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Bebop Spoken There

Tineke Postma: “ I had a huge crush on him [Sting] when I was a teenager ". Jazzwise, June 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.


16476 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 356 of them this year alone and, so far, 68 this month (May 24).

From This Moment On ...


Sun 26: Tyne Valley Youth Big Band @ The Sele, Hexham. 12:30pm. Free. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Bellavana @ Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay. 1:00pm. Whitley Bay Carnival (outdoor stage).
Sun 26: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Alice Grace @ The Sele, Hexham. 1:30pm. Free. Alice Grace w. Joe Steels, Paul Susans & John Hirst.
Sun 26: Bryony Jarman-Pinto @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Clark Tracey Quintet @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Saltburn Big Band @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 26: SARÃB @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Mon 27: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 28: Bold Big Band @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Wed 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 29: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 29: Jazz Night @ The Tannery, Hexham. 7:00-9:00pm. Free. The first night of a new jam session!
Wed 29: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 30: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 30: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 30: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests Josh Bentham (sax); Neil Brodie (trumpet); Garry Hadfield (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass);

Fri 31: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 31: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 31: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 31: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Fri 31: Borealis @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm. CANCELLED!
Fri 31: Redwell @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.


Sat 01: Enrico Tomasso’s Swing Company @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club.
Sat 01: Play More Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Steve Glendinning.
Sat 01: Hop, Skiffle & Jump: The Story of Skiffle @ 1719, Hendon, Sunderland. 6:00-9:00pm.
Sat 01: Lindsay Hannon’s Tom Waits for No Man @ Dry Water Arts, Amble. 7:00pm. £15.00.
Sat 01: John Garner & John Pope @ Victoria Tunnel, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Sat 01: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Livestream: Adam Glasser/Mike Del Ferro Quartet: Toots Thielemans 100 @ the 606 - Nov. 30

Adam Glasser (harmonica); Mike Del Ferro (piano); Steve Watts (bass); Corrie Dick (drums).

A celebration of the music of Belgium guitar/harmonica legend the late Toots Thielemans in this his hundredth anniversary year.

Glasser is the perfect harmonica player for such a tribute. He has assimilated much of Thielemans' style and incorporated it into his own without any loss of individuality.

Dutch pianist Mike Del Ferro has an even closer affinity to the subject having recorded and toured with him over the years.

Album review: Jesper Thilo Quartet, '80 - Live at Jazzcup'

Jesper Thilo (tenor sax/clarinet); Søren Kristiansen (piano); Daniel Franck (bass); Frands Rifbjerg (drums).

Denmark may be heading for the airport after losing to Australia in the World Cup but, on the evidence displayed in this album, in jazz terms, the country's musicians are up there with the best.

The Danish reedsman, 80-year-old at the time of this live recording last November,  gives a masterclass in mainstream tenor playing on this, one of the most swinging albums I've heard this year. Think of Hawkins, Webster, Jacquet, Lockjaw, Cobb or Guy Lafitte - Thilo is from that school. He swings like the aforementioned giants once did over a rhythm section that is with him all the way. This is tenor playing with guts and no small sense of humour (catch the mini coda at the end of Blue 'n' Boogie).

Preview: Cleo Laine on Sky Arts - tonite!

This evening (Wednesday) on Sky Arts there is an all new documentary about Cleo Laine. The veteran jazz singer is the subject of Cleo Laine: The Unseen Home Movies. If it does what it says on the tin, it should be worth catching. Nine o'clock start. Russell   

More from Jazz and Improvised Music

(Press release)

In addition to the new release (see previous post) we’re also inviting Raymond MacDonald and Sia Ahmad to visit Newcastle for an intimate performance following this years’ GIO Festival. 

Very limited tickets for this event so please do book in advance. 

Sia Ahmad and Raymond MacDonald
Blank Studios
 (Next To The Star and Shadow), 210 Warwick St, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 1BB
Doors: 7.30pm
(Music Starts 8.00pm - No Late Admissions)
Monday 5th December 2022

This event is a live recording session with limited audience.

£5 Entry / BYOB

Flying a Kite on An Empty Beach - a new CD from Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra (GIO).

(Press release)

This CD, the group’s 13, celebrates the life of one of GIO’s founding members who was also an unsung hero of the Scottish jazz scene: the magnificent bass player George Lyle. Five tracks, devised by different members of the group, each channel George’s beautiful character and musicianship. From whispering ethereal chants to rollercoasting joyous improvisations, the CD documents a new chapter in one of Europe’s most prolific and engaging large improvising ensembles. 

