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Bebop Spoken There

Steve Fishwick: “I can’t get behind the attitude that new is always somehow better than old”. (Jazz Journal, April 15, 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!"

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.


16527 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 407 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (June 12).

From This Moment On ...


Thu 13: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 13: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. £5.00. Upstairs.
Thu 13: Musicians Unlimited @ Dorman’s, Middlesbrough. 8:00pm.
Thu 13: Jazz Guys @ Tynedale Beer & Cider Festival, Corbridge. 8:00pm.
Thu 13: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 13: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guest band: Musicians Unlimited

Fri 14: Mark Williams Trio @ The Old Library, Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 14: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 14: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 14: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 14: Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. ‘Ella & Ellington’. 7:30pm. £18.00.
Fri 14: Customs House Big Band @ Customs House, South Shields. 7:30pm. Donations (online, min. £3.00.).

Sat 15: Keith Barrett & Andrew Porritt @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 12 noon. Free. A Cullercoats Festival event.
Sat 15: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Sat 15: James Birkett & Emma Fisk @ Sunderland Minster. 7:30pm. £15.00., £8.00. (u16s free). ‘The Great American Songbook’. A Bishopwearmouth Choral Society event, conductor David Murray.
Sat 15: Jude Murphy & Dan Stanley @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 16: Jason Isaacs @ Stack, Seaburn SR6 8AA. 1:00-2:45pm. Free.
Sun 16: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 16: Gaz Hughes Trio @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. £10.00.
Sun 16: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 16: Gaz Hughes Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 16: Jazz Jam @ Fabio’s Bar, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 17: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 17: ‘Tower of Power’ @ The Library Bar, Saddler St., Durham . 7:30pm.Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Tue 18: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Victoria & Albert Inn, Seaton Delaval. 12:30pm. £13.00. ‘Jazz, Sausage ‘n’ Mash’…’with Onion Gravy’!
Tue 18: Jam Session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Stu Collingwood, Paul Grainger, Tim Johnston.
Tue 18: Libby Goodridge & Ben Davies @ The Lost Wanderer, Leazes Park Road, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £6.00. Triple bill, inc. Goodridge & Davies (jazz).

Wed 19: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 19: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 19: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

The World Has Gone Mad Today...

Seems that they (whoever they are) are rewriting the splendid works of Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming to make them more PC (no, not Paul Chambers) which got me to wondering how these people would deal with the jazz world.

Gordon Goodwin's Ginormous Band? 

Pleasingly Plump Hayes? 

V.C. [vertically challenged] Rogers? 

Kilometres Davis (in Europe)?

Then again, how would they deal with the various Johns, Johnnys and Dicks?

Just thinkin' Lance

Gaz Hughes Trio @ the Railway, Stockport - Feb. 26

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

 I was expecting a quartet tonight as advertised on the February flyer but only three musicians turned up. Not sure what the reason was but at least it meant we got to hear Andrzej taking a major role in the proceedings. Eleven tunes were played tonight, five being originals by Gaz Hughes, the remainder being composed by Monk. Vic Feldman, George Shearing, Johnny Green, Edgar Sampson and Stephen Sondheim.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Dexter Gordon - What's New - 29 july 1964 • World of Jazz

One of, if not the, greatest modern jazz tenor saxophonists. How I'd have loved to have been on Central Ave. in LA when Dexter and Wardell were carving each other up on the bandstand. Today would have been Dexter's centenary. Loved him both before and after I saw him at the University Theatre in Newcastle back in, I think, the mid-1980s. Lance

Ant Law and Alex Hitchcock Quartet @ the Bridge Hotel - Feb. 25 (Take Two)

(© Ken Drew)

Some gigs make a big impression and lodge in your memory, for a host of reasons: the music, obviously,  but also the band, the audience, the venue, the vibe. This was one of those gigs!

Presented by Jazz North East, a return to upstairs at the Bridge Hotel as part of their policy to spread the love around great Newcastle venues. The event was pretty well sold out to capacity, and the reputation of the band could be measured by the stature of the many top north-east musicians in the audience rather than on stage for a change.

I was expecting a night of dazzling technique and clever composition, as all four virtuoso players are composers and band leaders and in their own right. I wasn’t disappointed in that regard, but what I wasn’t expecting was to be as shaken up and moved by the emotion and energy of a band in full flight, while also in full empathy with each other. 

