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Bebop Spoken There

Art Blakey: "You [Bobby Watson] don't want to play too long, because you don't know they're clapping because they're glad you finished!" - (JazzTimes, Nov. 2019)..

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!"


15848 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 855 of them this year alone and, so far, 53 this month (Sept. 18).

From This Moment On ...


Thu 21: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 21: La Malbec Orchestra @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Thu 21: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.
Thu 21: Linsday Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man @ Harbour View, Sunderland. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 21: Ray Stubbs R & B All Stars @ The Schooner, Gateshead. 8:30pm. Free.
Thu 21: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 22: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 22: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 22: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 22: Brief Encounter @ Bardon Mill Village Hall, Northumberland. 7:00pm. Tickets: £10.00. adv from 07885 303166; £12.00. on the door. Chris & Veronica Perrin improvising to a screening of the 1929 'Jazz Age' silent film Piccadilly (Dir. Ewald André Dupont).
Fri 22: Paul Edis & Graeme Wilson + Three Tsuru Origami @ Jesmond United Reformed Church, Newcastle. 7:30pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 22: Crooners @ Tyne Theatre, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Fri 22: Abbie Finn's Finntet @ Traveller's Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. Opus 4 Jazz Club.

Sat 23: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Tanfield Railway, Gateshead. 2:00-4:00pm. Free. A '1940s Weekend' event.
Sat 23: Jason Isaacs @ Stack, Seaburn. 3:30-5:30pm. Free.
Sat 23: Andrew Porritt & Keith Barrett @ Cullercoats Watch House, Front St., Cullercoats NE30 4QB. 7:00pm.
Sat 23: Michael Woods @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig. Country blues.

Sun 24: Musicians Unlimited @ Park Inn, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 24: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.

Mon 25: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 25: Michael Young Trio @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 7:00pm.

Tue 26: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Hallgarth St., Durham DH1 3AT. 7:00pm. Paul Skerritt's (solo) weekly residency.

Wed 27: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 27: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 27: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Album review: Mike Davis - The New Wonders

Mike Davis (cornet, vocals); Ricky Alexander (clarinet, alto sax, vocals); Joe McDonough (trombone); Jared Engel (banjo); Dalton Ridenhour (piano); Jay Rattman (bass sax, vocals); Jay Lepley (drums, vocals)

Described as fresh, delightful interpretations of trad jazz gems posed a few questions for me such as, how fresh is fresh? 

Plus, bearing in mind the term 'trad' didn't become part of the jazz parlance until the late '50s/early '60s, whereas these gems - and gems they are - were all originally from the 1920s and '30s, where it most likely would have been described as 'hot dance music' as played by, say, the California Ramblers, Red Nichols or Jean Goldkette.

TJ Johnson @ Jamboree, King's Cross - Sept. 20

TJ Johnson (piano, vocals)

When in London, if it's a Wednesday afternoon, St Chad's Place, King's Cross is the place to be. It's three o'clock and a relaxed TJ Johnson ambles onto Jamboree's bijou stage. Piano and vocals, TJ knows how to entertain - engaging his audience, no airs and graces, the kind of bloke you could chat to down at the Dog and Duck.

I Get the Blues When it Rains sang TJ. How apt as the first of the day's rain began to fall. Later in the day Noah's Arc would be pressed into action. June Night - a rare TJ instrumental - mourned the passing of summer, Lonesome Cities (as recorded by Sinatra), I Get a Kick Out of You (a finger-snapping TJ) to BB King's Paying the Cost to be the Boss (TJ smiling as he referenced his ex-wife!). 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Album review: John Donegan - The Irish Sextet, Light Streams

John Donegan (piano/comp); Michael Buckley (alto/soprano sax, flute); Richie Buckley (tenor sax); Linley Hamilton (trumpet, flugel); Dan Bodwell (bass); John Daly (drums).

Recorded in April at Camden Studios, Dublin, this is probably as good as anything currently being recorded in Ireland. North or south of the border, either side of the Irish Sea, maybe even either side of the Atlantic - it's that good!