The jam packed Black Swan jam session - Nov. 29

On A Foggy Day/Night (in Newcastle Town), it was odds on the Black Swan would be all but deserted. It's Coming Home England on the telly, why bother to venture out? Game over. Not quite! As the house trio - Alan Law, Paul Grainger and Rob Walker - got things under way, the best jam session in town attracted a near capacity audience. One of the musicians intent on sitting-in commented on the age profile of the audience, in essence, a remarkably young crowd. 

Album Review: Richard Williams – Hollywood Christmas

Richard Williams (piano, arranger, producer); Trey Henry (bass); Bernie Tresel (drums) + various vocalists, saxophones, trumpets, trombones + strings & woodwinds of the Budapest Scoring Orchestra.

This is a bumper Christmas album lasting for one and a half hours, really good value for your Christmas party. More of a middle of the road feel rather than actual jazz, but some jazz elements crop up in the arrangements and spurts of saxophone and trombone, and some nifty drumming, for example on Santa Claus is Coming To Town.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Album review: Will Vinson - Tripwire.

Will Vinson (alto sax, elec. piano on 1 tk); Matt Penman (bass); Eric Harland (drums) + Melissa Aldana (tenor sax on 2 tks).

Chordless trios can sometimes tax my powers of concentration. The absence of a harmonic foundation can often seem like a ham sandwich without any peas pudding. However, that is not the case here due to some sterling work by Penman and the presence of Harland behind the kit. 

Tripwire, the title track, is a jaunty blues composed by Vinson that is very much triplet based.

Blue and Sentimental brings to mind the recording by Count Basie that featured Herschel Evans on tenor and a rare example of Lester Young on clarinet. Vinson captures the mood of the original without losing the feel of today.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Reissue/Archive Album of the Year

So many wonderful albums have been dug out of the archives this year to the extent that I am struggling to even know where to begin!

Although I have reviewed downloads, to my eternal shame, they disappear into a cyber mist - Luddite that I am - so my selections are based around those distributors who know where their local post office is and, in these days, that isn't always easy so I understand the convenience of the download option.

Nu Civilisation Orchestra: Joni Mitchell's Hejira & Mingus @ Fire Station, Sunderland - Nov. 27

This was some occasion. An eighteen piece big band's end of tour concert drew a sizeable audience to Sunderland's pride and joy, the Fire Station on High Street West. Tomorrow's Warriors is an institution, and under the guidance of its Artistic Director, Gary Crosby, the Nu Civilisation Orchestra is an ensemble boasting established names working alongside some of tomorrow's star names. The music of Joni Mitchell required a vocalist capable of doing justice to the legendary Canadian singer-songwriter's songbook...step forward ESKA. 

Sunday Night @ the Globe: Jamil Sheriff's Five Gold Rings - Nov. 27

(© Sheila Herrick)
Jamil Sheriff (piano); Richard Iles (flugel); Jim Corry (alto sax); Sam Quintana (bass); Caroline Boaden (drums).

Two gigs in two days that were not entirely dissimilar. Saturday night at Sage Gateshead was excellent and last night at  the Globe ran it close.

Five fine instrumentalists playing Sheriff's original compositions. Jazz musicians, by the demands of their art are on the spot composers and whilst some take those improvised moments and, over time, hone them until they become formulaic others take their inspiration from outside sources. With Toussaint at Sage Gateshead it was his siblings and with Sheriff his opening number, Going to Church, was inspired by a painting of the same  name by the American artist William H. Johnson (1901-1970). 

Munch Manship Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Nov. 27

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Munch Manship (tenor sax); Paul Kilvington (piano); Ben Wiltshire (bass); Dave Hassell (drums).

The audience tonight was larger than normal for a Sunday night. Some people were having to bring chairs out from another room and I noticed one or two unfamiliar faces amongst them. Fans of Munch maybe or is it that the Railway is becoming the IN place to go on a Sunday?

Jazzy Christmas in Corbridge this Friday

This coming Friday (Dec. 2) sees the start of the annual Christmas Tree Festival held at St Andrew's Church, Corbridge.

