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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.


16611 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 1504 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (July 23).

From This Moment On ...


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.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

RIP Tristan Honsinger (Oct. 23, 1949 - Aug. 5, 2023)

American born, cellist Tristan Honsinger first moved to Canada, later relocating to Europe. In a long career, Honsinger performed with a who's who of the free jazz scene. In Amsterdam, Honsinger began an association with the Instant Composers Pool and worked across Europe with, among others, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg. Russell 

RIP Bob Jones (May 11, 1937 - Aug. 14, 2023)

For many years Bob Jones worked alongside George Wein producing the Newport Folk Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival. A founding producer of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Jones helped establish the Grand Parade du Jazz in Nice (aka the Nice Jazz Festival). In addition to working on major festivals, for a time he was road manger to Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and many more illustrious names. 

Album review: Chris Ingham Quartet - Hoagy II

Chris Ingham (piano, vocals); Paul Higgs (trumpet); Rev. Andrew J. Brown (bass); George Double (drums).

Nine years after Newcastle born Ingham's first album dedicated to the music of Hoagy Carmichael, an album which, incidentally, had Russ Morgan on drums, the singer/pianist has come up with a long awaited sequel that fully lives up to expectations.

Although there are several well known songs from Carmichael's considerable output (500 songs) there are also some less familiar numbers as well as a few totally new to me. All combine to convince anyone who didn't already know it that Hoagy Carmichael was the jazziest composer of all the creative denizens of Tin Pan Alley.

Album review: Zoöphyte - Galapagos

Sophie Alloway (drums); Clara Bing (backing vocals); Graeme Flowers trumpet); Will Fry (percussion); Dave Jones (bass); Peter Jones (vocals); Rob Luft (guitar); Tim Smart (trombone); Ross Stanley (keys); Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor sax, flute)

As the sun broke through the clouds over Sayer Towers and the butler butled, with a fresh gin and tonic, across to the patio where I was listening to Galapagos by Zoöphyte I thought to myself, ‘This is music for an Indian Summer.’ Back in the olden days when the lovely Mrs Sayer and I were courting acts such as Everything But the Girl, Sade, Working Week and Black were ploughing a mellow jazz groove, inspired by Steely Dan and Gil Scott-Heron amongst others and Stan and Astrid had a hit again with a re-release of their top tune about the lassie at the seaside.

All roads lead to Leeds

JazzLeeds have released an impressive programme of events starting tonight (August 31) at Seven Arts where, as part of the Chapel Allerton Arts Festival the Instant World Orchestra with support from Elf Mode kick things off.

It's a varied programme that should be to everyone's taste and well worth a visit. From Newcastle it's only a couple of hours down the A1(M). It's less by train providing the wheeltappers and shunters aren't on strike. You could even fly but bring a sleeping bag with you as airport floors aren't exactly up to Dunlopillo standard.

Seriously though, check out the link below for the full listings which culminate with a Christmas Eve jam session (Dec. 24) Lance


Wednesday, August 30, 2023

A couple of books I've been re-reading ...

I've just pulled a couple of books down from the shelf - you're never alone with a book or, I suppose, with a mobile phone - that monstrosity that no one seems to be able to live without these days. However, that's neither here nor there as both these stories were created long before such things were let loose on the world.

Dorothy Baker: Young Man With a Horn (sanitised by British censors for the filmed approximation as Young Man of Music), written in 1938, it purports to be inspired by the music, if not the life, of Bix Beiderbecke. Nevertheless, Baker was probably the first novelist to get a feel for fictional jazz writing and an insight into its origins despite some of the racist terms - the N word then was as acceptable as the F word is becoming today.'

Jamie Watkins' Major Creative Project Final Recital - August 30

Jamie Watkins (bass guitar); Jacob Egglestone (guitar); Bailey Rudd (drums); Ruby Oldknow (flute); Louis Wild (keyboards); Ellie Melvin (vocals)

Late August, Band Room, Newcastle University. Music recitals are in full swing this week and this afternoon Master's student Jamie Watkins presented his Major Creative Project Final Recital. Fellow students and supporters filed into the subterranean Band Room, the examiners last to arrive. At the appointed time (2:15) Jamie stepped into the spotlight... 

Paul Hartley Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - August 29

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Paul Hartley (guitars); Mike Hope (tenor sax); Ben Wilshire (bass); Eryl Roberts (drums).

