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Bebop Spoken There

Branford Marsalis: "As ignorance often forces us to do, you make a generalisation about a musician based on one specific record or one moment in time." - (Jazzwise June 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!"


15491 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 512 of them this year alone and, so far, 133 this month (May 31).

From This Moment On ...

Tue 06: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Hallgarth St., Durham DH1 3AT. 7:00pm. Paul Skerritt's (solo) weekly residency.
Tue 06: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre. 7:30pm. House trio: Stu Collingwood (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Sid White (drums).

Wed 07: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 07: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 07: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 07: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 08: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free. CANCELLED! BACK ON JUNE 15.
Thu 08: Easington Colliery Brass Band @ The Lubetkin Theatre, Peterlee. 7:00pm. £10.00.
Thu 08: Faye MacCalman + Blue Dust Archive @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 08: Dilutey Juice + Ceramic @ The Ampitheatre, Sea Road, South Shields. 7:00pm. Free. A South Tyneside Festival event.
Thu 08: Lara Jones w. Vigilance State @ Lubber Fiend, Blandford Square, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 08: Michael Littlefield @ the Harbour View, Roker, Sunderland. 8:00pm. Free. Country blues.
Thu 08: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 09: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 09: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 09: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 09: Castillo Nuevo @ Revolución de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30-8:30pm.
Fri 09: Emma Rawicz @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Sat 10: Miners' Picnic @ Woodhorn, Ashington. Music inc. Northern Monkey Brass Band (3:00-3:50pm); New York Brass Band (4:00-4:55pm).
Sat 10: Front Porch Three @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. Americana, blues, jazz etc.
Sat 10: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.

Sun 11: WORKSHOP: Tim Richards' Jazz Piano Workshop @ JG Windows, Newcastle. Time TBC. Further details tel. 0191 232 1356.
Sun 11: Jeremy McMurray's Pocket Jazz Orchestra @ Ropner Park, Stockton TS18 4EF. 2:00-4:00pm. Free.
Sun 11: Am Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:30pm. Free.
Sun 11: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 11: Groovetrain @ Innisfree Sports & Social Club, Longbenton NE12 8TY. Doors 6:30pm. £15.00 (£7.00. under 16).
Sun 11: Jeffrey Hewer Collective @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 12: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Album review: Espen Berg - The Trondheim Concert

Espen Berg (solo piano)

Confronted with a double album of solo improvised piano pieces it is impossible not to think immediately of what’s his name and the inevitable questions (Is it as good as Keith Jarrett? Is it different enough to make the exercise worthwhile or is it another copyist? Have we found the next one in the line that runs from Art Tatum, through Bud Powell and Bill Evans?) will follow. Keith Jarrett is always the elephant in the room for solo piano recordings.

 This one is a snapshot from a single night in Trondheim in November 2019 and I’m grateful that it has now reached the public after 3 years of interesting times. The musicianship on a recording like this is a given but to make it work the music must challenge both the player and the audience. It is a balancing act on a tightrope that can go from high wire to haywire in a moment. It has to be strong and intense; it must draw the listener in to the point where they are submerged in the music. It should be a full sensurround experience. Berg has managed this.

His playing may range across different styles and conjure up numerous images (Part 1 for example, conjures up images of wide open American country spaces and Nordic forests) but you hang on to every note waiting for the next departure. There are lyrical flourishes and long stretches where the rhythm dominates and the melodic changes are minimal, building up a tension that cries out for a release.

The pieces, or movements, have no titles beyond Part 1 to Part 10, some flowing from one into another, indeed the applause at some points also serves to break the tension. There are sections (Part 6) where right and left hands are playing against each other creating a dissonance, and other sections of two fisted fury. Part 2 gives us bold, thundering movements, moments of two handed bravado that sweep back and forth like powerful waves. In contrast there are moments of whimsy such as the inclusion in Part 3 of sections that sound like songs from the shows which leaven the seriousness without any loss of intensity.  Other moments are balletic elegance; peace after the fury (Parts 8 and 10). At times, it’s an exhausting listen but completely worth the effort.

There is more information about Berg’s career to date, including recordings, projects and tour dates, (none in the UK) HERE on his website and there is an article about him and a review of this album in this month’s Jazzwise. The Trondheim Concert is released on October 28 and is available through the usual outlets. Dave Sayer 

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