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Bebop Spoken There

Greg Osby: “I have my own style, my own attitude, my own opinions about things. I'm not a follower". DownBeat, February, 2024.

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.

Postage

16221 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 103 of them this year alone and, so far, 47 this month (Feb. 18).

From This Moment On ...

February 2024

Fri 23: Mark Williams Trio @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 23: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 23: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 23: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 23: Salty Dog Trio @ The Greenhouse, Tynemouth. 7:00pm. £8.00. (£6.00. adv.). CANCELLED!
Fri 23: Crooners @ The Maltings, Berwick upon Tweed. 7:30pm. £30.00., £28.00.
Fri 23: Strictly Smokin' Big Band w Dennis Rollins @ Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Sat 24: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm (doors). Free (donations). A Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra event, all welcome.
Sat 24: Bradley Creswick’s Western Swingfonia @ Hexham Abbey, Hexham. 7:30pm. £15.00. A fundraiser for Hexham Abbey.
Sat 24: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 25: Musicians Unlimited @ The Park Inn, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 25: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:30pm. Free.
Sun 25: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 25: Lindsay Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man + Lee Maddison @ Laurels, Whitley Bay. 4:00pm (3:30pm doors). £11.00., £8.80. inc. bf. SOLD OUT!
Sun 25: Bex Burch + Rachel Musson @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £11.00. Two solo performances. JNE.
Sun 25: Jazz Jam @ Fabio's, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 26: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 27: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm (7:00pm doors). £12.00., £10.00. (adv.).

Wed 28: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 28: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 28: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 29: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 29: Student Performances @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 4:00pm. Free. Inc. Olly Styles (saxophone).
Thu 29: ’58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:00pm. Free.
Thu 27: Student Jazz Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Thu 29: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Josh Bentham (alto sax); Graham Thompson (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Friday, March 31, 2023

Lewis Watson Quartet @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall - March 31

Lewis Watson (tenor saxophone); Mark Williams (guitar); Mick Shoulder (double bass); John Bradford (drums)

In recent times tenor saxophonist Lewis Watson has been working with three of the finest musicians around - guitarist Mark Williams, bassist Mick Shoulder and drummer John Bradford. Such was the interest in this lunchtime concert, the Town Hall's management decided to relocate the event from the first floor cafe to the adjoining, larger theatre space. The one hour performance would be book-ended by Blue Note classics courtesy of two of the great modern tenor saxophonists.

Ray’s Jazz in Foyles not dead yet.

I’m sure that I’m not the only BSH reader who tries to fit in a trip to Ray’s Jazz in Foyles on any trip to that Big Fancy London. Those of you who are familiar with that corner of this country’s best book shop will share my surprise on being greeted with this sight when I rolled up there on Sunday gone.

Lakecia Benjamin Quartet + the Deschanel Gordon Trio @ Jazz Café, Camden, London - March 27

Lakecia Benjamin (alto sax); Zaccai Curtis (piano); EJ Strickland (drums); Ivan Taylor (bass).

Lakecia Benjamin proudly wears her John Coltrane/Pharoah Sanders influences on her golden leather jacketed sleeve. It’s what was the new thing 60 years ago but now remade for this century.

Her opening solo is an explosive statement of intent. There is no build-up, no subtlety; with the trio she is part of an avalanche of sound, climbing, searching, soaring, her long locks wrapped around her face and horn as she plays. Her music is rooted in the melancholy of the blues with a ferocious defiant refusal to accept the world as it is built on top. One of her songs turns into a rap “A shot rings out, A black man is down, IT’S NOT FOR ME.” She and Strickland face off, challenging each other to go louder, to bring more of it, whatever it might be. Benjamin is an energetic performer, there is no stillness to her; the trio take station at the edges of the small stage leaving room for her leaps and wanderings during the set.

Public Booking Opens for Buxton International Festival on 4 April - Six Reasons to Book Tickets

(Press release) Public booking opens for this year’s 2023 Buxton International Festival (6-23 July 2023) on Tuesday 4 April.  Here are six good reasons to book tickets:

Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Champ

When I first started listening to jazz and going to gigs there were two distinct themes. If it was a New Orleans outfit such as The Saints Jazz Band (remember the name) from Manchester you could guarantee that, sometime during the evening, they would play, as their fans demanded and insisted upon, When the Saints Go Marching in. Often more than once.

