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Farewell Blues

R I P Terry Shannon - November 5, 1929 - October 29, 2022
R I P Oliver Soden - ? - November 6, 2022
R I P Top Cat Daphne - ? - November 24, 2022.

Bebop Spoken There

Michael League: "We flew back from Europe, and the second gig we [Snarky Puppy] did was in Arcata, California. There were two people. And one of them was the bartender." - (DownBeat December, 2022)

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!"


14806 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 1074 of them this year alone and, so far, 73 this month (Nov.24).

From This Moment On ...


Sun 27: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 27: Musicians Unlimited @ Park Inn, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 27: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 27: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 27: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 3:00pm. Free. Sitters-in & audience welcome.
Sun 27: Nu Civilisation Orchestra @ Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Sun 27: Jamil Sheriff's Five Gold Rings @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 28: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 28: Jeremy McMurray & Friends @ Billingham Catholic Club. 7:30pm. £5.00. at the door. A SVP fundraiser for Xmas food hampers.

Tue 29: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, Rob Walker.

Wed 30: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 30: Castillo Nuevo @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 6:00pm.
Wed 30: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 30: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 30: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 01: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 01: New York Jazz Night feat. Zoë Gilby @ The Keys, Yarm. 7:00pm. £30.00. (inc. meal). Tickets from Skiddle. Gilby w. Noel Dennis, Mark Williams & Andy Champion.
Thu 01: Bold Big Band @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Cluny 2.
Thu 01: Paul Skerritt Duo @ Tomahawk Steakhouse, High St., Yarm. 8:00pm. Paul Skerritt & James Harrison residency.
Thu 01: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 02: Swing Manouche @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm. £7.00.
Fri 02: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 02: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 02: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 02: Durham University Big Band + Durham University Jazz Orchestra @ Kingsgate Bar, Durham Students' Union, Dunelm House, Durham. 7:00pm. £3.00. & £2.50. Fundraiser for Coppafeel.
Fri 02: Niffi Osiyemi Trio @ The Vault, Hexham. 7:30pm.
Fri 02: Alligator Gumbo @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm. Xmas party.
Fri 02: Struggle Buggy's Almost Xmas Party @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free (donations). Blind Pig Blues Club.

Sat 03: Jake Leg Jug Band @ St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. £10.00.
Sat 03: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Liane Carroll. £25.00. Enrol at:
Sat 03: Castillo Nuevo @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 6:00pm.
Sat 03: Remi Harris & Tom Moore @ Amble Parish Hall, Northumberland. 7:30pm.
Sat 03: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. Xmas party.
Sat 03: Ray Johnson, Richard Herdman & Jude Murphy @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free (donations).

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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