Album review: Dennis Lotis - Night and Day

Dennis Lotis (vocals); Stan Butcher (arrangements).

I'd been at the RVI for a routine eye check and, afterwards, as I passed the Oxfam shop, I thought I'd do a spot of 'Spilletting'.

Simon has golden fingers when he is on the case, me never. Nonetheless, I browsed through the vinyl.

The Oxfam gang have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to pricing so, although I was reluctant to fork out £7.99 for a Glenn Miller album I already had and which cost less than that when I bought it in mint condition! I continued browsing and all wasn't entirely lost and, although it was hardly like discovering the BB cylinder, it wasn't too bad spending £1.99 on a Dennis Lotis LP considering that not only was it autographed by  Dennis but was also autographed by Lita Roza.

The Black Swan jam session - Sept. 19

The Black Swan jam session is the one you dare not miss. The familiar faces sat in, it wouldn't be the same without them, but, here's the thing, the coming generation has well and truly arrived. This evening's session would be bookended by two teenage trumpeters and a couple of function band veterans.

At short notice, in the absence of Abbie Finn, the Vice President of the Percussive Arts Society (UK & Ireland) stepped into the breach. The VP is none other than Michael Mather, cue a spontaneous round of applause! The house trio - Stu Collingwood, MC Paul Grainger and VP Mather - got things under way courtesy of Michel Legrand. From here on in the merry-go-round didn't stop all night.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Album review: Alison Crockett - My Father's Record Collection Vol. 1. Echoes of an Era Redux

Alison Crockett (vocals); Thad Wilson (trumpet); Paul Carr (tenor sax); Todd Williams (piano); Elliot Seppa (bass); Dana Hawkins (drums)

Recorded live at Washington's Blues Alley, Echoes of Era Redux features Crockett recreating songs from Chaka Khan's legendary 1982 album Echoes of Era. This was an album where Chaka dipped her toes into the jazz tub and didn't get scalded. As Alison, who was knocked out by the album says of Chaka, 'She didn't sound like a jazz singer but nor did she sound like a funk singer either. She sounded like herself. That's what I tried to do.' 

I think she does exactly that.

Her other inspiration was her father's record collection which was large and eclectic and Echoes of Era was one that she pulled out at random and the project was born.

(Press release): Quotes from the public hearing to stop the landlord destroying the Leadmill.

April 1st 2022

Dominic Madden:

“Judge us by what we do and our track record”

September 18th 2023

Sheffield Licensing Committee:

“The benefits of the Leadmill go far beyond its presence just as a music venue. Do any of your other venues run this model where they are a community space that provides an asset beyond being a music space to the community?”

Dominic Madden:

"Well Brixton sort of does. Errm there are certain elements which programming which are more you know in terms of we work partner with some community groups and erm so yes I would say yes.” (what groups, why were none mentioned by name?)

Giles Strong Quartet @ Blaydon Jazz Club - Sept. 18

(© Roly Veitch)
Giles Strong (guitar); Pete Tanton (trumpet, flugelhorn); Ian Paterson (double bass); John Bradford (drums)

Giles Strong's recently formed quartet comprises hand-picked, seasoned musicians perfectly at ease interpreting his original charts, not to mention being au fait with a selection of jazz standards. Here at the Black Bull guitarist Strong was joined by Pete Tanton, trumpet and flugelhorn, bassist Ian Paterson and the ubiquitous John Bradford, drums. Blaydon Jazz Club's loyal following duly turned up at the newly refurbished Black Bull, and, for the next couple of hours, hung on to every note - a 'listening audience' if ever there was one.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Sunday night @ the Globe: MSK - Oct. 17

(Publicity shot)
Martin Douglas (drums); Steve Glendinning (guitar); Katy Trigger (elec. bass)

MSK - Who are they I wondered? A gang of platers or welders? No.They turned out to be Martin, Steve, and Katy - aka Douglas, Glendinning and Trigger, the clue is in their first names. A trio, born a few months ago in an Ouseburn rehearsal room, and now fully fledged.