Jazz on the Tyne – What’s On, Easter 2023


In the latest edition of the podcast, presenter Colin Muirhead will preview local gigs featuring Abbie Finn, Zoë Gilby & Andy Champion, Me Lost Me, Ceitidh Mac, Heather Ferrier, Stu Collingwood, Dean Stockdale, Ian Shaw, and Emma Fisk's Hot Club du Nord.  He’ll also play music by Nguyên Lê, Deidre Cartwright, and Tina May/Nikki Iles/Tony Coe.

2023 Cheltenham Jazz Festival Programme details announced

(Press release) Cheltenham Jazz Festival will return in four weeks with a broad programme featuring over 50 concerts from an eclectic mix of established stars and pioneering emerging talent. Details/tickets HERE.

Album Review: Ella & The Bossa Beat - In The Moment

Ella Borges (vocals, piano/keyboard, bass); Magrus Borges (drums, percussion); Jonathan Dills (cello); Kim Freitas (acoustic guitar); Alain Bradette, Rodrigo Sha (saxophone); Greg Little, Larry Williams (trumpet); Ruvit Bracho (violin); 

I'll simply quote from the publicity information which accompanies this album and sums it up neatly: 'In The Moment is an album comprised of nine original songs composed by Ella & The Bossa Beat, sung in both English and Portuguese. It features a deep resource of talented musicians from around the world, including Brazil, Canada, and the United States. The style of the album possesses a mixture of Brazilian music and rhythms, with contemporary and soulful melodies, with jazz harmonies.'

Preview: The Foo Birds to play Little Buildings, Newcastle (April 16)

The Foo Birds are coming to Newcastle! Erstwhile regulars at Edinburgh's Jazz Bar, the five-piece outfit, with a common appreciation of Miles Davis and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and much else in between, could best be described as 'nu-soul/r & b'. Formerly members of the Edinburgh University Jazz Orchestra, the band will be at Little Buildings down in the Ouseburn on Sunday 16 April. Now based in London, an eight date tour is on the horizon, starting out, rather neatly, at the Jazz Bar in at Edinburgh. A couple of nights later it's Newcastle and Peggy's Skylight in Nottingham is on the itinerary before the band returns to London to close out the tour.  

STOP PRESS! Extra tickets released for Lewis Watson!

Tomorrow (Friday, 31 March) it's the Lewis Watson Quartet at Bishop Auckland Town Hall. The lunchtime concert sold out sometime ago. However, due to phenomenal demand, the gig has been moved from the first floor cafe into the adjoining theatre. One of the foremost tenor saxophonists of his generation, Lewis will be joined by Mark Williams, guitar, Mick Shoulder, double bass, and drummer John Bradford. Don't hesitate, book now at: 

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Album review: Richard Jones Trio - Angle Shades

Richard Jones (piano); Joshua Cavanagh-Brierley (bass); Johnny Hunter (drums)

Johnny Hunter is a well known visitor to Newcastle having played on many JNE gigs in recent years so it came as no surprise that one of his two compositions on Angle Shades is titled Thursday Afternoon in Newcastle (the other has an equally enigmatic and unexplained title 350 Million Herring.

Richard Jones provided three of his own: Eye's Regret; K.H and Mr. Relaxed whilst Cavanagh-Brierley pitched in with Some Mat

The Best Bass Players of All Time

Logging onto the all-knowing eye in the corner of the room this morning I was caught by a clickbait headline, namely, The best bass players of all time according to Rolling Stone. Well, I thought, It’s got to be more credible than if it was a Smash Hits poll so I clicked through and the top ten were revealed as: -

Preview: Frank Sinatra Night - Saturday (April 1)

BBC 2 devotes much of Saturday evening to Frank Sinatra. From 7:35pm it's non-stop Sinatra all the way through to gone midnight. 

Frank Sinatra: a Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim (7:35pm) is a TV special from 1967 in which Sinatra is joined by Ella Fitzgerald and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Paul Hartley Quartet featuring Alex Clarke @ the Railway Stockport - March 28

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Paul Hartley (guitar); Alex Clarke (alto sax/tenor sax); Peter Hartley (bass); Dave Walsh (drums).