Like a lot of things that are happening today, what you expect is not what you get and although I was looking forward to hearing the advertised guest, Jeff Gundren, the jazz gremlins were at work and it was not to be as Jeff had cancelled due to being bed-ridden with a mystery virus.  However, the show must go on and bandleader Paul Hartley enlisted the services of tenor man Mike Hope who was only here a week ago which may be the reason for the somewhat lower turnout than usual or perhaps the cooler weather was to blame?

Album review: Richard Baratta - Off the Charts

Richard Baratta (drums); David Kikoski (piano/keys); John Patitucci (bass/elec bass); Paul Rossman (congas) + Jerry Bergonzi (tenor sax on tks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9)

A take on lesser known compositions by, in track order, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Farrell, Alec Wilder, McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd, Chick Corea and Harold Arlen. Off the Charts brings them to the attention of present day audiences and deservedly so imbuing each carefully chosen track with the feel of today whilst still respecting their origins.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Album review: Danny Jonokuchi - Voices

One of the first indications of the effect that the pandemic was going to have on jazz and the world in general was back in March 2020 when American vocalist, trumpet player, bandleader, arranger Danny Jonokuchi had to pull out of a transatlantic guest appearance with Strictly Smokin' Big Band at Newcastle's Flat Caps Café.

Although on this album he neither sings nor plays* he knows a whole lot who do and, coupled with his fine arrangements, they all shine as indeed do the reeds, 'bones and rhythm section.

Each track showcases a different vocalist with some  complex, compelling scoring and meaningful solos.

And if that wasn't enough ten of the eleven song are among my all-time favourites.

Preview: Tune In to Jacqui Dankworth (Wednesday)

Tomorrow's edition of In Tune presented by Katie Derham features a live studio session by vocalist Jacqui Dankworth accompanied by pianist Charlie Wood. Tune to BBC Radio 3 at five o'clock. On Friday (Sept 1) Jacqui Dankworth appears at Snape Maltings with jazz trio and the Carducci String Quartet. Russell

Press release: Jazz North announces the ten recipients of its new promoter support programme, New Northern, who will support emerging artists in their clubs, venues and festivals

Jazz North has awarded bursaries to ten promoters across the North of England to develop emerging talent as part of their programmes: 

Hulljazz, ParrJazz, Footprints Jazz Club, Live @ Union Lane, Jazz Club at the Grayston Unity, Melodic Distraction, JazzLeeds, Discontinued, No Such Thing Records The Wombat Jazz Club. 

Jazz North CEO, Chris Bye, commented:

The ten promoters that make up the New Northern roster show just how thriving the northern jazz scene is. Every name on this list has demonstrated an absolute commitment to both their locality and the next generation of artists that represents the future of northern jazz. Jazz North is proud to support their work, their ethos and their gigs.”

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvisation

Following on from the hugely successful Newcastle Jazz Festival we have the rather more outré Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvisation which runs over three weekends from Sept. 22 to Oct. 8 at a variety of venues across the city.

A host of names, some well known, some not so. Some international, some national, some local but all committed to extending the city’s appetite for a contemporary grass roots jazz festival, presenting an innovative and diverse international line up, celebrating and pushing boundaries that challenge perceptions of jazz and improvised music.


Monday, August 28, 2023

Is there a sax playing dentist in the house?

One of our readers is seeking advice on how he will cope playing tenor after having either a partial upper denture fitted or a dental implant and is hoping some sax players out there can comment from their own post-dental experience before he goes ahead. Lance

Album review: Rebecca Poole - Dreamers Ball

Rebecca Poole (vocals/composer); Mark Edwards (piano); Dominic Stockbridge (guitar); Loz Garratt (bass); Evan Jenkins (drums); + Matt Skelton (drums on 1 tk); James McMillan (trumpet/producer)

Rebecca Poole, who also moonlights as Purdy under which moniker she toured with Jools Holland, appeared on the Netflex TV series The Crown as well as sharing a stage with Jamie Cullum at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and singing to 90,000 at Wembley, returns to her jazz roots with nine originals and an Elvis Costello cover.

Sunday night @ The Globe, Newcastle: Mark Williams Trio - August 27

(© Ken Drew)
Mark Williams (guitar); Paul Susans (double bass); Rob Walker (drums)

Hot foot from Ferg Kilsby's gig in Hexham, Newcastle Jazz Co-op's Railway Street HQ was doing good business ahead of Mark Williams taking the stage. A new album is in the offing and guitar master Williams took the opportunity to preview some original material. At a little after eight o'clock, Williams ambled onto stage with bassist Paul Susans and drummer Rob Walker.