And how they did  fly! Urged on by perfectly matched musical companions, guitarist Steve Glendinning created beautiful flowing lines over the group's attractive and unusual compositions. On other pieces he startled us with the drama and savagery of his playing over darker chord progressions and more jagged rhythms. Steve's ease with the guitar and skill in exploiting its sonic possibilities reminded me of Jeff Beck. The level of melodic invention was staggering and was sustained  throughout the set.

Album review: Audrey Silver - Oklahoma

Audrey Silver (vocals, Native American flute on tk 1); Bruce Barth (piano, arranger); Peter Bernstein (guitar) + Adam Kolker (alto flute, bass clarinet on 3 tks); Kahlil Kwame Bell (perc. on 2 tks); Sarah Zun, Adda Kridler); Kaya Bryla (viola); Maria Jeffers (cello). The string quartet are on 3 tks.

I must confess, Oklahoma isn't my favourite musical - that honour goes to Kiss me Kate. Nevertheless, despite my reservations about the source material this album helps to redress the balance.

Silver's voice is much jazzier than Shirley Jones' or Gloria Graham's in the film and Barth's arrangements, along with his piano solos that occasionally bring Erroll Garner to mind, and Bernstein's impeccable guitar playing take it, musically, as far from Rodgers and Hammerstein's portrait of the 'Sooner State' as is imaginable. Maybe even to Kansas City where, as the song goes, everything is up to date.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Rico Tomasso with the Derrick Harris Quartet @ Seven Arts, Leeds - Sept. 17

Rico Tomasso (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals); Derrick Harris (guitar); Andrzej Baranek (piano); Steve Crocker (double bass); Paul Smith (drums)

Rico Tomasso is from round these here parts. As a kid it was his old stomping ground. Graduating from Leeds College of Music he made the move south, bright lights, big city 'n' all that. It had been six years since his last gig in the city. This afternoon he made a welcome return home. The SOLD OUT! notices must have gladdened the heart.  

Choosing to open on flugelhorn rather than his customary trumpet, Rico was in the very best of company: guitarist Derrick Harris (a name familiar to BSH readers thanks to Mike Farmer's regular gig reviews from the Railway in Stockport); the brilliant pianist Andrzej Baranek (often heard working with Gaz Hughes); Steve Crocker (bassist and a key figure working tirelessly on the local jazz scene) and drummer Paul Smith (not to be confused with his namesake up on Teesside).

Album review: Catrin Finch & Aoife Ni Bhriain – Double You

Catrin Finch (harp); Aoife Ni Bhriain (fiddle, violin, hardanger fiddle)

This album is not jazz but BSH couldn't resist reviewing it anyway. What is genre after all, and this CD has lots of apparent improvisation, repeated riffs, all the same chords as other music. But mostly it's just superb music beautifully performed. If the jazz police jammed a banjo into my back and forced a definition of the music, I'd have to admit it was closer to folk and classical.

Album review: Hannah Gill - Everybody Loves a Lover

Hannah Gill (vocals); Danny Jonokuchi (trumpet); Ryan Weisheit (reeds); Sam Chess (trombone); Greg Ruggerio (guitar); Gordon Webster (piano); Tal Ronen (bass); Ben Zweig (drums).

I first heard Hannah Gill when she was part of that phenomenal circus known as Post Modern Jukebox at Sage Gateshead, as it was back then in 2019. That, for me she was the star of a show that had more stars in its ranks than heaven (apologies to MGM for pinching that line!), says a lot.

Russell was also impressed when he heard Hannah on a livestream from NYC during the pandemic and she also showed on a recent album by Danny Jonokuchi.

What a choice selection of songs on this album and not a Summertime among them! Three numbers associated with Doris Day and not a Secret Love among them!

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

 Aycliffe Radio is now available on DAB in County Durham & Darlington Area.


