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Bebop Spoken There

Ambrose Akinmusire: “ I am certainly always aware of what the masses are doing. And when I see too many people going one way, I'm going another way - even when I don't know what's over that way". DownBeat, March, 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
Tue 27: Meditative Soundscapes - Improvised Music @ Earthlings - Healing Cafe, Buckingham St., Newcastle NE4 5QR. 7:00-8:30pm. Feat. Johannes Dalhuijsen, Richard Herdman, Nick Bagnall & Michael Olatunji.
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.

Sat 02: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. 11:00am. £15.00.. Day 2/3. Senior bands in competition.
Sat 02: Frog & Henry @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm.£10.00. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club. Superb Anglo-American band!
Sat 02: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: TBC. £25.00. Enrol at:
Sat 02: The Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Repas7 by Night, 7 West St, Berwick TD15 1AS, 07900 627562. Tapas Specials from 5.00pm - showtime 8.00pm.
Sat 02: Durham University Big Band @ Durham Students' Union, New Elvet, Durham. 7:30pm. £8.00.
Sat 02: Tom Remon & Laurence Harrison @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sat 02: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. £3.00. The band’s 25th anniversary gig!
Sat 02: John Logan @ The Dyvels, Corbridge. 8:00pm. Rat Pack-style swing.

Sun 03: Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester-le-Street. 11:00am. £10.00.. Day 3/3. School & Youth bands in competition.
Sun 03: Smokin’ Spitfires @ the Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm. £7.50.
Sun 03: Alan Law Trio plays Ahmad Jamal’s At the Pershing: But Not for Me & more @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 2:00pm. £10.00. The music of Ahmad Jamal.
Sun 03: Alice Grace & Ben Helm @ St Francis’ Church, High Heaton, Newcastle. 2:00-5:00pm. £12.00. (children free admission). A Children’s Society fundraiser. Two x 30 mins sets. Refreshments available, child-friendly event with participation of children encouraged!
Sun 03: Sax Choir @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00-5:00pm. Free (donations). Monthly workshop, all welcome (participant and/or listener).
Sun 03: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 03: ’58 Jazz Collective @ St George’s Venue, Park Road, Hartlepool. 3:30pm (refreshments from 2:30pm). £6.00.
Sun 03: Down for the Count: A Century of Swing @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:00pm.
Sun 03: SH#RP Collective @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 03: Remy CB @ Blues & Bourbon, Nelson St., Newcastle. 9:00pm. Free. Newcastle University music student Remy Coulthard Boardman.

Mon 04: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 05: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Joe Steels, Paul Grainger, Michael Mather.

Wednesday, November 09, 2022


This excellent and perceptive article by Neville Sarony KC is reproduced with the kind permission of Colin Aitchison. It first appeared on his China Coast Jazzmen Facebook page. Lance

Late on Friday the 4th of November 2022 there was evidence that Hong Kong, like a latter day Rip Van Winkle, had emerged from its nigh-on catatonic sleep and felt again an adrenalin powered rush of joy. 

Was this attributable to the much vaunted Hong Kong Monetary Authority hosted summit of global financial leaders at the Four Seasons hotel? No.

Was it the return of the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, even in its somewhat confined iteration? No.

No, the warmth that coursed back into Hong Kong’s tired veins stemmed from the re-opening of live music from the China Coast Jazzmen at Ned Kelly’s Last Stand in Ashley Road, Tsim Tsa Chui, always referred to by its aficionados simply as ‘Ned’s’. News of the return of these inspiring musicians and their brand of traditional jazz, covers of ‘standards’ and delivery of unsophisticated fun, was transmitted through Facebook, bringing out the fans.

Just how all-embracing Ned’s is could be measured by casting an eye across the audience; young and old, boys and girls, men and women drawn from a variety of nationalities and races.

Old friends hugged each other as they re-connected after such a long absence.

The faces of the cognoscenti split into unconstrainedly happy smiles as the band struck up their favourite numbers. Whoops of expectant joy met band leader Colin Aitchison’s opening lines of What a Wonderful World and the entire audience sang out the chorus line.

The presence of several of the Hong Kong Swingers led, inevitably, to some skilful dancing and a little less twinkle-toed terpsichorean gyrations by some of the more mature participants. But who cared, when the music reached down into your very soul, uplifting spirits that have lain almost without life for so long under the crippling restraints of Covidiocy.

Eyes long dulled by quarantines and lock-downs and endless testing and the ‘Ding-Dong’ of the Leave Home Safe regime, suddenly were alight with hope and happiness. The sense that Hong Kongers will shrug off the listless pall of suffocating regulations and recover their innate joie de vivre was suddenly right there, vibrant and flourishing.

No-one listening would have thought that the musicians had not played together for months on end. The playing was as tight as ever, Aki Espiritu performing on piano, guitar, banjo and sousaphone. The rhythm group of Joe on bass and Noel on drums drove the music upward and onward sending out a captivating beat to Happy Feet.

Joining Colin’s trombone on the front line, Benny’s saxophone and Angelo’s ever higher trumpet took the melodies and romanced them into ever changing shapes. For a few precious hours, Hope was given lyrical and melodic shape in a way that engaged and informed everyone present.

Colin is the P.T. Barnum of Ned’s, joking with his audience and the members of the band, a Master of Entertainment not just an MC. The people loved every minute.

Sitting quietly in a corner, a blissful glow illuminating his features, Ned’s leaseholder, Mike Brown, observed this exuberant resurrection of an entertainment forum that he has nursed through the ravages of the worst economic conditions it has navigated in its 50 year existence. His heart strings must have been dancing to the sight of the wonderful Nepalese staff weaving their way through the tables, serving a constant supply of drinks and food as though they were on steroids.

Throughout the pandemic, Ned’s owner, Tom Parker, has shared the financial pain, endeavouring to shelter it from failing, mindful too of the devastating effect on the staff, those vulnerable members of the gig economic. Would that other property owners exhibited the same commitment to iconic establishments like Ned’s that Tom Parker has.

One of the idiosyncrasies of Ned’s and its unique contribution to Hong Kong lies in the sheer variety of its followers, and its propensity to enable instant friendship over a shared table. One elderly gentleman looked at me and said “I’ve been coming here for 30 years, you play the piano…The Breathalyzer Blues.” It took me a second to realise that he meant “The Alcoholic Blues”. In one sentence he captured the loyal following that Ned’s engenders and their familiarity with the music.

Those who think of jazz only in terms of vibrant, foot-tapping compositions, overlook the very real balm to the soul that it provides.

The truly catastrophic effects on mental health brought about by the responses to Covid are emerging. At the core of this aspect has been the lack of human contact amongst social animals. The road back not only to recovery but a renewed appetite for life for the people of Hong Kong was mapped out in this eccentric venue named after an infamous Australian robber.

For too many, the pandemic restrictions robbed them of a recognisable form of life. Ned’s proves what a powerful antidote it provides to that sense of loss, a musical powerhouse to uplift weary spirits. Why, oh why did it take so long for this to be recognised?
Neville Sarony


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