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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.


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 ...


Mon 22: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

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. 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: 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.

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Happy New Jools' Eve

Yes it's the last night of 2022 when, in a few hours' time, everyone will be singing Auld Lang Syne and drinking a cup of kindness whilst smashing someone's face in as they watch Jools Holland on TV.

Let's also propose a toast to sax player YolanDa Brown who copped for an OBE in this year's Honours List. As far as I could see, this was the only jazz related item I could find which, on past form, is par for the course. 

Nevertheless, HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone from Lance and all at BSH.

Aycliffe Radio: Jazz Time - Sundays 6.30-8.00 pm (repeat Tuesdays 8.00-9.30pm)

Playlist 01/01/23. (Repeated Tuesday 03/01/23)

Jazz for the new year: Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller, Eddie Condon, Paul Edis and friends,

Requests: (from Matt Anderson, saxophonist), Bill Frisell, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, Glenn Miller & His Orchestra.

100th anniversary of the birth of Milt Jackson: MJQ +Phil Woods.

New Year Scottish Jazz: SNJO, Tommy Smith Quartet, Matt Carmichael, Fergus McCreadie.

Count Basie, Duke Ellington.

CD review of 2022 and more…

A personal review of my own images used for CD artwork in recent years.

If I’d put ‘My’ CD Review in the title then this may have been closer to the truth about what I’m about to cover, but that would look too self-congratulating. However, it turns out that over the last 3 years I’ve contributed to the artwork of several CDs in one way or another, and (to me) these are significant personal highlights. So I thought I’d share these – it’s not a tiny list nor is it a massive list, but covers both local and international musicians with whom I’ve worked with and/or helped in some way.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Classic Swing @ the Crescent Club - Dec. 30

Olive Rudd (vocals); Jim McBriarty (alto sax/sop sax/clarinet/ vocals); Alan Marshall (tenor sax); Carl Peacock (keys); Alan Rudd (bass guitar); Michael Mather (drums).

A cracking session down at the coast. Six piece band - three regulars and three deps. It didn't matter. Any casual passer-by who'd dropped in after a bracing walk along the sea front wouldn't know one from the other, so well did the deps slot in.

Rendezvous Jazz @ Monkseaton Arms - Dec. 30

Maureen Hall (vocals); Gavin Lee (clarinet); Gordon Solomon (trombone); Brian Chester (piano); Tom Derbyshire (double bass, vocals); Scott Adair (drums) + John Broddle (vocals)

It had been a while since BSH caught up with Rendezvous Jazz. In the interim, Maureen Hall's outfit has undergone one or two changes with ace trombone man Gordon Solomon and drummer Scott Adair now on board. As ever, clarinetist Gavin Lee sat to Maureen's left, Brian Chester occupied the piano stool with bassist Tom Derbyshire anchoring the show. Christmas decorations adorned the Monkseaton Arms' lounge, the festive menu seemingly set aside until next year, the regular noon 'til nine o'clock menu once more on offer.

After the film, the jam session @ the Prohibition Bar - Dec. 29

(© Kaveh Emami)
Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (bass); Mark Robertson (drums) + John Rowland (tenor sax); David Gray (trombone); Michael Mather (drums).

After the film, those members of the audience who hadn't succumbed to the cold, moved upstairs for a jam session. Appropriately, several of the musicians had played in the Safe Sextet back in the old days.

(© Kaveh Emami)
The opening number by the trio, The Good Life, saw them still wearing scarves and overcoats but by the time John Rowland took to the stage for In a Mellow Tone layers had been peeled off.

In Walked Bud then in walked David and the two horns got a good sound on Satin Doll.

Geordie Jazz Man. Remembering Keith Crombie ten years on

I've lost count of the number of times I've watched Abi Lewis' classic biopic Geordie Jazz Man depicting the life and times of the enigmatic Keith Crombie. Each time I watch it I seem to find something new.

