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Bebop Spoken There

Dee Dee Bridgewater: “ Our world is becoming a very ugly place with guns running rampant in this country... and New Orleans is called the murder capital of the world right now ". Jazzwise, May 2024.

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.


16434 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 314 of them this year alone and, so far, 26 this month (May 9).

From This Moment On ...


Sat 18: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:00-9:00pm. Free. Celebrating ‘10 years of the Jazz Jam!’. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, Tim Johnston. A Late Shows event.
Sat 18: SH#RP Collective @ Holy Name Parish Church Hall, Jesmond, Newcastle. 7:00-9:00pm. Tickets: £15.00. Bar available, BYO snacks. A Jesmond Community Festival event. All proceeds to Kabuyanda Charity (Ugandan health care).
Sat 18: Red Kites Jazz @ Staithes Café, Autumn Drive, Gateshead. 7:30pm.
Sat 18: Alligator Gumbo @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm.
Sat 18: Rockin’ Turner Brothers @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 18: Papa G’s Amigos special summer Latin set @ The Schooner, Gateshead NE8 3AF. 9:00pm. Free.
Sat 18: Late Night Special with Ruth Lambert & special guests @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 10:00pm-midnight. £5.00. (booking essential). Lambert & surprise jam session guests from down the years.

Sun 19: BTS Trombone Day @ Mark Hillery Arts Centre, Collingwood College, Durham University DH1 3LT. 11:00am-5:00pm. Free to British Trombone Society members (£10.00. & £5.00. to non-members). Recitals, workshops and mass blows.
Sun 19: Women Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. £25.00. Tutor: Andrea Vicari. Enquiries:
Sun 19: Ransom Van @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 19: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 19: Andrea Vicari Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 20: Harmony Brass @ the Crescent Club, Cullercoats. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 20: Michael Young Trio @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 6:00-8:00pm. Free. Opus de Funk: Horace Silver.
Mon 20: Joe Steels-Ben Lawrence Quartet @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00.

Tue 21: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Alice Grace Vocal Masterclass @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 6:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 22: Daniel Erdmann’s Thérapie de Couple @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 23: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 23: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Thu 23: Immortal Onion + Rivkala @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 23: The Doris Day Story @ Phoenix Theatre, Blyth. 7:30pm.
Thu 23: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Jeremy McMurray (keys); Dan Johnson (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Bill Watson (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 24: Hot Club du Nord @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 24: Swannek + support @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. Time TBC.

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Remembering Ritchie Close (1951-1991)

January 19, 1968, Newtown CIU Club, Hebburn. Outside it was snowing and inside the local football club was holding a 'smoker' - a men only event that meant the room was enveloped in a blue/grey mist. The former from the language and the latter a combination of the noxious fumes from Woodbines, Player's Medium and Capstan Full Strength with maybe a Senior Service or two to give it a further nautical flavour.

On the bandstand, a drummer (Keith McGregor) and an alto saxophonist (me) awaited the arrival of pianist Dickie Close. Dickie was a good busker who I knew would be well capable of accompanying the inevitable boozy baritones who would commandeer the mic as the evening progressed.

However, it wasn't Dickie who turned up but his son Ritchie. Ritchie was 16, still at school and had some music in what appeared to be his school satchel. "Where's your dad?" I asked. "Double booked, so he sent me."

Now I knew Ritchie went to my father for piano lessons and was moving rapidly through the grades but there's a big difference between playing a Bach Prelude and Fugue from music and backing a drunk singing what sounded like Can I Phone ya in the Mornin'? in an indeterminate key that was, on occasion, somewhere between D and D#. Nevertheless, he coped fine.

Earlier, he opened his school satchel and produced a transcription of Take Five - not the simplified version but the real McCoy. "I thought we could play this" he said. I thought he may be able to but I certainly couldn't! I nodded conspiratorially in the direction of the drummer and whispered "I don't think he can play in 5/4". I could have added that neither could I but I didn't.

I did a few more gigs with him until he left for Manchester and Chetham's School of Music.

Over the years I followed his progress via his father. He played in many bands and provided the music for a lot of tv shows. Even now his name still crops up in the credits when there are reruns on cable tv.

He also worked and recorded with Tony Christie. One of the other bands was Both Hands Free which had Dave Hassell on drums. Dave played drums at the Railway last Sunday and I asked our reviewer Mike Farmer if he knew Ritchie.

Yes he was a friend of mine who died from I think Legionnaires Disease contracted  in Spain. He was a brilliant pianist and I saw him play many times. I recall a gig where he was backing Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson at the Band on the Wall and another gig when he played with Lew Tabackin at a venue in Wigan. He also composed the music for TV shows and passed away much too young. He is still talked about by those who heard him. Mike

Ritchie died in June 1991 aged 39. Lance


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