Playlist 17/09/23. (Repeated Tuesday 17/09/23)


Requests: Ella Fitzgerald, Django Reinhardt.

Seasonal: Billie Holiday, Cannonball Adderley Feat. Miles Davis, Carl Saunders


Big Band: Count Basie, Buddy Rich Big Band.

Request: Kenny Dorham. 1961 - Whistle Stop - 01 - Philly Twist.

Birthday Memories:   Charlie Byrd, Vi Redd.

What’s on in the NE :: Giles Strong Quartet, Paul Edis.

Ragtime Reprise: Dario Ronchi, Dixiecats, Henry Allen.

JATP Ella, Oscar Peterson, Stuff Smith...

Saturday, September 16, 2023

RIP John Marshall (August 28, 1941 - September 16, 2023)

Drummer John Marshall died today (Saturday 16 September). A founding member of Nucleus, Marshall worked with a who's who of the contemporary jazz world. A first stint in the drum chair with Soft Machine in the mid-seventies, concert performances and/or recording sessions with Jack Bruce, Graham Collier, Mike Gibbs, guitarists Allan Holdsworth and John McLaughlin, Dick Morrissey, John Surman, Eberhard Weber and many others, in 2015 Marshall renewed acquaintance with Soft Machine, touring with the band until recently. In 2018 Marshall appeared with Soft Machine at Sage Gateshead.      

John Marshall was 82. Russell

Jeff Barnhart's Hot Five @ Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club - September 16

Jeff Barnhart (piano, vocals); Phil Lucas (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals); John Hallam (tenor sax, clarinet); Ed Harrison (double bass); Graham Smith (drums) + Neville Dickie (piano), Anne Barnhart (flute)

Twenty four hours earlier the man from Mystic, Connecticut, Jeff Barnhart entertained a full house up the road in Newcastle with a spellbinding solo piano performance. This afternoon at St Augustine's Parish Centre our virtuoso pianist linked up once more with his Hot Five to present two swinging sets for Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club's loyal following. Barnhart's Tyneside engagement offered up a surprise or two and Darlington's jazz fans weren't about to be denied a similar experience.

RIP Charles Gayle (February 28, 1939 - September 7, 2023)

(© George Milburn)
Charles Gayle was a mercurial figure. Abandoning the security of an academic career, Gayle quit his day job and moved to New York. After a decade or so in the Big Apple Gayle opted to live on the streets, busking from one day to the next. The multi-instrumentalist estimated he spent something like fifteen years living a hand to mouth existence. 

By chance, a record company executive heard Gayle playing his tenor sax. Recording sessions followed and Gayle was no longer living as a homeless person.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Three pianos and a flute: Jeff Barnhart @ the Lit & Phil - Sept. 15

(© Patti D)
Jeff Barnhart (piano, vocals) + Neville Dickie, Merlin Roxby (piano); Anne Barnhart (flute, vocal)

I can't recall being in a room that was so full of love for the performers. Not least because of the surprises that were unleashed.

Even Russell was lost for words and that was before it all stomped off. Obviously he had inside information as to the treat we had lying in store.

We soon forgot about the weather outside!

The Lit and Phil crowd were out in force as befitted the appearance of America's foremost classic jazz pianist, Jeff Barnhart.

Album review: Paul Mottram - Seven Ages of Man

Tim Garland (tenor/soprano sax, bass clarinet); Jason Rebello (piano); Jonny Mansfield (vibes); Misha Mullov-Abaddo (bass); Ralph Salmins (drums) + the London Studio Orchestra - John Mills (leader); Paul Mottram (composer).