Ferg Kilsby Quartet @ Queen's Hall, Hexham - August 27

(© Russell)
Ferg Kilsby (trumpet); Joe Steels (guitar); Andy Champion (double bass); John Hirst (drums)

The latest in Joe Steels' monthly Sunday afternoon sessions featured soon-to-be-departing local lad, Ferg Kilsby. Trumpeter Ferg is shortly to embark upon an adventure of a lifetime. Halls of residence sorted, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London beckons. This afternoon, leading a band at such a young age must have be a daunting experience, leading a band of A-listers must have be something else! 

Preview: Lisa Simpson Gets the Blues - 6:00pm tonite!

The Simpsons' plane is diverted to New Orleans rekindling Lisa's love affair with jazz. Tune to Channel 4 tonight at six o'clock to catch a repeat of Lisa Gets the Blues (The Simpsons, Season 29, Episode 17, 2018). Russell

Sunday, August 27, 2023

The Heat Is On! - Rita Hayworth - Miss Sadie Thompson (1953)

Well I guess it's the weather and nothing we can do about it but the rain does seem to turn up with greater regularity than the Tyne and Wear Metro or the number 27 Crusader which brought to mind Somerset Maugham's story Rain - aka Miss Thompson.

In this Hollywood adaption Hayworth's voice is dubbed, fantastically, by Jo Ann Greer but Rita's dancing is all her own and the brief trumpet blast is, I'm sure, by Mannie Klein. Perhaps someone can confirm or contradict? Lance

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Album review: Caesar Frazier - Live at Jazzcup

Caesar Frazier (B3); Jonas Kullhammer (tenor sax); Johannes Wamberg (guitar); Kresten Osgood (drums)

I must confess that Caesar Frazier was a new name to me even though his 1972 soul classic Hail Caesar is, seemingly, now considered a very valuable, much sought-after, collectable rarity. I'll have to get out there and start looking before Simon Spillett beats me to it!

However, on second thoughts, this particular album is pretty damn good anyway and I can't bear the thought of thumbing through all those Jim Reeves' albums and Buddy Bolden cylinders in the vain hope that I might hit pay-dirt. 

Aycliffe Radio: Jazz Time - Sundays 6.30-8.00 pm (repeat Tuesdays 8.00-9.30pm)

 Aycliffe Radio is now available on DAB in County Durham & Darlington Area.


Playlist 27/08/23. (Repeated Tuesday 29/08/23)


Birthdays: MJQ + Branford Marsalis

RIP: Michael Parkinson: Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett/Bill Evans.

Requests from Darlington Big Band: Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Bridget Metcalfe, Dexter Gordon. Lee Morgan, Cannonball Adderley, JJ Johnson.

Birthday Memories: Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson.

Requests: Louis Armstrong/Earl Hines, The Boswell Sisters.

What’s On in the NE: Abbie Finn.

Requests: Woody Herman Orchestra, Stan Kenton.

Album review: The Bix Centennial All Stars - Celebrating Bix!

In 2003 Bix Beiderbecke enthusiast Doug LaPasta assembled an all star line-up to play and record the music of cornetist and icon of the golden age of jazz, Leon Bismark 'Bix' Beiderbecke. The year - 2003 - marked the centenary of the birth of Bix and the recording, from all of twenty years ago, was released on one disc. Now, two decades on, Turtle Bay Records present an expanded package extending across two discs which includes some previously unreleased material. 

Friday, August 25, 2023

Album review: Mette Juul - Celeste

Mette Juul (vocals, guitar); Mike Moreno (guitar); Lars Danielsson (bass, cello, celeste, melodica, cymbals)

There's a wistful, ethereal, little girl lost charm about Danish singer Juul's voice. It entwines, not just around the lyric but also around the heart, the ears, of the listener. The only other singer I can recall who achieved that same effect was the late Shirley Horn. Shirley, like Mette, could turn a swinger into a lovelorn ballad and vice versa. 

Jazz on the Tyne remembers Dave Weisser

In this special edition of the podcast, presenter Colin Muirhead pays tribute to Dave Weisser, a major figure on the local jazz scene who died recently.  The programme features songs by Dave and his partner Jude Murphy, along with recollections and dedications, including tunes by Nina Simone, Mel Tormé, the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, and Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz & Sonny Stitt.

You can listen to the show anytime from noon on Saturday August 26 by heading to:

Plus, you can request tunes for future programmes by emailing Colin at or heading to

Album review: Nina Simone - You've Got to Learn

Nina Simone (piano, vocals); Rudy Stevenson (guitar); Lisle Atkinson (bass); Robert Hamilton (drums)

Half a dozen newly-discovered recordings from the 1966 Newport Jazz Festival show the many facets of Ms. Simone ranging from the tender I Loves You Porgy via the bluesy Blues For Mama, words by Abbey Lincoln to the protest song of social injustice Mississippi Goddam. All underlined by her piano playing which, like her voice, is gentle at times, raucous and percussive at others.

