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Bebop Spoken There

Julian Lage: "Charlie Christian's the greatest ever, in my opinion." - (DownBeat, February 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!"


15103 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 122 of them this year alone and, so far, 20 this month (Feb. 6).

From This Moment On ...


Thu 09: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 4:00pm (this week only). Free.
Thu 09: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. £5.00.
Thu 09: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm. Guest band: Just Friends: Ian Bosworth (guitar); Richie Emmerson (sax); Dave Archbold (keys); Ron Smith (bass); Mark Hawkins (drums).

Fri 10: Alan Barnes w Dean Stockdale Trio @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm. £7.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 10: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 10: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 10: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 10: Alan Barnes w Dean Stockdale Trio @ Traveller's Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. £12.00.

Sat 11: Slowlight Quartet @ The Rooms @ Immediate Audio, Unit 24, Morley's Yard South, Albion Row, Byker, Newcastle NE6 1PQ. 2:30pm. Tickets:
First gig of four (1/4). The Slowlights feat. YVA.
Sat 11: New Century Ragtime Orchestra @ King's Hall, Newcastle University. 7:00pm. £15.00. on the door.
Sat 11: Slowlight Quartet @ The Rooms @ Immediate Audio, Unit 24, Morley's Yard South, Albion Row, Byker, Newcastle NE6 1PQ. 7:30pm. Tickets: Second gig of four (2/4). The Slowlights feat. YVA. SOLD OUT!
Sat 11: Vermont Big Band & the Coast Connection @ The Seahorse, Whitley Bay FC. 7:30pm. £10.00. (inc. hot buffet), raffle. SOLD OUT!
Sat 11: The Rebelators @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sun 12: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon. LAST SESSION!
Sun 12: Slowlight Quartet @ The Rooms @ Immediate Audio, Unit 24, Morley's Yard South, Albion Row, Byker, Newcastle NE6 1PQ. 2:30pm. Tickets: Third gig of four (3/4). The Slowlights feat. YVA.
Sun 12: Am Jam @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 3:00pm. Free. Jam session, all welcome.
Sun 12: Jive Aces @ Queen's Hall, Hexham. 7:30pm.
Sun 12: Slowlight Quartet @ The Rooms @ Immediate Audio, Unit 24, Morley's Yard South, Albion Row, Byker, Newcastle NE6 1PQ. 7:30pm. Tickets: Fourth gig of four (4/4). The Slowlights feat. YVA. SOLD OUT!
Sun 12: Sylvain Darrifourcq-Manuel Hermia-Valentin Ceccaldi @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. JNE promotion (upstairs).

Mon 13: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 13: Central Bar Quintet @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 7:30pm. £5.00. First set: The Central Bar Quintet plays Horace Silver's The Tokyo Blues (featuring Pete Tanton). Second set: standards & more (no jam session).

Tue 14: ???

Wed 15: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 15: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 15: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 15: Durham Univesity Jazz Orchestra w. Tiny Fred's Collective @ Mark Hillary Arts Centre, South Road, Collingwood College, Durham. 7:00pm. 'Jazz Night 1'. The evening begins with a jam session followed by a concert performance.
Wed 15: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 15: Syd Lawrence Orchestra: Big Band Brass @ Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.

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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