Thu 28: Speakeasy @ Queen's Hall, Hexham. 7:30pm. £15.00. A Southpaw Dance Company presentation. Dance, audio-visuals, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, swing dancers etc.
Thu 28: Mick Cantwell Band @ Harbour View, Sunderland. 8:00pm. Free. Ace blues band.
Thu 28: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 29: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 29: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 29: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.

Sat 30: John Pope Quintet + Late Girl + Shapeshifters @ Bobik's, Jesmond, Newcastle.
Sat 30: Papa G's Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.


Sun 01: Smokin' Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm.
Sun 01: Dulcie May Moreno sings Portrait of Sheila @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 2:00pm. £10.00. Moreno sings Sheila Jordan with Giles Strong, Mick Shoulder & John Bradford.
Sun 01: Middlesbrough Jazz & Blues Orchestra @ Saltburn Community Hall. 2:00pm.
Sun 01: The Easy Rollers @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. £13.70., £11.55.
Sun 01: Brand/Roberts/Champion/Sanders @ Blank Studios, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sun 01: Papa G's Troves @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 02: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 02: FILM: Wattstax; 50th Anniversary @ Forum Cinema, Hexham. 8:00pm.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Milano Happy Jazz Festival @ Spirit de Milan - Sunday Sept. 18

Festival mastermind Mauro Porro couldn't have been other than delighted with how things went on the first three days of the inaugural Milano Happy Jazz Fest. On a blue sky Sunday morning our amiable multi-instrumentalist was on site bright and early to attend to last minute matters before taking to the stage himself leading his Dixie Blue Blowers 6tet

Porro's hot Dixie six, Italy's Chicago Stompers (more Porro!), an International Hot Stars Band (from 'Europa', as stated in the festival's printed programme), the the top class New York Classic Jazz 4 and an all-star festival finale featuring the Blue Devils (a tribute to the late, great Keith Nichols), it promised to be a memorable day.

Mauro Porro plays cornet, several reeds, there no limit to the man's talents? What's more, in addition to running around multi-tasking, our host made time for everyone. Signor Porro couldn't have been more accommodating. The day's concert programme began indoors with Porro's Dixie Blue Blowers 6tet. Porro (cornet) led a young, tight unit through a selection of popular songs from a century and more ago. From 1928's You're the Cream in My Coffee to There'll be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight (from the 1890s) to She's Crying for Me (as recorded by the Original New Orleans Rhythm Kings in 1925) to Singin' the Blues, Porro's boys put on a great show. 

Blue skies encouraged festival organisers to take the music outdoors, al fresco dining de rigueur. Mauro Porro's Chicago Stompers have played prestigious festivals across Europe - Breda, Keswick, Whitley Bay - and this Milan date was something of a homecoming. The irrepressible Porro led the combo from the on-stage upright piano (various reeds close at hand). Polka Dot RagCollegiate LoveI'll be Your Friend With Pleasure (there would be much Bix here in Milan), an Italian take on Dinah, all played on period instruments, this was hot jazz at its best.

The International Hot Stars Band comprised an Anglo-French line-up featuring Rico Tomasso (trumpet, vocals), Alistair Allan (trombone, vocals), Jean-François Bonnel (reeds), Félix Hunot (banjo, guitar, vocals), Graham Hughes (sousaphone, string bass) and Richard Pite (drums). Rightly described as 'Hot Stars', nominal frontman Rico Tomasso kept the show moving along, hot solos abounded, vocals were shared, principally between Tomasso and Allan (an unlikely I've Got the World on a String), and an unexpected highlight...Frenchman Hunot singing Ain't Misbehavin' Très bon! The International Hot Stars exuded an easy going camaraderie, were we really basking in glorious sunshine in an idyllic Milanese courtyard? Yes, we were! Struttin' With Some BarbecueI Got a Right to Sing the Blues, Tomasso featured on a marvellous Rockin' ChairWest End BluesPotato Head Blues, this was absolutely top class stuff! Time for a spot of lunch...

Mike Davis' New York Classic Jazz 4 just happened to be in Switzerland around the time of Milano Happy Jazz Fest. At Mauro Porro's invitation the NYCJ4 boarded a train to Milan. Cornetist Mike Davis and, on this trip, pianist Andy Schuum (the man from Chicago more usually heard playing Bixian cornet) were in the company of two musicians only previously seen and heard thanks to Glenn Crytzer's weekly lockdown live stream from NYC. Playing reeds, Ricky Alexander and woodwind specialist Jay Rattman. Other than a trip to New York this was a rare opportunity to hear these guys in concert. 

The ever-dapper Davis presented a programme of familiar numbers and some rarely heard pieces. After You've GoneSugar (Ricky Alexander alternating between alto sax and clarinet), Davis and Alexander singing My Gal Sal, Andy Schuum playing piano as if he were Bix Beiderbecke. On this Spirit de Milan set, in addition to his brilliant cornet playing, Davis also played trombone, and most impressively too! The New York Classic Jazz 4 in Milan...who'd have thought it?!

To close the inaugural Milano Happy Jazz Fest, festival director Mauro Porro pulled out all the stops to present a truly all-star ensemble. The Blue Devils' tribute to Keith Nichols had all the makings of an unforgettable occasion. Looking from left to right, the photo shows ten instantly recognisable faces (one or two are partially/totally obscured from view!): Andy Schuum (piano); Jean-François BonnelJay RattmanRicky Alexander (reeds); Félix Hunot (banjo, guitar); Rico Tomasso (trumpet); Richard Pite (drums); Mike Davis (cornet); Graham Hughes (sousaphone, string bass); Alistair Allan (trombone). The avuncular Richard Pite handled MC duties, in so doing his musical contribution should not be understated, throughout, our Londoner was absolutely tremendous. 

Reading from many of the late Keith Nichols' charts, the Blue Devils played a lot of Ellington, all of it sublime. First rate soloists stretched from one end of the stage to the other, the ensemble work doing Mr Nichols proud. From Double Check Stomp to Sugarfoot StompBirmingham Breakdown, this was some gig! I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby sang Alistair Allan, Milano went crazy 'bout Signor Allan.

East St Louis Toodle-oo, a hot Mahogany Hall Stomp, a magisterial Black and Tan FantasyCreole Love Call, Drop Me Off in Harlem (worth flying from Newcastle to Milan for this one alone), a pulsating Wall Street Wail, the Blue Devils departed the stage to huge applause.  

Milano Happy Jazz Fest will live long in the memory, it was an absolute triumph. Thanks to Mauro Porro and all at Spirit de Milan. Magnifico!

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