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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 ...

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.

Sat 10: Miners' Picnic @ Woodhorn, Ashington. Music inc. Northern Monkey Brass Band (3:00-3:50pm); New York Brass Band (4:00-4:55pm).
Sat 10: Front Porch Three @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. Americana, blues, jazz etc.
Sat 10: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.

Sun 11: WORKSHOP: Tim Richards' Jazz Piano Workshop @ JG Windows, Newcastle. Time TBC. Further details tel. 0191 232 1356.
Sun 11: Jeremy McMurray's Pocket Jazz Orchestra @ Ropner Park, Stockton TS18 4EF. 2:00-4:00pm. Free.
Sun 11: Am Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:30pm. Free.
Sun 11: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 11: Groovetrain @ Innisfree Sports & Social Club, Longbenton NE12 8TY. Doors 6:30pm. £15.00 (£7.00. under 16).
Sun 11: Jeffrey Hewer Collective @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 12: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

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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