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Bebop Spoken There

Charles McPherson: “Jazz is best heard in intimate places”. (DownBeat, July, 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.


16590 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 483 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (July 14).

From This Moment On ...


Tue 23: Nomade Swing Trio @ Newcastle House Hotel, Rothbury. 7:30pm. £10.00. Tickets from Tully’s of Rothbury or at the door (cash only). A Coquetdale Jazz event.

Wed 24: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 24: Nomade Swing Trio @ Café Needles Eye, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. 6:00pm. Reservations: 01670 641224.
Wed 24: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 24: The Ronnie Scott’s Story @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Wed 24: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 24: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Thu 25: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 25: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Garry Hadfield (keys); Noel Dennis (tpt); Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Adrian Beadnell (bass).
Thu 25: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

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: Bailiwick + Sleep Suppressor + Christie/Chan @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors 6:30pm). ‘Experimental evening of jazz, punk and jazz-punk’.
Fri 26: Nomade Swing Trio @ Repas7 by Night, Berwick. 7:30pm. Free.
Fri 26: Stuart Turner @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Fri 26: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Fri 26: Bold Big Band @ Old Coal Yard, Byker, Newcastle. 9:30pm. A Newcastle Fringe Festival event.

Sat 27: BBC Proms: BBC Introducing stage @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 12 noon. Free. Line-up inc. Nu Groove (2:00pm); Abbie Finn Trio (2:50pm); Dilutey Juice (3:50pm); SwanNek (5:00pm); Rivkala (6:00pm).
Sat 27: Nomade Swing Trio @ Billy Bootlegger’s, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sat 27: Mississippi Dreamboats @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 27: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Sat 27: Theon Cross + Knats @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 10:00pm. £22.00. BBC Proms: BBC Introducing Stage (Sage Two). A late night gig.

Sun 28: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 28: Miss Jean & the Ragtime Rewind Swing Band @ Fonteyn Ballroom, Dunelm House (Durham Students’ Union), Durham. 2:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Sun 28: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, Union Quay, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Nomade Swing Trio @ Red Lion, Alnmouth. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Jazz Jam Sandwich! @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 28: Jeffrey Hewer Collective @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 28: Milne Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Mon 29: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 30: ???

Wed 31: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 31: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 31: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023


Mosaic Records have, seemingly, released a ten CD boxed set of live recordings from  Norman Granz's legendary live jam sessions that first appeared on his various labels such as Clef, Norgram and, the last surviving one, Verve.

They've had favourable reviews in all the jazz mags - unlike, back in the day, when they were dismissed as 'rabble rousing extravaganzas. This, they undoubtedly  were and I for one wasn't complaining!

It was jazz excitement that has never been surpassed and, had it been pursued further, may have served to repel the invasions from Memphis and Liverpool.

The Big Chris Barber Band @ Whitley Bay Playhouse - May 30

Bob Hunt (MD, trombone); Mike Henry (trumpet, vocals); Gabriel Garrick (trumpet, vocals); Trevor Whiting (tenor sax, clarinet); Richard Exall (tenor sax, alto sax, clarinet); Nick White (soprano sax, alto sax, bass sax, clarinet); Joe Farler (banjo, guitar); Joe Trudgeon (double bass); Steve Vintner (drums) 

Chris Barber's legacy lives on. His nine piece band continues to fly the flag with concert engagements at home and abroad. This rescheduled Whitley Bay Playhouse concert attracted the faithful, their diminishing number no doubt due to a combination of factors - infirmity, old age or, perhaps, having recently joined Barber in the Jazz Club in the Sky. As the house lights dimmed a solitary figure ambled out onto the stage ...

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Album review: Adam Larson Trio - With Love, From New York

Adam Larson (tenor sax); Matt Clohesy (bass); Obed Calvaire (drums)

A chordless trio opens the floodgates with torrents of notes and flagellating drumming leaving the bass player rather like King Canute trying to stop the tide. Such is the blitzkrieg that is Aerial Landmasses.

64 Squares, which I assumed would be chess or checkers related is in fact subtitled searching for fish. You just can't make these things up! Nevertheless, it's less frantic than the previous number and, were it played in flight if you were actually travelling from New York the flight attendant (I preferred it when they were air hostesses or stewardesses) would announce that you could now unfasten your safety belts.

