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Farewell Blues

R.I.P. HRH Queen Elizabeth ll (1926 - Sept. 8, 2022).
R.I.P. Trevor Tomkins (1941 - Sept. 9, 2022).
R.I.P. Gordon McGregor (Sept. 11, 2022).
R.I.P. Ramsey Lewis (1935 - Sept. 12, 2022).
R.I.P. Pharoah Sanders (Oct. 13, 1940 - Sept. 24, 2022).
R.I.P. Sue Mingus (April 2, 1930 - Sept. 24, 2022).

Bebop Spoken There

Larry Klein: "- in a certain way - Leonard [Cohen] is the greatest songwriter ever." - (Jazzwise October 2022)

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!"


14602 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 880 of them this year alone and, so far, 80 this month (Sept. 26).

From This Moment On ...


Mon 26: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 26: Lewis Watson Quartet @ Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. Blaydon Jazz Club.

Tue 27: Beth Clarke @ British Legion Club, West Jesmond, Newcastle. 1:00-4:00pm. Free.
Tue 27: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Durham. 7:00pm. Free (to reserve a table phone 0191 386 5556).
Tue 27: Black is the Color of My Voice @ Alnwick Playhouse. 7:30pm. One woman stage play (the life & times of Nina Simone).

Wed 28: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 28: Battle of the Bands @ NE Volume Music Bar, Yarm Lane, Stockton. Doors 6:00pm. Tickets: £5.00. adv., £6.00. on the door. Participants inc. Milne Glendinning Band.
Wed 28: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 28: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 28: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 28: Black is the Color of My Voice @ Alnwick Playhouse. 7:30pm. One woman stage play (the life & times of Nina Simone).
Wed 28: Laura Jurd @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 29: Ushaw Ensemble @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 1:10pm. Free.
Thu 29: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 3:00-5:00pm. £1.00. All welcome.
Thu 29: Czajka & Puchaz + Mark Solborg + Anthropology @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Thu 29: ‘58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:30pm.
Thu 29: La Sonora Boreal’s Latin Jam Session @ The Globe, Newcastle (7:45pm). Free (donations). Latin jazz performance & jam session.
Thu 29: Peter Morgan Trio @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 30: Adam Johnson @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 30: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 30: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 30: Pete Churchill & Noel Dennis: Exploring the Jazz Metaphor in Leadership & Management @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 2:30-4:00pm. Workshop.Tickets: £3.30 (inc. bf). A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: FILM: Bird (Dir. Clint Eastwood) + Swing Bridge (in the bar) @ Forum Cinema, Hexham. 6:30pm.
Fri 30: Orphy Robinson + Maniscalco-Bigoni-Solborg + Nicole Mitchell + Binker Golding-Alexander Hawkins-John Pope-Paul Hession @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle (7:00pm). A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 30: Ushaw Ensemble @ St Mary’s Church, Holy Island. 7:30pm.
Fri 30: Alter Ego @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Fri 30: King Bee @ The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club, Independent, Sunderland. 9:00pm. £22.50. DJs + King Bee.


Sat 01: Dale Storr @ St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. £10.00.
Sat 01: Nicole Mitchell & Alexander Hawkins @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 01: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Pete Churchill. £25.00. Enrol at:
Sat 01: Orphy Robinson (in conversation); Beck Hunters w John Pope & Laura Cole; Daniel Levin; Black Top w Mariam Rezaei @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 6:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sat 01: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm.
Sat 01: King Bees @ Grainger Market, Newcastle. 9:00-9:45pm. A Great Market Caper multi-bill event. Superb Chicago blues band. Doors: 6:30pm. Tickets: £10.00. + bf.

Sun 02 RUTH LAMBERT TRIO @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 02: Helena Anahita Wilson @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Sun 02: Smokin’ Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm.
Sun 02: Zoë Gilby Trio w Noel Dennis + John Garner & John Pope + Dilutey Juice @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. £7.00.
Sun 02: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 02: Lindsay Hannon's 'Tom Waits for No Man' @ Three Tanners Bank, North Shields. 6:00pm. Free.
Sun 02: Shifa + Bex Burch & Leafcutter John + Farida Amadou @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.

Mon 03: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Monday, September 26, 2022

This Sunday @ the Prohibition Bar - Celebrating the Life and Music of Pharoah Sanders

The death of free form legend Pharoah Sanders on Sept. 24 sent shock waves through the jazz fraternity with many reacting in their own individual way.

