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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.

Postage

16462 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 342 of them this year alone and, so far, 54 this month (May 18).

From This Moment On ...

May

Sun 19: BTS Trombone Day @ Mark Hillery Arts Centre, Collingwood College, Durham University DH1 3LT. 11:00am-5:00pm. Free to British Trombone Society members (£10.00. & £5.00. to non-members). Recitals, workshops and mass blows.
Sun 19: Anth Purdy @ The Links, Blyth. 12:30-1:00pm. Free. ‘Blyth Battery: Blyth Goes to War Weekend’.
Sun 19: Women Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. £25.00. Tutor: Andrea Vicari. Enquiries: learning@jazz.coop.
Sun 19: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free. Sun 19: Ransom Van @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 19: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 19: Andrea Vicari Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 20: Harmony Brass @ the Crescent Club, Cullercoats. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 20: Michael Young Trio @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 6:00-8:00pm. Free. Opus de Funk: Horace Silver.
Mon 20: Joe Steels-Ben Lawrence Quartet @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00.

Tue 21: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Alice Grace Vocal Masterclass @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 6:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 22: Daniel Erdmann’s Thérapie de Couple @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 23: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 23: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Thu 23: Immortal Onion + Rivkala @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 23: The Doris Day Story @ Phoenix Theatre, Blyth. 7:30pm.
Thu 23: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Jeremy McMurray (keys); Dan Johnson (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Bill Watson (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 24: Hot Club du Nord @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 24: Swannek + support @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. Time TBC.

Sat 25: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Bywell Hall, Stocksfield. 2:30pm.
Sat 25: Paul Edis Trio w. Bruce Adams & Alan Barnes @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:30pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sat 25: Nubiyan Twist @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Sat 25: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

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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