Of the many events in the Festival which runs inclusively through to Tuesday (Dec. 6) one concert of particular interest to BSH readers takes place on Friday afternoon (2:00pm - 4:00pm) and features a duo performance by two of the Wild Women of Wylam - Helen Walker (French horn and trumpet)  and pianist Caroline GuirrLance 

Full programme

4B @ The Exchange, North Shields - Nov. 27

Bernie Ranson  (tenor sax, alto sax, violin, vocals); Barbara Wilcox (keys, vocals); Nick Bagnall (5 string electric bass); Alan Wann (drums)

It used to be relatively easy to get a seat on a Sunday afternoon at The Exchange but the word has spread and at 3:00 pm all tables were taken. However (and luckily) The Exchange is the kind of venue where strangers soon become table-sharing friends, all with the same expectations of an afternoon of good feet-tapping music. You are promised blues, bossas, straight ahead jazz and a smattering of bebop and that’s what you get.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Louise Tobin (Nov. 11, 1918 - Nov. 26, 2022)

The death has been announced of former big band vocalist Louise Tobin. Tobin was 16 when she married trumpet star Harry James and is said to be the person who brought Frank Sinatra's voice to James' attention leading to Sinatra's first big break.

Tobin recorded with Benny Goodman and, some years after her divorce from James, married and recorded with clarinettist Peanuts Hucko.

In 1991 Hucko and Tobin with an Anglo/American line-up gave a concert at Middlesbrough Town and the event was covered for the Northern Echo by Peter Bevan (see graphic) who also informed me of the singer's death.

Louise Tobin was 104. Rest In Peace. Lance

PS: For a more comprehensive obituary go HERE.

Tonight @ the Globe - Five Gold Rings

(Press release)

Jamil Sheriff has been a stand out member of the UK Jazz scene for over 20 years and has a reputation for pulling together exceptional bands.

Five Gold Rings brings the classic sound of the Blue Note quintet, with driving, swinging melodies and solos performed by these outstandingmusicians. There’s something for everyone in this set, Blues, Swing, Afro Cuban, Funk, Hard Bop, Latin… all wrapped up in Jamil’s exquisite compositions.

Jean Toussaint Quartet @ Sage Gateshead - Nov. 26

(© Pam)
Jean Toussaint (tenor sax); Jonathan Gee (piano); Mutale Chashi (bass/bass guitar); Ben Brown (drums).

This was almost the gig of the year - almost!  Every saxophone player on the planet should have been there, marvelling at the tone and technique of a jazz legend, and quite a few of them were there.

Toussaint blew up a storm. An updated version of what Hank Mobley, James Moody, Dexter Gordon and Harold Land were past masters at. An ace rhythm section with pianist Gee particularly outstanding added more class to the mix. Tremendous!

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Aycliffe Radio: Jazz Time - Sundays 6.30-8.00 pm (repeat Tuesdays 8.00-9.30pm)

 Playlist 27/11/22. (Repeated Tuesday 29/11/22)


Requests: Charlie Christian.

John Settle Requests: Milt Jackson. Roy Ayers.

T J Johnson & his Requests: Alberta Hunter, Jimmy Witherspoon, Big Joe Turner.

Requests: Artie Shaw, Louis Dowdeswell.

What’s On in the NE: The Jake Leg Jug Band, Alex Clarke, Liane Carroll.

Bessie Smith.

New release: Tito Carrillo.

Birthday memories:  Paul Desmond/Dave Brubeck, Randy Brecker, Billy Strayhorn Johnny Hodges.

Charlie Mingus Year: Charlie Mingus.

Grammy-winning saxophonist Jean Toussaint plays Sage Gateshead tonight (Nov. 26)

(Press release )

Influenced by his African Caribbean heritage and the New York jazz scene where he grew up, Toussaint was inspired early on by “the funk, soul, calypso and reggae bands of [his] youth”. Toussaint went on to form bands, tour, and become a member of the legendary Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers – a jazz combo and rite of passage in the jazz world.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Jazz on the Tyne heads into winter

On the latest edition of the podcast, presenter Colin Muirhead previews upcoming gigs and showcases new music, with tracks by the Abbie Finn Trio, Jo Harrop & Paul Edis, Jamil Sheriff, Jean Toussaint, the Niffi Osiyemi Trio, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Liane Carroll, Alan Barnes, Norma Winstone & Will Bartlett, and the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band.