The Sun Ra Arkestra, with whom Sanders played in the 1960s tweeted: Pharoah Sanders Sun Ra Arkestra alumnus has departed this planet.

Closer to home, guitarist Tom Atkinson has assembled a band of disciples to pay tribute to one of the founders of Spiritual Jazz this Sunday (Oct. 2) at the Prohibition Bar on Pink Lane. See poster for details - Lance

Laura Jurd on the radio, Laura Jurd on tour

Last week Laura Jurd was at Ronnie Scott's playing cornet with Giacomo Smith's Hot Five. This afternoon (Monday 26) Jurd's trio will be performing live on BBC Radio 3. Tune to In Tune from five o'clock. And tomorrow Jurd sets off on a nationwide tour with her six piece band playing music from her latest album The Big Friendly Album, calling in at Sage Gateshead on Wednesday (8:00pm).   Russell

Sue Mingus (April 2, 1930 - Sept. 24, 2022)

Behind every great man there's a woman or - so the legend would have it. In the case of the great American bassist/composer/bandleader Charles Mingus that was most certainly true which makes the passing of Sue Mingus all the more heartfelt.

Her relationship with Charles Mingus, particularly during his latter years, are told without gloss in her book Tonight At Noon - A Love Story.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Harry Keeble Quartet @ The Gala Theatre, Durham - Sept. 23

(© B. Ebbatson)
Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Mark Williams (guitar); Andy Champion (bass); Abbie Finn (drums)

By way of a preview of the music to be heard on a forthcoming album, the Harry Keeble Quartet presented a 'play-through' to the Gala Theatre's lunchtime audience. Keeble indicated he would prefer to let the music speak for itself and keep the talking to a minimum. And with that Keeble counted them in. Mark Williams sported a Telecaster, Andy Champion a five-string bass, Abbie Finn her familiar custom-made kit. 

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music 2022 Archipelago + Bartholomew + Taupe @ Bobiks, The Punch Bowl, Jesmond - Sept. 24

(© Ken Drew)
Archipelago - Faye MacCalman (tenor sax, clarinet, synths, electronics); John Pope (bass); Christian Alderson (drums)

Bartholomew – Electronics

Taupe - Jamie Stockbridge (alto sax, electronics); Mile Parr-Burnham (guitar, objects, synths); Adam Stapleford (drums)

A full house at Bobiks  created a great atmosphere for the first of the two weekend gigs in the upstairs venue within the Jesmond hostelry. First up saw local favourite Archipelago turn in a superb performance despite having to contend with a somewhat iffy sound system. A mellow start soon burst into a skronking high energy blast to send the room rocking. It was all high energy stuff. There were a couple of vocals from Faye MacCalman  and an eastern themed piece with Faye MacCalman on clarinet which featured a great John Pope bass solo.  A song full of loops with a highland twist saw Christian  Alderson on drums excel and bring the set to a splendid conclusion.

Kirk Lightsey Quartet @ Ronnie Scott's - Sept. 22

Kirk Lightsey (piano); Alex Hitchcock (tenor sax); Steve Watts (double bass); Sangoma Everett (drums) 

The great Kirk Lightsey last appeared on Tyneside something like fifteen years ago. This engagement at Ronnie Scott's presented an opportunity to hear the now octogenarian pianist once more. One of the few bebop pianists of his generation still performing, Lightsey graciously billed his quartet's appearance as 'featuring Alex Hitchcock', a quartet including his long-time bassist Steve Watts and drummer Sangoma Everett. 

Sugarfoot Strut @ The Morden Arms, Greenwich - Sept. 22

A first visit to the Morden Arms in Greenwich to catch Sarah Spencer's Sugarfoot Strut. Listed in CAMRA's Good Beer Guide as 'Unpretentious, without an external pub sign or even name', the Morden Arms is just that, a proper old boozer. Walking through the door fifteen minutes before the one o'clock start, the regulars didn't look round and the piano player didn't stop playing (actually, there wasn't one - pianist or piano!). A pint of the local Brockley Brewery's Pale Ale, a vacant bar stool to sit on, we were ready to go. 

