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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.


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 ...


Sun 21: Jamie Toms Quartet @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm.
Sun 21: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 21: Lindsay Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man @ Holy Grale, Durham. 5:00pm.
Sun 21: The Jazz Defenders @ Cluny 2. Doors 6:00pm. £15.00.
Sun 21: Edgar Rubenis @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Blues & ragtime guitar.
Sun 21: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 21: Art Themen with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00. +bf. JNE. SOLD OUT!

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.

Monday, March 20, 2023

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.   


(© Christine T)
In his book on European jazz-rock, Tony Adams traces the change from jazz-rock to what he calls jazz fusion to the inclusion of funk in the mid-seventies (although Miles, John, Herbie, Chick, Joe and Wayne had all incorporated it in the preceding years) and he has no doubt it diminished the music. But when did funk – a feature of Black American Music since its arrival from Africa – become a sell-out.

Stuart Nicholson – in his book Jazz Rock – derides jazz-funk as disco-jazz and sometimes pop music, but takes the title of its opening chapter from a smash hit single by the Beatles. And anybody who doesn’t think jazz should be music people can dance to doesn’t know their jazz history.


Steeped in the blues, all fine musicians, with Wilton Felder one of the most soulful saxophonists of the modern era and Joe Sample a virtuoso pianist and a fine and prolific composer with a flair for melody which proved a transferable skill when, paired with Will Jennings, he wrote hits for BB King, Randy Crawford, Bill Withers, Joe Cocker and others.


All of which convinces me that the very best pathway into jazz is from blues and soul (including funk) and the very worst route in is by discovering Kind of Blue on a list topped by Pet Sounds, Revolver and Blonde on Blonde.


What a breath of fresh-air then for an old soulie like me to find renewed interest in this stuff among fifty plus intelligent, mature people at a community centre in a small town seemingly in the middle of nowhere.


(© Christine T)
My Mama Told me so opened things up, Neil ‘Pops’ Harland slapping his bass, as he would for much of the set, and Willy Fluss taking the first of many well-constructed, fluid and dynamic solos, seriously pedalled up to give him a distinct sound not dissimilar to Larry Carlton, who was in the Crusaders for much of their seventies heyday.

Chain Reaction was followed by Snowflake from that first album I bought and played mercilessly, so I knew they were changing the order of solos, putting their own stamp on it, like all the best bands do when they interpret other artists' music. Young Rabbits was the only track from their sixties incarnation and found Harland playing a more straight-jazz walking bass-line, Fluss’ solo rockier than was usual for the jazz of the time.


Lillies of the Nile gave Tim 'Stix' Franks the opportunity to drum up a storm behind Moreman’s fine trombone solo while calm was restored for Harland’s uniquely varied and creative bass solo, before Fluss re-joined him in support of a devastating fully-blown drum solo.       


I Felt the Love ended the first set, allowing the responsive audience to discuss what they’d just heard and why this music isn’t better known. Fifteen minutes and they were back with Tough Talk and Johnson switching from tenor to soprano for a great solo, the harmony with trombone still working surprisingly well.  


The first time I saw the Crusaders, Street Life was a recent world-wide hit and the Newcastle City Hall audience were played a tape of Randy Crawford, complete with croaky voice, delivering her sick-note for the evening's performance. A lady got up from the audience so it was probably a  good idea that Groove Crusade didn’t attempt it, but Peter Major made a valiant attempt at Soul Shadows, a lesser hit but a much better record which featured Bill Withers on his last great track and possibly theirs too. Withers was one of the most distinctive, warm and soulful singers of them all so they probably should have left it alone, but no harm done.


Mellow Out, So Far Away and Rhapsody and Blues followed but I missed the title of the track that led into perennial set closer Way Back Home, written by Felder and on the album Old Socks, New Shoes, the last by the Jazz Crusaders but really the first to take their new direction.


They’d mentioned Put it Where You Want It earlier but it looked like they weren’t going to play it, until the event organiser reminded them, so the audience were served up one that everybody of a certain age knows, if only via a cover version by Scotland’s finest. Crazy mixed-up world. Steve T 

1 comment :

David Gosling said...

That brought back memories of a great night.
Thanks Steve T

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