You can listen to the show anytime from noon on Saturday 26th November by heading to

Plus, you can request tunes for future programmes by emailing Colin at

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Jo Harrop, Adrian Cox & Joe Webb @ Hampstead Jazz Club - Nov. 23

Jo Harrop (vocals); Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals); Joe Webb (piano)

Jo Harrop presents an evening of jazz with ...

Jo Harrop has a close affinity with Hampstead Jazz Club and this evening her invited guests were two of the busiest musicians on the London Jazz scene. Adrian Cox and Joe Webb joined Jo on stage in one of the country's smallest venues. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Album review: Paul Marinaro - Not Quite Yet

Paul Marinaro (vocals); Collective: Mike Allemana (guitar); Tom Vaitsas (piano); John Tate (bass); George Fludas (drums); Marques Carroll (trumpet); Raphael Crawford (trombone); Chris Madsen (tenor sax); Greg Ward (alto sax); Rajiv Halim (clarinet); Jim Gailloreto (flute) + KAIA String Quartet: Victoria Moreira, Naomi Culp (violins); Amanda Grimm (viola); Hope Decelle (cello).

With the passing of Frank, Mel, Nat, Buddy Greco, Chet, Jon Hendricks, Mark Murphy and the retirement of Tony B, apart from Elling, Porter, Bublé and Harry C Jr.,  there have been relatively few contemporary singers who can hold their head high in the above company (past and present) - until now that is !

Chicago based Marinaro has incorporated many of the qualities of the aforementioned masters and has succeeded in moulding them into his vocal DNA without loss of individuality and ultimately emerging as a singer to be reckoned with at the highest level.

Paul Hartley Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Nov. 22

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Paul Hartley (guitar); Jim Collins (tenor sax); Ken Marley (bass); Eryl Roberts (drums).

Rod Mason was listed as being Paul’s guest but, due to unforeseen circumstances, he had to cancel. His replacement was local reeds man Jim Collins who, for this gig, played tenor sax exclusively. The first set consisted of six tunes, the first five being standards the last one was an uptempo Four - a tune long associated with Miles Davis but composed by Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson.

TJ Johnson @ Jamboree - Nov. 23

TJ Johnson (piano, vocals) + Tom Johnson (vocals)

It's ever so convenient. Step off the train at King's Cross, walk for two minutes onto Gray's Inn Road, turn into St Chad's Place and there it is, Jamboree. If it's three o'clock on a Wednesday, TJ Johnson is in town. It was only last week that TJ was 'up north' to play two solo piano engagements and this afternoon he would, for the most part, once again fly solo. 

Upon entering, the first face encountered was none other than TJ himself. A case of 'long time, no see', five days to be precise.

Preview: Music From The Wild in Carlisle.

This coming Saturday (Nov. 26) at The Source CollectiveAtlas Works, Nelson St, Carlisle CA2 5NB under the auspices of the Penrith based Bluejam Arts present Music From The Wild.

Among the emerging artists performing will be guitarist Joe Steels (pictured) airing some of his new songs from a commissioned recording project. 

The band also includes Paul Susans (bass), John Hirst (drums) and Ferg Kilsby (trumpet/flugelhorn).

 7:30pm start. Click on the above links for further details. Lance

Preview: Spirituality on Radio 3 - Nov. 23

This afternoon (Wednesday) on BBC Radio 3 the duo of Courtney Pine and Zoe Rahman will be performing music from Pine's latest album, Spirituality. It's another of Pine's forays into the world of the bass clarinet. Tune to In Tune at five o'clock. Russell

Photo Credit: John Watson/

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Zoë Gilby Trio @ Blaydon Jazz Club - Nov. 21

(© Roly Veitch)
Zoë Gilby (vocals); Mark Williams (guitar); Andy Champion (double bass)

An APPJAG winner flanked by two of Britain's finest musicians can mean only one ace gig! The All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group's 'Best Vocalist' award for 2019 went to Tynesider Zoë Gilby. To those on the ground who knew about Zoë's capabilities, her triumph came as little surprise. Jazz club and festival appearances have helped maintain Zoë's high profile but our Cullercoats lass hasn't forgotten her roots. As graceful and gracious as always, our APPJAG winner was only too pleased to make a return visit to Blaydon Jazz Club.

Album review: Chet Baker and Wolfgang Lackerschmid - Welcome Back

Chet Baker (trumpet); Wolfgang Lackerschmid (vibes); Nicola Stylo (flute, guitar tk. 8); Gunter Lenz (bass) + Rocky Knauer (bass); Peri Dos Santos (guitar); Edir Dos Santos (drums).