Emma Smith's Meshuga Baby @ Ronnie Scott's - Sept. 21

Emma Smith (vocals); Jamie Safir (piano); Conor Chaplin (double bass); Luke Tomlinson (drums)

An advance sell out, no surprise at all. Emma Smith's recently released album Meshuga Baby garnered rave reviews and this 'second house' performance on Frith Street (earlier in the evening we'd been listening to the other Smith, Giacomo Smith and his Hot Five) couldn't fail to deliver the goods. As per the album, Ms Smith was in the company of pianist Jamie Safir (Smith's co-arranger), bassist Conor Chaplin and drummer Luke Tomlinson. 

Pendulums: Music for Bellringers, Improvisers and Electronics @ St. Georges Church, Jesmond - Sept. 23

(© Ken Drew)
The opening performance for the Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music 2022 

Andrew Woodhead (compositions, conduction, keyboards, electronics); Charlotte Keeffe, Sam Wooster (trumpet); Sam Andreae, Lee Griffiths (alto sax); Alicia Gardener-Trejo, Helen Papaioannou (baritone sax); Sarah Farmer (live visuals) + 8 Bellringers from the Newcastle Diocesan Association of Church Ringers led by Kristopher King.

Album review: Keith Jarrett - Bordeaux Concert

Keith Jarrett (piano)

Recorded live in 2016 at Auditorium, Opéra National, Bordeaux, Jarrett plays a suite consisting of some 13 movements numbered Bordeaux I - XIII. That Jarrett is a master pianist is beyond question. Likewise as an innovator, he has taken contemporary jazz piano into previously unexplored territory even further than legends such as Evans, Corea or Hancock.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Giacomo Smith's Hot Five @ Ronnie Scott's - Sept. 21

Giacomo Smith (clarinet); Laura Jurd (cornet); Dan Higham (trombone); Joe Webb (piano); Dave Archer (guitar, banjo)

The early show on Frith Street. Kansas Smitty's Giacomo Smith rolled up with his Hot Five. These guys have maintained a residency across town for something like eighteen months but this was a first time appearance at Ronnie's. Given the calibre of musician on stage it came as little surprise to find the room was all but standing room only. If Kansas Smitty's is a brand, bandleader Giacomo Smith did little to discourage the idea. 

TJ Johnson @ Jamboree, London - Sept. 21

TJ Johnson (piano, vocals) + Brian Everington (tenor sax)

Weekday lunchtime/afternoon sessions abound across Tyneside and County Durham. A recent trip to London presented an opportunity to see how they do things daytime in the capital city. Tucked away in an alley off Gray's Inn Road (more or less behind the site of the much-missed Mole Jazz Records), Jamboree is but two minutes' walk from King's Cross Railway Station. Three o'clock Wednesdays, TJ Johnson holds court. On this occasion, prior to playing the first of two sets, pianist and vocalist Johnson chatted amiably with the audience. Casual, relaxed, no intro, TJ sat at the house upright and began to play.

Milano Happy Jazz Festival @ Spirit de Milan - Sunday Sept. 18

Festival mastermind Mauro Porro couldn't have been other than delighted with how things went on the first three days of the inaugural Milano Happy Jazz Fest. On a blue sky Sunday morning our amiable multi-instrumentalist was on site bright and early to attend to last minute matters before taking to the stage himself leading his Dixie Blue Blowers 6tet

Porro's hot Dixie six, Italy's Chicago Stompers (more Porro!), an International Hot Stars Band (from 'Europa', as stated in the festival's printed programme), the the top class New York Classic Jazz 4 and an all-star festival finale featuring the Blue Devils (a tribute to the late, great Keith Nichols), it promised to be a memorable day.

Pharoah Sanders (Oct. 13, 1940 - Sept. 24, 2022)

The death has been announced of saxophonist Pharoah Sanders - may he Rest In Peace. OBITUARY - Lance

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

Playlist 25/09/22. (Repeated Tuesday 27/09/22)

RIP: Ramsey Lewis, Joey DeFrancesco.

Requests from the Jeff Barnhart session: Eubie Blake, Ella Fitzgerald, Vienna Art Orchestra.

Requests: Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, Frank Sinatra, Gordon Goodwin arrangement.

What’s on in Scotland: Matt Carmichael, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.

Joe Pass, Ella Fitzgerald, Coleman Hawkins.

Birthdays: John Coltrane.

SeasonalBenny Carter. George Shearing, Cannonball Adderley/Miles Davis.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Album review: Raph Clarkson's Dissolute Society - This is How we Grow.