As last night marked the tenth anniversary of his death it was only fitting that the screening took place in his former emporium, once the Jazz Café now the Prohibition Bar. This in itself added a new dimension to the film as we compared the then and now aspects of the venue.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Globe fundraising raffle

(Press release). As part of The Globe's fundraising campaign we are raffling a 1978 Ibanez Artist 2630 guitar!!

Other prizes include gig tickets to some of the North East's finest venues; The Tyne Theatre in Newcastle, Sage Gateshead, The Fire Station in Sunderland, and - of course - The Globe in Newcastle, a pair of weekend tickets to the 4th Annual Bath Jazz Weekend Festival in January 2024, 3 copies of Charles Mingus vinyl LP Mingus Ah Um, & 2 Globe T shirts.
To buy raffle tickets go HERE.

Album review: Jesse Davis - Live at Smalls Jazz Club

Jesse Davis (alto sax); Spike Wilner (piano); Peter Washhington (bass); Joe Farnsworth (drums)

It was only three days ago that I went down to the bookies intent on putting my shirt on The Heavy Hitters being the album of the year, 2023. Fortunately they, Ladbrokes, were closed otherwise I'd have caught a cold! 

I only had to hear the first few bars of Davis' searing alto on Jimmy Heath's Gingerbread Boy to know that 2023 wouldn't be a one horse race. Alto playing that brings to mind the spirit of Parker, Stitt or Frank Morgan. Bebop plus or, as Davis prefers, neo-bop which is an accurate description incorporating, as it does, the past with the present. 

Dave Sayer’s albums of the year

Well, here it is Mary Christmas and it’s that time of year when I have to sit and decide which were my favourites out of 2022’s releases. It’s easier choosing your favourite son or daughter, (thankfully I have one of each, an heir and a spare).

This year has seen more incorporation of music from around the world into, mainly British, jazz and has probably had the Jazz Police working overtime as the American tradition is further diluted and musicians look to tell the stories of their own families in the UK of the 2020s.

In no particular order and just missing out on the coveted 3rd spot are:

Jazz on the Tyne – Review of 2022

On the latest edition of the podcast, presenter Colin Muirhead looks back at 2022.  He’ll feature extracts from interviews with guests who’ve appeared on the show during the year (including BSH’s Lance Liddle), plus tracks by Knats, the Milne Glendinning Band, Lindsay Hannon, Tina May, the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band featuring Alice Grace, Paul Edis & Graeme Wilson, the Fergus McCreadie Trio, the Northern Monkey Brass Band, John Pope & John Garner, and Jo Harrop & Paul Edis.

Preview: Chuck Berry in Concert (BBC 4, Friday)

London, 1972, BBC Television Theatre, Chuck Berry in concert. At the peak of his fame, Berry performs many classic numbers including Johnny B Goode, Nadine and Roll Over Beethoven. First shown on BBC 2, tomorrow's repeat showing on BBC 4 at 9:00pm is definitely not to be missed! Russell     

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

My favourite festive season song. Lance

Album review: John Escreet - Seismic Shift

John Escreet (piano); Eric Revis (double bass); Damion Reid (drums)

John Escreet has lived and worked in America for something like fifteen years. For much of this time the Yorkshireman made New York his home, more recently relocating to Los Angeles. It was during pandemic lockdown out on the West Coast that pianist Escreet applied himself to rigorous practice on a recently acquired grand piano. The result, says Escreet: I essentially became a much better piano player. The results can be heard on this January 2022 recording.

Pedalling the banjo blues away

Back in the day when sax player/instrument repairer Andy Lee and myself weren't selling saxophones, flutes, clarinets, violins and banjos - yes banjos - at Newcastle's premier music store we'd spend our Sundays cycling up and down the hills and dales of Durham and Northumberland - somehow there always seemed to be more hills that went up than went down. To our credit we always managed to conquer the terrain without dismounting (unless there was a pub half way up).