Most of the tunes played tonight were ones that have been played at this venue many times apart from I’ve Never Been in Love Before, a great number written by Frank Loesser for the hit show Guys and Dolls in 1950. I think I’ve heard Cannonball Adderley play this on record or maybe it was Phil Woods.  Tuesday nights usually attract a good sized crowd and they got to hear the rest of Alex’s selection which included tunes by Clifford Brown, Bob Haggart, Naceo Herb Brown, Carlos Jobim, Jerome Kern, Hoagy Carmichael, and Sonny Rollins.

Preview: Arthur Briggs: The Brit Who Brought Jazz to Europe (Radio 4, Thursday)

Trumpeter Arthur Briggs was in New York at the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Throughout his life he claimed to be American, however, he was born on the Caribbean island of Grenada, which, at the time, was part of the British Empire. Later, living in Europe, he worked with some of the most famous names in jazz. What's more, he survived the horrors of being imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. Tomorrow (Thursday) on BBC Radio 4 his story is told in archive recordings broadcast for the first time. Tune in at 11:30am. Russell

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Sanaz Lavasani @ The Black Swan - March 28

(© Mike Tilley)
Sanaz Lavasani (vocals); Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (bass); Abbie Finn (drums)

A superb session - no other word can describe it!

From the kick ass opener, Cole Porter's Miss Otis Regrets to the closing Smile/Get Happy closer there was ne'er a dull moment. Lavasini can sing, she can swing, she can do ballads - you name it.

Her range, whilst not quite that of Maria Callas, isn't far short and, coupled with a bit of, say, Etta James she can sing anything from Mozart to Mose Allison although neither of those two cats were in her repertoire but they could have been.

OUTLINES – Jazz North East @ The Globe – March 26

(© Ken Drew)

Dee Byrne (alto sax); Nick Malcolm (trumpet); Rebecca Nash (piano); Tom Ward (clarinets); Olie Brice (double bass); Andrew Lisle (drums)

A brief introduction: ‘Outlines’ is Dee Byrne’s new project, with a six-piece ensemble playing original compositions that evolved out of her ACE-funded project ‘Developing Your Creative Practice’.  Using small visual art sketches as a complementary creative channel, she experimented with composing short musical sketches that stood alone as artistic statements, thus adding visual art into her compositional process. These short statements are ‘Outlines’ – which act as a springboard for this dynamic six-piece ensemble, allowing them to go in new and exciting directions every time.

Preview: Sanaz Lavasani @ The Black Swan (tonight, Tuesday)

In his review of the Strictly Smokin' Big Band's 2022 Christmas show at Hoochie Coochie, BSH Editor-in-Chief, LL, described guest vocalist Sanaz Lavasani as 'equally brilliant'. High praise indeed given that Ms Lavasani was being compared to the SSBB's top class vocalist, Alice Grace. Some three months on, this evening (Tuesday), Sanaz has a gig of her own at the Black Swan. Joining Sanaz will be Alan Law, piano, Paul Grainger, double bass, and drummer Abbie Finn. Advance tickets cost £10.00 (book online at: www.newcastle-arts-centre-co.uk) or pay on the door £12.00. Make your way to the basement bar in Newcastle Arts Centre on Westgate Road (opposite the Old Assembly Rooms) for an eight o'clock start. Russell     

Monday, March 27, 2023

Album review: Danielle Wertz - Other Side

Danielle Wertz (vocals); Javier Santiago (piano, organ, Rhodes, synth); Evan Hyde (drums, perc); Sam Priven (alto sax); Owen Clapp (bass); Keith Ganz (guitar)

The number of albums I receive from 'over there' gets me to thinking that maybe  Bebop Spoken Here is actually in the running to become the fifty-first state of the Union although there is strong competition from places such as Puerto Rico, Canada, Washington DC and Washington Tyne and Wear not to mention Westminster and Dublin.

Robin Sunflower Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - March 26

Robin Sunflower (harmonica, vocal); Adrian Ingram (guitar); Hayden  Minett (guitar); Nick Lunn (bass guitar).