Jazz North East @ The Bridge Hotel - the Hitchcock/Law Quartet's Same Moon in the Same World project - Feb 25

(© Ken Drew)
Alex Hitchcock (sax); Ant Law (guitar); Jasper Høiby (double bass); Sun-Mi Hong (drums)

A return to the upstairs room at The Bridge on Saturday night was a welcome return to what was once Jazz North East’s primary venue. A great setting with great beer and the added bonus of being able to see the trains pass by in the large bay window. A capacity crowd increased the atmosphere further as this multinational band took to the stage.

STOP PRESS! Alice & Pav reschedule tomorrow's Black Swan gig!

Alice Grace and Pawel Jedrzejewski have rescheduled tomorrow's Black Swan concert (Tuesday 28) to Tuesday 13 June. Advance purchase tickets will be valid for the new date. 

Sunday, February 26, 2023

4B @ The Exchange -Feb. 26

Bernie Ranson (saxes, vocals and  violin); Jude Murphy (double bass, vocals); Barbara Wilcox (keys, vocals); Alan Wann (drums).

4B play a regular Sunday afternoon gig at The Exchange in North Shields.  It seemed a bit optimistic to expect a sizeable crowd today when Newcastle were playing in the Caraboa Cup Final at Wembley. However, against all the odds, not only did the Sunday regulars turn up but a contingent of new faces looking, no doubt, for a football free zone. The band, relieved not to be playing to an empty room, brought their 'A' game to the proceedings and in doing so collected a whole new following. Two hours of “Blues, Bossas  and a bit of Be-bop” (as advertised) flew by, well received by fans old and new.

Three reasons why we celebrate Feb. 23 in this house.

Another February 23 has come and gone and this year, as we do every year 'round here, we mark the day by turning our thoughts to Oliver Nelson, Stanley Turrentine and another bloke.

On this day in 1961 Oliver Nelson, composer and saxophonist had assembled one of the great groups in jazz history (Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers and Roy Haynes, and George Barrow) to record The Blues And The Abstract Truth. To add to the lustre the session took place at the legendary Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs New Jersey and was overseen by producer Creed Taylor. It would be released on Impulse.

Graham Collier – Down Another Road @ Stockholm Jazz Days ’69 (My Only Desire Records)

Graham Collier (double bass); Harry Beckett (trumpet, flugelhorn); Nick Evans (trombone); Stan Sulzmann (tenor, alto sax); Karl Jenkins (oboe, piano); John Marshall (drums).

British bassist/ composer Graham Collier, (extravagantly pschedelicised on the album cover, in keeping with the era when this album was recorded) shows on this album that any comparison with the bassist/composer that was Charles Mingus are not entirely just hot air. Of course it helps if you can surround yourself with absolute first-division talent to bring these compositions to life.

Collier had recorded the Down Another Road studio album in March 1969 and followed it up with a tour of European Festivals using the same group that had appeared on the studio recording. Of the music on the album, five tracks made it into the live set list with the seventeen and a half minute Danish Blue being replaced by the shorter Burblings For Bob.

Red Kites Jazz @ The Exchange - Feb. 25

David Herbert (piano);  Terry Walsh (guitar);  Gerry Tomlinson (tenor sax); Martin Leckenby (bass); Greg Ryan (drums).

The Exchange in North Shields is becoming well known for its hosting of jazz having regular Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon sessions. However, this is the first time for jazz on a Saturday night and a sizeable crowd turned out to hear a new quintet hailing from the wilds of Tynedale.

Red Kites Jazz (not the famous Norwegian jazz/rock group of the same name) took the stage at 7.30pm and set to.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

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

 Playlist 26/02/23. (Repeated Tuesday 28/02/23)

Mardi Gras (cont) Dave Brubeck Trio.

Request: Chick Corea.

Birthday Memories: Nina Simone.

The Simon Spillett Big Band to make first album

(Press release) Award-winning tenor saxophonist Simon Spillett is taking his all-star big band into the studios this spring to record its first album.

Featuring a host of leading jazz luminaries, (many of them leaders in their own right) including trumpeters Mark Armstrong, Steve Fishwick and Freddie Gavita, trombonist Mark Nightingale, saxophonists Pete Long, Simon Allen, Alex Garnett and Alan Barnes, and based around Spillett's regular quartet with Rob Barron, Alec Dankworth and Pete Cater, the band caused a sensation on 2022's jazz festival circuit (playing Wigan, Scarborough, Southend, Swansea and Swanage) culminating in a sold out performance at the EFG London Jazz Festival.