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Happy Birthday Bill Crow

The good do indeed die young and nowhere less than in the world of jazz. However, despite the  premature departures of Bix, Bird and many more, there are some who have defied the odds. One such venerable jazzman is Bill Crow who today (Dec. 27) celebrates his 95th birthday.

Bill Crow made his mark as the lynch pin in many of Gerry Mulligan's pianoless quartets which, needless to say, speaks volumes. He was the anchor man who provided the harmonic foundation for Mulligan and/or Baker, Brookmeyer and Eardley to provide an alternative look at jazz and bop as it was then.

Middlesbrough Jazz & Blues Orchestra @ Dorman's Jazz Club - Dec. 22

The community based big band led by Christine Britland  played to an enthusiastic, full capacity,  audience. The band, with an age group of between 14 years and nearly 80, gave an impressive performance for their Christmas party concert night.

The aptly named Strike Up The Band had the full big band sound as did the John Lee Hooker blues, Boom Boom. This was followed by another blues, Blue Christmas, sung by Dave Vaughan with a nice clarinet solo from Donna Hewitt.

Further numbers included Doxy, Artistry For Trumpets and The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy sung by Kate Bulman. Baker Street, Big Band Christmas - a nice medley of well known Christmas songs - before a couple of Latin numbers - Sway sung by Dave and Latin Satin.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Album review: The Heavy Hitters

Mike LeDonne (piano); Eric Alexander (tenor sax); Jeremy Pelt (trumpet); Vincent Herring (alto sax); Peter Washington (bass); Kenny Washington (drums) + Rale Micic (guitar on tk 6).

An upcoming 2023 release that has certainly got next year off to a cracking start. Come December 31, 2023 this is the benchmark the contenders will have to try and surpass and it won't be easy. Get down to a bookie joint now for the best odds.

Nine originals comprising of six by LeDonne and three by Alexander played by six of New York's heaviest hitters - hence the album's eponymous title.

Bye Bye Blackburn (and Leicester) @ the Albion plus some blues news - Dec. 26

Paul Fenwick (guitar/vocals); Guy Bainbridge (guitar/vocals/blues harp) + ?

It was busy down at the Albion Gin and Ale House in Jarrow. It was an entertaining mix of football and music.

It all began with Sunderland huffing and puffing their way past Blackburn Rovers - 2-1 the scoreline. Things were easier for Newcastle who took an early 3-0 lead which they held until the end. Leicester brought on James Vardy but he failed to score - perhaps they should have brought on Mrs Vardy although her track record isn't good either.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

The blogger's dream Xmas cracker!

Turkey, sprouts (yum!), a glass of wine, the works. And then it was time to pull a Xmas cracker. A corny joke, a useless trinket, but wait...What's this?! Not one, but two small pencils, the smallest of note books, your reviewer is all set for 2023! Russell  

Christmas Morning Live with Claire Martin & Jim Mullen (Radio 3)

Christmas Day began at 9:00am with Petroc Trelawny's Christmas Morning Live. The BBC Radio 3 presenter's studio guests included Claire Martin and Jim Mullen. Award winners both, Claire and Jim chatted with Petroc in between playing some classy, if not seasonal, jazz numbers. Frank Loesser's What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? followed by Johnny Mandel's Close Enough for Love, both beautifully played, the duo's partnership going back some two, maybe three decades.

Well here it is...

...MERRY CHRISTMAS to all our readers. writers and photographers past, present and future - particularly future. New contributors are always welcome. Lance

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Strictly Smokin' Big Band, the final set, @ Hoochie Coochie - Dec. 23

The SSBB's third and final set brought the dancers onto the dance floor and that's where they would stay for the remainder of the evening. We Free Kings (Zak Eastop and Sue Ferris the soloists), God Rest Ye Merry Trombones! (Chris Kurgi-Smith, Sue Ferris), then, right on cue, en masse, Santa hats and silly party hats were donned to welcome the return of the one and only Alice Grace to sing Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Wow! What a star! What a show! It ain't a SSBB show without Alice - and audience - singing Last Christmas. Absolutely magical. Raucous applause - More! More! Alice: Do you want one more? Audience: Yeah! I've Got My Love to Keep me Warm. Yes, a magical night. Russell

Some piano bars I have known

Catching up with pianist Charles Gordon last night in Newcastle's Vermont Hotel where he once had a regular slot providing tasteful jazz influenced standards as a background to the conversations of residents, first daters out to impress with their sophistication or, on rare occasions, actual listeners, brought to mind other piano bars that once could be found in most major towns and cities of the western world.