Trip to Mars with Jack Parnell (1958) Full vinyl LP

Standing at the  bus stop amidst an angry throng of impatient commuters someone (actually me) remarked that it would be easier to book a trip to Mars than get a bus from Jarrow to Hebburn which was when the number 27 turned up all of 3 minutes late!

Nevertheless, this inspired me to seek out this 10" LP of the Parnell band in all its glory. They could, at that time, swing the ass off Heath and Dankworth particularly when Phil Seaman replaced the leader behind the kit and showed him how it was done when they traded on Skindeep. Many happy memories of seeing the Parnell band in Newcastle back in the day when buses turned up on time and, like the Parnell band, had conductors although not many of them played the drums as well as Jack did. Lance

Gavin Barras Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - May 28

 (© Jeff Pritchard)
Gavin Barras (bass); Jim Collins (tenor/alto sax); Tom Harris (piano); Miles Pillinger (drums) + Helen Pillinger (tenor sax)

The first tune tonight was Cliff Burwell's Sweet Lorraine which was given a tenor sax, bass and drums treatment due to the late arrival of pianist Tom Harris who arrived halfway through the second number, It Could Happen to You, and he wasted no time in taking charge of the house upright making me wonder why I had not heard of him before. I must ask Gavin for more information on this fine musician.

Monday, May 29, 2023


You can spend mega bucks on a top of the range saxophone, more hard earned cash on a mouthpiece and ligature but, at the end of the day, it all boils down to a bit of bamboo that may or may not do what the manufactures say it will do! Lance

Album review: Javon Jackson - "With Peter Bradley"

Javon Jackson (tenor sax); Jeremy Manasia (piano); David Williams (bass); Greg Glassman (trumpet on 7 tks); Charles Goold (drums on 12 tks); McClenty Hunter (drums on 4 tks)

Jazz and the movies have had a chequered career - Anatomy of a Murder and Lift to the Scaffold are a couple of the better ones that spring to mind. However, With Peter Bradley, going by the TRAILER, this 90 minute documentary looks to be something extra special and, even if it isn't, the soundtrack alone will be worth price of the popcorn and so much more if it ever hits your local fleapit (those were the days!)

Preview: Swinging at the Cotton Club, The Fire Station, Sunderland (June 4)

A century ago in New York City a club opened which would attract some of the greatest names in jazz and popular music. The Cotton Club in Harlem became hugely successful presenting a who's who of the entertainment industry: Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and many others. Prohibition era NYC didn't deter club owners, far from it! Clubs, speakeasies and two-bit gin joints thrived.

In Tune this bank holiday Monday (May 29) with Kitchman & Heinen

Katie Derham's guests on In Tune this afternoon include James Kitchman and Bruno Heinen. London resident guitarist Kitchman hails from the Tyne Valley and at five o'clock he will be teaming up with pianist Heinen to perform one or two tracks from their latest album Rainbow Shadows. Tune to BBC Radio 3, 5:00pm. Russell     

Sunday night @ the Globe: Matt Anderson Quartet - May 28

(© Ken Drew)
Matt Anderson (tenor sax); Jamil Sheriff (piano); Andy Champion (bass); Dave Walsh (drums).

The Globe was crowded even though it was one of those bank holidays that seem to turn up every other week. Perhaps folk are getting wise to the fact that there are better things to do than hanging around airports or being stuck in gridlocked traffic on these occasions.

Like listening to some live jazz by an ace quartet.

Sugaray Rayford @ the Fire Station, Sunderland - May 26

My first time at the Sunderland Fire Station, a nice spacious venue. I was expecting a blues artist – generally a safer bet for this type of gig – but what we got was more soul. Neither neo nor retro but the type of thing that’s just kept going quietly in the hinterland ever since soul music’s heyday.

And he could sing too, the best comparison I could come up with was Eddie Levert of the O’Jays, one of the very best, though playing an album by bluesman Lucky Peterson on the way home also showed similarities, which was a happy coincidence.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Whitley Bay Carnival 2023 - May 28

A bank holiday weekend and for once the weather was fine. The Spanish City promenade looked a picture, the place a throng with day-trippers and locals alike 'taking the air', parading their beer bellies, tattoos, buggies and man's best friend. A fun fair, street entertainers, fast food stalls and music stages, the latter the main attraction. 

