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Bebop Spoken There

Dee Dee Bridgewater: “ Our world is becoming a very ugly place with guns running rampant in this country... and New Orleans is called the murder capital of the world right now ". Jazzwise, May 2024.

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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.


16462 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 342 of them this year alone and, so far, 54 this month (May 18).

From This Moment On ...


Mon 20: Harmony Brass @ the Crescent Club, Cullercoats. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 20: Michael Young Trio @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 6:30-8:30pm. Free.
Mon 20: Joe Steels-Ben Lawrence Quartet @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00.

Tue 21: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Alice Grace Vocal Masterclass @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 6:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 22: Daniel Erdmann’s Thérapie de Couple @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 23: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 23: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Thu 23: Immortal Onion + Rivkala @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 23: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Jeremy McMurray (keys); Dan Johnson (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Bill Watson (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 24: Hot Club du Nord @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 24: Swannek + support @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. Time TBC.

Sat 25: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Bywell Hall, Stocksfield. 2:30pm.
Sat 25: Paul Edis Trio w. Bruce Adams & Alan Barnes @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:30pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sat 25: Nubiyan Twist @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Sat 25: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 26: Tyne Valley Youth Big Band @ The Sele, Hexham. 12:30pm. Free. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Alice Grace @ The Sele, Hexham. 1:30pm. Free. Alice Grace w. Joe Steels, Paul Susans & John Hirst.
Sun 26: Bryony Jarman-Pinto @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Clark Tracey Quintet @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Saltburn Big Band @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 26: SARÃB @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Album Review: Donald Byrd - Cookin’ with Blue Note at Montreux

Donald Byrd (trumpet); Larry Mizell (synths); Fonce Mizell (trumpet, vocals); Allan Barnes* (tenor sax, flute); Nathan Davis (soprano, tenor sax); Kevin Toney (elec. piano); Barney Perry (elec. guitar); Henry Franklin (elec. bass); Keith Killgo (drums); Ray Armando perc.). 

After a campaign of corporate dumpster diving which has uncovered a treasure trove of lost gems, Blue Note are releasing a number of Live at Montreux sets. Alongside this one, other releases from Bobbi Humphreys, Bobby Hutcherson and Marlena Shaw are also coming out. The Donald Byrd set was recorded in July 1973 and featured the Mizell brothers who had become mainstays of his band by then as both writers and producers as well as musicians. They would stay with Byrd until after the Places and Spaces album, a favourite in this house.

By 1973 the Montreux Casino had been repaired after the fire immortalised in Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water (or Smirk on the Watter as they say in Ashington) when ‘Some stupid with a flare gun burnt the place to the ground.’

This is a useful addition to the Byrd discography as it captures the increasing soul influence on Byrd, jazz generally and Blue Note in particular. He had released Blackbyrd, his first album produced by ex-Motown producer Larry Mizell, earlier in the year and the title track opens this album. Larry Mizell had written or co-written all of the tracks on that album and Byrd had recorded another album of Larry Mizell compositions or co-compositions in Street Lady just a month before this concert took place. To cement the soul credentials, Live at Montreux also includes a Stevie Wonder cover. Finally, and to pique the interests of any Donald Byrd completists out there, (and I’m sure there must be some), three of the tracks are available for the first time.

Miles Davis was, of course, one of the first converts to combining jazz with soul and there are elements of his influence here, but most of all, despite this being a fairly large band the emphasis is mainly on Byrd’s trumpet playing. These tunes make up a set of showcases for his lovely, burnished tone, which is front and central all the way through. Points to Rachel Jones who produced the album for release and to George Butler and Chris Penycote who captured it all in the first place.

Opener, Blackbyrd, could have been a Parliafunkadelic thang or an out-take from a Blaxploitation thriller soundtrack by Bobby Womack. A driving groove, explosions of colour, simple chanted lyrics ‘Walking along playing a song, Walk along, starting us off, Listen to the horn carry on, Get in the groove and move, Just can't lose’ provide the vocal backing for the saxes to take the limelight.

The Stevie Wonder song, You’ve Got It Bad Girl, is, again, a platform for improvisation. With Nathan Davis’s soprano taking the lead and wailing sinuously over the groove. A mellow laid back passage follows before it’s Byrd’s turn. He has a full, rich tone and it becomes apparent that, although the Mizell brothers were an important part of Byrd’s career at this point, everything is done in support of moments like this when it is his voice on the trumpet to the fore.

The East is another Byrd composition. Anchored by Franklin’s bass. It sounds like one of Davis’ experiments where the band just groove whilst Byrd plays over them before Barney Perry constructs a guitar solo that has its roots in the church. To take it home there’s some lovely layering as the horns and brass move between the front and back lines. It’s a great arrangement and impressive ensemble playing.

Kwame is (I presume) in tribute to Kwame Nkrumah the first President of the independent Ghana who had died the previous year. It opens with a bold, widescreen riff played by all of the band which shows the power in such a large group. It all falls away and Byrd builds a solo over a muted rhythm section. As the solo grows in energy, the rest of the band step back into the fray until it’s another full on assault. As mentioned above though, Byrd always stays just ahead of the pack.

The closer, Poco-Mania, is just a full-on funk charge with everyone running to get ahead of everyone else before Byrd, again, takes off and scorches his way through a ferocious solo before handing the baton onto, (I suspect), Barnes who takes over at the same energy level. Exhilarating stuff.

Donald Byrd – Live at Montreux was released in December and is available through all the usual outlets and there is more information about it HERE on the Blue Note website. Dave Sayer

*This is Allan Curtis Barnes and not the Alan Barnes who did a Christmas Carol last month in Newcastle.

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