Dooley Wilson singing and playing As  Time Goes By in the film Casablanca perhaps personified the piano bar creating an unforgettable image.

Hand to Mouth @ Ernest, Newcastle - Dec. 24

Lindsay Hannon (vocals); Bradley Johnston (guitar)

A Christmas Eve brunch in the Ouseburn. Ernest's festive fixtures Hand to Mouth - that's Lindsay Hannon and Bradley Johnston - once more secreted themselves into a corner. It's been like this these past few years. Tucked away behind the Biscuit Factory (selling art work not biscuits!), this now traditional booking of Lindsay and Bradley finds the independent cafe/bar/venue packed to the rafters. 

Aycliffe Radio: Jazz Time - Sundays 6.30pm-8.00 pm (repeat Tuesdays 8.00pm-9.30pm)

Playlist 25/12/22. (Repeated Tuesday 27/12/22)

Christmas Tracks: Mel Tormé, Frank Sinatra, Stan Getz/Chet Baker, Joey Alexander, Mahalia Jackson, Modern Jazz Quartet, Paul Edis and friends, Stephane Grappelli/Diz Disley, Maynard Ferguson, Tony Bennett, Gregory Porter, Count Basie, Etta James, Tim Boniface, Emma Fisk, Charlie Parker, Chris Barber, Tommy Smith Quartet.

Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Hoochie Coochie - Dec. 23

Michael Lamb (MD), Zak Eastop, Gordon Marshall, Dick Stacey (trumpets); Mark Ferris, Kieran Parnaby, Chris Kurgi-Smith, John Flood (trombones); Dan Johnson, Matt Forster, Steve Summers, Keith Robinson, Sue Ferris (reeds); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); Graham Don (piano, vocals); Michael Whent (bass guitar); Guy Swinton (drums); Alice Grace,  (vocals).

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times! 

Musically it couldn't be faulted and, even with a few deps, no one was complaining. Certainly not the dancers who, crowded the floor proving that I can still get around much - albeit with difficulty as will be revealed later.

The band moved, the dancers moved and one of the non-dancers was moved to remark that he doubted if Ellington ever imagined his Such Sweet Thunder would be choreographed by a statuesque blonde in a micro-mini skirt who appeared to have, my quote, Ford engine movements in her hips!

Charles Gordon @ The Vermont Hotel, Newcastle - Dec. 23

Charles Gordon (piano)

This Friday evening hotel engagement brought to a close a short season of piano concerts by Charles Gordon. As it tipped it down in Newcastle city centre Charles played a selection of choice standards, largely for himself and a few discerning listeners. 

It had been a while since BSH last heard Charles, certainly pre-pandemic, quite possibly here at the Vermont Hotel. A fine pianist, Charles chose to work with a light drum backing track in a seamless medley of numbers. Most enjoyable. 

Charles' selections included: I'm Beginning to See the LightTake the A TrainSatin DollDon't Get Around Much AnymoreAin't Misbehavin'Night and DayThe Lady is a TrampFly Me to the Moon; Autumn LeavesGod Rest Ye Merry Gentleman and more. Russell

Friday, December 23, 2022

R I P Peter Sanderson

Sad to learn that Peter Sanderson passed away on Dec. 10. Peter, a former headmaster, and organist was a regular member of Ashington Jazz Club and his reports, in conjunction with fellow member John Taylor, of the club's sessions at various venues in the town were posted on BSH over a period of some years (2010 - 2015) and were much appreciated. On the few occasions when I met him I found him to be a likeable person with a good sense of humour.