Matt Ford with the Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Sage Gateshead - Feb. 24

(© Russell)

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

It doesn't get much better than this. Top singer (actually two top singers) and a big band that can hold its own anywhere made for an evening that had the sold out Sage Two enraptured. They were also doing good business over in Sage One where a celebration of the words and music of Rodgers and Hammerstein was taking place. Matt Ford could have slotted in to either show with ease. I'm pleased he slotted into ours.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Jo Harrop & Paul Edis @ The Gala, Durham - Feb. 24

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
Jo Harrop (vocals); Paul Edis (piano)

As the audience filed into the Gala's top floor studio space one thing was immediately noticeable, this afternoon's lunchtime jazz concert would be played 'long ways on', in other words a portable/temporary stage stood at the far end of the room with regimented rows of seats stretching back towards the entrance. Those arriving early bagged the best seats - ie at or near the front, latecomers occupying the remainder. The capacity audience was there to listen to the voice and piano duo of Jo Harrop and Paul Edis.

Manchester Jazz Festival is back to jazz-up your Summer!

(Press release) Manchester Jazz Festival is back for 10 days of jam-packed festival fun and musical vibes across the city this May! 

mjf2023 will take place between 19 - 28 May 2023 at venues and sites across Manchester, celebrating the latest up and coming talent from across the North, and the best names in contemporary jazz including: Hot 8 Brass Band, Buena Vista Social Club's Eliades Ochoa, Mica Millar, Billy Cobham, Arun Ghosh, Fred Wesley and the New J.B.’s, Yemi Bolatiwa and many more... 

Student Performances @ King's Hall, Newcastle University - Feb. 23

Most Thursdays, term time, Newcastle University presents a one hour concert featuring some of the institution's many talented music students. This afternoon a familiar face at jam sessions would play a couple of numbers in trio format, later featuring in a four piece rock band. Jacob Egglestone has become something of a fixture at Newcastle Arts Centre's Black Swan jam sessions, in recent months coming to the fore, making some fine contributions. So much so, Jacob is soon to feature in the house rhythm section.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Bradley Creswick's Western Sinfonia @ King's Hall, Newcastle University - Feb. 23

Bradley Creswick (violin); Martin Hughes (violin); Archie Brown (vocals, guitar, tenor sax); Pat Rafferty (accordion, lap steel guitar, keyboards); Sian Hicks (double bass); Brendan Murphy (percussion)

This afternoon's 'LIVE in Kings' Hall' concert attracted a full house, then some. They kept on a comin', some standing up against the back wall for the duration, others packing the balcony. The Western Swingfonia is the brainchild of the recently retired leader of the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Bradley Creswick. Joining the amiable, energetic Creswick were some of Tyneside's most recognisable faces, drawn from the rhythm and blues, jazz and classical worlds: veterans of the Young Bucks and the pub rock scene, Messrs. Archie Brown and Pat Rafferty, percussionist Brendan Murphy, known to many for his involvement in the jazz scene, notably working with the Northern Money Brass Band, and from the classical concert stage, Creswick, Martin Hughes and Sian Hicks (RNS all). 

The Blaydon Races (the pub not the song)

Back in the early 1960s, in the days before the Blaydon Jazz Club was formed (and is still functioning) some of the best modern jazz was centred around a long gone pub - the Blaydon Races. Situated just outside of Blaydon near Stella Power Station it had music most nights including at least one jazz session.

On piano, a fantastic Glaswegian pianist, Jimmy Miller - not to be confused with the pianist of the same name who was an integral part of the Squadronaires - a hard drinking Scotsman who, up to that time, was the best jazz pianist I'd ever heard in a local setting. As I recall, Ray Jobling was on bass and, whilst I can't recall the drummer, Dave Hedley also sat in. In fact the first time I ever heard the song Tangerine was when Dave sang it with great backing from the trio.

The pub, like Miller, Jobling and Hedley are now long gone but I wonder if anyone else has memories of the pub and/or the musicians? Lance

Roly's link.

Jazz on the Tyne heads towards March 2023

In the latest edition of the podcast, presenter Colin Muirhead will preview upcoming gigs in the area by Lindsay Hannon, Alice Grace & Pawel Jedrzejewski, Fergus McCreadie, Myele Manzanza, Xhosa Cole, Nathalie Stern and Gaz Hughes.  He’ll also feature new music by Paul Towndrow and Christine Tobin, and pay tribute to Burt Bacharach.