Inspired by Jacques' soliloquy  in Shakespeare's As You Like it and, despite my fears, the seven movement suite plus two introductory pieces turns out to be rather beautiful. The tranquillity of the orchestral settings brought the Forest of Arden to life maybe even more so than the words of the immortal bard himself. Strong words I know but, back then, Bill didn't have Tim and Jason to hand.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Jazz on the Tyne previews the Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music 2023

On the latest edition of Jazz on the Tyne, Colin Muirhead will preview the upcoming Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music, in company with the festival’s artistic director and producer, Wesley Stephenson.  The show will feature tunes by Paul Edis & Graeme Wilson, Zoe Rahman, the John Pope Quintet, Alcyona Mick & Tori Freestone, balo, Rie Nakajima, Olivia Moore, the Samuel Blaser Trio, and Zoë Gilby.

You can listen to the show anytime from noon on Saturday Sept.16 by heading to

And you can request tunes for future programmes by emailing Colin at or heading to

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

(Press release) Sage Gateshead becomes The Glasshouse International Centre for Music

Today this home for live music lovers reveals its new name and brand inspired by the idea that ‘Music lives and grows here’. 

People from across the North East of England shared their experiences of the charity and live music to shape its new identity.

The search for Sage Gateshead’s new name started when it was announced that an arena and conference centre would be built next door and would be called The Sage.


But whilst the region's biggest cultural charity has changed its name and look, its commitment to great live music for everyone remains at its heart. 

RIP Curtis Fowlkes (March 19, 1950 - August 31, 2023)

At school Curtis Fowlkes opted to play the trombone. The New Yorker would play in a variety of bands - funk, soul etc - before hitting the Downtown scene. Working with saxophonist Roy Nathanson in John Lurie's Lounge Lizards, the pair decided to form their own band. The Jazz Passengers became the duo's main project alongside intermittent sidemen engagements. 

From Don Byron to the Duke Ellington Orchestra (led by Louis Bellson), Bill Frisell to Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra, Charlie Hunter and more, Fowlkes moved seamlessly from the jazz scene to the rock and pop world (Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Lou Reed). In Robert Altman's 1996 film Kansas City, Fowlkes appears with the Kansas City All-Stars. The Jazz Passengers, with Debbie Harry and others, featuring Fowlkes and Nathanson, topped the bill at the 2011 Gateshead International Jazz Festival.

Curtis Mataw Fowlkes was 73. Russell      

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Info on the Tony Rushby Sextet wanted.

Richard Morton Jack came across this vinyl album recorded at Mortonsound Studio on Carliol Square, Newcastle and is curious to find out more.

Richard understands leader Tony Rushby, who plays sax on the record, was a physics researcher at Durham Uni and the rhythm section was the Jim Vincent Trio: Vincent (piano), Tom Derbyshire (bass), Marshall Walker (drums).

Monday, September 11, 2023

Freddie Garner Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Sept. 10

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

At 9:00pm the quartet were ready to start the show in front of a crowded room when disaster happened. Freddie’s keyboard refused to work and by the time the fault had been fixed we were already 20 minutes behind schedule. 

Nevertheless, all's well that ends well, or in this case (eventually) starts well and Freddie picked a great tune as an opener which sounded very familiar to me and when he said it was Horace Silver’s Silvers’s Serenade I remembered it as one that was often heard at jam sessions back in the day when there was jazz to be heard seven days a week around the Manchester area.  

(Press release) Grammy-winning pianist Geoffrey Keezer joins the SNJO on tour

(© John Abbott)
Grammy-winning pianist-composer Geoffrey Keezer (pictured) joins the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra on a three-date Scottish tour from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, with concerts in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

Under the banner of The Art of Arranging, Keezer will guide the orchestra through his unique, new treatments of jazz classics by saxophonists Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter as well as specially re-imagined arrangements of Keezer’s own award-winning compositions.