He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Lance.

PS: John Taylor drew my attention to this remembrance page.

The Francis Tulip-Joe Steels Double Guitar Band @ The Globe - Dec. 22

(© Pam)
Francis Tulip (guitar); Joe Steels (guitar); John Pope (double bass); John Hirst (drums) + Ferg Kilsby (trumpet)

A scratch guitar pairing, allied to an ace bass and drums partnership, a near full house welcomed the Francis Tulip-Joe Steels Double Guitar Band. 'Double Guitar', it's a kind of 'it does what it says on the tin' name. What the name didn't and doesn't in any way covey is the high level of musicianship on show. Four conservatoire graduates, Tulip, Steels, bassist John Pope and drummer John Hirst, took the opportunity to get together to play some jazz.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

My Books of the Year

I haven't reviewed many books this year and, to be honest, I've only reviewed three (non-fiction) although some of our other correspondents have fared better.

However, two of the three that I have reviewed would have been high on the list even if I'd had the complete A - Z of the National Jazz Archive to choose from.

Although completely different, they are two of the most comprehensive jazz related books I have ever read.

Tonight @ the Globe: Francis Tulip/Joe Steels Double Guitar Band

(Press release)

Guitarist Francis Tulip is one of a new young generation of North East jazz musicians who have been making a major impression both for their technical fluency and – more importantly – for their levels of creativity. After graduating with honours at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and winning the Conservatoire’s Jazz Performance Prize, he continues to lead ensembles and play with some of the leading lights on the UK jazz scene.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

RIP George Gosling

Sad to announce the passing of George Gosling at the age of 93. Although better known as a guitarist working in, and around, the South Tyneside CIU club scene George was a fine jazz guitarist with a rich knowledge of chords who could slot into any genre. 

I remember our mutual friend, the late Bill Shaw, telling me how George sat in with a band at a festival and ended up touring Germany with them a few days later.

Lance's CDs (instrumental) of 2022

Well here's my ten instrumental CDs of the year. In alphabetical order they offer a fair example of what I've been listening to this year. Let's have your lists (Downloads, YouTube etc. accepted):

Help Musicians researches music genres

Research by the Help Musicians charity, published in today's i newspaper, revealed some interesting statistics as to the music genres their respondents listened to:

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

(Some) Gigs of the Year 2022.

(© Ken Drew)
These are but a small percentage of my favourite gigs (in no particular order) of 2022. I could easily draw up another list tomorrow that would be, maybe, 75% different!

I've omitted the various festivals such as the Classic Jazz Party, Newcastle Jazz Festival and the Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music. Individually they could produce top ten lists of their own and perhaps someone will.

As always, I look forward to receiving your choices. Lance

The Central Bar Quintet @ Blaydon Jazz Club - Dec. 19

(© Roly Veitch)
Sue Ferris (alto sax, tenor sax); Giles Strong (guitar); Ben Lawrence (piano); Mick Shoulder (double bass); John Bradford (drums)

As the cold snap abated and with the World Cup done and dusted, there was little excuse for regulars and not so regulars not getting along to the Black Bull in Blaydon. Blaydon Jazz Club's Christmas party night is the stuff of legend (a table groaning under the weight of festive buffet goodies) and the jazz on offer this evening was plucked from the very top of the Christmas tree.

Monday, December 19, 2022

This year's jazz excavations

2022 has been an exceptionally good year for previously undiscovered/unreleased gems from the archives. I've listed them alphabetically and not even attempted to put them in to any kind of pecking order although I have to confess that the Pepper Adams disc is fantastic and the Ellington one somewhat disappointing.

Strangely, apart from Mingus at Ronnie's the others are all predominately piano based. Thus we have Jamal, Evans, Hawes, Brubeck, Duke, Jarrett, Peterson and Tracey. It would take a better man than me to rate them! However, there are better men than me out there so let's hear it for your archival choices.