Guitar, bass and drums provide solid support which, combined with the above,  make this an essential addition to her legacy. Lance

You've Got to Learn; I Loves You Porgy; Intro to Blues For Mama; Blues For Mama; Be my Husband; Mississippi Goddam; Music For Lovers 


Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - August 24

Merlin Roxby (piano)

This evening was Merlin Roxby's third engagement of the month here on Pink Lane and he'll be back again next Thursday (Aug. 31). Our ragtime(ish) pianist is rapidly becoming a fixture at Prohibition Bar. Merlin doesn't say 'Boo!' to a goose, he doesn't address his audience, all he does is play the piano. 

Merlin's limited repertoire is slowly expanding. Left Bank TwoSt Louis Blues, we've heard them before, we're sure to hear them again. Our man likes Ray Charles (Mess Around), he likes Jelly Roll Morton (Big Foot Ham), Scott Joplin (Heliotrope Bouquet) and then there's what could be considered his signature number, the theme tune to the 'most effectual' Top Cat. Merlin Roxby is one to watch. Go hear him at Prohibition Bar. Russell    

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Album review: Anthony Hervey - Words From my Horn

Anthony Hervey (trumpet/vocals); Sarah Hanahan (alto sax); Isaiah J. Thompson, Sean Mason - tk 5 only - (piano); Phillip Norris (bass); Miguel Russell (drums)

I've got egg on my face! This one's been lingering in my 'in-tray' since June. In my defence it was the label that put me off. OUTSIDE IN MUSIC brought to mind the occasion many years ago when I went two rounds listening to an Albert Ayler album - I didn't come out for the third - and my corner threw the towel in.

I suspected this could be another early TKO until I noted that DownBeat, who know a bit about these things, had given it a 4½ star review which is only ½ a star short of max.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Update on Frank Griffith's jazz radio show

Please be advised that my weekly show - The Jazz Cavern is now on PURE JAZZ RADIO  due to the recent demise of  My Kinda Music.

This week's show will feature the music of Brazilian pianist and composer, Sergio Mendes. Tracks from his "Brasil 66" recordings, Timeless (2006), Crystal Illusions (1969) and The Fool on the Hill (1968) will feature.

Admittedly, an unacceptably small section of his oeuvre but (I think) a reasonably good showcase of pieces by Brazilian composers as well popular standards of the time.

"The Jazz Cavern" Broadcasts on (from NYC) on Tuesdays at 4:00AM, Saturdays at 7:00AM and Fridays at 6:00AM, NYC time. (5 hours later in the UK)

The show is not available on a 24/7 catch-up option.

Check out my weekly jazz radio show - THE JAZZ CAVERN @ Tuesdays at 9:00AM and Saturdays at 12:00PM - UK time. Frank Griffith

Album review: the Diva Jazz Orchestra "30" - Live at Dizzy's Club

A celebration of the Diva Jazz Orchestra's thirtieth anniversary recorded live at Dizzy's Club in NYC.

Sixteen women swinging like crazy, picking up where Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Basie and Duke left off. Okay, maybe an exaggeration but only a very slight one and, upon listening a second time, I'm not sure it's an exaggeration at all! Certainly the trumpet and trombone plunger solos by Dauber and Krupa on In a Mellow Tone wouldn't have been out of place in any Ellington ensemble. Likewise, on I'm Gonna go Fishin', Leslie Havens on bass trombone, Noriko Ueda bass, Laura Dreyer tenor sax and leader Sherrie Maricle on drums all recapture the original concept whilst making it their own.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Lewis Watson Quartet @ Blaydon Jazz Club - August 21

(© Pam)
Lewis Watson (tenor sax); Mark Williams (guitar); Andy Champion (double bass); John Bradford (drums)

In common with many jazz clubs, Blaydon Jazz Club has experienced declining numbers, particularly in these post-pandemic times. However, this evening's concert had all the makings of an 'I was there' occasion. 

The star attraction here at the Black Bull was none other than tenor saxophonist Lewis Watson and by the eight o'clock down beat it was standing room only, literally standing room only. 

NJF 2019 - 2022

After last week's tremendous Newcastle Jazz Festival I thought it might be interesting to look back at some photo albums from the four previous years since it returned. Covid put the mockers on the 2020 festival and although there were some livestreams I don't think I got any screenshots.

