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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.


16542 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 422 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (June 17).

From This Moment On ...


Sun 23: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 23: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Matt Carmichael @ St Mary’s Church, Wooler. 3:00pm. Carmichael (saxophone), Fergus McCreadie (piano), Charlie Stewart (fiddle). ‘Scottish jazz, folk-roots & landscape’ Wooler Arts: Summer Concerts.
Sun 23: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 23: Bede Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 23: Leeway @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 23: Jazz Jam @ Fabio’s Bar, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 24: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 24: Remy CB @ The Hoppings, Newcastle Town Moor NE2 3NH. 5:00-7:00pm.

Tue 25: Louise Dodds & Elchin Shirinov @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Wed 26: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 26: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 26: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 27: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 27: Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Jazz Orchestra @ Arc, Stockton. 8:00pm.
Thu 27: The Joni Project @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Joni Mitchell.
Thu 27: Lindsay Hannon’s Tom Waits for No Man @ Harbour View, Roker, Sunderland. 8:00pm.
Thu 27: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 27: Loco House Band @ Bar Loco, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 27: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Neil Brodie (trumpet); Garry Hadfield (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass)

Fri 28: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 28: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 28: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 28: Pete Tanton’s Chet Set @ Warkworth War Memorial Hall. 7:30pm. £10.00.
Fri 28: Paul Edis Trio @ St Cuthbert’s Centre, Crook. 7:30pm.
Fri 28: Ant Law, Alex Hitchcock, Jasper Høiby & Sun-Mi Hong @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm. £15.40., £13.20.

Sat 29: Spat’s Langham’s Hot Fingers @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club.
Sat 29: Vermont Big Band @ Seahorse Pub, Whitley Bay Football Club. 7:30pm. £10.00. (inc. hot buffet).
Sat 29: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Monday, February 27, 2023

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. 

Sensitively supportive ensemble playing, with uncannily precise unison playing, loose forms – solos merging into ensemble playing,  blending into a continuous, swirling and satisfying whole. If at times I didn’t know what was going on, or lost track of time signature or form, no matter - the telepathic musicality of the band swept us along in a rollicking helter skelter of varied grooves and textures.  

At the centre of the melodic maelstrom, the most remarkable rhythm section I’ve seen in many a year!  As the band trooped on, the statuesque Høiby dwarfed the diminutive Sun-Mi Hong. But any pre-conceived notions were soon dispelled as she delivered a masterclass of energetic but subtle drumming – roiling waves of sound interspersed with staccato offbeats,  and constantly shifting focus and texture.  Jasper Høiby, the renowned founder of jazz super-trio Phronesis, deployed his uniquely elegant rhythmic drive to great effect, propelling the band to ever greater heights. I last saw him at Sage Gateshead with Phronesis, but here he seemed a different character altogether: Nordic austerity replaced by jaunty smiles and hip wiggles, taking obvious delight in the playful interchanges between four master musicians. 

The twin leads of Law and Hitchcock took full advantage of such a platform and delivered a superb and under-stated reprise of numbers from Law’s recent album, Same Moon in the Same World.  Law’s subtle playing eschews the obvious plank-spanking motifs, preferring an array of seemingly relaxed effects and magical sounds conjured from the guitar.  

The high points of the night for me, apart from a drum solo which brought the biggest applause of the night, were the final two numbers: an “experimental” very tuneful new song Colours, and the stunning A Low Glow from the album to finish. Høiby changed up a gear for a solo here which was a sublime moment of musicality, transcending the physical limits the upright bass imposes on mere mortals. And in case we thought they were all about energy, groove and flying fingers, the elegiac Don't Wait Too Long managed to bring a tear to my eye as I gazed through the Bridge’s historic stained glass windows at the crescent moon and lit up trains passing in the night….

All in all, quite a night to remember and four names to watch whatever they do next. Chris K

1 comment :

Brian Bennett said...

Many thanks for your superbly written and detailed review, Chris. Although I wasn’t there you gave me a vivid impression of the performance, atmosphere and venue. Great stuff!

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