You can listen to the show anytime from noon on Saturday 25th February by heading to

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Album review: Esthesis Quartet - Time Zones

Elsa Nilsson (flute); Dawn Clement (piano, vocal); Emma Dayhuff (bass); Tina Raymond (drums)

Jazz flute is very much an introspective thing. Trumpet players and saxists  can, by the power of their horns, capture their audience. With fluters (flautists) the stakes are higher. There's no room for coasting. The instrument is, arguably, the ultimate merging of player and instrument. No reed, mouthpiece problems, the instrument is you - the player. 

Black Swan Jam Session - Feb. 21

(© Lance)
Ben Phillips (keys); Paul Grainger (bass); Mark Robertson (drums) + John Rowlands, Steve Summers, Tom Dixon (tenor sax); Esther Coombes (clarinet); Edgar Bell (trumpet); David Gray (trombone, vocals); Michael Young, Stu Collingwood, Dan Kabakov (keys); Liam Oliver, Laurence Harrison (guitar); Keith Tulip (bass guitar); Bailey Rudd, ? (drums); Cath Stephens, Jan Spencelayh, Martha, Katrina Miller (vocals).

Apologies for not getting all of the names, nor all of the tunes although, at a jam session, you can usually write them in advance. However, whilst we had the staple diet of Stella, Never be Another You, Blue Bossa, Dindi, Well You Needn't, Take the A Train, Caravan, My Funny Valentine and Cry me a River we did have a delightful version of Skylark by Cath Stephens who also did a job on Joni Mitchell's The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines. She even got the pronunciation right - de moin (e as in dress).

Two Jazz Deaths

Our north-west correspondent, Mike Farmer, has informed me of a couple of jazz related deaths in his neck of the woods.  

Blues singer Victor Broxwho worked with Alexis Korner and many others, has died recently aged 81. Jimi Hendrix described him as having the greatest white blues voice he ever heard. Obit.

Drummer Mike Holmes,  who lived in Bromborough, Wirral, played in many north-west jazz venues backing well known musicians such as Pete King, Don Rendell, plus many singers, has also passed on. Holmes played frequently for Graham Brook who ran Wilmslow Jazz Club and Mike Farmer cherishes the experience he had of being around both these great musicians saying they will be sadly missed. RIP 

Preview: Alice & Pav are coming to the Black Swan - book now!

At the Black Swan next week (Tuesday 28) two of the shining lights on the Tyneside jazz scene will resume their winning duo partnership. A few short years ago, sitting in at a late night Gateshead International Jazz Festival jam session, vocalist Alice Grace burst onto the scene with an incandescent performance. Guitarist Pawel Jedrzejewski, a BMus (Hons.) graduate of James Birkett's highly regarded Jazz, Commercial and Popular Music degree course, is never less than immaculate when working with the magnificent Strictly Smokin' Big Band, Not Now Charlie and other ensembles. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Album review: Jo Lawry - Acrobats

Jo Lawry (vocals); Linda May Han Oh (bass); Allison Miller (drums)

A very enjoyable album by a NYC based Australian singer well up to the challenge posed by re-imagining several well-known standards without the support of a harmonic cushion. Tightrope walker and safety net (lack of) are words that spring to mind.

That she comes through this perilous journey unscathed is due to three factors: Her faultless intonation, Oh's bass playing and Miller's drumming, particularly when switching to brushes.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Adrian Cox live streaming from down Mexico way - Feb. 20

Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals)

Our man has been out in Mexico for some time, networking, rehearsing and preparing for a 12,000 capacity gig later this week with some Mexico City friends. Minutes into this Monday evening streamed concert something like seventy five people were on line, some of them, as is their wont, posting comments.

Freddie Garner Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Feb. 19

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

Freddie always likes to play his Nord 2 keyboard at this venue rather than the house upright and positions himself on the left side of the room in front of the small bandstand. This no doubt is so he can communicate with the rest of the band without turning round.  

Album review: Karl Berger, Kirk Knuffke - Heart is a Melody

Kirk Knuffke (cornet); Karl Berger (vibes, Rhodes, piano, melodica); Jay Anderson (bass); Matt Wilson (drums)

An interesting album that grew on me with repeated listening. First play it didn't have me suggesting that you run down to your nearest record shop or to demand next day delivery from that big South American river store although, about the second or third time of asking, its hidden secrets began to unfold and I found myself getting in deeper than I'd initially expected.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Serge Chaloff:Blue Serge

The March issue of Jazzwise draws attention to this album by possibly the greatest jazz baritone  jazz sax player of that era - maybe any era!