Plenty of tunes were played tonight, fifteen in total which included Ellingtonia, Herbie Hancock, Horace Silver, Henry Mancini and a number composed by Robin called Rainbow Dreams.  As well as playing harmonica Robin took care of the vocals and the guitar solos were taken mainly by Adrian Ingram, with Hayden Minett taking the remainder. All the musicians were positioned inside the small bandstand with Nick Lunn being the only one not sitting down.

Pop Jazz @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - March 26

David Gray (trombone, vocals); Richard Herdman (guitar); Alan Law (piano); Jude Murphy (double bass, vocals)

Conversation led to the idea that they should play some 'pop jazz'. Prohibition Bar offered a platform and here we were on a Sunday evening on Pink Lane. The assembled quartet - David Gray, trombone, pedal board (!) and vocals, Richard Herdman, guitar, Alan Law, piano, Jude Murphy, double bass and vocals - pieced together a set list, not exactly last minute, nevertheless, as Jude confided, they would be 'flying by the seat of their pants'.

Musicians Unlimited @ The Park Inn, Hartlepool - March 26

Teesside's premier big band has once again settled into the Park Inn. A recent tour of prospective alternative venues resulted in Mick Donnelly and co deciding to return on a permanent basis to the Park Road hostelry. The band sets up, the punters turn up, and sometime shortly after one o'clock MD Donnelly gets thing under way. A simple formula and it's a winning one. All seats taken, band vocalist Jan Spencelayh was pressed into action from the down beat. Fascinating Rhythm was a new chart for Musicians Unlimited (the Ella version) and all, not least Jan, came through with flying colours.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

The '58 Jazz Collective @ Dorman’s Jazz Club, Middlesbrough - March 23

Kevin Eland (trumpet/flugel); Donna Hewitt (tenor sax); Django Zazou (trombone/vocals); Dave Archbold (keys); Ron Smith (bass); Mark Hawkins (drums); Jan Spencelayh (guest vocalist).

The evening's guest band, led by Kevin Eland, have now been together for several years and this was clearly  demonstrated  by their polished performance. 

Starting the night with Squiby McGee - a nice medium swing number by Jim Martin with trumpet intro from Kevin and fine sax and keyboard solos from Donna and Dave gave a first class start to the evening.

The three front line brass instruments produced a very effective big band sound on 88 Basie Street. 

Album review: Bruno Heinen & James Kitchman - Rainbow Shadows

Bruno Heinen (piano); James Kitchman (guitar)

Two musicians not entirely unknown in the north east. Kitchman honed his skills in local gigs and jams. London based Heinen, a Prof at Trinity Laban, works well with Kitchman and the duo have played several venues together 'up north' achieving a rapport that makes this collaboration rather special.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Album review: Lizzie Thomas - Duo Encounters

Lizzie Thomas (vocals) with, individually, Helio Alves, John Do Martino, Rossano Sportiello (piano); Ron Carter, Dezron Douglas, Noriko Uedo (bass); Café da Silva (percussion); Russell Malone, Ron Affif, Guilherme Monteiro (guitar); Wayne Escoffery (tenor sax); Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf (cello)

Duo albums can often become tedious with the format frequently lacking in variety because of the limitations that come with the set up.

Thomas overcomes these obstacles by laying down twelve duo tracks with twelve different instrumentalists on six different instruments.

And not just any twelve musicians but, as the details listed above reveal, the cream of NYC and beyond.

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

https://www.ayclifferadio.co.uk/listen/

Playlist 26/03/23. (Repeated Tuesday 28/03/23)

Spring: Fats Waller, Ella Fitzgerald, Willie "The Lion" Smith, Glenn Zaleski and Lauren Henderson, Stan Getz Quintet, Ramsey Lewis,

New Releases: Helena Kay, Wayne Alpern.

 EFG London Jazz Festival: Abdullah Ibrahim.

Scott Dunn, Claire Martin & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates ...



Back in February  I reviewed this beautiful album and this YouTube clip gives an insight into what must surely be, come NYE, among the front runners for the vocal album of the year. If it isn't then there's something rotten in the state of Denmark St.
Lance 

Album Review: Sharon Sable & Joe Holt - Once Upon a Summertime: The Music Of Blossom Dearie

Sharon Sable (voice); Joe Holt (piano) + Amy Shook (acoustic bass tracks 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11)

I remember listening to Blossom Dearie before I knew about jazz, and being fascinated by her naïve and lovely sound. Readers of BSH don't need me to outline her work of six decades, performing in jazz clubs, cabaret, in Paris, London, NYC, and covering the GASbook and her own material.