Emily Masser @ the Railway, Stockport - Dec. 18

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Emily Masser (vocals); Dean Masser (tenor sax); Robin Dewhurst (piano); Steve Berry (bass); Gaz Hughes (drums).

Tonight the spotlight was on the vocal talents of Emily Masser who happens to be the daughter of saxophonist Dean, a familiar figure to those who are regular attendees here at the Railway, a venue that rarely features singers. For this gig, Dean assembled an excellent backing group and, once again, the house piano was used to good effect by Robin Dewhurst a musician who always produces interesting solos.

The Globe Xmas Party @ The Globe, Newcastle - Dec. 18

Blue Jazz Quartet with Rivkala: Karen Rann (soprano sax); Mark Squires (piano), Dave  Parker (double bass); Michael Howard (drums); Rivkala (vocals)

A flying visit to Newcastle Jazz Co-op's HQ on Railway Street to hear Rivkala. The annual 'do' got off to a slow start, perhaps some were busy toasting Lionel Messi's World Cup success. As the Blue Jazz Quartet took to the stage the place began to fill up nicely. 

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Preview: John Jenkins with Kenny Burrell @ Blaydon Jazz Club (Dec.19)

Tomorrow (Monday), for one night only, Gateshead's Central Bar Quintet relocates upstream to the Black Bull pub in Blaydon. Earlier this year on Half Moon Lane the quintet performed the music John Jenkins. For a decade or so the alto saxophonist's star shone brightly until the appeal of obscurity took hold. Jenkins dropped off the jazz radar, his album John Jenkins with Kenny Burrell a lasting legacy.

Album review: Paul Clarvis, Liam Noble, Cathy Jordan - Freight Train

Paul Clarvis (drums); Liam Noble (piano, synthesisers); Cathy Jordan (voice, strumming, bodhran, bones)

This album is another legacy of lockdown in that it is partly a recording of a distanced gig that the trio undertook as part of a commission for Jazz West Midlands. The original concert of quirky and original tunes is available for your viewing pleasure here on YouTube.

Of the three members of the trio, Jordan is a new name on me, possibly as she comes into the trio from a folk background, but both Clarvis and Noble are on several albums in my collection and I especially like The Long Game, (not least for its great cover), Noble’s 2019 album on Edition Records.

Paul Edis & Friends: A Jazzy Christmas @ Sage Gateshead - Dec. 17

Paul Edis (MD, piano); Jo Harrop (vocals); Emma Fisk (violin); Matt Anderson (tenor sax, soprano sax); Faye Thompson (alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet); Graham Hardy (trumpet, flugelhorn); Jason Holcomb (trombone); Megan Robinson (flute, piccolo); Andy Champion (double bass); Matt MacKellar (drums)

In a review of the first night of the Strictly Smokin' Big Band's sold out Christmas shows at Gosforth Civic Theatre, your correspondent sought to draw a parallel with Lindisfarne's now legendary run of sold out nights at this time of year at Newcastle City Hall. Last night at Sage Gateshead the same thought occurred, Paul Edis' magical A Jazzy Christmas has similarly become part of the seasonal landscape. All three tiers in Sage Two were teaming with those taken by the festive spirit. Whatever real world problems are out there, for a couple of hours we were in a Winter Wonderland

Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Gosforth Civic Theatre - Dec. 17

There's little I can add to Russell's review of the previous night's concert, not least because I've misplaced my set list/notes! However, I can but concur that the band were again on top form - when are they not?

Graham Don's vocal and Pav's guitar feature certainly socked it to 'em whilst Alice, even with a sore throat, hit the spot. Jamie Toms' breathed new life into Georgia on my Mind, just one of several super solos by top tenor Toms. Altos Robinson and Summers also impressed, the latter occasionally twiddling the keys on his curved soprano to great effect. Sue booted the baritone and Matt Forster, made the most of his exposure on, I think, one of the seasonal selections. All brilliant individually but, as a section, simply sensational.