The third documentation of the collaboration between Baker and Lackerschmid is as delightful as the previous two releases

None of the three albums are groundbreaking affairs and this one, recorded less than a year before Baker's tragic death, could easily be filed away as Easy Listening.  So what's wrong with that? There are times when one just needs to relax and hear some beautifully played jazz that won't have the neighbours knocking on the wall and taking out court orders to have you evicted or certified as insane.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Frank Griffith Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Nov. 20

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Frank Griffith (tenor sax/clarinet); Alan Jeffs (guitar); Gavin Barras (bass); Eryl Roberts (drums).

There was a good turnout for this Sunday evening concert and Frank wasted no time in going into Tangerine which was done at a medium tempo and straight away I got the feeling that this would be one of those nights where all four musicians establish a great rapport with one another.

On previous occasions at the Railway he has used a pianist but tonight I was pleased to see Alan Jeffs, an excellent guitarist, who positioned himself to the left and in front of the bandstand close to bass player Gavin Barras.

The Rookies @ the Jazz Lab, Melbourne - Nov. 1

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Glen Sher (alto sax); Tom Sly (trumpet); Joel Trigg (piano/kazoo); Oscar Neyland (bass); Chris Cameron drums.


Having been highly impressed with the Jazz Lab on my first visit, I decided to make a return visit with my son Lester to hear The Rookies who we first encountered by chance during one of my previous trips to Melbourne...

...we were walking down Brunswick Street on our way to the Uptown Jazz Cafe, we came across a small bar called the Rook’s Return which was packed full of people having a great time so we decided to check it out.

Preview: Nu Civilisation Orchestra @ Sunderland's Fire Station - Nov. 27

On Sunday (Nov. 27) Sunderland's Fire Station hosts the sixth and final date of the Nu Civilisation Orchestra's current nationwide tour. The NCO's latest project focuses upon the music of Joni Mitchell, specifically her Hejira album and a fruitful collaboration with the legendary Charles Mingus. A star-studded line-up directed by Peter Edwards with ESKA singing Mitchell, there is little doubt this Fire Station concert could be a contender for gig of the year! To book tickets see:       

Livestream: Liane Carroll @ the 606 - Nov. 20

Liane Carroll (piano/vocal); Roger Carey (bass guitar); Russell Field (drums)

Over on BBC 4 the Young Jazz Musician of the Year was being crowned whilst at the 606 Club an already long established monarch reigned supreme bringing this year's EFG London Jazz Festival to a close which, not surprisingly, she did in style ably aided and abetted by henchmen Carey and Field.

A choice selection of standards sung and played in her inimitable manner had the in-house audience showing their appreciation and the "outhouse" (livestreamers) audience no doubt doing likewise.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

News flash! Ewan Hastie wins BBC Jazz Musician: 2022!

Bassist Ewan Hastie has been crowned winner of the BBC Jazz Musician: 2022. Congratulations to  Ewan and all of this year's contestants.

Film review: Shove It – the Xero Slingsby story @ the Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle. Nov. 20

An interesting, intriguing and indeed provoking film - you won't get Doris Day at the Star & Shadow!

I must hold my hand up and say I was unfamiliar with Xero Slingsby (Matt Coe) prior to this showing which was part of the International Film Festival. This was protest music that hit where it hurts far more than a lot of the folk singers of the '70s/'80s ever did.

Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar - Nov. 19

Merlin Roxby (piano)

Merlin who? you say. No, me neither. Listed on Prohibition Bar's website as playing ragtime and stride piano and making his debutcuriosity won out. One or two familiar faces were in the house having a night out - Hi Ray, Patrick...The establishment's upright is, shall we say, in need of some TLC. Hey! If a dud piano was good enough for Fats Waller (he must have played any number of them), the piano on Pink Lane would be good enough for the unknown, mysterious, Mr Merlin Roxby. 

ON A GAELIC TRANCE Matt Carmichael and Fergus McCreadie @ Heart of Hawick – Nov. 18

(© Dave P)

Matt Carmichael (tenor sax); Fergus McCreadie (piano)

‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’

The young poet John Keats might have written those words on hearing Matt Carmichael and Fergus McCreadie play at the Heart of Hawick. They made music of sublime beauty that seemed to speak a timeless truth about creativity and left the capacity audience entranced.