Album review: John Garner/Simon Roth - ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ (Wormhole World)

John Garner (violin, sympolin); Simon Roth (drums, percussion)

Here we have 28 not even sketches, (one for each letter of the phonetic alphabet plus Ampers And and Hi, Phen). Brevity is the dominant feature of the first 26 pieces. In fact I’d barely copied the cover picture off the internet and written the title and musicians’ names before I realised I had just missed November and was now onto Oscar, rapidly followed by Papa. After Zulu, however, Ampers And and Hi, Phen Stretch out to 5 minutes 50 and 17:21 respectively, taking up nearly half the album.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Hear me talkin' to you (speak up)

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
Why is it that I can sit in a small room (such as the upstairs bar in the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle) and listen to a seventeen piece band blowing treble fortissimo (such as SSBB) without fear of tinnitus and yet I can go into another other pub (not Wetherspoons who soon cottoned on to the fact that their customers could live without all those pesky decibels!) and have my hearing almost blasted to Kingdom Come by the current day equivalent of the jukebox? At least with a jukebox you had some degree of control as to what you were hearing.

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

 Aycliffe Radio is now available on DAB in County Durham & Darlington Area.

 Playlist 10/08/23. (Repeated Tuesday 12/08/23)

Choice of The River City Hot Six & Darlington New Orleans Club:

Chris Barber, Frank Vignola/Wynton Marsalis/ Mark O'Connor & Walter Blanding. CJM.m4v.Bix Beiderbecke, Miles Davis, Ken Colyer, Django Reinhardt, Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Al Bowlly, /The Ray Noble Orchestra, Nick LaRocca/Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Paul Whiteman.

World requests: Julian Lage.

Seasonal: Stan Kenton, Chet Baker - Paul Desmond.

What’s on in the NE: Jeff Barnhart.

Birthday Memories: Elvin Jones /John Coltrane.

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Calvert and the Old Fools @ Dorman's Jazz Club Middlesbrough Sept 7

Sam Calvert (drums); Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Andrew Meadowcroft (vocals/piano); Tony Wood (double bass).

The audience knew full well not to take the band’s title too literally and of course, as expected, a night of first class entertaining jazz was delivered by a quartet that was enjoyed by both the audience and themselves. Andrew's vocals featured on all the numbers striking just the right balance between vocals and instrumental work.

A fine start was made with a number that never fails to please - The Way You Look Tonight. A nice piano intro and vocal from Andrew, great sax solo from Richie, both  backed up with excellent drums and bass, that set the standard for the evening.

A Study in Frustration

No, this isn't a reference to the legendary four LP set that acknowledged the importance of, arguably, the first great big band leader and arranger, Fletcher Henderson. Having said that, anyone out there who'd like to post something about Henderson please do so as this is what BSH was intended to be all about in the first place, hence my own frustration.

Okay, so Henderson wasn't a bopper although he did record with perhaps the original bopper Charlie Christian, that's by the by. My original intention was to set up a blog where musicians and fans  could chat and share opinions rather than to become a listing of local gigs and repetitive reviews of local bands and albums by bands from both here and abroad.

Tenement Jazz Band @ Prohibition Bar - Sept. 8

(© Russell)
Charles Dearness (trumpet); Stephen Feast (clarinet, tenor sax); Paddy Darley (trombone); John Youngs (banjo, vocals); Rory Clark (sousaphone)

Prohibition Bar is something of a second home to the Edinburgh-based Tenement Jazz Band. Whenever the quintet ventures south of the border, Pink Lane is frequently a stopping-off point. This evening the band's visit coincided with what was perhaps the hottest day of the year. Window and doors open, beer flowing as if prohibition was about to come into effect, it was a heady atmosphere. 

Great North Run

(© Mary Shaw)
Tomorrow (Sept. 10), being Great North Run day, is a day that is always rather special in the hearts of the northeast populace. It's a day that sees many bands of all persuasions along the route playing and, hopefully encouraging the runners to reach the finish line before sundown although, having seen the weather forecast, perhaps it would have been better if the race had actually started after sundown!

Posting as someone who has participated in the event as both a runner and a player it always amazes me the lengths some go to to stand out from the singlet and shorts runners as typified in this cartoon by the late Bill Shaw. Lance

Friday, September 08, 2023

The Quote

There have been few, if indeed any, jazz musicians who haven't, at one time or another, inserted a quote (a recognisable phrase from another song) into their solo. Dexter Gordon was particularly adept at this form of jazz humour and Stan Getz's insertion of a couple of bars from Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man in his masterful recording of The Way You Look Tonight is as near perfect an example of how well a quote can be used.

