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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.

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

16382 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 262 of them this year alone and, so far, 59 this month (April 20).

From This Moment On ...

April

Mon 22: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 23: Vieux Carre Hot 4 @ Victoria & Albert Inn, Seaton Delaval. 12:30-3:30pm. £12.00. ‘St George’s Day Afternoon Tea’. Gig with ‘Lashings of Victoria Sponge Cake, along with sandwiches & scones’.
Tue 23: Jalen Ngonda @ Newcastle University Students’ Union. POSTPONED!

Wed 24: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 24: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 24: Sinatra: Raw @ Darlington Hippodrome. 7:30pm. Richard Shelton.
Wed 24: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 24: Death Trap @ Theatre Royal, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Rambert Dance Co. Two pieces inc. Goat (inspired by the music of Nina Simone) with on-stage musicians.

Thu 25: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 25: Jim Jams @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 1:15pm. Jim Jams’ funk collective.
Thu 25: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 25: Death Trap @ Theatre Royal, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Rambert Dance Co. Two pieces inc. Goat (inspired by the music of Nina Simone) with on-stage musicians.
Thu 25: Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Jazz Orchestra @ Arc, Stockton. 8:00pm.
Thu 25: Kate O’Neill, Alan Law & Paul Grainger @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 25: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Neil Brodie (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass); Garry Hadfield (keys).

Fri 26: Graham Hardy Quartet @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 26: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 26: Paul Skerritt with the Danny Miller Big Band @ Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Fri 26: Abbie Finn’s Finntet @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. Opus 4 Jazz Club.

Sat 27: Abbie Finn Trio @ The Vault, Darlington. 6:00pm. Free.
Sat 27: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 28: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: More Jam Festival Special @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free. A ’10 Years a Co-op’ festival event.
Sun 28: Swing Dance workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00-4:00pm. Free (registration required). A ’10 Years a Co-op’ festival event.
Sun 28: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox: The '10' Tour @ Glasshouse International Centre for Music, Gateshead. 7:30pm. £41.30 t0 £76.50.
Sun 28: Alligator Gumbo @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ’10 Years a Co-op’ festival event.
Sun 28: Jerron Paxton @ The Cluny, Newcastle. Blues, jazz etc.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Album review: Chris Potter – Got The Keys To The Kingdom: Live at The Village Vanguard (Edition Records, 2023)

Chris Potter (tenor sax); Craig Taborn (piano); Scott Colley (bass); Marcus Gilmore (drums)

This feels like the one this band had been waiting for. The sense of freedom is almost palpable, as if the fear of a return to lockdown was in the air and the organisation and recording had to be accelerated before we were all ushered back into our hutches.

 

Potter had released an album during lockdown (There Is A Tide) on which he had played every note but with Got The Keys To The Kingdom he was now allowed to go out and play with his friends and, by God, he was going to make the most of it.

 

He’s assembled a top notch small group, compiled a set list of almost standards, (no originals here, no time to learn any new tunes, anyway), barged through the doors and hit the stage. It’s February 2022 and we’re back in business (!) band and audience in full voice, celebrating jazz as a communal event for the first time since Covid brought the shutters down. Despite the programme of ‘standards’ this is no pedestrian trundle through tunes we’ve known and loved before. This band takes the flavour of the originals and adds some extra original spice all of their own.

 

The album opens with an unaccompanied solo from Potter, a call to prayer before the others join in what is a mid-pace rolling blues (You Gotta Move) which Potter still dominates, full voiced and joyous. The tune continues to build and build with Potter straining every sinew at the top of the tenor’s range. It’s anti-climactic when he steps back for Craig Taborn to inject some piano majesty with fistfuls of notes before reaching a similar peak to that which Potter had previously climbed.

 

Nozani Na is an Amazonian folk song delivered with the sort of lilting Brazilian swing you would expect but it’s also the building block for a searching free excursion from Taborn before Potter comes in and calms everything down. Its points to the rhythm section, too, for the pushing, consistent pulse behind the front two.

 

Blood Count is a Billy Strayhorn piece from the Ellington album ….And His Mother Called Him Bill. History has it that it was Strayhorn’s last completed composition before his death in May 1967. It is, of course, one of the most beautiful, mournful, elegant melodies in jazz, and sounds as if it was inspired by Strayhorn’s fading heartbeat. Taborn introduces it with a delicate lacework of a solo. Potter’s subsequent solo over the top also recognises that it is the spaces in the tune, the sound of someone struggling for that last breath, which reinforces the tragedy.

By way of contrast, Klactoveedsedstene, (one for the spellcheck to fret about) is full on. Potter blowing like fury, riding the rhythm like there’s no tomorrow, Marcus Gilmore’s widescreen drumming, waves of crashing cymbals, Scott Colley’s solid driving bass. All marvellous!

Even though Ohla Maria slows the tempo somewhat Potter still provides broad spectrum blowing over lovely support from the band. What comes through here is the interaction between the four, listening and passing the baton between themselves.

 

And why not go out on a high with the title track? Another high tempo post-bop rock out based on a traditional spiritual according to the writers credits, with Potter’s wailing solo over clattering drums and Taborn throwing shapes on the piano. Throw in an explosive drum solo with howls of appreciation from the audience; Potter rides in on top of Gilmore and maintains the same energy levels to the end of the piece.

 

The notes on the Edition Records page for the album says that these tunes “make the final cut from the multi-night residency” which suggests that there might be more in the can. If so, put me on the pre-order list for Volume 2!


Got The Keys To The Kingdom is available from all the usual outlets including Bandcamp and Edition Records, whose page about the album includes more information about its making. Dave Sayer

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