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Bebop Spoken There

Delfeayo Marsalis: "Slide Hampton once told me that it's not always the person that is playing the highest or playing the fastest that's making the greatest impact." - (DownBeat March 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!"


15229 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 248 of them this year alone and, so far, 61 this month (March 20).

From This Moment On ...


Mon 20: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 20: Central Bar Quintet plays Wes Montgomery @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 7:30pm. Feat. Joe Steels.

Tue 21: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Hallgarth St., Durham DH1 3AT. 7:00pm. Paul Skerritt's (solo) weekly residency.
Tue 21: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre. 7:30pm. House trio: Jacob Egglestone (guitar); Jamie Watkins (bass guitar); Bailey Rudd (drums).

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Traveller's Rest, Cockerton. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public). Note change of venue - this week only.
Wed 22: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 4:00-6:00pm. Free.
Thu 23: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Bar Loco, Newcasatle. From 6:30pm 'til late. Free. Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra jam session. All welcome (students & non-students).
Thu 23: Kerrin Tatman + John Garner & John Pope @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 23: Sunna Gunnlaugs & Julia Hülsmann @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm. A two-piano gig. A Sage Gateshead-JNE promotion.
Thu 23: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano.
Thu 23: Sleep Suppressor @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00., £8.00. adv. Upstairs.
Thu 23: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 24: FILM: Mo' Better Blues @ Forum Cinema, Hexham. 7:00pm.
Fri 24: Ian Millar & Dominic Spencer @ Scarth Hall, Staindrop, Co. Durham. 8:00pm. £10.00.
Fri 24: Archipelago + Bulbils @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.

Sat 25: Vermont Big Band @ Walker Community Centre, Walker, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Fundraiser for Benfield Juniours Football Club. Hot food available, BYOB.
Sat 25: John Logan & Friends @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Rat Pack, Motown etc. 8:00pm. Free (donations).

Sun 26: Musicians Unlimited @ Park Inn, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 26: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 26: Outlines @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. JNE promotion (upstairs).

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

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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