For lesser musicians a quote can also provide a 'get out of jail free' card - when all else fails ...

I recall a local northeast musician - no names, no pack drill - who could blow a whole chorus of quotes including anything from God Save the King to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.

Richard Davis (April 15, 1930 - Sept. 6, 2023)

(© Lance)
One of the all-time greats, bassist Richard Davis, died on Sept. 6. My particular memory of him was that of hearing him with the J.J. Johnson Sextet at the 1984 North Sea Jazz Festival.  The programme notes stated that many view him as the best bassist in the world. A statement I went along with as did the DownBeat critics from 1967-1974. 

Ezra Collective win the 2023 Mercury Prize!

Ezra Collective emerged from Tomorrow's Warriors, albums followed and now Femi Koleoso and co have scooped the Mercury Prize! The band's album Where I'm Meant to Be swung it, fending off competition from the likes of the Arctic Monkeys. Jazz 'acts' have been in the running over the years without actually winning the prize, until now. There's the prestige that goes with winning the Mercury plus the small matter of £25,000 to put in the bank. Well done to Ezra Collective. Russell     

Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - Sept. 7

Merlin Roxby (piano)

Prohibition Bar's resident pianist Merlin Roxby once again entertained the few. In truth, it's the hardy souls. Ragtime, stride to a smattering of swing, Merlin can play. The passing trade, such as it is on a Thursday evening, fleetingly showed its appreciation. It's a regular gig for Merlin and good on him for plugging away.

Maple Leaf Rag is as good a place as any to start. Great stuff! Swipesey Cake Walk, a regulation St Louis Blues, Merlin is checking 'em out. Randy Newman's You Got a Friend in Me suggests Merlin has an eclectic range, and he does, Ray Charles' Hallelujah and I Love Her So, the Top Cat theme and more. 

Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - August 31

Merlin Roxby (piano)

Because of my appreciation of the musical assessment skills of Russell, one of BSHs expert and indefatigable reviewers, I know that when he says there is a musician or band worth checking out then thats a sure fire tip. He particularly has the ability to sniff out quality new and young musicians whether they are busking on the street, taking a back seat role in a jam session or playing to select audiences (sic) in a small bar. So when he started to mention a young piano player who has a residency at the Prohibition Bar in Pink Lane and that he specialised in ragtime and stride piano styles (some of my long time favourite piano music) then I knew I had to go and have a listen.

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Lester Young - Mean To Me (1958)

At this stage of his life, one year before his death, Lester Young was said to have left his glory years behind him - e.g. the recordings with Basie and Billie - but this 1958 live clip puts those theories to bed. The sound is different, more bite, more edge, but unlike Hawkins who tried to keep up with Rollins and Coltrane (John), just as Sinatra did, Lester did it his way. Lance

When in Rome (or Gateshead) ...

Trawling through the BSH archives I came across this photo of Jason Moran and Jason Yarde in 2008 at, as it was then, 'The Sage'.

The concert was a recreation of Monk's legendary New York Town Hall Concert and ran for ninety minutes non-stop so, clearly they needed some refreshment afterwards and what better than a bottle of the local brew from across the river?

It was an amazing gig and one that must surely have stuck in the memory of those who were there fifteen plus years ago. I still get goose-pimples remembering it. Marvellous! Lance


Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Preview: The Zoë Gilby Trio (The Black Swan, Tuesday 12 Sept.)

(© Mike Tilley)
Next week Newcastle Arts Centre hosts a concert performance featuring the award-winning vocalist and composer Zoë Gilby! A Tynesider born and bred, Zoë will be accompanied by the brilliant bassist and composer Andy Champion and mercurial guitarist and composer Mark Williams. Three of the finest musicians around, residing right here on Tyneside, their reputations go far beyond.