I've taken the easy way out and posted the press release. The easy way out? Yes. A cop out? Most certainly not. Truth is, I couldn't improve on the PR. It may be a sales pitch, as all press releases are, but after listening to the album that is released early next month (Oct. 7), it deserves all the kind words in the huckster's spiel. The merging of the children's voices with the seasoned musicians works so beautifully well and the solos are so attuned to the mood. Incidentally, talking of soloists, Laura Jurd, who plays so brilliantly here, can also be heard at Sage Gateshead this coming Wednesday (Sept. 28).

Warm Up Events for Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music 2022 start tonight with a very special performance at St.Georges Church in Jesmond.

The performance features Andrew Woodhead performing with Keyboards and Electronics alongside a 6 piece horn section in the Church and 8 Bellringers situated in the Bell Tower. 

Doors: 7.30pm. Music: 7.45pm - 9.00pm

This event is BYOB we will not be running a bar in the Church but you are welcome to bring some refreshments along. 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Book review: Francesco Balena - The Scale Omnibus

Remember those first music lessons? Whether it was, piano, violin, guitar or recorder they all began nice and simple. Nursery rhymes, hymns, folk tunes. This was easy you thought - next stop Carnegie, the Royal Albert Hall - you were going to be a star! But then, suddenly your kindly, genteel teacher turned into a witch, an ogre, a sadistic torturer who ordered you to start practising scales.

There were twelve major ones and another twenty four minor ones (twelve each, harmonic and melodic). It was usually at this point that the wheat was sorted from chaff. The latter became politicians, truck drivers, window cleaners or played the banjo.

Madeleine Peyroux & Ni Maxine @ Sage Gateshead - Sept. 21

Madeleine Peyroux (vocals, guitar); Andy Ezrin (piano, keys); Graham Hawthorne (drums); Ted from Baltimore? (bass)

This, I think, was the fourth time that I've heard Madeleine at the soon to be renamed Sage Gateshead and, upon reflection, the best of the lot!

Promoted as the Careless Love Forever World Tour - named after her iconic 2004 album now reissued in a deluxe package - from the get go it reminded me how wonderful that album was and that the singer had lost none of her original qualities 18 years later.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Freddie Garner Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Sept. 20

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Freddie Garner (keys); Jim Collins (tenor/alto sax); James Adolpho (bass); Phil Bennett (drums)

Lots of interesting tunes were played tonight by the Freddie Garner Quartet including compositions by Sonny Rollins, Mulgrew Miller, Kenny Barron, Kenny Garrett, Horace Silver, Tadd Dameron and Jay Jay Johnson. Jim Collins who sounds  great on both alto and tenor sax was in top form tonight and his rendition of Jay Jay Johnson’s Lament was one of the many highlights. This was the only ballad played tonight and strange to say there were no twelve bar blues performed in either of the two sets.

Preview: Paul Skerritt w. Danny Miller Big Band - Oct. 8

Make a note of the date - October 8 - and head for South Shields for what promises to be the most swinging, most ring-a-ding-dinging night of the year.

The venue is the Westovian Theatre down near the sea front and the show starts at 7:30pm.

It's a big band/vocal concert not to be missed with top north east singer Paul Skerritt and top north west big band the Danny Miller Big Band putting on a show that is guaranteed to have your feet tapping - close your eyes and you'll be in Vegas at The Sands or Caesars Palace. But no, don't close your eyes because Skerritt is a mover as well as a singer and you can't get Colmans fish and chips in Vegas. Lance


Jam Session @ the Black Swan - Sept. 20

Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (bass); Rob Walker (drums) + Haaruun Miller (alto/sop sax); Esther Coombes (alto sax); Edgar  Bell (Cornet); Nigel Greenwood (flugel); David Gray (trombone/trumpet/vocals); Jacob Egglestone (guitar); Alon Dagon (piano); Kris Finney, Felix Parkin-Christie (drums); Ian Drever, Sheila Herrick (vocals).

The house trio got the show on the road with a bluesy number followed by I Only Have Eyes For You and All the Things You Are both with delightful out of tempo intros by Alan Law.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Brigitte Beraha’s Lucid Dreamers @ The Globe September 18

(© Ken Drew)
Brigitte Beraha (voice, electronics); George Crowley (reeds. electronics); Alcyona Mick (piano, synths); Tim Giles (drums, electronics)

Showcasing the band’s second album  Blink - which couldn’t be a more appropriate name as the hallucinatory soundscape Lucid Dreamers   produced certainly induced a blissful dreamlike state into many of the audience.