These two performers developed this project during the lull of lockdown, twelve tracks including two written by Ms Dearie, Inside a Silent Tear  and I Like You, You're Nice. 

Friday, March 24, 2023

Roberto Cassani and Fraser A Campbell - Goodness Of The Human Heart


An interesting preview of a debut album by two musicians - one born in Perth and one who moved there from Italy, possibly having heard how fair the maids are up there north of the border which, for the geographically illiterate, means Scotland. They came together during the Covid thing when Roberto Cassani decided that the Williamsburg Bridge was a bit of hike to jet off to with his bass, what with the respect that baggage handlers don't always show to musical instruments and the lack of a decent haggis, so he opted for a park bench in Perth instead.

Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - March 23

Pianist Merlin Roxby is making a habit of this, getting a gig that is, down on Pink Lane. This evening, playing for himself and anyone who cared to listen, Merlin sat at Prohibition Bar's upright to knock out a few ragtime numbers. Some were there to listen, although the upstairs counter attraction of a medium spinning yarns perhaps won out in terms of numbers in attendance. No matter, Merlin's ever-growing repertoire is well worth hearing.

Julia Hülsmann and Sunna Gunnlaugs @ Sage Gateshead -March 23

(© Ken Drew)
Julia Hülsmann, Sunna Gunnlaugs (pianos)

The young(ish) blonde lady sitting nearby wondered if this two piano session would be like the Fabulous Baker Boys? I replied with a yes and a no and a maybe.

They weren't boys but, were they fabulous? No. However, they were pretty damn good which is as close to an accolade as this reviewer has ever bestowed upon anyone apart from Daryl Sherman who once kissed me (on the cheek!).

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Album review: Shirley Scott - Queen Talk: Live at the Left Bank

Shirley Scott (Hammond B3); George Coleman (tenor sax); Bobby Durham (drums) + Ernie Andrews (vocals on 3 tks).

Another belter from Baltimore's Famous Ballroom! It's 1972, organ trios were still very much in vogue and they don't come any better than this glorious triumvirate. 

"Scotty", as she was known by her fellow musicians, could out-swing most of her male contemporaries on both keyboard and pedals and is in top form here providing the foundation for some wild, funky tenor playing from Coleman on the 12 minutes long blast on Coltrane's Impressions the whole caboodle driven aggressively along by Bobby Durham.

Info wanted on The Tonics

Stephen Carmichael, son of the late Tyneside sax, flute and clarinet player Charlie Carmichael, sent me some photos of Charlie playing with a local band called The Tonics. Can anyone recall the band and the names of the other members? Lance

Photo link (more to follow).

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Album review: Walter Bishop Jr. - Bish at the Bank. Live in Baltimore

Walter Bishop Jr. (piano); Harold Vick (tenor/sop sax, flute); Lou McIntosh (bass); Dick Berk (drums)

A truly eye-opening double album. I'd only heard Bishop on early bop recordings with Bird, Getz and Mobley where his role was primarily that of accompanist with only the odd 32 bar solo here and there. Just enough to let you know he was up for the gig and, let's face it, if he wasn't able to cut it he wouldn't have been moving in such exalted company although they did have other things in common...

Preview: Julia Hülsmann and Sunna Gunnlaugs @ Sage Gateshead -March 23

(Press release) Two leading jazz pianists, one from Germany and the other from Iceland, sit at two grand pianos and start a conversation. Julia Hülsmann and Sunna Gunnlaugs perform their own composition and play with melodies, moods and the unexpected.


The two pianists Sunna Gunnlaugs from Iceland and Julia Hülsmann from Germany first met in Berlin in 2013 where they performed together at the prestigious Felleshus. Little did they know that the connection they formed would carry them to festivals in Iceland, Germany, Belgium and Sweden over the next 10 years. The duo explores each others compositions with a mutual admiration and fascination that conjures artist interaction in its purest form.

