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Bebop Spoken There

Art Blakey: "You [Bobby Watson] don't want to play too long, because you don't know they're clapping because they're glad you finished!" - (JazzTimes, Nov. 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!"

Postage

15848 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 855 of them this year alone and, so far, 53 this month (Sept. 18).

From This Moment On ...

September

Thu 21: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 21: La Malbec Orchestra @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Thu 21: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.
Thu 21: Linsday Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man @ Harbour View, Sunderland. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 21: Ray Stubbs R & B All Stars @ The Schooner, Gateshead. 8:30pm. Free.
Thu 21: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 22: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 22: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 22: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 22: Brief Encounter @ Bardon Mill Village Hall, Northumberland. 7:00pm. Tickets: £10.00. adv from 07885 303166; £12.00. on the door. Chris & Veronica Perrin improvising to a screening of the 1929 'Jazz Age' silent film Piccadilly (Dir. Ewald André Dupont).
Fri 22: Paul Edis & Graeme Wilson + Three Tsuru Origami @ Jesmond United Reformed Church, Newcastle. 7:30pm. A Newcastle Festival of Jazz & Improvised Music event.
Fri 22: Crooners @ Tyne Theatre, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Fri 22: Abbie Finn's Finntet @ Traveller's Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. Opus 4 Jazz Club.

Sat 23: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Tanfield Railway, Gateshead. 2:00-4:00pm. Free. A '1940s Weekend' event.
Sat 23: Jason Isaacs @ Stack, Seaburn. 3:30-5:30pm. Free.
Sat 23: Andrew Porritt & Keith Barrett @ Cullercoats Watch House, Front St., Cullercoats NE30 4QB. 7:00pm.
Sat 23: Michael Woods @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig. Country blues.

Sun 24: Musicians Unlimited @ Park Inn, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 24: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.

Mon 25: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 25: Michael Young Trio @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 7:00pm.

Tue 26: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Hallgarth St., Durham DH1 3AT. 7:00pm. Paul Skerritt's (solo) weekly residency.

Wed 27: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 27: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 27: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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.

Most of the music (four of five tracks) is from Sanders’ then newly released Journey To The One; the exception being the ‘greatest hit’ The Creator Has A Master Plan from the Karma album which came out in 1969. Hicks and Muhammad were both featured on the Journey album whilst Lundy looks to have been brought on board for live dates.

We’re thrown into the roiling melee from the off with John Hicks' heavyweight left hand introducing You’ve Gotta Have Freedom. In fact Hicks is a player of contrasts, his right hand plays some lovely melodies whilst the weight of his left hand block chords sound like he’s trying to smash the piano apart. Sanders, meanwhile takes the tenor to places it doesn’t usually go offering up high pitched growls, wails and snarls. There’s a furious, full-blooded drum solo that keeps things kicking along at the same level to revel in. A slow, bluesy coda leads us out with Sanders circular breathing and playing against echoes of his own notes. The crowd, and quite reasonably so, goes absolutely bonkers. It’s been 18 minutes (nearly three times as long as the studio version) and everyone wants to celebrate.

Second piece, the ballad It’s Easy To Remember is a Rodgers and Hart composition for the 1935 Bing Crosby film Mississippi but it is more likely that it came into Sanders’ orbit through hearing John Coltrane’s recording on his Ballad album which came out in 1962. It opens with a lovely, romantic duet between Sanders and Hicks, with Hicks playing what’s left of his piano after the first tune. He plays especially lyrical, long, elegant, dancing runs. Just a lovely piece.

Dr. Pitt is at that point where, in the sixties, the new soul met jazz and both parties partied; all it needs is a hopeful Gil Scott-Heron vocal over the top. If Easy…. showed the tender side of the band, Dr. Pitt is all aggression. Sanders swings his way through some early choruses over absolutely rock solid percussion from Muhammad and Hicks then he takes off, running through his whole repertoire of wails, grunts, shrieks, yells and growls. As with the first track, Dr. Pitt is given a greatly extended workout but there’s not a wasted moment.

The Creator Has A Masterplan is truncated from the 30 minute studio original. It has a lovely melody, intended to invoke the spiritual heights of A Love Supreme. For all its brevity, this is another powerful performance with Sanders displaying the full range of the tenor’s voice from powerful, impassioned shrieks, suggestive of a Southern Baptist preacher, to lovely elegant lines. This version is for those of you who were stunned by the free jazz wigout on the studio version.

To close we have Greetings to Idris which sounds like a celebration as if the band know how good they have been across the previous hour and now want to party and just swing the evening out. And why not?

These Fabrik releases have received universally positive reviews and I hope that this re-issue series continues. This one covers the period in Sanders’ career after he had been dropped by Impulse, for which label he had recorded his best known work. This Live At Fabrik album suggests that Impulse had made a bad decision and that he was still capable of outstanding work. He picked up many fans with his collaboration with Floating Points shortly before he died and this live album is as good a place for any who first heard of him then to continue their journey into his music.

Now I’ve got half an hour before tea so we’ll be listening to the studio version of The Creator Has A Masterplan, wigout included. Dave Sayer

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