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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...


16051 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 1058 of them this year alone and, so far, 12 this month (Dec. 6).

From This Moment On ...


Mon 11: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 11: Interim Final Recitals @ Newcastle University. Details TBC.

Tue 12: Stu Collingwood Organ Trio @ Forum Music Centre, Darlington. 7:00pm. £10.00.

Wed 13: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 13: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 13: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 13: Bold Big Band @ Cluny 2, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Wed 13: Giles Strong Quartet @ Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 14: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 14: Hot Fingers @ The Lubetkin Theatre, Peterlee. 7:00pm. £10.00.
Thu 14: After Hours Student Jazz Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 14: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. . Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 14: Niffi Osiyemi Trio @ Harbour View, Sunderland. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 14: Mo Scott ‘Little Mo’s Festive Appearance’ @ The Schooner, Gateshead. 8:00pm. Free.
Thu 14: Tees Hot Club w. Kevin Eland, Josh Bentham, Garry Hadfield, Adrian Beadnell @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 15: Paul Edis @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT!
Fri 15: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 15: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 15: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 15: Paul Skerritt @ Black Horse Inn, Crook. From 7:00pm.
Fri 15: Paul Edis: A Jazzy Christmas @ St Cuhtbert's Centre, Crook. 7:30pm. £15.00. SOLD OUT! Waiting list open.
Fri 15: Zoë Gilby Trio @ Seventeen Nineteen, Hendon, Sunderland. 7:30pm. £12.00. POSTPONED!
Fri 15: Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle. 8:00pm. First night of two. SOLD OUT!
Fri 15: Darlington Big Band @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. £10.00. Opus 4 Jazz Club.
Fri 15: Baghdaddies @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £14.00.; £10.00.

Sat 16: Paul Edis: A Jazzy Christmas @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 2:00pm. A Jazzy Christmas + Jambone.
Sat 16: Porritt & Barrett & Friends Xmas Special @ Cullercoats Watch House. 7:00pm. £4.00.
Sat 16: Milne-Glendinning Band @ The Vault, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free.
Sat 16: Red Kites Jazz Band @ The Staithes Café, Gateshead. 7:00pm--9:00pm.
Sat 16: Hayley's Little Big Band @ Ellingham Village Hall, Chathill. 7:30pm. £12.00., £8.00.
Sat 16: Paul Edis: A Jazzy Christmas @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Sat 16: Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Second night of two.

Sun 17: Red Kites Jazz Band @ Gibside Chapel, nr. Rowlands Gill. 1:00-2:30pm.
Sun 17: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 17: Revolutionaires @ Tyne Bar, Newcastle. 4:00pm. Free. Rock ‘n’ roll excellence!
Sun 17: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Alehouse, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 17: The Globe Xmas Party @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. Multi-bill inc. David Gray’s Flextet + jam session.
Sun 17: Paul Edis: A Jazzy Christmas @ Queen's Hall, Hexham. 7:30pm. £17.00., £15.00.
Sun 17: Hayley's Little Big Band @ Amble Parish Hall. 7:30pm. £12.00., £6.00.
Sun 17: Snake Davis Trio @ St John’s Hall, Snods Edge, Shotley Bridge DH8 9TJ. 7:30pm. £15.00. from 07766 037893.

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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