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Bebop Spoken There

Billy Boy Arnold: “As long as you don't think old you're good.” - DownBeat, December, 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!"

Simon Spillett: A lovely review from the dean of jazz bloggers, Lance Liddle...


16051 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 1058 of them this year alone and, so far, 12 this month (Dec. 6).

From This Moment On ...


Sun 10: Musicians Unlimited’s Xmas Party with Zoë Gilby Quartet @ Park Inn, Hartlepool. MU 1:00-3:00pm; Zoë Gilby Quartet 4:00-6:00pm. Tickets: £7.50.
Sun 10: Alan Law, Paul Grainger & Abbie Finn @ Darlington Market, Market Square, Darlington. 1:00pm. Free. A ‘Christmas Market’ outdoor gig. Wrap up warm!
Sun 10: Am Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00-4:00pm. Free.
Sun 10: Funk Soul Sista @ Stack, Seaburn. 5:00-7:00pm. Free.
Sun 10: Beth Clarke @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 10: Hayley's Little Big Band @ Whittingham Memorial Institute, Alnwick. 7:30pm. £12.00., £10.00.
Sun 10: Tele-Port @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Line-up inc. Zhenya Strigalev.

Mon 11: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 11: Interim Final Recitals @ Newcastle University. Details TBC.

Tue 12: Stu Collingwood Organ Trio @ Forum Music Centre, Darlington. 7:00pm. £10.00.

Wed 13: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 13: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 13: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 13: Bold Big Band @ Cluny 2, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 13: Giles Strong Quartet @ Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 14: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 14: Hot Fingers @ The Lubetkin Theatre, Peterlee. 7:00pm. £10.00.
Thu 14: After Hours Student Jazz Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 14: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. . Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 14: Niffi Osiyemi Trio @ Harbour View, Sunderland. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 14: Mo Scott ‘Little Mo’s Festive Appearance’ @ The Schooner, Gateshead. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 14: Tees Hot Club w. Kevin Eland, Josh Bentham, Garry Hadfield, Adrian Beadnell @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 15: Paul Edis @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT!
Fri 15: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 15: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 15: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 15: Paul Skerritt @ Black Horse Inn, Crook. From 7:00pm.
Fri 15: Paul Edis: A Jazzy Christmas @ St Cuhtbert's Centre, Crook. 7:30pm. £15.00. SOLD OUT! Waiting list open.
Fri 15: Zoë Gilby Trio @ Seventeen Nineteen, Hendon, Sunderland. 7:30pm. £12.00. POSTPONED!
Fri 15: Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle. 8:00pm. First night of two. SOLD OUT!
Fri 15: Darlington Big Band @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. £10.00. Opus 4 Jazz Club.
Fri 15: Baghdaddies @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £14.00.; £10.00.

Sat 16: Paul Edis: A Jazzy Christmas @ Sage Gateshead. 2:00pm. A Jazzy Christmas + Jambone.
Sat 16: Porritt & Barrett & Friends Xmas Special @ Cullercoats Watch House. 7:00pm. £4.00.
Sat 16: Milne-Glendinning Band @ The Vault, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free.
Sat 16: Red Kites Jazz Band @ The Staithes Café, Gateshead. 7:00pm--9:00pm.
Sat 16: Hayley's Little Big Band @ Ellingham Village Hall, Chathill. 7:30pm. £12.00., £8.00.
Sat 16: Paul Edis: A Jazzy Christmas @ Sage Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Sat 16: Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Second night of two.

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Album review: Jonny Mansfield Quintet – The Air In Front Of You (Resonant Postcards)

Jonny Mansfield (vibes, compositions); Dominic Ingham (violin); Midori Jaeger (cello); Will Sach (bass); James Maddren (drums).

The first time I heard this album I was reminded of those great Charlie Haden plus AN Other albums he did in the '90s with Pat Metheny, Kenny Barron and Keith Jarrett. A similar sense of space and the great wide open that characterised those albums is a feature of The Air In Front Of You.

Haden’s voice on those albums is suggested by the bass and cello pairing on this one. You will have noticed as well, from the dramatis personae above that this is an unconventional grouping of a quintet that has a drum and bass rhythm section but then violin and cello to support the vibes up front. Violin and cello are there as voices, as part of a spectrum. Mansfield has previously assembled an ‘Elftet’ for an album on Edition Records. An Elftet is, apparently, an eleven piece group, none of whose members are Elves.

Given the unusual voicings on this album, what are we to make of it? Is it such as to inspire a call on the hotline to the dreaded jazz police or can we find it a place somewhere on the vast panoramic spectrum that is jazz today? Is it more classical, more jazz? Is it third stream of a type that was once going to sweep the world but didn’t? Is it chamber jazz or dinner jazz? Or all of them all at once?

The (sort of) title track, (Organise) The Air In Front Of You, exemplifies this balance of elements. There are moments that suggest the open spaces of Copeland’s Orchestral Americana as Mansfield interweaves the various voices in the group. By contrast Waves, which follows, works as a trio that puts the vibes to the fore. Flicker uses the strings (including the bass) and either cymbals or muted mallets on the drums to create something which should be funereal from that description but isn’t. It’s over 4 minutes before Mansfield joins in on vibes to bring hope, if not optimism.

Etude is what it says it is, a brief vibraphone classical piece, melodies that run up and down the moods. Closer, Periphery, is really the first piece where the drums make an impact. Maddren plays densely behind the flowing strings and, briefly, vigorously solos, without dropping bombs as such, but it is a statement of intent without the force and energy you would expect from a drum solo.

This has been an album about a simpler vision of humanity, as if trying to bring us together through reflection and recognition of our own frailty, the fact that we all breathe, that is we organise the air in front of us. This may be widely inaccurate or it may be the most perceptive thing I have ever written.  

It has also been a very frustrating album. I have given this one considerably more attention than any other that I have reviewed. It has its charms but reveals them sparingly and makes the listener work for any reward. Because of the nature of the group the music doesn’t land with any impact and it doesn’t demand the listeners attention but there are moments that catch you unawares and I have to concede that there are times when it just sounds wonderful. Frustrating is, I think, the mot juste.

The Air In Front Of You is released on June 16 and is available to pre-order now on Jonny's website.

Jonny will also headline the closing day of the Newcastle Jazz Festival on August 20 when he’ll be playing in a trio with Andy Champion and Dave McKeague. Details of all the festival gigs and ticketing details are here, on the Newcastle Jazz Festival websiteDave Sayer

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