Album review: Pharoah Sanders Quartet – Live At Fabrik, Hamburg 1980 (Jazzline Classics, 2023)

Sanders (tenor sax); John Hicks (piano); Curtis Lundy (bass); Idris Muhammad (drums).

As it was for scruffy scousers in the early '60s, based on this ongoing series of archive concert releases, in the '80s Hamburg looks like it was the place to be for jazzers. And that’s no Fabrikation! This week brings a 1980 recording by the Pharoah Sanders Quartet out of the drawers. And it is Sanders looking quite old on the cover but displaying no age related restraint in the music. In fact it is, largely, 70 minutes of joy, swing, energy, screaming, screeching, blueswailing fun. I don’t know whether it was exceptionally well recorded back in 1980 or if the sound is the result of some analogue to digital cleaning up, but this recording leaps out of the speakers. I first played it whilst driving on the A1 and Ferrybridge has never seemed such a joyous place.

The Black Swan Takeover - March 21

They had been massing on the horizon for some time. It was only a matter of time before they would launch a raid on the Black Swan. MC Paul Grainger decided to launch a pre-emptive strike, a case of getting in your retaliation first. An invitation to three of the student ringleaders to lead this evening's jam session was accepted and here we were, surrounded by a large number of 'bright young things' eager to show what they could do. 

The student house trio - Jacob Egglestone, guitar, Jamie Watkins, bass guitar, Bailey Rudd*, drums - opened with Stella By Starlight. The students would stand their ground for half an hour and more playing a selection of classic and contemporary numbers (In a Sentimental Mood, A Night in Tunisia), Jacob playing all the chords and more, Jamie knocking out pulsating bass lines, Bailey impressing, not least in his use of brushes.

Album review: Larry Bluth Trio - Never More Here

Larry Bluth (piano); Don Messina (bass); Bill Chattin (drums)

Another piece of Tristanoism emerges. This time in the form of Larry Bluth, a pianist and a Tristanoite by proxy of having studied with Lennie Tristano's most well-known piano student Sal Mosca.

Hopefully, the release of this album and the Mosca album reviewed a couple of days back may lead to a renewed interest in Tristano and his followers of whom I'm rapidly becoming one. This may sound like heresy and it probably is but, much as I love Monk, apart from Stan Tracey, his imitators tend to sound like Les Dawson!

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Ten tenor sax players I never heard live

Gene Ammons, Chu Berry, Benny Golson, Wardell Gray, Joe Henderson, Eddie Miller, Hank Mobley, Brew Moore, Sonny Rollins, Lester Young.

These are just a few of those I missed. Be interesting to read your lists of whoever and on whatever instrument you missed out on catching live. Lance

Abbie Finn in April's Jazzwise

This month's Jazzwise, the best of the UK's jazz mags that you can actually buy in a proper newsagent or at W.H. Smith's is of particular interest to those who also log on to BSH.

It features an interview with drummer Abbie Finn. Abbie, known, loved and admired by all who have followed her progress from jam session sitter-in to bandleader, composer and in-demand percussionist comes across well. The girl's done good and this is just the beginning. Watch this (and Jazzwise's) space. Lance

The Central Bar Quartet play Wes Montgomery @ the Central Bar, Gateshead - March 20

Joe Steels (guitar); Alan Law (piano); Mick Shoulder (bass); John Bradford (drums).

Because of the shape of the building the Central Bar is known locally as 'The Coffin' so it seemed an appropriate venue for the exhumation of guitarist Wes Montgomery or, at least music associated with and recorded by him

You could tell before a note was played who the featured guest was. Joe Steels, in a powder blue jacket, snazzy shirt and tailored jeans stood out in the sartorial stakes. By comparision, the house trio were, shall we say?, casual chic(ish).

Another clue of course was that this being a celebration of Wes Montgomery's centennial they weren't going to book a banjo player.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Mike Hall Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - March 19

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Mike Hall (tenor sax); Dan Whieldon (keys); Ed Harrison (bass); Eryl Roberts (drums).

I’ve just been looking at Mike’s web page and he seems to have quite a few dates lined up for March/April so if you live outside the Greater Manchester area and are looking for some modern jazz, Mike will have something for you.


