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Bebop Spoken There

Steve Fishwick: “I can’t get behind the attitude that new is always somehow better than old” - Jazz Journal, April 15, 2019,

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 ...


Wed 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 29: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 29: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 30: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 30: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 7:30pm (7:00pm doors). Tickets: £25.00. inc. buffet. A Gatsby themed evening.
Thu 30: Jools Holland's R & B Orchestra @ Newcastle City Hall. 7:30pm.
Thu 30: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig.
Thu 30: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. Guest band night: Mark Toomey Quintet (Mark Toomey, sax; Paul Donnelly, guitar; Jeremy McMurray, keys; Peter Ayton, bass; Mark Robertson, drums). 9:00pm.

Fri 01: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 01: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 01: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 01: Paul Skerritt @ All Saints’ Church, Eastgate, Co. Durham. 7:00pm. Xmas Tree Fest.
Fri 01: Alligator Gumbo @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Fri 01: Nu Sound Brass @ Billy Bootlegger’s, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free.
Fri 01: Struggle Buggy w. Jim Murray @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Blind Pig Blues Club. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sat 02: Paula Jackman's Jazz Masters @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. £10.00.
Sat 02: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Steve Glendinning. £25.00. Enrol at:
Sat 02: Abbie Finn Trio @ Claypath Deli, Durham. 7:00pm.
Sat 02: Tenement Jazz Band @ John Marley Centre, Newcastle. Swing Tyne Winter Social. £8.00. + bf. Advance purchase only, no admission at the door. BYOB. Lindy hop workshop from 11:00am. £39.00.
Sat 02: Zoë Gilby Quartet @ The Masham, Hartburn Village, Stockton. 7:00pm. Feat. Noel Dennis.
Sat 02: Classic Swing @ The Nuthatch, 9 - 11 Bedford St, Middlesbrough TS1 2LL. 7:00-9:00pm. Classic Swing in trio format.
Sat 02: Paul Skerritt w. Danny Miller Big Band @ Westovian Theatre, South Shields. 7:30pm.
Sat 02: Vermont Big Band @ Whitley Bay FC. 7:30pm. £10.00. (inc. hot buffet). Tickets available from WBFC’s Seahorse pub club house.
Sat 02: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Ponteland Social Club, Northumberland. 7:30pm. £18.00 (inc. stotties & soup supper). A fundraiser for Hexham Constituency Labour Party.
Sat 02: Tom Remon & Laurence Harrison @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sat 02: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. Xmas party night inc. buffet & special raffle. £3.00.
Sat 02: Groovetrain @ The Unionist Club, Laygate, South Shields. 9:00pm.

Sun 03: The Central Bar Quartet @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 2:00pm. £10.00. The Central Bar Quartet plays Lou Donaldson’s Gravy Train. Featuring Jamie Toms.
Sun 03: Paul Skerritt @ Smith’s Arms, Carlton, Stockton-on-Tees. 7:00pm.
Sun 03: Johnny Hunter Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 03: Jam session @ The Schooner, Gateshead. 8:00pm. Free.

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!

Friday, June 30, 2023

Shakti @ Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith - June 27

John McLaughlin (electric guitar), Ganesh Rajagopalan (violin, konokol), Zakir Hussain (tabla, konokol), Selvaganesh Vinayakaram (ghatam, percussion, konokol), Shankar Mahadevan (vocals, konokol).  

The last time I saw these musicians was the fiftieth anniversary of the partition of India and Pakistan and the ticket said Zakir Hussain and John McLaughlin, though they would become known as Remember Shakti. Mrs T was heavily pregnant and from the second row the ghatam resembled a full-term bump so I attributed the huge applause from the audience facing it to them seeing the head, by way of pacifying a heavy, hot, uncomfortable far better half.

This time around it’s the fiftieth anniversary of the creation of Shakti, though we’re still several weeks shy of fifty years since I saw the Mahavishnu Orchestra; McLaughlin’s previous band. That night in '87 it was Zakir Hussain’s turn to blow my mind.