The anchor man of Woody's four brothers, Serge had a light fluency on baritone that lifted the instrument's lugubrious past to a state where, in the hands of Serge Chaloff, it sounded as cool as his fellow 'brother' Getz did on tenor.

Album review: Dave Liebman – Live At Smalls (Cellar Music Group)

Dave Liebman (saxophones); Peter Evans (trumpet); Leo Genovese (piano); John Hebert (bass); Tìyshawn Sorey (drums).

I do believe that Dave Liebman was one of the fortunate visiting stars that worked with the Voice of the North Orchestra back in the day. What a fine orchestra that was, it would probably be called a collective these days. 

Whilst that was probably a career highlight for Mr Liebman, as it would be for any American lucky enough to visit Darlington, he is probably still best known for his membership of Miles Davis’ group back in the days of On The Corner which came out in 1972. Leo Genovese has also been up this way, performing in a group at a Sage jazz festival one year with Joe Lovano, Esperanza Spalding and Jack DeJohnette. Both Tyshawn Sorey and Peter Evans have extensive discographies as both leaders and sidemen so there is quality, here, throughout the ranks.

Joe Harriott & John Mayer "Indo Jazz Suite I & II"

1 x 350g carton of Chicken Biryani (8 mins 30 secs).
1 x 350g carton of Bombay Potatoes (8 mins 30 secs).
1 microwave oven.
Serve with the above music playing.

That's my Sunday dinner sorted. Lance

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Album review: Eddie Gripper - Home

Eddie Gripper (piano); Ursula Harrison (bass); Isaac Zuckermann (drums)

I'll confess, I'd never heard of Eddie Gripper. Was he an all-in wrestler, someone who could dissect a piano with a one forearm smash?

Turns out he is anything but. A sensitive pianist of the Bill Evans school of less is more, his minimalist interpretations of his own compositions are quite beautiful. And, so they should be as they are dedicated to, amongst others, his late grandmother.

I'd liked to have learned more about this lady and her influence on his musical career but the music speaks for itself. A nice album and well worth sounding out in real/cyberspace. In fact, it's lovely.

It's available on Ubuntu Music UBU0133 on March 3. Lance

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

Playlist 19/02/23. (Repeated Tuesday 21/02/23)

Sing A New (ish) Jazz Song

I've been having great fun lately on Wednesdays at the Globe Songwriting Course, which is run by Tim Dalling, whom you may remember from the comedy/folk band the Old Rope String Band a few years back. We had to write a song about 'writing a song' so I came up with this offering which may interest readers. Don't think I'll be performing this one at any jams, any time soon, mind. Just a bit of fun!

A Sort Of Song

Night and Day, Cole Porter's the one

Steal his lyrics to write a good song

It's too hard to make words up

Just use his because they're good

He won't object at all

Because he's dead!

Friday, February 17, 2023

Georgia Cécile & Fraser Urquhart @ the Lit & Phil - Feb. 17

(© Patti Durham)
Georgia Cécile (vocals); Fraser Urquhart (piano).

Storm Otto certainly made some roofs staccato (ref Ellington number Riff Staccato) but it stopped only but a few braving it to the monthly JATLP session and, whilst it may have torn down a few trees and incapacitated Whitley Bay Metro Station it did enable those who hadn't pre-booked to snap up the seats of those who had stayed at home wondering where their conservatory had gone .

Indeed, those who weren't bemoaning their loss of the house next door were soon sitting and singing a bebop version of Why Are We Waiting? They weren't actually but it must have been in their minds when the word got around that the star attractions were still on an express train that, because of the storm, was going no faster than the service in an all-night Tesco Express.

Darrifourcq - Hermia - Ceccaldi @ the Globe Feb. 12

(© ken Drew)
Sylvain Darrifourcq (drums & percussion); Manuel Hermia (sax); Valentin Ceccaldi (cello)

Following hot on the heels of recent Jazz North East presentations from Portugal's Luis Vicente and American saxophonist John Dikeman, this week saw the phenomenal Franco-Belgian trio of Sylvain Darrifourcq, Valentin Ceccaldi and Manuel Hermia.  They came to Newcastle following performances in Slovenia and Austria, and whilst they are generally booked into larger venues, this was an opportunity to see, and more importantly, hear them in the intimate upstairs room in the Jazz Bar at the Globe, choosing to come here for their only UK gig of this mini-Tour.