Here at the Railway there was a full house for this Sunday night concert and after mentioning that he was suffering from a sore throat, Mike went straight into a lively version of Bronislaw Kaper’s much played composition On Green Dolphin Street. A good tune to start any gig with before things got onto a Latin groove with Kurt Weill’s Speak Low during which we heard Dan Whieldon play an interesting solo plus strong support from the bass of Ed Harrison and some great drumming from Eryl Roberts.

Album review: Sal Mosca - For Lennie Tristano

Sal Mosca (solo piano).

Mosca will be forever associated with Lennie Tristano, who was both his friend and teacher, so it is no surprise that this recording, discovered after his (Mosca's) death in 2007, is dedicated to his mentor.

The Tristano school is very much an esoteric group of musicians who found their own voice even though the prevailing wind came from the almost all-encompassing influence of Charlie Parker. This exclusive clique, all Tristano alumni, included among others Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, Peter Ind, Arnold Fishkin and Billy Bauer. Mosca recorded or gigged with most of them going back as far as 1949 although this, his first solo recording comes from 1970 (there are also a couple of later tracks from 1997 added - ten years before his death).

Groove Crusade @ Union Lane, Brampton Community Centre, near Carlisle - March 18

(© Christine T)
John Moreman (trombone); Stuart Johnson (reeds); Willy Fluss (guitar); Peter Major (keyboards, vocals); Neil Harland (bass); Tim Franks (drums).

Images was the first jazz album I ever bought and the Crusaders remain my favourite jazz-funk act. Many call it smooth jazz but they’d be wrong. In hindsight, the seeds of smooth jazz were evident right from the very beginnings of jazz-funk, but the Jazz Crusaders came from the soul-jazz movement of the sixties, alongside Cannonball, Charles Lloyd and Ramsey Lewis, and they never lost that.   

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Raible/Gradischnig Quintet play the music of Elmo Hope @ Gala Theatre Durham - March 17

(© Malcolm Sinclair)

Steve Fishwick (trumpet, flugelhorn); Herwig Gradischnig (tenor sax); Claus Raible (piano); Giorgos Antoniou (bass); Matt Home (drums)

A beautiful spring day in Durham, the Gala Theatre studio space sold out and rightly so. This was an outstanding concert paying tribute to the inspirational music of Elmo Hope and celebrating what would have been his centenary. 

From the very first number, So Nice (Trippin'), we knew we were in for a special gig with musicians who have been touring and playing music they love throughout the UK and Europe.

Preview: Black Swan Open Mic (Thursday 23)

You've been to the legendary Black Swan jam session at Newcastle Arts Centre, you've been to one or more of the monthly concert promotions, now there's the first in a new series of open mic nights. Described as an 'open mic night for soloists and bands', the first one, open to all genres, is on Thursday (March 23). Organised by a familiar face from recent jam sessions, Martha asks participants to sign up in advance for a 7:30pm start (doors 7:00pm). It's free admission to all - performers and audience. Get in touch at: www.newcastle-arts-centre.co.uk. If you need any further incentive, there's a £25 bar tab to be won! Russell 

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Album review: Luis Russell - At the Swing Cats Ball

Louis Armstrong (trumpet, vocal); Shelton Hemphill, Louis Bacon, Red Allen (trumpet); Wilbur DeParis, George Washington, J.C. Higginbotham (trombones); Pete Clarke, Charlie Holmes (alto sax); Albert Nicholas, Bingie Madison (clarinet, tenor sax); Luis Russell (piano); Lee Blair (guitar); Pops Foster (bass); Paul Barbarin, Sidney Catlett (drums); Sonny Woods, Midge Williams (vocals).

A fascinating collection of undiscovered 1938/40 airchecks by the Luis Russell Orchestra featuring Louis Armstrong and, to a lesser extent, Henry 'Red' Allen.

Both trumpet players are in fine form with Armstrong arguably at his peak soaring above the sometimes dated arrangements. It doesn't matter, when he cuts loose time stands still, maybe even moves forward. It may not be Dizzy or Roy but he is certainly laying the groundwork for them. 