Ben Sidran Quartet @ Cafe Central, Madrid May 23

Ben Sidran (piano); Bill McHenry (saxo tenor); Billy Peterson (contrabaja); Leo Sidran (bateria)

I guess I am one of the few people who still actually buys a hard copy of the Lonely Planet guide when I am going on holiday, although I am sure it is available as an app (or something similar) for more tech savvy members of the human race. However, the title of the guides must be one of the most out of date concepts imaginable (due in part, of course, to its own success). No doubt the Sunday Times has already had articles listing the ten most lonely places to have a wild party and I am sure if I took a Ryanair flight to the dark side of the moon the first person I would bump into would be one of the Mooneys who lived in the next street to where I grew up in Dublin.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

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

Playlist 28/05/23. (Repeated Tuesday 30/05/23)

Requests from the Windy City Weatherbirds Gig: Sauter - Finegan Orchestra, Nellie Lutcher, Stan Getz/Gilberto, Eddie Condon All Stars, Blind Blake, Townes Van Zandt, John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, Tadd Dameron Octet, Charlie Parker, Jack Teagarden, Andy Schumm,


Herbie Hancock.


What’s happening in the NE: Chris Barber, Harry Strutters.


Tony Eales pick: Roger Neumann Instant Heat.


Requests:  Stan Getz And Kenny Barron, Borealis/Joe Steels.

JazzTimes - May issue

I've been reading, saving, devouring jazz mags since the early 1950s. Each and every copy, when I dip back into them, brings back memories of concerts, records, interviews, information on instruments, playing techniques. Each one a gospel in an ever expanding bible.

Melody Maker, Metronome, Jazz Journal, Jazz Monthly, Crescendo, DownBeat, Jazzwise, JazzTimes are but some of those publications who have provided the words and the photos to the Holy Grail of jazz.

However, in all my years of reading jazz lit., not one of them comes within a bebop mile of the controversy that the May issue of JazzTimes will stir. Indeed the new regime's inaugural April issue's Wayne Shorter obituary resulted in most of the old guard being shown the door - a bit like some recent UK government shenanigans! 

House of the Black Gardenia @ Hoochie Coochie - May 26

Elise Rana (vocals, washboard); Pete Tanton (trumpet); David Gray (trombone); Keith Robinson (reeds); Katja Roberts (violin); Elliott Rush (piano); Michael Littlefield (guitar, banjo, vocals); Neil Hopper (bass, sousaphone); Kit Haigh (drums)

Well this was a Hoochie first - the band started ahead of time! However, it didn't matter, the swing dancers were already on the floor primed and ready to Lindy Hop or Shag (the dance).

As such, this was a double header. Black Gardenia doing their thing on stage whilst, down on the dance floor the movers and shakers were doing their thing.

It was a fascinating scenario. Most of the dancers were dressed for the occasion, in fact one or two of the guys could have made my sartorially elegant friend and harmonica hot shot Ray Burns look as though he'd just put in a half shift on the assembly line at Nissan. 

Tom Remon & Alex Ho @ Prohibition Bar - May 26

Tom Remon (guitar); Alex Ho (piano)

Tom Remon and Alex Ho are on tour. On Thursday night they were in London at the Vortex, this evening they're here at Prohibition Bar, Saturday they'll be in Leeds. How did the Tomorrow's Warriors' alumni get themselves a gig here on Pink Lane? They emailed the venue, a date was agreed, it was as simple as that. A graduate of Middlesex University, guitarist Remon sat perched on a bar stool, pianist Ho sat hunched over his keyboard, they would play a set of standards.