It’s almost forty years since my last visit to Hammersmith and it’s much bigger than I remember it and my eyesight is much worse. The four of them arrived to rapturous applause and all sat cross-legged on the additional stage. Opening track was from the original group and was followed by others from the three original albums, some from the Remember Shakti albums of the late eighties/early nineties and some from the new album which arrived in the post shortly before I set off for the Smoke.


They were soon joined by singer Shankar Mahadevan, a big deal in Asian communities I understand and there was a huge Asian contingency in the audience. In '87 I remember John receiving the biggest applause but tonight was about Zakir Hussain: one person shouted ‘love you Zakir’ promptly followed by ‘love you more’ which reminded me of the response to Pat Metheny at the Lowry in Manchester a few years back.


At age 81 John is still a phenomenon. He now plays electric guitar in Shakti, perhaps – like the twin-neck - he broke the custom acoustic he created to hint at the sound of a sitar, without patronising the music by playing one. In '97, with the absence of violinist L Shankar, we got Hariprasad Chaurasia playing bansuri flute (which was great) but it was also nice to have a fine violinist in Ganesh Rajagopalan this time. Ghatam and other Indian percussion was played by Selvaganesh, son of the late TH (Vikku) Vinayakaram, the original ghatam player who came back for Remember Shakti.


Shankar featured more prominently than I would have liked but there was plenty of konokol singing, at times from them all together (apart from McLaughlin), which was extraordinarily powerful.


But the night belonged to Zakir Hussain, who ought to be more famous than Elton (who should be less famous than Zakir),  a musician straight from the Gods and the esteem he’s held in by fellow musicians and the audience is clear to see. For those of us fortunate not to be old enough to remember Bird and Diz or Miles and Trane, John and Zakir is historic.


Support came from a very short set from French Vietnamese guitarist Nguyen Le and McLaughlin’s fellow Yorkshireman and band-member in Fourth Dimension Gary Husband switching between drums and keyboards. Some interesting innovations but also some soundscapes that reminded me of Pink Floyd, not a prog rock band I care for and not a prog rock band at all in the ears of many.


The last time I saw the Fourth Dimension I reviewed it for BSH and commented that – short of Shakti coming back together again – it would almost certainly be the last time. Surely that must be it. Steve T

1 comment :

Chris Kilsby said...

Thanks Steve - quite a night by the sound of it, one of a number of epoch-marking anniversary concerts. Maybe not marking the definitive end of an era, but certainly a reminder of time's passing, albeit in this case with McLaughlin retaining more of his remarkable powers than some of the veterans ambling around Glastonbury's stages this year.

While the big draw here was of course Zakir Hussain and JM, it seems the flame for this Indian strand of "jazz fusion" is being passed on, certainly with this band, and maybe elsewhere. I'm tempted to draw a small comparison with an Indo-fusion venture at the other end of the career journey, Leeds based Yaatri ( [Full declaration - my son is the drummer].

Yaatri toured UK-wide in May, to small but enthusiastic audiences, but seem to me to occupy an awkward niche fusing "prog", jazz and elements of classical Indian music. Present day (western) audiences seem less open to the Eastern canon than the older "hippy" generation (sorry Steve), and "South Asian heritage" audiences, in the UK at least, perhaps don't connect with the "jazz/prog" thing (cf the recent disappointing turnout for Jazz Orient, This is a shame, since as Steve notes, extraordinary power can be found in Indian rhythms and progressions.

We were lucky to catch Yaatri in Leeds with a large(-ish!) crowd who responded rapturously to this power and emotion. The energy was stoked up by the addition of young tabla virtuoso Zuheb Ahmed Khan (flown out from Delhi for the tour) and last minute local recruit Vijay Venkat, a quite remarkable Indian flute player. The effectiveness and emotional power of the merger of east and west surprised me and I think has to be heard live to really "get it". Speaking to Zuheb afterwards, all was revealed, as while his upbringing has had much rigid classical tradition (and incredible hours of practice...) he is also familiar with long "jam sessions" with great improvisational freedom. So, while our ears differentiate between the tonality and palette of the music, the main objectives are the same and compatible.

Hopefully the Shakti reprise will spark off more collaborations, and we will get to access more of these incredible Indian musicians. Chris K

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