Brigitte Beraha’s coupling of superb  voice with electronic activity board created a wonderful and absorbing tapestry aided and abetted by a seriously good band. George Crowley is currently one of the country’s leading saxophone players and everything he touched on Sunday turned to gold.

Milano Happy Jazz Fest @ Spirit de Milan - Saturday Sept. 17

As the Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra took to the stage at Spirit de Milan on Thursday evening, musician Mauro Porro realised his dream of presenting the first Milano Happy Jazz Fest. Friday's programme featured musicians from France (Jazz à Bichon), Germany (Jungle Jazz Band), Holland (Roaring Jazz Cats) and, from the host nation, the Hot Gravel Eskimos. A daily masterclass, swing dance DJ sets, and, of course, Italian cuisine throughout the weekend made for a wonderful festive occasion. Your correspondent arrived in Milan late Friday evening, Saturday couldn't come soon enough...

Monday, September 19, 2022

Album review: Samara Joy - Linger Awhile

Samara Joy (vocals); Pasquale Grasso (guitar); Ben Paterson (piano); David Wong (bass); Kenny Washington (drums) + Terell Stafford (trumpet); Donavan Austin (trombone); Kendrick McCallister (tenor sax)

The hottest/coolest jazz vocalist on the planet is, with this new release, even hotter and cooler than ever. She's more adventurous, more her own person. The Sassy feel is still there but no longer dominant, just a suggestion of her early inspiration. That she's also absorbed the teachings of Ella and Billie hover in the distance but, for me, more than any of those gals, it's Jon Hendricks who I hear the most in her phrasing, particularly when she does a few bars here and there of vocalese.

Good Queen Bess

Let me say first of all that I am the number one fan of our late Queen Elizabeth II  and may she rest in peace. As such, the following post, although satirical is in no way intended to be disrespectful - at least not to that dear lady.

The streets were deserted, the buses empty and so was my local pub which had opened earlier out of respect or maybe in the hope of pulling in a few more punters. As it turned out there was only me with a jug of ale, a book of verse and a thou (barmaid).

I watched the funeral procession which was like Wagner's Ring Circle and seemed to last twice as long albeit with lots of soldiers, sailors and airmen in their colourful uniforms - a bit like a light operetta in slow motion. 

Suzanne Fonseca Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Sept. 18

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Suzanne Fonseca (trombone); Robin Dewhurst (piano);  Gavin Barras (bass); Danny Ward (drums).

This was an evening of great tunes, mainly standards and who better to interpret them than top trombonist Suzanne Fonseca and her team of outstanding musicians. Some of the numbers were done in bossa nova style but all maintained my interest and were well received by an audience of all age groups.

The opening number, Ellington’s  In A Mellotone was played at the maestro's original medium tempo and, straight away, I was impressed by the great sound Robin Dewhurst was producing on the house upright piano.

Preview: Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music - Sept. 29 - Oct. 2

(Press release) 

In 1995 the original Newcastle Jazz Festival closed its doors, leaving a void in the city, until Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music was launched for the first edition in 2017. Responding to the cities need for a contemporary grass roots jazz festival, the programme proudly presents an innovative and diverse international line up, celebrating and pushing boundaries that challenge perceptions of jazz and improvisation.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Album review: Grant Geissman - BLOOZ

Grant Geissman (guitar) + various guests (see lower graphic).

The album title sums it up - BLOOZ. And blues it is indeed! Brilliantly played by a guitarist, now with 16 albums to his name. Geissman, composed all 12 tracks and each have at least one name guest to add to the occasion without in any way detracting from the leader. That these include Randy Brecker, Tom Scott and Joe Bonamassa speaks volumes.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Album review: Wollesen/Ferm - Heart in Hand

Ned Ferm (tenor sax, clarinet, flute, violin, perc, Rhodes); Kenny Wollesen (drums, perc, piano, vibes); Rune Kjeldsen (guitar); Anders Christensen (bass).

