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Bebop Spoken There

Branford Marsalis: "As ignorance often forces us to do, you make a generalisation about a musician based on one specific record or one moment in time." - (Jazzwise June 2023).

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!"


15491 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 512 of them this year alone and, so far, 133 this month (May 31).

From This Moment On ...


Sat 03: Newcastle Record Fair @ Northumbria University, Newcastle NE8 8SB. 10:00am-3:00pm. Admission: £2.00.
Sat 03: Pedigree Jazz Band @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm.
Sat 03: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Sue Ferris. £25.00. Enrol at:
Sat 03: Abbie Finn Trio @ The Vault, Darlington. 6:00pm. Free.
Sat 03: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. £3.00.
Sat 03: Papa G's Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.

Sun 04: Smokin' Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm.
Sun 04: Central Bar Quintet @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 2:00-4:00pm. £5.00. The Central Bar Quintet plays Sonny Rollins' Saxophone Colossus. Featuring Lewis Watson.
Sun 04: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 04: Struggle Buggy + Michael Littlefield @ Tyne Bar, Newcastle. 4:00pm. Free. Acoustic blues.
Sun 04: Swinging at the Cotton Club: Harry Strutters' Hot Rhythm Orchestra @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Sun 04: Richard Jones Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 04: Jam No. 18 @ Fabio's Bar, Saddler Street, Durham. 8:00pm. Free. All welcome. A Durham University Jazz Society event.

Mon 05: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 06: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Hallgarth St., Durham DH1 3AT. 7:00pm. Paul Skerritt's (solo) weekly residency.
Tue 06: Jam session @ Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre. 7:30pm. House trio: Stu Collingwood (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Sid White (drums).

Wed 07: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 07: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 07: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 07: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 08: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free. CANCELLED! BACK ON JUNE 15.
Thu 08: Easington Colliery Brass Band @ The Lubetkin Theatre, Peterlee. 7:00pm. £10.00.
Thu 08: Faye MacCalman + Blue Dust Archive @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 08: Dilutey Juice + Ceramic @ The Ampitheatre, Sea Road, South Shields. 7:00pm. Free. A South Tyneside Festival event.
Thu 08: Lara Jones w. Vigilance State @ Lubber Fiend, Blandford Square, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 08: Michael Littlefield @ the Harbour View, Roker, Sunderland. 8:00pm. Free. Country blues.
Thu 08: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 09: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 09: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 09: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 09: Castillo Nuevo @ Revolución de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30-8:30pm.
Fri 09: Emma Rawicz @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm.

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 

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