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Bebop Spoken There

Charles McPherson: “Jazz is best heard in intimate places”. (DownBeat, July, 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

16590 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 483 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (July 14).

From This Moment On ...

July

Tue 23: Nomade Swing Trio @ Newcastle House Hotel, Rothbury. 7:30pm. £10.00. Tickets from Tully’s of Rothbury or at the door (cash only). A Coquetdale Jazz event.

Wed 24: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 24: Nomade Swing Trio @ Café Needles Eye, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. 6:00pm. Reservations: 01670 641224.
Wed 24: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 24: The Ronnie Scott’s Story @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Wed 24: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 24: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Thu 25: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 25: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Garry Hadfield (keys); Noel Dennis (tpt); Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Adrian Beadnell (bass).
Thu 25: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Fri 26: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 26: Bailiwick + Sleep Suppressor + Christie/Chan @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors 6:30pm). ‘Experimental evening of jazz, punk and jazz-punk’.
Fri 26: Nomade Swing Trio @ Repas7 by Night, Berwick. 7:30pm. Free.
Fri 26: Stuart Turner @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Fri 26: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Fri 26: Bold Big Band @ Old Coal Yard, Byker, Newcastle. 9:30pm. A Newcastle Fringe Festival event.

Sat 27: BBC Proms: BBC Introducing stage @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 12 noon. Free. Line-up inc. Nu Groove (2:00pm); Abbie Finn Trio (2:50pm); Dilutey Juice (3:50pm); SwanNek (5:00pm); Rivkala (6:00pm).
Sat 27: Nomade Swing Trio @ Billy Bootlegger’s, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sat 27: Mississippi Dreamboats @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 27: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Sat 27: Theon Cross + Knats @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 10:00pm. £22.00. BBC Proms: BBC Introducing Stage (Sage Two). A late night gig.

Sun 28: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 28: Miss Jean & the Ragtime Rewind Swing Band @ Fonteyn Ballroom, Dunelm House (Durham Students’ Union), Durham. 2:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Sun 28: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, Union Quay, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Nomade Swing Trio @ Red Lion, Alnmouth. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Jazz Jam Sandwich! @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 28: Jeffrey Hewer Collective @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 28: Milne Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Mon 29: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 30: ???

Wed 31: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 31: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 31: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Saturday, July 08, 2023

Album review: Shakti - This Moment

Shankar Mahadevan (vocal, konokol); John McLaughlin (guitar, acoustic guitar, guitar synth); Ganesh Rajagopalan (violin, konokol); Zakir Hussain (tabla, chanda, madal, konokol); Selvganesh Vinayakaram (kanjira, mridangam, ghatam, konokol).

When Shakti emerged from the ashes of the Mahavishnu Orchestra it  was documented in a South Bank Show. Although I was listening to soul music almost exclusively by then, McLaughlin had left an indelible mark on me and it seemed extraordinary that he had wound up a band who had enjoyed remarkable success making instrumental music with odd time signatures, unusual influences and previously unheard levels of virtuosity, for a band whose music seemed - at the time - alien and ‘other’ and almost primitive.

 

I still wouldn’t make any claim to know anything about Indian music and - least of all – Indian classical music. I’ve been indoctrinated by the western preoccupation with melody over everything else and the blind (and deaf) obedience to British and American media myths the same as everybody else. However, with the benefit of almost half a century of voracious music listening, it appears to me that the original three Shakti albums – or at least the second and third – were positioned to attract a more western audience with shorter pieces, greater use of repetitive melody, hooks and heads and an immediate jouissance of joyfulness. In contrast and in hindsight, the Remember Shakti tours and albums of the late nineties and early nowties seem to draw - to a greater degree - on the Indian influences, with much longer pieces requiring greater patience than western audiences for ‘popular culture’ generally have to spare for music.

 

I’ve only arrived at this conclusion on seeing the latest incantation of the band live and having more time to digest the new album. The obvious change is the greater use of vocals beyond the occasional konokol of earlier line-ups. There’s also a return to shorter pieces and I imagine this group will appeal more to western audiences due to greater familiarity with Indian music throughout society and I wonder if this is part of the master-plan. Furthermore I suspect the voice will also increase their popularity amongst Indian listeners both in the UK and the sub-continent.

 

Perhaps most significantly, Indian music has become cool again, but this time it goes beyond British and American pop groups appreciation of Ravi Shankar (who – like Remember Shakti - I also saw during the celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of the partition of India and Pakistan) and their superficial use of the sitar as a novelty.           

 

This was true of the live show but more so of the album, that the prolific vocals were less of a problem the further they go on. With scant exceptions (Sinatra, Beefheart, Gabriel), the only singers I like come from soul, reggae and blues, so this was never going to do it for me, but I found it inoffensive, un-intrusive and impressive, as often as not used more as an instrument than to convey lyrics (I think).

 

The album is dedicated to the late U Shrinius, who played mandolin on later versions of Remember Shakti, who co-wrote one piece with singer Shankar Mahavedan who also wrote another. There’s one group composition, another by Vinayakaram and three by McLaughlin. I’d recommend it to anybody with any interest in Indian music, though my preference for the original band remains, with Natural Elements my favourite of their three albums. Steve T 

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