Album Review: Ellie Martin – Verdant

Ellie Martin (vocals); Peter Eldridge (piano, background vocals 10); Ariel Kasler (guitar 1, 4,6,7,9,10); Kurt Khranke (bass); Olman Piedra (drums, percussion); Keith Ganz (guitar); Victor Gonçalves (accordion 3); Andrew Bishop (clarinet 1); Ben Wolkins (trumpet 7); Mike Harrison (background vocals 2)

An album of original songs based on the singer's life experience. This includes surviving cancer, bringing up children, watching them play, and not taking anything for granted.  Ms Martin, after a successful career in academia, decided to follow her dream of recording an album.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Album review: Zoe Francis - Somewhere in the Night

Zoe Francis (vocal); Ross Stanley (B3); Jim Mullen (guitar)

If I were asked to rate the top UK jazz singers it would probably be a list stretching from Land's End to John O'Groats - there are just so many of them. Back in the day there was Cleo, Norma, Val and a few comers like Claire, Clare and Carol before the scene erupted and there were (girl) singers seemingly growing on trees everywhere.

Chris Greive Standards Trio @ Gala Theatre, Durham - May 26

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
Chris Greive (trombone); James Brady (trumpet, flugelhorn); Tom Gibbs (piano)

Trombonist Chris Greive's Standards Trio arrived in Durham with a late change to the line-up. At the last minute guitarist Graeme Stephen was obliged to attend to urgent family business. Joining Greive and James Brady on their journey south from Scotland was the prodigiously talented pianist Tom Gibbs. A near full house at the Gala Theatre was unlikely to be disappointed...

Greive chose to open the set with the Chet Baker/Gerry Mulligan arrangement of The Lady is a Tramp, the horns dancing deftly around the melody, the depping Gibbs, with not a chart in sight, handling the material with consummate ease. Dizzy's Tour de Force was just that, later in the set Bebop tore it up (Gibbs' whirlwind playing, stride patterns, the lot), bravo! 

Pete Tanton's Cuba Libre @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - May 25

Pete Tanton (trumpet, percussion, vocals); Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Carlos Rivera (percussion, vocals)

A sharp exit from the Strictly Smokin' Big Band's barnstorming gig at the Bridge Hotel then hotfooting it to Prohibition Bar to catch the second set by Pete Tanton's new band, Cuba Libre. Trumpeter Pete would have been on the SSBB's gig but the man couldn't be in two places at once so Pink Lane won out. Arriving in good time for the start of the second set, Bruce B, friend of BSH, made us welcome at his front row table. 

Worldwide Entertainment presents Stephen Triffitt in FRANK SINATRA’S SONGS FOR SWINGIN’ LOVERS! One night only at Cadogan Hall

(© Judy Totton)
(Press release) For one night only, audiences are invited to take a trip back to a golden era and enjoy a special live performance of the iconic Frank Sinatra album, Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!, performed by world-leading Frank Sinatra artist, Stephen Triffitt.

Featuring songs such as You Make Me Feel So YoungToo Marvelous for WordsOld Devil Moon and I’ve Got You Under My SkinSongs for Swingin’ Lovers! was the first album ever to top the UK Albums Chart way back in 1959. In 2000, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Widely regarded as the master of his craft both here and in the USA, Olivier Award-nominated Triffitt starred as Sinatra for three seasons in Las Vegas, held the role of Ol’ Blue Eyes in the original West End production of The Rat Pack: Live from Las Vegas, and has sold out the London Palladium twice with his own solo spectacular.


Farewell Pete Brown - lyricist & poet (25 December 1940 - 19 May 2023)

Beat poet, lyricist and singer Pete Brown has died at the age of 82. Early career collaborations included working with Graham Bond and John McLaughlin. In his mid-twenties Brown had the distinction of being the first poet to read at Morden Tower in Newcastle (Basil Bunting, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg and many others would follow). 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ the Bridge, Newcastle - May 25

Michael Lamb (MD), Billy Bradshaw, Dick Stacey, Gordon Marshall (trumpets); Jamie Toms, Matt Forster, Keith Robinson, Steve Summers, Sue Ferris (reeds); Mark Ferris, Kieran Parnaby, Chris Kurgi-Smith, John Flood (trombones); Pawel Jedrzejewski (bass guitar); Graham Don (keys); Guy Swinton (drums); Alice Grace (vocals)

A couple of 30 minute sets went down as well as the pints of Doom Bar etc. Seats were at a premium and so they should be - this was the sale of the century and it was free. It does however, call into question gigs that are free, 'jar on the bar' or raffle supported. I'm not going to pursue this further at this stage but I think that it is a subject very much open for discussion.