Syd Lawrence Orchestra: Big Band Brass @ The Fire Station, Sunderland - Feb. 15

(© M. Lamb)
The popularity of the Syd Lawrence Orchestra is undiminished. The band's first visit to Sunderland's magnificent Fire Station venue attracted a large crowd. Two full one hour sets under the metaphorical baton of Chris Dean produced the goods with a programme offering something for everyone. The suited-and-booted orchestra filed onto stage to a warm Wearside welcome. From the down beat the sound balance was exceptionally good and the stage lighting ensured no one was left out of the spotlight.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Album review: Scott Dunn, Claire Martin & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - I Watch You Sleep

Claire Martin (vocals); Scott Dunn (conductor, arranger, piano on 2 tks); Ryan Quigley (flugel); Rob Barron (piano); Jeremy Brown (bass); Matt Skelton (drums); The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Fourteen years ago, to the day bar one (Feb. 17), I was thrilled and delighted to witness a wonderful performance by Claire Martin and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett at, as it was then,  The Sage, now Sage Gateshead and soon to be something else!

It was a duo performance that I rate alongside, amongst others, the quartet concert by Ella and Don Abney at Newcastle's City Hall and Mel Tormé and George Shearing's gig at the Royal Festival Hall  even though that latter concert also had a bass player in tow. 

Album review: Saxtivity - No Deal

John Padfield (soprano, alto sax); Frank Griffith (alto sax); Rick Halliwell (tenor sax); Phil Shotton (baritone sax)

This early 2020 recording from Frank Griffith's Liverpool based quartet is an extremely welcome addition to the catalogue of albums by modern sax quartets. Expertly played and recorded at Paul O'Neill's L'pool 'Soundhouse Studios' it contains a splendid variety of material designed to demonstrate the outfit's ability to impress a wide audience profile. Indeed, having been formed elsewhere back in 2015, Saxtivity have been enjoyed at many different venues including music clubs, cafés, churches and educational establishments. From my personal experience as a long-time collector of saxophonists' work I consider this album a most interesting arrival on account of its content as summarised below.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Sheffield United v Middlesbrough

Sorry to bring football on to the blog again as I know some of our readers would sooner read about the world tiddly-winks championship rather than tonight's Championship game between Sheffield United and Middlesbrough.

However, both towns/cities do have impeccable jazz credentials. Sheffield's Jazz at the Lescar is one of the top provincial jazz venues in the UK whilst Middlesbrough, back in 1978, hosted the greatest ever jazz festival outside of London.

My interest goes further back. During WWII my dad was stationed at a POW camp at Lodge Moor just on the outskirts of Sheffield where his contribution to the war effort consisted of playing piano in the NAAFI accompanying the Italian tenors and baritones who were interned there. 

Rossano Sportiello: # 90 Live at the Flat in Greenwich Village - Feb. 14

Rossano Sportiello (piano); Emmet Cohen (piano); Johnny O'Neal (piano, vocals) + Giuseppe Cucchiara (double bass) 

Wow! This was a good one! Number 90 (# 90) in the series, Rossano Sportiello revealed his Tuesday evening online sessions were inspired by fellow pianist Emmet Cohen's Monday evening lockdown sessions (the running total of Cohen's streams is way in excess of one hundred weekly sessions). Subject to touring commitments, Sportiello and Cohen continue to perform from their respective NYC apartments to an online, global audience. This evening Sportiello invited Cohen and the legendary Johnny O'Neal to join him 'Live at the Flat'. 

Paul Hartley Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Feb. 14

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Paul Hartley (guitars); Julian Gregory (violin); Matthew Compton (accordion); Ken Marley (bass).

After a busy day doing mundane things like shopping for food and doing the washing, I was thinking of having an evening at home but in the end the lure of some live jazz at the Railway made me change my mind. I got there early and was surprised to see so many people in the music room. Usually Tuesdays nights are not as busy as Sundays but I noticed a few unfamiliar faces in the audience and that's always good to see.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Dennis Lotis (March 8, 1921 - Feb. 8, 2023)

When I first started going to jazz concerts at Newcastle's City Hall, in the years before the MU and the AFM agreed to a reciprocal exchange agreement between the two countries, the highlight was the appearances by the Ted Heath Orchestra. This was probably the best big band the UK had had up to this point (early/mid fifties). Not only did they have the country's top instrumentalists but also three very fine singers.