The first set was one uninterrupted flow of improvisation that included two original compositions by Carmichael (Cononbridge) and McCreadie (The Unforrowed Field), a traditional dance tune from Harris and a Tamil devotional song taught to them years ago by Iain Ballamy. 

TJ Johnson @ Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club - Nov. 19

 TJ Johnson (piano, vocals)

Twenty four hours earlier TJ Johnson entertained a full house up the road in Newcastle at the Lit & Phil. Here at St Augustine's Parish Centre he did it all again, this time over the course of two sets. TJ's amiability scores heavily with audiences. With or without a written set list, his choice of material was stitched together with a casual, not to say informative, commentary. The weather cooperated (ie there wasn't a deluge!) and the good folk of Darlington turned out in good number on Larchfield Street.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Greg Abate @ Wakefield Jazz - Nov. 18

Greg Abate (alto sax/flute); Andrzej Baranek (piano); José Canha (bass); John Settle (drums) +  Pete Rosser (piano) on Recorda Me and Summertime.

I’d never been to Wakefield before but my friend Jeff told me that there were many roundabouts to negotiate and he was not wrong. The sat-nav was on overdrive!  Still, it was well worth the two hour drive in cold rainy conditions to see sax maestro Greg Abate who was nearing the end of a UK tour that was not without its own problems such as train cancellations and the other things that make being a travelling jazz musician a somewhat stressful occupation. In view of this he told me before the gig started that next year he had decided to only do one UK tour in November and thus will not be here in July.

Remembering saxophonist Eric Pollard

Thanks to Tom Gibb for drawing my attention to an amusing item about the late tenor sax player Eric Pollard. It's from a book by John and Joyce Carlson: South Shields From Old Photographs (still available from quality bookshops or online).

Eric was perhaps the first jazz tenor sax player I heard on South Tyneside. He was a regular at the Bungalow Jazz Club in South Shields as well as being a part of the Ronnie Callaghan Octet - a band that reached the final of the 1952 edition of the prestigious  Melody Maker Dance Band Contest after winning the local heat at the Majestic Ballroom in South Shields.

Preview: Ragtime & stride piano @ Prohibition Bar - Nov. 19

This evening on Pink Lane in Newcastle there is the debut performance at Prohibition Bar by ragtime and stride piano specialist Merlin Roxby. Living locally, Merlin is one of very few pianists focusing upon early twentieth century piano styles. Playing the venue's upright in the bar is the ideal scenario to hear what the man can do. Check him out from eight o'clock and remember it's a 'jar on the bar' gig. Russell       

Jazz Time Aycliffe Radio - Sundays 6.30pm-8.00pm (repeat Tuesdays 8.00pm-9.30 pm)

 Playlist 20/11/22. (Repeated Tuesday 22/11/22)

 Requests: McCoy Tyner.

What’s on: Zoë Gilby, Stevie Wonder, Jean Toussaint All Star Sextet, Nu Civilisation Orchestra, Jamil Sheriff Trio .

Birthday: Tommy Dorsey. Request: Erroll Garner.

Birthday: Louis Armstrong/Jack Teagarden/Coleman Hawkins.

Scottish Jazz: SNJO.

Billie Holiday. Paul Edis.

Request : Miles Davis & John Coltrane.


Preview: BBC Young Jazz Musician: Final - BBC 4, Sunday (Nov. 20)

Note the names...Luke Bacchus (piano), Nick Manz (piano), Ralph Porrett (guitar), Emma Rawicz (saxophone), Ewan Hastie (double bass). On Sunday evening (Nov. 20) one of these young musicians will be crowned BBC Young Jazz Musician (2022). In front of a live audience at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London's Southbank, each of the finalists will perform alongside Nikki Yeoh's Infinitum. A panel of jazz insiders will deliberate and decide who the winner shall be. 2020 BBC Young Jazz Musician Deschanel Gordon (pictured) will also perform on the night. If any of the contestants are half as good as Deschanel, in years to come we'll be seeing and hearing them at jazz clubs and festivals all over the country. Tune to BBC 4, Sunday, eight o'clock. Russell       

Friday, November 18, 2022

Errol Linton + Littlefield & Taylor @ Gosforth Civic Theatre - Nov. 17

Errol Linton (vocals, harmonica); Ritchie Green (guitar); Petar 'Peter' Živković (piano); Lance Rose (double bass); Gary Williams (drums)

Errol Linton said: It's been a while. Harmonica demon Linton first played a Jumpin' & Hot Club gig many moons ago and here he was on a rainy, rainy November day making a welcome return to Newcastle. This Gosforth Civic Theatre  promotion was the latest in Jumpin' Hot Club's 37th anniversary year of celebratory gigs. And, despite the rain, GCT was packed, both cabaret tables and raked seating. 

