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Bebop Spoken There

Art Blakey: "You [Bobby Watson] don't want to play too long, because you don't know they're clapping because they're glad you finished!" - (JazzTimes, Nov. 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!"


15848 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 855 of them this year alone and, so far, 53 this month (Sept. 18).

From This Moment On ...


Thu 21: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 21: La Malbec Orchestra @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Thu 21: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.
Thu 21: Linsday Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man @ Harbour View, Sunderland. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 21: Ray Stubbs R & B All Stars @ The Schooner, Gateshead. 8:30pm. Free.
Thu 21: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 22: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 22: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 22: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 22: Brief Encounter @ Bardon Mill Village Hall, Northumberland. 7:00pm. Tickets: £10.00. adv from 07885 303166; £12.00. on the door. Chris & Veronica Perrin improvising to a screening of the 1929 'Jazz Age' silent film Piccadilly (Dir. Ewald André Dupont).
Fri 22: Paul Edis & Graeme Wilson + Three Tsuru Origami @ Jesmond United Reformed Church, Newcastle. 7:30pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 22: Crooners @ Tyne Theatre, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Fri 22: Abbie Finn's Finntet @ Traveller's Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. Opus 4 Jazz Club.

Sat 23: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Tanfield Railway, Gateshead. 2:00-4:00pm. Free. A '1940s Weekend' event.
Sat 23: Jason Isaacs @ Stack, Seaburn. 3:30-5:30pm. Free.
Sat 23: Andrew Porritt & Keith Barrett @ Cullercoats Watch House, Front St., Cullercoats NE30 4QB. 7:00pm.
Sat 23: Michael Woods @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig. Country blues.

Sun 24: Musicians Unlimited @ Park Inn, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 24: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.

Mon 25: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 25: Michael Young Trio @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 7:00pm.

Tue 26: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Hallgarth St., Durham DH1 3AT. 7:00pm. Paul Skerritt's (solo) weekly residency.

Wed 27: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 27: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 27: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

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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