The 'bones too were excellent whilst the trumpets will be first call next time Joshua has a gig in Jericho.

Bass guitarist Whent had a solo that ticked the boxes, Graham Don's piano-playing is always a delight and now he also has vocalist on his c.v. Swinton drives the band with the power needed to keep all 16 swinging and the defrosted blonde sitting next to me posed the question as to why he never appears with any other bands which I too wondered about. Still after the SSBB anything else would be an anti-climax and if you doubt me, check  the band out at Hoochie Coochie next Friday (Dec. 23, 8:30pm). Lance

Michael Lamb (MD), Pete Tanton, Gordon Marshall, Dick Stacey (trumpets); Mark Ferris, Kieran Parnaby, Chris Kurgi-Smith, John Flood (trombones); Jamie Toms, Matt Forster, Steve Summers, Keith Robinson, Sue Ferris (reeds); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); Graham Don (piano, vocals); Michael Whent (bass guitar); Guy Swinton (drums); Alice Grace (vocals).

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Aycliffe Radio: Jazz Time - Sundays 6.30-8.00 pm (repeat Tuesdays 8.00-9.30pm)

Playlist 18/12/22. (Repeated Tuesday 20/12/22)

Christmas: Wynton Marsalis, Art Farmer/Jim Hall,

Requests: Bob Mintzer Big Band.

Birthdays: Clark Terry & Bob Brookmeyer, Dinah Washington/Ray Noble.

Love & Peace: Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Jeff Barnhart/John Hallam, Lee Konitz & Gerry Mulligan, Tim Boniface, Louis Armstrong, Milt Jackson & Howard McGhee. Nat King Cole, Norah Jones, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson/Joe Pass, Red Allen's All Stars, Sarah Vaughan/Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, Sonny Rollins.

(Jazzy) Christmas Breaks Out In Crook! Dec. 16

(© Chris Whittle)
The cracker jokes, like the weather outside, were frightful: the first got a moan, the second got a groan and the third got both. Job done! The show could only be “Jazzy Christmas”! When the half-time pizza is stood down in favour of seasonal snacks (turkey buns, mince pies and assorted chocolate treats) the venue could only be Crook. Thus, two of the brightest stars in my jazz-going firmament came into alignment for the first time to produce a memorable evening. All those present – a packed house – would agree, I’m sure!

Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ GCT, Newcastle - Dec. 16

Michael Lamb (MD), Pete Tanton, Gordon Marshall, Dick Stacey (trumpets); Mark Ferris, Kieran Parnaby, Chris Kurgi-Smith, John Flood (trombones); Jamie Toms, Matt Forster, Steve Summers, Keith Robinson, Sue Ferris (reeds); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); Graham Don (piano, vocals); Michael Whent (bass guitar); Guy Swinton (drums); Alice Grace (vocals)

If it's the week before Christmas there's is only one place to be and that's Gosforth Civic Theatre. As Lindisfarne did at Newcastle City Hall back in the day, the Strictly Smokin' Big Band's Christmas shows have become something of an institution. Two sold out nights, this Friday evening concert the first of them. Glittery tops, appalling Xmas jumpers, Santa Hats, yep, it's that wonderful time of year. 

Hackney Colliery Band @ Sage (2) Gateshead - Dec. 16

Thirty seconds into the first number from the Hackney Colliery Band and we’re being assailed by a raucous, overwhelming wall of sound that makes Phil Spector’s seem like a chicken wire fence. There are subtle interweaving melodies and sharp changes in tempo within the music that show the strength of the arrangements but it is high energy, thrilling music that impresses itself on the audience from the get-go.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Cormac Loane w. the Dean Stockdale Trio @ the Lit & Phil - Dec. 16

(© Patti)
Cormac Loane (alto sax/alto flute/clarinet); Dean Stockdale (piano); Mick Shoulder (bass); John Bradford (drums) + Steve Summers (tenor sax).