Preview: Wayne Shorter at the London Jazz Festival (BBC 4, Sunday)

In tribute to Wayne Shorter who died on March 2nd, BBC 4 tomorrow (Sunday) is to broadcast a programme first shown more than twenty years ago. The American saxophonist's 2001 London Jazz Festival appearance was captured on film and this is a rare opportunity to see it again. Tune in at 9:10pm, Sunday. Russell    

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

https://www.ayclifferadio.co.uk/listen/

Playlist 19/03/23. (Repeated Tuesday 21/03/23)

 

Mother’s Day: Clarence Williams & his Orchestra, Frank Sinatra/Count Basie, Etta James, Earl Hines, Jean Goldkette, Billy Strayhorn, Billy Test, Gregory Porter.

Requests: Herman Waldman, Carla Bley, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Mike Vax.

Spring: Cleo Laine, Clifford Brown/Max Roach.

What’s On: Sunna Gunnlaugs and Julia Hülsmann.

Spring  (cont.): Freddie Hubbard, Melissa Aldana

Friday, March 17, 2023

Tony Coe (1934 - March 16, 2023)

Sad to learn of the passing, yesterday, of Tony Coe. Over the years, I heard him in many settings both live and on record - he always delivered.

My initial memory of hearing Tony Coe was with the first great Lyttelton band. The band with Coe, Jimmy Skidmore and Joe Temperley on saxes. I heard them at a concert in London, somewhere near Covent Garden. This was back in the late 1950s. I'd gone to the concert expecting to hear some New Orleans' jazz and came away in what was an almost Damascus moment! I particularly recall their version of In a Mellotone and, most of all, the sax solos, plus of course Humph's humorous announcements and, to a lesser extent, his trumpet playing.

Gaz Hughes Trio @ the Lit & Phil - March 17

(© Patti Durham)
Gaz Hughes (drums); Andrzej Baranek (piano); Ed Harrison (bass).

Three linchpins of the UK's north west jazz scene made an eagerly anticipated trans-Pennine trip as part of their promotional tour promoting their recently released album Beboptical Illusion, the follow up album to Beboperation. Hughes asked for suggestions for the title of the next album and, not without a degree of self interest, Conversational Bebop crossed my mind! 

Saxophonist Helena Kay set for Scottish tour

(© Benjamin Ealovega)

(Press release) Award-winning saxophonist, Helena Kay’s KIM Trio tour Scotland in support of their latest album, Golden Sands, from Thursday March 30.

The album has won both praise and plays from radio presenters in Canada, the US, Australia, Ireland and the UK. One Italian magazine even went as far as to place Golden Sands among the best of current jazz.

“That’s very flattering,” says Kay. “But the coverage that has touched me most was the programme in Atlanta that used Xian Impressions from the album as the bridge between its tribute to the great Wayne Shorter, who died earlier this month, and the new music on its playlist. Being considered good enough to follow Wayne Shorter is quite a compliment.”

Gerry Richardson Quartet @ Hoochie Coochie - March 16

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
Gerry Richardson (organ, vocals); Garry Linsley (alto sax); Rod Sinclair (guitar); Paul Smith (drums)

The rarely spotted Gerry Richardson Quartet have recently been seen and heard twice. The Globe last month and tonight at Hoochie Coochie. Enough to make a soul/funk/jazz/blues twitcher to er well start twitching!

And twitch we did. The northeast has produced the UK's two finest exponents of the B3 or, in this case, a Crumar, in the form of the late Mike Carr and Gerry Richardson. Strong words I know but I'm open to discussion.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Survey reveals over 1 in 4 Professional Musicians Skipped a Meal due to Cost of Living Crisis

26% of musicians have skipped a meal within the last 12 months due to cost of living crisis.

  • 90% feel unconfident in the UK government’s ability to handle the crisis
  • 64% have seen their number of gigs decrease as a result of the crisis
  • 79% think it’s likely rising fuel prices will limit how far they can travel for gigs
  • 51% have taken a second job as a result of cost of living crisis
  • Young and female musicians are the most likely to have seen a drop in gigs
A recent survey of 301 musicians, by Encore Musicians (a musician booking platform), revealed that 26% of professional musicians, have skipped a meal due to the cost of living crisis. This is well over the national average of 14% recently reported in the Guardian (Source: TUC), suggesting musicians are struggling more than most.  

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