An unusual and interesting album by Americans Ferm and Wollesen along with two highly regarded Danish musicians. It's probing, explorative and, if I'm truthful, not entirely to my taste although I could well be in the minority. The quality of the playing is impeccable. Ferm  in particular has a beautiful sound on tenor and the arrangements show the individuals in a favourable light. It's a  mix of Scandinavian folk and contemporary European jazz albeit not without a touch of New York.

Aycliffe Radio: Jazz Time Sundays 6.30- 8.00 (Repeat Tuesdays 8.00-9.30 p.m.)

Playlist 18/09/22. (Repeated Tuesday 20/08/22)

In Memoriam: Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton.*

Request: Chris Tyle's Silver Leaf Jazz Band of New Orleans.

Paul Skerritt with the Danny Miller Big Band,

Paul Skerrit makes his choices: Greg Porter, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Harry Connick Jr., Matt Monro, Bobby Darin. 

Request: Ramsey Lewis Trio.

What's on in the NE: Harry Keeble Quartet

Duke Ellington: The Queen's Suite.

* (Editor: Assuming that Marsalis and Clapton haven't died, presumably this is related to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.)

Friday, September 16, 2022

Album review: Judy Whitmore - Isn't it Romantic

Judy Whitmore (vocals); Tamir Hendelman (piano); Lori Bell (flute); Rickey Woodward (alto/tenor sax); Mike Rocha (trumpet); Mitchell Long (acc. guitar); Larry Koonse (elec. guitar); Alex Frank (bass); Dean Koba (drums); Brian Kilgore (perc.) + Peisha McPhee (vocal on Birth of the Blues)

The third release from a singer who I understand is also a best selling novelist, a commercial jet pilot, a marriage and family therapist and, among other things, rides horses and cans peaches - sounds like an updated version of I Can't Get Started!

Oh yes, another thing, she really can sing!

A choice selection of covers that have probably been done by everyone from Bing to Sting (well maybe not Sting but as it rhymes with Bing ...) and it has to be said Judy loses nothing by comparison although maybe Frank just edged her on Wee Small Hours.

Album review: Clark Summers Lens – Intertwine (Outside In Music)

Clark Sommers (bass); Geof Bradfield, (tenor/sop sax/ clarinet); Chris Madsen (tenor sax); Matt Gold, (guitar); Dana Hall; (drums).

This is an absolutely stonking group playing high energy jazz, dragging in influences from a variety of sources and trampling clichés in the dust. Sommers is the composer of all the music but this is a band album, though it’s hard to believe, after listening to the first track Also Tomorrow, that this isn’t a drummer led band. The front line ranges from wild to subtle but overwhelming it all is a man at the back driving in piles for a tower block or taking furniture apart with a large hammer. And it’s all rather joyful in many places.

Jeff Barnhart @ the Lit and Phil - Sept. 16

Jeff Barnhart (piano, vocals)

Pianist, composer, arranger, vocalist, Jeff Barnhart is all of these things and more and today, in Newcastle, he played to a capacity audience at The Lit and Phil’s monthly lunchtime concert series. This was another in the series that sold out weeks in advance and it didn’t take long to see why.

Marco Woolf + Faye MacCalman @ the Globe - Sept. 15

(© Ken Drew)
Marco Woolf (acoustic guitar, vocals); Carmel Smickersgill (electric guitar, vocals); ? (saxophone); Andy Patterson(bass); Miriam Willott (percussion) + Faye MacCalman (reeds, voice, electronics)

Marco Woolf may well have created his own genre of music combing improvised storytelling with jazz - maybe it could be labelled Jazzanory!

Woolf is a cool and charismatic character and the performance at the Globe on Thursday evening was quite captivating. Most of the set told the story of the lifecycle of a young woman called Francine from small child to adult. Woolf’s gentle words dovetailed nicely with the rest of the band and a special mention must be made for Miriam Willmott on the drum kit and the saxophone player, who’s name I sadly didn’t catch, they both excelled.

Hot Club du Nord @ the Black Swan - Sept. 15

Emma Fisk (violin); James Birkett, Dave Harris (guitars); Bruce Rollo (bass)

Mary B sent a photo from last night's gig at the Black Swan reporting on the excellence of the music and the shouts for more at the end. Regrettably, I couldn't make it but, from past experience, I know what a good performance they always deliver.  Lance

Thursday, September 15, 2022

You never forget the first time...How was it for you?

I've often asked myself the question as to when/how it was that I first heard jazz and became hooked.