TJ Johnson @ the Lit & Phil - Nov. 18

 TJ Johnson (piano, vocals)

This was something different for the monthly JATLP session.

TJ is, first and foremost, an entertainer. And, whilst he may not be the world's greatest pianist nor the world's greatest singer, combine the two and you get the feeling that maybe he is not that far short in either category!

The audience loved him and so did I. He engaged us with his patter between numbers creating an ambience so important on a gig - especially on a one man show such as this.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Album review: Esbjörn Svensson - HOME.S.

Esbjörn Svensson (piano)

These recordings do, of course, come with more than a tinge of sadness as they are hitherto ‘lost’ solo pieces recorded by Svensson at home before he died in a swimming accident in 2008. He’d recorded them, digitally, onto a hard drive and after his death the hard drive had been left in a bag at the back of the cupboard and lain undisturbed until this year. We have to consider the ‘rightness’ of releasing them. I’ve called them pieces already but some feel more like aural doodles or sketches rather than finished works. 

Mike Hall Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Nov. 13

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Mike Hall (tenor/alto sax); Richard Wetherall (piano); Ed Harrison (bass); Eryl Roberts (drums).

Another great Sunday night of modern jazz from Mike and his group who seemed particularly inspired right from the opening number which was Benny Golson’s Killer Joe.  The high energy level was maintained during the second tune, Dizzy Gillespie’s Groovin’ High, which had Mike playing his Selmer Mark VI alto, a horn I can’t recall him using at the Railway before. I liked his choice of tunes on this gig; he played a total of twelve numbers which included compositions by Monk, Jobim, Stanley Turrentine, Ellington, Phil Woods and others.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Album review: Oscar Peterson - On a Clear Day

Oscar Peterson (piano); Niels Henning Ørsted Pederson (bass); Louis Hayes (drums).

I suppose the moment when jazz moved from an interest to an obsession with me was one evening in March 1955 at the City Hall, Newcastle. A concert comprising two sets. The first by the Oscar Peterson Trio and the second by Ella Fitzgerald with Don Abney on piano.

The bass and drums playing on that life changing evening, were Sammy Stokes and Tony Kinsey - both British.*

The Black Swan jam session - Nov.15

Stu Collingwood (piano, vocals); Paul Grainger (double bass); Sid White (drums, vocals) + in something like order of appearance: Ian Drever (vocals); Thomas ? (trombone); Kris Finney (drums); Edgar Bell (trumpet); Ben Phillips (piano); Michael Mather (drums); Haaruun Miller (alto sax, soprano sax); Niffi Osiyemi (vocals); Ray Burns (harmonica); Tom ? (drums); Alice Grace (vocals); Jacob Egglestone (guitar); Esther Coombes (clarinet); Dan Potter (drums)

No two Black Swan jam sessions are alike. Some weeks there is a surfeit of horns players, some weeks half a dozen guitarists show up, occasionally, familiar faces you assume will sit-in don't turn up and, invariably, the Main Man, Paul Grainger scans all four corners in the vain hope that a bass player will be in the house. This evening the big surprise was the relatively sparse turn out of punters. Whatever the weather - literally and metaphorically - the show must go on, and go on it did.

GRAMMY nominations announced

Hot on the heels of the Ivor Novello Awards comes the GRAMMY nominations. Not surprisingly the jazz content is much higher. In the Jazz Vocal category there is the intriguing prospect of The Baylor Project, Samara Joy, Carmen Lundy, Man Tran and Cécile McLoren Salvant all in contention.

For a list of all of the jazz related nominations visit LONDON JAZZ NEWS. Lance

An Ivor for Tori

(© Mark Allan

The 2022 Ivor Novello Award Winners were announced yesterday. The Jazz Ensemble award went to Tori Freestone for her composition Birds of Paradise - see press release below. Lance


Tori Freestone’s Birds of Paradise won the Jazz Ensemble AwardThe composer and jazz pianist Alcyona Mick premiered the piece as part of the London Jazz Festival in 2021.

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