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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.


16519 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 399 of them this year alone and, so far, 21 this month (June 8).

From This Moment On ...


Wed 12: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 12: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 12: The Tannery Jam Session @ The Tannery, Gilesgate, Hexham. 7:00-9:00pm. Free. A ‘second Wednesday in the month’ jam session.
Wed 12: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 13: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 13: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. £5.00. Upstairs.
Thu 13: Musicians Unlimited @ Dorman’s, Middlesbrough. 8:00pm.
Thu 13: Jazz Guys @ Tynedale Beer & Cider Festival, Corbridge. 8:00pm.
Thu 13: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 13: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm.

Fri 14: Mark Williams Trio @ The Old Library, Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 14: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 14: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 14: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 14: Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. ‘Ella & Ellington’. 7:30pm. £18.00.
Fri 14: Customs House Big Band @ Customs House, South Shields. 7:30pm. Donations (online, min. £3.00.).

Sat 15: Keith Barrett & Andrew Porritt @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 12 noon. Free. A Cullercoats Festival event.
Sat 15: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Sat 15: James Birkett & Emma Fisk @ Sunderland Minster. 7:30pm. £15.00., £8.00. (u16s free). ‘The Great American Songbook’. A Bishopwearmouth Choral Society event, conductor David Murray.
Sat 15: Jude Murphy & Dan Stanley @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 16: Jason Isaacs @ Stack, Seaburn SR6 8AA. 1:00-2:45pm. Free.
Sun 16: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 16: Gaz Hughes Trio @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. £10.00.
Sun 16: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 16: Gaz Hughes Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 16: Jazz Jam @ Fabio’s Bar, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 17: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 18: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Victoria & Albert Inn, Seaton Delaval. 12:30pm. £13.00. ‘Jazz, Sausage ‘n’ Mash’…’with Onion Gravy’!
Tue 18: Jam Session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Stu Collingwood, Paul Grainger, Tim Johnston.
Tue 18: Libby Goodridge & Ben Davies @ The Lost Wanderer, Leazes Park Road, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £6.00. Triple bill, inc. Goodridge & Davies (jazz).

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Album review: WDR Big Band - Birth of a Bird.

Johan Hörlan, Luigi Grasso (solo alto saxes) + WDR Big Band (see graphic for personnel, soloists etc.) Arrangements by Michael Abene.

Put WDR Big Band on the cover of an album and you know you're in for something special. Adding two outstanding alto saxists playing numbers associated with Charlie Parker ups the ante to something extra special which is what this album most certainly is.

Hörlan and Grasso are both in scintillating form - they had to be to do the music justice. Fifty/sixty years on the essence of Bird's music is uppermost albeit not without the players' own input.

Chi-Chi has the two altos blowing wildly, their individual lines intertwining like two serpents making love before they fly birdlike off in their own direction. The whole is underpinned by Michael Abene's arrangement for the ensemble.

Ah-Leu-Cha/Scrapple From the Apple. The altos are again to the fore in this clever merging of these two numbers but not before trumpet man Ruud Breuls has his say.

Ornithology is another example of the two players brilliance. When I recently posted my list of favourite alto players it may have been different had this album arrived earlier!

Embraceable You. In Bird's original version of the Gershwin ballad he ignored the head but took off immediately on his improvisation just as Hawkins had done a decade earlier on Body and Soul. Here, Grasso does likewise for a couple of minutes before stating the theme.

My Little Suede Shoes is, the blurb tells me, done over a calypso rhythm - maybe! Calypso or not it's still a fine version with the alto solos split by Andy Hunter's trombone which effectively overlaps with Grasso's entry.

Confirmation. Another Parker that, as of yet, hasn't been done too much to death at jam sessions. More trombone, this time from Ludwig Huss.

Yardbird Suite has most certainly been round the block a few times but none the worse for that. Here we have not one, not two, but three alto saxes! Karolina Strassmayer has the daunting task of following Hörlan and Grasso and her mellower tone blends well and offers contrast - the final exchanges had the hairs on the back of my neck rising.

The Gypsy - Hörlan's ballad feature - takes a similar approach to what Grasso did on Embraceable You and it's equally effective.

Segment from 1949 goes out with a bang. Apart from the altos there's Paul Heller on tenor and Jens Neufang on bari and the band supportive as ever thanks to Michael Abene's arrangements. Don't miss out on this one! Available usual suspects. Lance

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