My funny Valentine's Day

It's been a funny sort of St Valentine's Day. My local Greene King pub only had draught cider on the hand pulls which didn't go down well with me. In fact it didn't go down at all and I left, my thirst unsated. The rub here was that I had ticked all the boxes on my loyalty card  and I'd anticipated cashing it in for a buckshee pint of Abbot Ale. 

Nevertheless, the watering hole around the corner had, amongst other temptations, Hobgoblin, a very fine ale, so I settled myself comfortably in a corner with a pint of the same and Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent.*

Press release: Bartholomew - ‘Moorbound’ album launch

Brand New, semi-improvised arrangements featuring Faye McCalman, John Pope, Late Girl (Laura Stutter Garcia) & Will Hammond

Bartholomew (or Chris to his friends) makes experimental electronic music with a cinematic tinge - you might file him alongside Hannah Peel, Tim Hecker or Ben Frost. Bartholomew’s live shows combine radical re-interpretations of his music with sonic exploration and improvisation - in one moment he might be sampling a frying pan into melody or looping the sounds of the magnetic waves surrounding him, before deftly integrating them into a live remix of one of his tracks. 

The Central Bar Quintet plays The Tokyo Blues @ Central Bar, Gateshead - Feb. 13

Jamie Toms (tenor sax); Pete Tanton (trumpet, vocal); Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); John Bradford (drums)

The Central Bar Quintet's monthly session has many things going for it: a first set performance of an album (invariably a classic Blue Note recording), a second set of familiar numbers, a fine quintet, friends all, performing in a relaxed setting and, for some, the importance of a good selection of beers at the bar. A mere fiver admission, there's only one place to be on the second Monday in the month, that's Central Bar on Half Moon Lane. 

Monday, February 13, 2023

Next Tuesday @ The Black Swan Bar & Venue, NE1 1S

(Press release): Join us for the Tuesday jam session, described by BSH as "the best jam session in town". This time we have the fantastic Ben Phillips on keys, the ever supportive Mark Robertson on drums, and Paul Grainger on bass. Sitters-in are always welcome so bring your horn, voice, guitar, comb and paper, spoons and join the trio, or come to listen and be part of the most supportive audience in town. Free admission,    7:30pm start.

(Editor): To give you a flavour read about the previous one HERE.

Derrick Harris Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - Feb. 12

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Derrick Harris (guitar); Andrzej Baranek (keys); Jose Hanha (bass); Paul Smith (drums).

The flyer for February advertised this gig as a trio but I counted four musicians  assembled on stage! Still, I had no complaints as four is usually better than three especially when the ringer is  Andrzej Baranek of whom it's always a pleasure to hear as he never fails to get a fantastic sound from his keyboard. 

Jazz Meets Folk @ South Shields Folk Club - Feb. 12

A lovely surprise last night at the folk club. Among the ballads and songs of lost love and murder, the usual folk fare, were The Elderly Brothers, who are Terry Docherty and Herbie Hudson. Mr Hudson didn't have his trombone tonight, but played  his chromatic mouth organ, which he played long before he ever picked up a trombone. With Mr Docherty on guitar they entertained us mightily. Songs included St James Infirmary Blues; WC Handy's St Louis Blues; and Deep River Blues. Such a treat and I hope they come again.

Also they were an appreciative audience for us folkies, and the evening was well rounded off with the humour of a song about Seven Old Ladies Stuck In The Lavatory. The folk club is on every Sunday, 7.30pm to 10.30pm, at the Bowls Centre, Jack Clark Park. Ann Alex

Sunday, February 12, 2023

The Slowlight Quartet @ Immediate Audio, Newcastle - Feb. 11

Tom Quilliam (soprano sax, tenor sax, baritone sax); Paul Loraine (keyboards); Ian 'Dodge' Paterson (bass, synth); John Hirst (drums) + YVA (vocals); Athol Cassidy (guitar); Liam Gaughan (studio recording engineer)  

This was something different. Tucked away in a corner of the Ouseburn on a rundown industrial estate lies a recording studio. The first of four performances over the course of the weekend by the recently reformed Slowlight Quartet, this Saturday afternoon recording session is slated to be part of a forthcoming 'live' album. For this project, the Slowlights - Tom Quilliam, Paul Loraine, Ian 'Dodge' Paterson and recent recruit John Hirst - were augmented by vocalist YVA and guitarist Ath 'Athol' Cassidy. 

