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Bebop Spoken There

Charles McPherson: “Jazz is best heard in intimate places”. (DownBeat, July, 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.

Postage

16590 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 483 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (July 14).

From This Moment On ...

July

Tue 23: Nomade Swing Trio @ Newcastle House Hotel, Rothbury. 7:30pm. £10.00. Tickets from Tully’s of Rothbury or at the door (cash only). A Coquetdale Jazz event.

Wed 24: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 24: Nomade Swing Trio @ Café Needles Eye, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. 6:00pm. Reservations: 01670 641224.
Wed 24: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 24: The Ronnie Scott’s Story @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Wed 24: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 24: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Thu 25: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 25: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Garry Hadfield (keys); Noel Dennis (tpt); Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Adrian Beadnell (bass).
Thu 25: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Fri 26: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 26: Bailiwick + Sleep Suppressor + Christie/Chan @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors 6:30pm). ‘Experimental evening of jazz, punk and jazz-punk’.
Fri 26: Nomade Swing Trio @ Repas7 by Night, Berwick. 7:30pm. Free.
Fri 26: Stuart Turner @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Fri 26: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Fri 26: Bold Big Band @ Old Coal Yard, Byker, Newcastle. 9:30pm. A Newcastle Fringe Festival event.

Sat 27: BBC Proms: BBC Introducing stage @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 12 noon. Free. Line-up inc. Nu Groove (2:00pm); Abbie Finn Trio (2:50pm); Dilutey Juice (3:50pm); SwanNek (5:00pm); Rivkala (6:00pm).
Sat 27: Nomade Swing Trio @ Billy Bootlegger’s, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sat 27: Mississippi Dreamboats @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 27: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Sat 27: Theon Cross + Knats @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 10:00pm. £22.00. BBC Proms: BBC Introducing Stage (Sage Two). A late night gig.

Sun 28: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 28: Miss Jean & the Ragtime Rewind Swing Band @ Fonteyn Ballroom, Dunelm House (Durham Students’ Union), Durham. 2:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Sun 28: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, Union Quay, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Nomade Swing Trio @ Red Lion, Alnmouth. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Jazz Jam Sandwich! @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 28: Jeffrey Hewer Collective @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 28: Milne Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Mon 29: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 30: ???

Wed 31: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 31: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 31: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Book review: Peter Dawn - Phil Seamen 'Percussion Genius' Outrageous Rebel and Born Raver

Spread over 751 pages (inc. index, selective discography, and bibliography) this is possibly the longest and most detailed biography of any British jazz musician ever. This is not to take anything away from Simon Spillett's magnificent Tubby Hayes biography or the late Peter King's autobiography. They are all relevant to each other and author Dawn draws extensively from them and many others in painting this picture of Britain's greatest drummer.

Seamen was born and spent his early life in Burton on Trent - the then home of the British beer industry and Phil's first job was working in the town's Marston's Brewery. 

After playing in local bands he eventually moved south and worked his way to the top via bands such as the Jack Parnell Orchestra and the vibrant jazz scene in London's West End.

Bands such as the quartets of Tubby Hayes and Joe Harriott were enhanced by Phil's drumming although he and Harriott weren't always close as I recall from a session at Newcastle's Down Beat Club back in the 1960s when they were most certainly at odds with each other.

Much of the material is drawn from Melody Makers, NMEs, Crescendos, Jazz News and other magazines of the period as well as the classic Decibel album The Phil Seamen Story. They are all excellently collated and give the reader an almost day to day chronicle of the life of a jazz musician - warts and all.

We get insights into Phil's occasional returns to Burton, commented on by local musicians and fans who knew him. His drug addiction isn't glossed over but, for all his unpredictability, everyone speaks of him with admiration and much love including ex wife Léonie and former girl friend Jo who were both interviewed. Neither bore malice despite the difficulties they must have faced in trying to come to terms with his lifestyle. 

The book is peppered with historic, often rare, photos and there are few British jazzmen of note who aren't mentioned.

I didn't know that he'd played drums on Acker's Stranger on the Shore or Cilla's Anyone Who Had a Heart as well as many other hits.

For drummers, perhaps the most interesting chapter is the one where he and other drummers discuss the matched grip as opposed to the orthodox grip. Phil is generally acknowledged as the first to pioneer this method of holding the sticks which later became the norm. The same chapter includes several notated examples of his playing. I know I will be checking out other drummers' techniques. 

This is not just the story of Phil Seamen - well it is - but  it's also the story of British modern jazz of which he was very much a part of. A flawed genius? Yes, but a genius who heard a different drummer - himself! 

To purchase Peter Dawn: Phil Seamen 'Percussion Genius' Outrageous Rebel and Born Raver (ISBN 978-1-83952-391-5) or to find out more click on HERE. Lance

1 comment :

Lance said...

Further to my review, I overlooked one mild criticism and that was the use of asterisks for what were once thought of as 'naughty words'. Ok, so f*****g may be just about acceptable - even when quoting the man himself who wasn't unknown to have used such expletives in most of his sentences - but p***s, b******s, s**t, and other words in everyday usage somehow seem far removed from the everyday world in which Phil lived in then and what we do now. Just a thought. It's still a great book.

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