Answer is, I don't really know! It was certainly in the early fifties just after I'd left school and started buying records (78s). Back then jazz and popular music - the latter had yet to be reduced to a three letter word or, in some cases, a four letter word - were still, more or less, working the same side of the street. Family Favourites or Housewife's Choice had no inhibitions about playing Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong or even Stan Kenton alongside Guy Mitchell, Johnny Ray or Frankie Laine.

Jazz on the Tyne previews the Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music 2022

To preview this year’s Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music, presenter Colin Muirhead has prepared two podcasts, featuring his interview with festival producer Wesley Stephenson, and music by many of the acts who will be performing there.

The first programme, which will be available on Mixcloud from noon on Saturday 17th September, includes music by Archipelago, Andrew Woodhead’s Pendulums project, SA Malley, Skylla, the Anthropology Band, Mark Solborg, Maniscalco/Bignoni/Solborg, Binker Golding, and Alexander Hawkins.

Album review: Tim Fitzgerald's Full House

Tim Fitzgerald (guitar); Victor Garcia (trumpet); Greg Ward (alto sax); Chris Madsen (tenor sax); Tom Vaitsas (piano); Christian Dillingham (bass); George Fludas (drums).

My kinda jazz! A tribute to Wes Montgomery by a guitarist who, in years to come, may well be receiving his own tributes. 

To the best of my knowledge Montgomery didn't record for Blue Note - his main albums were on Riverside, Verve and AMI - and, whilst the horns occasionally blow in an east coasterly direction, the feel is distinctly that of California albeit via Chicago where it was recorded and Fitzgerald is very much a part of that city's ever evolving jazz scene.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Press release: Samantha Fish @ Wylam Brewery - October 25

(Press release) Rock guitar dynamo Samantha Fish and outlaw country badass Jesse Dayton have joined forces for an upcoming album of collaborative music, due out in May 2023 via Rounder Records. In December, two cover songs and accompanying videos will be released in conjunction with four special concerts in the USA.  

Before her U.S. tour dates with Jesse Dayton, Samantha will embark on her own headline nationwide tour of the UK from October 15-27 with special guests Wille & The Bandits.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

R.I.P. Ramsey Lewis

The death of Ramsey Lewis yesterday at the age of 87 prompted me to post these two quotes from our Bebop Spoken There archives. That they were printed 50 years apart gives an indication of just how long the pianist had been at the top.

Ramsey Lewis: “I guess all piano players go through a phase when Bud Powell is God ” – (DownBeat May 6, 1965).

Ramsey Lewis: “In WashingtonD.C., we used to pass this hotel and people would say, “That’s were Ella Fitzgerald stays!” I thought, “One day I’m going to stay at that hotel” – and that [success with The In Crowd] allowed me to.” – (DownBeat April 2015).

Album review: Charles Lloyd's A Trio of Trios - Volume Two: The Ocean Trio

Charles Lloyd (alto/tenor sax, alto flute); Gerald Clayton (piano); Anthony Wilson (guitar).

From the beginning, meaning has been assigned to numbers - practical, powerful, fanciful, philosophical, mystical, spiritual. For Pythagoras, 3 was considered the perfect number, the number of harmony, wisdom and understanding. It was also the number of time - past, present, future; birth, life, death; beginning, middle, end - it was the number of the divine.

So states Charles Lloyd in the notes to this, the second of three albums in his A Trio of Trios trilogy.

Needless to say, given the profundity of the above, this isn't a New Year's Eve album. Nevertheless, it is none the worse for that and is in actual fact quite delightful. 

R.I.P. Gordon McGregor

Just heard from Brian Bennett that reed player, Gordon McGregor, passed away on Sunday (Sept. 9). 

Brian refers to Gordon as a top-notch ‘jazzer’ on alto/soprano sax and clarinet and played alongside trumpeters Gerry Denning and Pete Wright for many years mainly around the Stockton/Teesside area. He was also a regular with the Belton brothers’ Tees Valley Jazzmen. 

The Central Bar Quintet plays Grant Green - Monday 12

Joe Steels (guitar); Jamie Toms (tenor sax); Alan Law (piano); Mick Shoulder (double bass); John Bradford (drums) + Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Abbie Finn (drums); Pete Tanton (trumpet); Ben Swann-Tanton (vocals)

The Central Bar, second Monday in the month, a classic album - invariably from the Blue Note label - played by the house band plus guest(s) followed by a jam session. A simple format and it works. This evening's offering, Grant Green's 1964 Blue Note recording Solid...

