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Bebop Spoken There

Greg Osby: “I have my own style, my own attitude, my own opinions about things. I'm not a follower". DownBeat, February, 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.


16233 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 115 of them this year alone and, so far, 59 this month (Feb. 23).

From This Moment On ...

February 2024

Fri 23: Mark Williams Trio @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 23: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 23: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 23: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 23: Salty Dog Trio @ The Greenhouse, Tynemouth. 7:00pm. £8.00. (£6.00. adv.). CANCELLED!
Fri 23: Crooners @ The Maltings, Berwick upon Tweed. 7:30pm. £30.00., £28.00.
Fri 23: Strictly Smokin' Big Band w Dennis Rollins @ Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Sat 24: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm (doors). Free (donations). A Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra event, all welcome.
Sat 24: Bradley Creswick’s Western Swingfonia @ Hexham Abbey, Hexham. 7:30pm. £15.00. A fundraiser for Hexham Abbey.
Sat 24: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 25: Musicians Unlimited @ The Park Inn, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 25: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:30pm. Free.
Sun 25: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 25: Lindsay Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man + Lee Maddison @ Laurels, Whitley Bay. 4:00pm (3:30pm doors). £11.00., £8.80. inc. bf. SOLD OUT!
Sun 25: Bex Burch + Rachel Musson @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £11.00. Two solo performances. JNE.
Sun 25: Jazz Jam @ Fabio's, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 26: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 27: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm (7:00pm doors). £12.00., £10.00. (adv.).

Wed 28: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 28: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 28: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 29: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 29: Student Performances @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 4:00pm. Free. Inc. Olly Styles (saxophone).
Thu 29: ’58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:00pm. Free.
Thu 27: Student Jazz Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Thu 29: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Josh Bentham (alto sax); Graham Thompson (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

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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