Back in the day when we all were young, Cormac Loane was even younger when, as a schoolboy, he wandered in to a Newcastle Big Band session clutching an alto saxophone. He sat in and proceeded to blow everyone's minds - how could one be so young and yet so good? Maybe Mozart?

Fast forward, give or take, 50 years and that same young man (now older) was headlining today at the popular monthly JATLP sessions.

Jazz on the Tyne – Christmas Special

On this special Christmas edition of the podcast, presenter Colin Muirhead will play festive tunes by the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band, Jo Harrop & Paul Edis, Emma Smith, Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, Rapasa Nyatrapasa Otieno, Samara Joy, Diana Krall, Michael Franks, Frøydis Grorud, Paolo Fresu, and Paul Edis and Friends.

You can listen to the show anytime from noon on Saturday 17th December by heading to

Plus, you can request tunes for future programmes by emailing Colin at

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Jo Harrop & Paul Edis @ King's Hall, Newcastle University - Dec. 15

(© Ken Drew)
Jo Harrop (vocals); Paul Edis (piano) + Jason Holcomb (trombone)

It was cold outside, snowflakes brushed past King's Hall's stained glass windows, the scene was set for the appearance of Jo Harrop and Paul Edis. Our duo's new album When Winter Turns to Spring would feature alongside material from pre-pandemic and, indeed, pandemic times. Jo in a sparkly Christmas number, Paul sober as a judge (sartorially speaking), their set of some forty five minutes would fly by. 

The Charlie Watts Orchestra @ Fulham Town Hall

The Charlie Watts Orchestra's concert at Fulham Town Hall in 1986 must surely rank as one of the greatest big band concerts ever. Goodman at Carnegie Hall, Mingus, Monk at New York Town Hall, Ellington at Newport, you name it the ensemble put together by Charlie Watts on March 23, 1986 was batting in that league.

Single review: Jake Aaron - Elvis Has Left the Building

Jake Aaron (acoustic guitar); John Etheridge (electric guitar); Steve Waterman (trumpet); Karen Sharp  (tenor sax); Steve Lodder (Hammond);  Davide Mantovani (bass); Marc Parnell (drums).

I don't normally bother with singles but the title intrigued me. Elvis Has Left the Building - a catchphrase often used as an escape route - brought to mind Kirsty MacColl's There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis. Fortunately, the resemblance ends there and I can safely pop down to the chip shop.

Bailey Rudd (drums): Interim Recital @ Music Studios, Newcastle University - Dec. 15

Early morning, a stage 3 recital in Newcastle University's subterranean Music Studios. The student musician in the spotlight, friend of the Black Swan jam session , Bailey Rudd. On Tuesday, Bailey acted in a supporting role to his friend Jacob Egglestone, this morning guitarist Jacob returned the favour. 

Album review: Jo Harrop & Paul Edis - When Winter Turns to Spring

Jo Harrop (vocals); Paul Edis (piano); Freddie Gavita (trumpet, flugelhorn); Emma Rawicz (tenor & soprano saxophones, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet); Rory Ingham (trombone); Jamie McCredie (guitar); Adam King (double bass); Peter Adam Hill (drums); Debs White (violin); Reiad Chibah (viola); Will Hillman (viola); Julia Graham (cello); Bryony James (cello)

Released last week, When Winter Turns to Spring by Jo Harrop and Paul Edis comprises eleven tracks, all sketching a keen sense of the changing seasons. The title track is one the listener will identify with: leaving behind the long, dark days of winter and looking forward with relish to the arrival of spring. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Statement from the family of Elvin Jones regarding the passing of Keiko Okuya Jones

(Press release). The family of the late legendary drummer Elvin Jones is sad to report the passing of his widow, Keiko Okuya Jones (pictured with Elvin). An extremely private individual, she passed away on September 26, 2022, in the Manhattan apartment that she had shared with her husband for many years. She was 85. Her death from a stroke was confirmed by her stepson Elvin Nathan Jones and drummer Alvin Queen, a longtime friend of Elvin and Keiko Jones.

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