Technically I suppose this would be classed as an open rehearsal with the band digging deep into their library's back catalogue.

Strictly Smokin' Big Band...Bridge Hotel...Thursday, that's tonight!!!

It's Thursday. Tonight's the night. The all-conquering Strictly Smokin' Big Band returns to Newcastle's Bridge Hotel. The SSBB's gigs on Castle Garth next to the High Level Bridge are few and far between and it's likely the place will be standing room only. If you want to be sure of a seat arrive early. Doors at six, down beat at seven. Big band, small room, free admission, who could ask for anything more?! Russell  

Preview: Pete Tanton's Cuba Libre - Prohibition Bar tonite (Thursday)!

Composer/trumpeter Pete Tanton's new band rocks up at Prohibition Bar tonight (Thursday). Join Cuba Libre - that's Pete, Alan Law (piano), Paul Grainger (bass) and Carlos Rivera (percussion, vocals) from 8:00pm. Free admission, donations appreciated. Russell  

Farewell to Bill Lee - bassist & composer (23 July 1928 - 24 May 2023)

Bill Lee performed and recorded with a who's who of the music world. Heard on many jazz albums (Ray Bryant, Johnny Griffin, Harold Mabern, Pat Martino), Lee worked with blues, folk and pop musicians, including Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and Odetta. As a composer/conductor of film scores, Lee's filmography includes working on his son's (director Spike Lee) films, including She's Gotta Have It (1986), Do the Right Thing (1989) and Mo' Better Blues (1990). 

Bill Lee was 94. Russell     

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Preview: Black Gardenia are 'in house' @ Hoochie on Friday (May 26)

It's the only game in toon (town) on Friday night which is the night when House of the Black Gardenia hit Hoochie Coochie. Lots of jazz and blues, vocals and hot choruses as well as the opportunity to shiver your timbers on the dance floor.

There's probably no other band in the UK - maybe even the world - which brings Harlem to Hoochie as authentically as this band does. 

Everything All Together All at Once at the N’Awlins Festival

 Mrs T was nervous of the eight hour flight but managed it rather better than I did, nestling nicely into a film and a mini series. I liked the free bar and two pretty decent meals but the multiple Oscar-winning film Everything All Together All at Once didn’t hold my attention.

 The title of the film could be used to describe the scheduling across the thirteen stages at the festival, or at least the six I used to create my own schedule. By the first afternoon it became clear that, while it was possible to see bits of lots of gigs, because of the distance between stages and the sheer number of people there, the only way to ever get a decent view was to commit to a smaller number of gigs. I was originally drawn to a dozen acts which, after some homework inflated to forty five though I  was in the throws of whittling it down.

Lindsay Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man @ the Black Swan - May 23

(© Mike Tilley)
Lindsay Hannon (vocals); Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Brendan Murphy (percussion, old boot & spanner)

Beat generation counter-culture icon Tom Waits appeals to beat generation counter-culture types. Waits' lyrics appeal to a much wider constituency, to musicians and non-musicians alike. In the Black Swan this evening the audience hung on every word, every last syllable of vocalist extraordinaire Lindsay Hannon's delivery of Waits' lyrics. Lyrics largely committed to memory, is there a more accomplished interpreter of the American's songbook? 

Album review: Noah Haidu - Standards

Noah Haidu (piano); Buster Williams/Peter Washington (bass); Lewis Nash (drums) + Steve Wilson (alto sax)

Before you knock it as 'just another standards album', pause and reflect that most 'originals' are contrafacts of standards and, sometimes, not as good as the composer's initial statement although, once the jazz folk get their paws on them a number that began life as a maudlin ballad in a Broadway show (e.g You and the Night and the Music) becomes bread and butter for the jazzer and no more so than in the hands of the piano trio. Wilson, Powell, Garner, Peterson, Evans, Jarrett and co.  knew what their audience wanted and they dished it out in their identifiable, stylistic manner*. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Trombone players wanted up Blyth way

Blyth Dance Band is seeking enthusiastic trombone players and also have a potential opportunity for a keyboard player. They rehearse fortnightly on Thursday evenings. If you are interested in big band/swing and wish to try it on a no obligation basis, please contact Peter Smith (trombone) on 07798 526524.

