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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...


16034 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 1041 of them this year alone and, so far, 73 this month (Nov. 27).

From This Moment On ...


Mon 04: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 04: Northern Monkey Brass Band @ People’s Kitchen, Bath Lane, Newcastle. From 5:30pm. On-street gig supporting the work of the People’s Kitchen charity. Wrap up warm! Donate!
Mon 04: Michael Young Trio w Lindsay Hannon @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 7:00pm. Free.
Mon 04: James Birkett Trio @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00.
Mon 04: Durham University Jazz Orchestra + Durham University Big Band @ Durham Castle DH1 3RW. 8:30pm. £6.00.; £5.00. concs; £4.00. DSM. ‘Jazzy Christmas’.

Tue 05: Customs House Big Band @ All Saints Church, Cleadon. 7:00pm. Concert in the church hall. BYOB.
Tue 05: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Michael Young, Paul Grainger, Sid White. The best free show in town!

Wed 06: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 06: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 8:00pm. Free. Note later start time, concert performance (open to the public).
Wed 06: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 07: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free CANCELLED!
Thu 07: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay, Newcastle. 12 noon - 4:00pm. £26.00 (inc 3-course meal in in St Mary's Lighthouse Suite). SOLD OUT!
Thu 07: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm. All welcome.
Thu 07: Thursday Night Prayer Meeting @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.Donations. Feat. Mark Sanders. CANCELLED!
Thu 07: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. £5.00. Downstairs.
Thu 07: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 08: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 08: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 08: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 08: Hayley's Little Big Band @ Woodland Village Hall, Bishop Auckland. 7:00pm. £12.00.
Fri 08: Sleep Suppressor + Redwell @ Head of Steam, Neville St., Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00. (£8.00. adv); £5.00. student.
Fri 08: Hot Club du Nord @ St Cuthbert's Church, Shadforth, Co. Durham.
Fri 08: Têtes de Pois + Nauta @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £12.00., £8.00.

Sat 09: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Sat 09: Abbie Finn Trio @ Claypath Deli, Durham. 7:00pm.
Sat 09: Hayley's Little Big Band @ Middleton & Todridge Village Hall, Morpeth. 7:30pm. £12.00., £6.00.
Sat 09: Paul Skerritt @ Slaley Hall, Hexham NE47 0BX. 7:30pm. From £42.00.

Sun 10: Musicians Unlimited’s Xmas Party with Zoe Gilby Quartet @ Park Inn, Hartlepool. MU 1:00-3:00pm; Zoë Gilby Quartet 4:00-6:00pm. Tickets: £7.50.
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.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

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...  
As the house lights dimmed, the near full house heard the strains of Basie's Avenue C. The recorded music gave way to the SSBB's rhythm section seamlessly picking up the tune. The horns took it up, the auditorium reverberating to the sound of the Basie band/SSBB. MD Michael Lamb as narrator began to tell the story of Art Kane and a truly 'Great Day in Harlem'. Famous, indeed legendary, musicians 'walked out' of the photograph into the Queen's Hall spotlight. Historical context, both musical and political, gave a sense of time and place. Our MD handed on the narrative baton to several members of the orchestra who, in turn, would introduce the next number and onto the next. 

As an ensemble the SSBB is as good as they come. What places the band a cut above most others is a plethora of outstanding soloists in all sections; variously Pete Tanton (turbo-charged trumpet on Night in Tunisia), Chris Kurgi-Smith (trombone), all five of the reeds - Jamie Toms, Matt Forster (Body and Soul a feature), Steve Summers (alongside star vocalist Alice Grace, blowing the solo of the night on Social Call), Keith Robinson (Horace Silver's Song for My Father), Sue Ferris (baritone, brilliant, full stop). And then there was Mr Graham Don, seated at the Queen's Hall's Steinway concert grand. From Basie to Mary Lou Williams to Horace Silver, Graham had it all at his fingertips.

The Strictly Smokin' boasts a top class rhythm section (guitarist Pawel 'Pav' Jedrzejewski, bassist Michael Whent and drummer Guy Swinton), excellent sections and, to top it off, the band's quite wonderful vocalist, Ms Alice Grace. Harlem '58 is a show for the jazz nut and anyone who appreciates excellent musicianship presented with flawless professionalism. The Strictly Smokin' Big Band's tour continues, check out forthcoming dates at: Russell
Strictly Smokin' Big Band: Michael Lamb (MD), Pete Tanton, 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 (guitar); Graham Don (piano, keyboards); Michael Whent (bass guitar); Guy Swinton (drums); Alice Grace (vocals)

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