Album review: Ben Winkelman - Heartbeat

Ben Winkelman (piano, Rhodes); Mark Penman (bass); Obed Calvaire (drums) + Gilad Hekselman (guitar on tks 1-3, 8-9)

Winkelman's sixth album as a leader, recorded during the pandemic whilst awaiting the birth of his first child, is quite delightful. Nine originals that don't appear to be contrafacts although these tunes themselves could become contrafacts of the future.

It's gentle and laid back, more Bill Evans than Peterson with perhaps a dash of melancholia thrown in courtesy of Chopin or Debussy.

Drums are discreet, bass supportive and totally part of the overall experience, with Penman's solos capturing the mood set by the leader. Hekselman too is well featured on all but four of the tracks.

Black Swan Jam Session - Sept. 5

Not, in truth, a vintage jam session, no duelling banjos or solos that lasted twice as long as February although there were fleeting moments of class.

The house trio for the evening set the marker opening up their short set with Stella by Starlight and closing with All the Things You Are. This got me to thinking I could write  jam session set lists - any jam session - in advance except that never in a month of Tuesdays would I have included Steve Kuhn's Saga of Henry Crabfeather, the number book-ended by the other two!

It was back to the script as Kate O'Neill stepped up for a lusty rendition of Misty, followed by My Baby Just Cares For me. Isn't it about time the lyric was updated? Lana who? 

Ian Drever did a job on The Good Life and Maybe Next Time - maybe. As an afterthought I wondered if the brickwork had been checked.

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music 2023

With great pleasure we announce the 7th year of Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music. 

Launched 2017, the festival continues to respond to the city’s appetite for a contemporary grass roots jazz festival, presenting an innovative and diverse international line up, celebrating and pushing boundaries that challenge perceptions of jazz and improvised music.

This year we welcome new performance spaces including the Jesmond United Reformed Church and Blank Studios, alongside our regular venues Bobiks, The Globe and the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society.

R.I.P. Gordon Whitworth

Just received the sad news that Midlands based trumpet player Gordon Whitworth has passed on.

He will be sadly missed by those who knew him and heard him play. Hopefully someone will give me an insight into his life and times. Lance 

Monday, September 04, 2023

Derrick Harris Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Sept. 3

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Derrick Harris (guitar); Andrzej Baranek (keys); Jose Canha (bass); Guy Rickaby (drums).

For September the weather had suddenly got a lot better and, as well as being hot outside, it was hot inside when Derrick Harris got things cooking with his version of Horace Silver’s Ecorah which of course all you bebop fans no doubt know is Horace spelt backwords. 

Last time Derrick played this venue he brought along Rod Mason on reeds but on this occasion Andrzej Baranek was cast as his frontline partner and who better to share the spotlight than Andrzej. A new face to me and probably everyone else in the audience was drummer Guy Rickaby who after I had a brief word or two after the gig turned out to be from the Leeds area. He drove things along nicely and could play with great force when called to do so but could play quietly also. I was highly impressed.

Vice President Mather!

Ten Eighty Trees' drummer and Black Swan jam session supporter Michael Mather has assumed the Vice-Presidency of the Percussive Arts Society (UK & Ireland). Well done Michael.

Django the Mastermind - tonite (Monday)

On this evening's edition of Mastermind (BBC 2, 7:30pm) Clive Myrie's grilling of the contestants will include one hopeful whose specialist subject is Django Reinhardt! Any self-respecting Djangologist will want to be in front of the box for this one! Russell 

Zoe Rahman is tuning up for NFOJIM (Monday, Radio 3)

This afternoon (Monday) Zoe Rahman will be in the In Tune studio to talk about her new album Colour of Sound. Pianist Zoe will be joined by Alec Dankworth and Gene Caldarazzo to play a few numbers from the recording. Later this month (Sept. 28) Zoe's all-star octet will be in concert at Jesmond United Reformed Church in Newcastle as guests of the Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music. Tune to Radio 3 at five o'clock. Russell   

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