East Coast Swing Band (MD Peter Morgan) is also looking for an experienced trombonist to join the band who rehearse on a Tuesday morning in Bedlington. Contact Peter Smith on 07798 526524 for more information. The band play a concert at Morpeth Rugby Club on June 30 (see poster in right hand column). Lance

Press release: Tom Ollendorff - Open House

Open House is the new album from rising star guitarist Tom Ollendorff. Known for his distinctive sound which blends virtuosic guitar playing with sophisticated harmonic and melodic ideas, Ollendorff’s music elegantly mixes gracefully grooving themes, baroque-like unaccompanied etudes and headlong fast-bop swing. Retaining his longstanding musical partnership of Marc Michel on drums and Conor Chaplain on bass, Ollendorff now adds New York City saxophonist Ben Wendel in to the mix. The combination of a razor-sharp band that have worked with each other for many years, alongside an exciting new player with a natural synergy to the aforementioned group, makes Open House an exhilarating listen for jazz afficionado’s and discerning music fans alike.

Preview: The Big Chris Barber Band @ Whitley Bay Playhouse (May 30)

On Tuesday (May 30) the Big Chris Barber Band makes a return visit to the region some two years after the death of the legendary Chris Barber. The band continues to tour throughout the country, making frequent excursions to Europe, honouring the legacy of their former boss. 

Preview: Lindsay Hannon sings Tom Waits (May 23)

Tonight (Tuesday 23) Lindsay Hannon brings her Tom Waits for No Man project to Newcastle Arts Centre. Interpreting the songs of American troubadour Tom Waits, Lindsay will be joined by Alan Law, Paul Grainger and Brendan Murphy. It's an eight o'clock start, advance tickets £10.00. (£12.00. on the door) from: Russell

Monday, May 22, 2023

The encore.

Encores are rarely spontaneous (apart from when the crowd demands a second or third one) they are usually programmed into the set-list and when the band condescends to throw a few more crumbs to the overfed audience - usually after walking off stage and waiting long enough for the clappers to be on the verge of carpel tunnel syndrome - they return and go through the motions that they've already gone through earlier. Basie's 'one more time' was great but his 'one more one time' stretched things a little bit but Basie, like Duke, had the majesty to do this.

Kira Kira @ the Lit & Phil (Jazz North East) - May 19

(© Ken Drew)

Satoko Fujii (piano); Alister Spence (keys); Natsuki Tamura (trumpet); Tom Bancroft (drums, percussion)

Where to start?   Here’s the brief notes I made at the end of this stunning performance: 

Disparate array of instruments used by each musician.

Occasionally intense/heavily rhythmical/quiet and delicate solos.

Growling notes from the Nord keyboard.  

 Extraordinary! Unexpected! Inspirational!

    Briefly included a happy and glorious percussion ensemble at one point.

    Staccato attack. Surprise!  Prolonged intense release of energy.

  Conventional instruments often played in an unconventional way, wonderfully combined.

    Smiles across the stage!!! 

    “Organised chaos”. Phenomenal! Enthusiastic applause.  

    Telepathic rhythms and sonorities bouncing across the stage.

    Permeates the space & engages the audience and lifting their spirits.

    Joyous atmosphere. Stunning performance. Uplifting. Life affirming. Pure joy!!

Sunday Night @ the Globe: Giles Strong Quartet - May 21

(© Debra M)
Giles Strong (guitar); Pete Tanton (trumpet/flugel); Ian Paterson (bass); John Bradford (drums).

Chamber jazz played to perfection by four of the area's finest. It was done so tastefully and with not much Crash! Bang! Wallop! Although, perhaps an occasional injection of CBW would have added a little extra spice to the two sets.

Still, no one was complaining. The intimate atmosphere - there were candles on tables although the curtains and blinds remained unlowered which questioned the point of the candles - blended nicely with the music. 

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Tonight @ the Globe

The Giles Strong Quartet features four long established and respected musicians on the regional jazz scene. Giles Strong (guitar) is joined by John Bradford (drums), Ian Paterson (double bass) and Pete Tanton (trumpet and flugelorn).

