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Bebop Spoken There

Steve Fishwick: “I can’t get behind the attitude that new is always somehow better than old”. (Jazz Journal, April 15, 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!"

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.


16542 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 422 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (June 17).

From This Moment On ...


Thu 20: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 20 Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle. 2:00pm. £4.00. Note new venue!
Thu 20: Karine Polwart & Dave Milligan @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm. £29.00., £23.00. Folk/jazz duo.
Thu 20: Richard Herdman & Ray Burns @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 20: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Josh Bentham (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Dave Archbold (keys); Dave Harrison (trumpet); Ron Smith (bass).

Fri 21: Alan Barnes with Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT!
Fri 21: Joe Steels’ Borealis @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 21: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 21: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 21: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 21: Soznak @ The Bike Garden, Nunsmoor, Newcastle NE4 5NU. 5:00-9:00pm. Free.
Fri 21: Errol Linton + Michael Littlefield & Scott Taylor (King Bees) @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle. 7:30pm. £20.00. Blues double bill.
Fri 21: Alan Barnes with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ Seventeen Nineteen, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Fri 21: Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ Alnwick Playhouse. 8:00pm. ‘Ella & Ellington’.
Fri 21: Mark Toomey Quartet @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. Opus 4 Jazz Club.

Sat 22: Jason Isaacs @ Stack, Seaburn SR6 8AA. 12:30-2:30pm. Free.
Sat 22: Abbie Finn Trio @ The Vault, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free.
Sat 22: Hejira: Celebrating Joni Mitchell @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors). £22.50.
Sat 22: Rockin’ Turner Bros. @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 23: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 23: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Matt Carmichael @ St Mary’s Church, Wooler. 3:00pm. Carmichael (saxophone), Fergus McCreadie (piano), Charlie Stewart (fiddle). ‘Scottish jazz, folk-roots & landscape’ Wooler Arts: Summer Concerts.
Sun 23: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Bede Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 23: Leeway @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 23: Jazz Jam @ Fabio’s Bar, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 24: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 24: Remy CB @ The Hoppings, Newcastle Town Moor NE2 3NH. 5:00-7:00pm.

Tue 25: Louise Dodds & Elchin Shirinov @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Wed 26: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 26: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 26: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

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. 

On the scale of what’s right and wrong they are not as bad as a World Cup in 'Catarrh' but the question remains to be asked. There have been posthumous releases by the Esbjörn Svensson Trio (Leucocyte, 301 and Live in London) but in those cases the other two members of the Trio (Dan Berglund and Magnus Ostrom) were able to make the decisions about their release.

On the other side of the scale are the facts that posthumous releases of possibly unfinished works is no rare thing (just look at the catalogue of Jeff Buckley, who died in a similar swimming accident 11 years before Svensson) and the quality of the work. If these were just sketches and noodles the standard of playing is very high.

So, we have here 9 tracks, named after the first 9 letters of the Greek alphabet clocking in at 36 minutes and change. From these humble beginnings follows a concert, an online event and, next year, a book as well as the album (more details can be found on Esbjö ).

And to the music. The pieces display much of the flare for which Svensson was famous, both his pensive Evans-ish delicacy and his Tyner-esque percussiveness. The quieter pieces draw you in; Alpha opens with an almost quote from Evans’ Peace Piece that flows into something more powerful as it closes. Beta is all delicacy.

Delta opens with trills like something from a Regency ball before that percussive left hand comes into dominate and left and right dance around each other in a quest for domination. Epsilon is, simply, imperious. Beautiful, intricate, knotty melodies are worked through rising time and again to climaxes and then flowing into further intricacy. Listen closely and you can hear Svensson humming as he plays. (That’s humming, not Jarrett-esque grunts).

Zeta is a romance for a film and Eta is a folk dance, again with that solid left hand foundation under melodic frills and thrills. The closer, Iota, really encapsulates, in its two and a bit minutes, all that went before. We have that delicacy and intricacy and a rolling thunder central passage that fades away leaving a simple melody that takes us to the close.

Is it right that this should have been released? On balance I think so. The recordings were completed in the months just before Svensson’s accidental death and they show the range of his ambition at that stage in his career, suggesting further classical and folk influences. Some pieces may have stayed as solo works and others may have been worked up by the Trio but, sadly, we’ll never know which and how.

HOME.S. is released this Friday Nov. 18, through all the usual channels. Dave Sayer

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