Alan Barnes with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ Opus 4 Jazz Club, Darlington - Feb. 10

Alan Barnes (alto sax, baritone sax, clarinet); Dean Stockdale (piano); Mick Shoulder (double bass); Abbie Finn (drums) + Harry Keeble (tenor sax)

Opus 4 Jazz Club was likely to be busy. When one A Barnes is in town they all want to be at the Traveller's Rest on West Auckland Road. Sure enough, long before the doors opened at the Cockerton hostelry they were queuing on the stairs. A pint of Theakston's Best, a ringside seat, we were ready to go. As at BATH earlier in the day (that's Bishop Auckland Town Hall), Alan Barnes took to the floor with Messrs Stockdale and Shoulder and Ms Finn. Two sets, time enough for the musicians to stretch out, time enough for the punters to have a few beers, in other words, an old school, proper jazz club night out.

Just Friends @ Dorman's Jazz Club, Middlesbrough - Feb. 9

Ian Bosworth (guitar); Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Dave Archbold (keys);Ron Smith (bass guitar); Mark Hawkins (drums)

Led by Ian Bosworth, Just Friends, formed from well known and respected local jazz musicians, provided the audience with a night of very entertaining jazz.

The opener, I'm Comin' Home Baby, made for a lively start showing how tight an ensemble they were and with excellent solos from Richie, Ian and Dave coupled with great backing from Ron on bass and Mark on drums this set the style for the rest of the night.

Jazz on the Tyne – Valentine’s Special 2023

In this special Valentine’s edition of the podcast, presenter Colin Muirhead will feature tunes by the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band, Louis Stewart, Jo Harrop & Paul Edis, the Slowlight Quartet, the Riviera Quartet, Pat Metheny, Alessio Menconi/Nigel Price Quartet, Ant Law & Alex Hitchcock, Samara Joy, Chet Baker & Enrico Pieranunzi, and Georgia Cécile.  He’ll also look ahead to some upcoming gigs.

You can listen to the show anytime from 5pm on Monday 13th February by heading to

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

Alan Barnes with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall - Feb. 10

Alan Barnes (alto sax, baritone sax, clarinet); Dean Stockdale (piano); Mick Shoulder (double bass); Abbie Finn (drums) 

Two concert performances in the day by Alan Barnes, the first a lunchtime engagement at Bishop Auckland Town Hall, then, later in the day, his annual appearance at Opus 4 Jazz Club in Darlington. It was to be a long, but rewarding day. On his frequent visits to the region our busiest of busy jazz musicians works with the best of rhythm sections and this double header would be no different. As the full house took its seats in the Laurel Cafe (for a while Bishop Auckland was home to the great Stan Laurel), Barnes took to the floor ('stage' would be too grand a term for the intimate cafe set up) alongside pianist Dean Stockdale, bassist and promoter of the gig, Mick Shoulder, and drummer Abbie Finn.

New Century Ragtime Orchestra @ Kings Hall, Newcastle - Feb. 11

(© Russell)
Steve Andrews (MC, alto sax, clarinet, vocal); Jim McBriarty (alto/sop sax, clarinet, vocals); Alan Marshall, Gavin Lee (reeds); Alistair Lord, Dave Hignett (trumpet); Neville Hartley (trombone); Ed Cross (violin); Ian Wynne (piano); Phil Rutherford (tuba); Keith Stephen (guitar, banjo); Abbie Finn (drums);  Caroline (vocals) + Mark Wallace (intermission piano).

King's Hall in the heart of Newcastle University, was a new venue for the NCRO. A quite magnificent setting, the walls bedecked with portraits of key figures from the uni's past and an in tune Steinway grand piano. The portents looked good.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

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

Playlist 12/02/23. (Repeated Tuesday 14/02/23)

Valentine Requests: Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Timmins, Carmen McRae, Beatles, Bill Evans Trio, Ruth Lambert.

Alligator Gumbo Requests: Jeff Beck Band, Nellie Lutcher, Buddy Rich, Kenny Wheeler, Clark Terry/Coleman Hawkins.

Valentine Cont. Tina May.

What’s On in the NE: Georgia Cecile, Julia Titus and her Pigfoot Band.

Valentine Cont.: Chris Barber, Jeff Barnhart/John Hallam, Jazz Messengers.

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