With inventive improvisation and interplay the Giles Strong Quartet create a unique style of acoustic chamber jazz. Their music reflects a shared love of straight ahead jazz with a West Coast sound, playing repertoire based on original compositions and finely arranged standards.

Jazz on the Tyne – What’s New & What’s On, late May 2023

In the latest edition of the podcast, presenter Colin Muirhead will play tracks from new releases by the Dean Stockdale Quartet, Louis Stewart & Noel Kelehan, Borealis, Me Lost Me, Bram Stadhouders, and House of the Black Gardenia.  He’ll also look ahead to gigs featuring Lindsay Hannon, the Matt Anderson Quartet, and Tommy Smith.

You can listen to the show anytime from 5pm on Monday 22nd April by heading to

And you can request tunes for future programmes by emailing Colin at or heading to

Strictly Smokin' Big Band: Harlem '58 @ Queen's Hall, Hexham - May 20

The Strictly Smokin' Big Band on tour. Who'd have thought it? From the band's formation (MD Michael Lamb was still at school!) through to a string of successful concerts at Hoochie Coochie, Sage Gateshead and elsewhere, not forgetting the now legendary Christmas shows at Gosforth Civic Theatre, the Strictly Smokin' can do no wrong. Art Kane's famous 1958 group portrait photograph of a gathering of the great and good of the jazz world outside a NYC brownstone sparked the idea of touring a concert programme inspired by and commemorating the momentous occasion.

Half an hour before curtain up, in an all but deserted auditorium, a woman took her front row seat. Looking at a projected image high above the stage (see photo), the woman asked if tonight's band was from Harlem. Not exactly, replied your correspondent...  

The Ochre Trio on Houndgate, Darlington - May 20

Strolling along Skinnergate en route to Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club, a swift George Best-like body swerve avoided collision with a bunch of Morris dancers. Seconds later the distant sound of a guitarist shredding on a fusion blues called for a momentary diversion onto Houndgate. 

The Windy City Weatherbirds @ Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club - May 20

Magnus Pickering (cornet, vocals); Joe Pickering (reeds); Daniel Pickering (trombone); Harrison Dolphin (guitar); Paul Grainger (double bass); Robbie Ellison (drums)

Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club always pulls a crowd. If it's a Saturday lunchtime at St Augustine's on Larchfield Street then there's every chance of hearing the sounds of jazz from 'way down yonder'. Today's offering came from the Deep South alright, 'way down yonder in London town'. Yes, the Windy City Weatherbirds, on their first trip 'up north' were about to play a third and final concert on their north of Watford Gap mini tour. Yesterday the Weatherbirds played to a full house lunchtime audience at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle followed by a marvellous evening session in Hexham. Today it was the turn of Darlington's jazz fans to hear what the Weatherbirds were all about. 

The Windy City Weatherbirds @ The Vault, Hexham - May 19

Magnus Pickering (cornet, vocals); Joe Pickering (reeds); Daniel Pickering (trombone); Harrison Dolphin (guitar); Paul Grainger (double bass); Robbie Ellison (drums)

Earlier in the day the Windy City Weatherbirds made their north of England debut at a sold out lunchtime concert at the Lit & Phil in Newcastle. This evening the London based six piece band ventured up the Tyne Valley to play a second engagement of a three-date 'up north' tour. The Vault in Hexham, an ancient cellar venue on Hallgate, attracted a select audience keen to listen to some Dixieland jazz from the best part of a century ago. 

The three frontline horns - Magnus (cornet), Joe (reeds) and Daniel (trombone) just happen to be brothers, that's the Pickering brothers. Harrison Dolphin plays guitar, Robbie Ellison plays drums and, all the way from Tyneside, short notice dep bassist, the one-and-only Paul Grainger.   

More from Congo Square

(l to r) Buddy Bolden statue (see previous post for full photo), Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts, Louis Armstrong statue.

Congo Square in Louis Armstrong Park

Oh to have been hiding in these trees a couple of hundred years ago. This is Congo Square in Louis Armstrong Park, where it’s thought the first sounds that could reasonably be described as what would emerge as jazz were heard.