Tyne Valley based guitarist Joe Steels joined the house band and from the off this was a cracker of a gig. Six numbers, beginning with Minor League, it never ceases to amaze how these guys can look at a chart with scarcely a moment's notice and make something of the material. The small group format enables Jamie Toms to stretch out, hearing him play tenor on these sessions has been revelatory and this evening was no exception. 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Livestream: Tommy Blaize Band @ the 606 - Sept. 12

Tommy Blaize (vocals/piano); Paul Dunne, Andy Caine (guitar); Dave Arch (piano); Trevor Barry (bass guitar); Ian Thomas (drums).

This was just like the good old days - or was it the bad old days when livestreams prevailed? I guess it was a bit of both. I'd have loved to be at the 606 tonight but, with close on 300 miles between us I guess I'm excused..

Fortunately, just as Covid hasn't totally gone away (booster jab on Thursday), nor have livestreams from the 606.

Trevor Tomkins (May 1941 - Sept. 9, 2022)

In the aftermath of the Queen's death, I unforgivably omitted to give more than a passing mention to the death of a member of jazz royalty - drummer Trevor Tomkins who died the following day (Sept. 9).

Although I'd heard him many times on record (see pic.) I only recall hearing him live on three occasions but they were all memorable occasions.

The first was at the Caedmon Hall in Gateshead as part of the Michael Garrick Sextet. This was in 2008 and one of my first stumbling attempts at reviewing - I even spelled Caedmon as Caedman!

Gaz Hughes Trio @ the Railway, Stockport - Sept. 11

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Gaz Hughes (drums); Andrzej Baranek (keys); Ed Harrison (bass).

Tonight’s gig was advertised as the Gaz Hughes Quartet but there were only three musicians involved! However, no one seemed to mind as this turned out to be a well-rehearsed unit with some interesting arrangements of well known standards and some originals. The opening tune was an up-tempo groover entitled Bebopillusions followed by another original number which Gaz named Edith.  Then it was Andrzej featured on Ellington’s wonderful ballad Sophisticated Lady and his version was excellent - as it always is.  

Preview: The Central Bar welcomes Grant Green (Monday 12)

The Central Bar Quintet meets this evening (Monday 12). This month, Grant Green's 1964 album Solid takes centre stage. The recording features some of the modern jazz heavyweights of the time - Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones - and close on half a century later it's down to Joe Steels (as Grant Green), Jamie Toms (as Henderson and James Spaulding), Alan Law (pictured last night at the Jazz Co-op, as McCoy Tyner), Mick Shoulder (as Bob Cranshaw) and John Bradford (as Elvin Jones) to do justice to the Blue Note album. 

Sunday Night @ the Globe: The Ruth Lambert Quartet - Sept. 11

(© Sheila Herrick)
Ruth Lambert (vocals); Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Tim Johnston (drums)

This year's Great North Run took centre stage, at least until seven o'clock in the evening when Newcastle Jazz Co-op opened its doors. Not quite the sixty thousand who took part in the race from Newcastle to South Shields, nevertheless, the room on Railway Street began to fill up in anticipation of a vocal masterclass by Ruth Lambert.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Tonight @ the Globe - Ruth Lambert Quartet

Hopefully by now the runners in the GNR will have completed the course and gone home or to the pub thus making the roads and the Metro less congested and freeing the way for Ruth Lambert's many fans to make their way to the Globe.

As always, Ruth enthralls audiences with her immaculate conception of the GASbook and tonight, I'm sure, will be no exception but, time is ticking so don't hesitate - run if you have to. If several thousand can run to South Shields then 11 Railway St., should be a doddle if you start now. Lance

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Aycliffe Radio Jazz Time Sundays 6.30-8.00pm (Repeat Tuesdays 8.00-9.30pm.)

Playlist 11/09/22. (Repeated Tuesday 13/08/22)

Request: Ella Fitzgerald/Oscar Peterson/ Roy Eldridge.

Requests from Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club: Coleman Hawkins.

Requests from The River City Hot Six: Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke.

And from the Audience:  Ken Colyer, Dave Donohoe Band, Bing Crosby, Paul Whiteman.

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