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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

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).

Fri 01: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 01: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 01: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 01: Wind Ensemble + Big Band + Jazz Combo + R&B Band @ Boiler House, Newcastle University. 5:30pm. Free.
Fri 01: Joseph Carville Trio @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Fri 01-Sun 03: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. From 8:00pm Friday. Weekend ticket: £20.00.
Fri 01: TBC @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Blind Pig Blues Club.
Fri 01: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. £10.00. Day 1/3. Musicians Unlimited + Festival Band.

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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