While slavery was abolished slightly later in Louisiana than the rest of the States, N’Awlins had a rather different relationship with its slave population, allowing them Sundays off (no doubt on religious grounds rather than an act of charity) from around 1805, where they were allowed to congregate at Congo Square and sing, dance and play their drums.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Album review: Jeff Coffin - Look For Water

Jeff Coffin (tenor/sop sax); Johnny Vidacovich (drums/toy piano); Tony Dagradi (tenor sax); James Singleton (bass); Helen Gillet (cello tk 9)

After 40 seconds of unexplained toy piano - I mean I ask you?! - the toy piano is ditched and we thankfully move onto some, at times, quite arresting blowing by the two horns. The chordless ensemble format, they tell me, affords Coffin the freedom of exploration between multiple sonorities at any given moment - which the saxophonist utilises to the fullest, weaving masterfully-crafted stories with his horn. I must confess I couldn't have phrased it better myself  - if I'd known what it meant!

UK Guitarist To Release Soaring Suite Of Powerful And Distinctly Lyrical Music.

(Press release) Guitarist Steve Banks and Stoney Lane Records are proud to present the international release of the brand new album Emboldened in May 2023. Emboldened is a unique collection of Steve Banks’ original compositions, taking in powerful modern jazz, deep contemporary grooves, Brazilian influences, lush harmonies and memorable melodies. This heady concoction of styles evolved and developed through years of diverse musical experience, resulting in a compelling, distinctive and personal sound, immediately recognisable as the rising star guitarist’s own work.

Maze feat. Frankie Beverly Live In New Orleans... one of the iconic live soul albums, though on this side of the pond we know the best time and space to see them was the eighties at Hammersmith Odeon. Frankie Beverly knows this too.

By the time they arrived in the TV studios in '83 his voice  was shot, but those of us who’d just seen them (and I’d seen them three times) forgave him because we knew he gave 1000% night after night. I saw them at the end of the nowties and his voice was shot then and recently saw an interview where he conceded this was the price of him giving everything but claims he still does it because people want him to and forgive him and the audience sing all the words anyway.

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

Playlist 21/05/23. (Repeated Tuesday 24/05/23)

Requests: : Freddie Hubbard arr. Mike Kamuf.

Birthday: Fats Waller.

What’s Happening in Scotland: SNJO: Tommy Smith.

Requests: Randy Crawford & Joe Sample, Artie Shaw, Kris Berg & The Metro Big Band, Count Basie/Rosemary Clooney.

North East Connections: NDR Big Band w Steve Gray, Borealis w Joe Steels, Hot 8 Brass Band, Chris Greive and Colin Black, Rick Laughlin Quartet, Tim Kliphuis.

Requests: J J Johnson & Kai Winding Quintet, MJ /Sonny Stitt/Stan Getz/ Dizzy Gilllespie.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Album review: Tatiana Eve-Marie - Two at the Most

Tatiana Eva-Marie (vocals); Jeremy Corren (piano) + Mark Buchan (vocal on two tks).

When the blurb describes someone as "A YouTube phenom" I shudder and put the painkillers on standby. However, it seems that Tatiana  has indeed had more hits on YouTube than many a more well-known name and it turns out that the Swiss miss now based in Brooklyn has a voice to stand alongside those soft, intimate vocalists such as Blossom, Shirley (Horn), Daryl, Jerri (Sothern) and, of course, Cécile and Samara. Tatiana is in that league.

The songs are sung so beautifully that her renditions must have surely exceeded the composer's wildest expectations.

Jazz at the Lit & Phil: The Windy City Weatherbirds - May 19

(© Lance)
Magnus Pickering (long model cornet, vocals); Joe Pickering (reeds); Daniel Pickering (trombone); Harrison Dolphin (guitar); Paul Grainger (bass); Robbie Ellison (drums)

It was like being at Newcastle's legendary New Orleans' Club back in the day. All that was missing was the smoke, the drunks and the mic. This latter item would have been handy to have. Otherwise, we could have been listening to those jazzmen who sailed under the flag of Panama or those of the River City Jazzmen. Both bands executed (in more ways than one) a brand of Dixieland cum Chicago that set the benchmark for this style in Newcastle.

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