Nevertheless,  the ones listed below will, I am sure, bring back memories and inspire everyone to look forward to 2024 with eager anticipation. Lance

Frans Sjöström (1944-2023)

I'm in a cleft stick here as there are site visitors who were closer to him and more familiar with the work of the Swedish bass saxophonist Frans Sjöström than I am. Nevertheless, on the couple of times that I've heard him at the various versions of the Whitley Bay Jazz Festival, he sounded as good as most purveyors of that lugubrious instrument, although, to be honest, the only other bass saxist I recall having heard playing the instrument live was Harry Gold. Frans was in that league.

Away from playing, I met up with him one Sunday afternoon at Hoochie Coochie for one of Jason Isaacs’ Sunday afternoon sessions and he loved it – ‘Nothing like this on a Sunday afternoon in Sweden’ he said, listening to the band and watching the dancers.

I’ve half-inched the unaccredited photo from the Classic Jazz PartywebsiteLance


Monday, August 21, 2023

Gavin Barras Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - August 20

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Gavin Barras (bass); Ray Butcher (trumpet/flugel); Jim Faulkner (guitar); Steve Hanley (drums)

Not only is Gavin Barras a superb bass player but he knows how to put together musicians to produce the best results and tonight we heard some creative modern jazz from all involved. Six tunes per set making a total of twelve were played and it would be impossible for me to select any highlights as I liked all of them, from the opening Parker blues, Now’s the Time, to the closing Rollins' number Oleo.

Ray Butcher was very impressive and as well as switching from trumpet to flugel, he used the mute to good effect on a couple of tunes. Jim Faulkner sounded great on guitar and he has developed a reputation for producing interesting solos as well as knowing what not to play. If I played guitar I would like to sound just like him.

Questions and (some) answers.

How deep is the ocean?: It's a long way - fourteen fathoms deep. To get there would take longer than your average double bass/drum solo although it may not seem so at the time. 

How high the moon?: Just short of 400,000 kilometres. Average time is about three days although most tenor players could do it in two.

Have you met Miss Jones?: Who hasn't? That broad's been round the block a few times.

What is this thing called love?: Cole Porter first posed the question but that was before he had access to Wikipedia - LINK.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Newcastle Jazz Festival: Day Five - August 20

There was a small matter of some football to watch so I missed this first set of the afternoon by the duo of Graham Hardy (trumpet/flugel) and Stu Collingwood (keys) on this, the final day of NJF. However, as I made my way through the throng someone said to me that I'd missed a cracking set and that Graham Hardy had, 'blown his socks off'!

Matt Forster Quartet : Matt Forster  (tenor sax); Ben Lawrence (keys); John Pope (bass); Adam Stapleford (drums).

This was an eyeopener. I'd only previously heard Matt with the Strictly Smokin' Big Band where he has but limited opportunity to extend. No such restrictions here and, just after you'd been  assailed with Graham's socks, Matt's too were, metaphorically speaking, going with the prevailing wind which was a jazz tornado.

Aycliffe Radio: Jazz Time - Sundays 6.30-8.00 pm (repeat Tuesdays 8.00-9.30pm)

 Aycliffe Radio is now available on DAB in County Durham & Darlington Area.


Playlist 20/08/23. (Repeated Tuesday 22/08/23)


Birthday Memories: Count Basie Orchestra, Chris Barber/Eddie Durham, Jack Teagarden, Art Farmer/Milt Jackson/ Benny Golson, Bill Evans Trio.

Requests: Chet Baker, Erroll Garner, Lee Morgan, Les McCann & Eddie Harris, Ezra Collective, Walter Smith III.

What’s on in the NE: Ferg Kilsby, Spats Langham, Benny Goodman, Hoagy Carmichael.

Newcastle Jazz Festival: Day Four - August 19

Ruth Lambert Duo

Ruth Lambert (vocals); Martin Craggs (guitar)

(© Russell)
Ruth was in good voice (when is she not?) and she delivered a choice selection of goodies ably supported by Martin on a nylon-strung, semi-acoustic cutaway guitar. He gets a great sound with some lovely chord voicings that don't grow on the pages of your Bert Weedon tutor.

Apart from her voice and her very personalised phrasing, Ruth can also turn a song into theatre with her facial expression or a hint of body language. This was particularly noticeable in Social Call and Black Coffee. A great start.

How Deep is the Ocean?; But Beautiful; I've Got the World on a String; Here's That Rainy Day; Social Call; Black Coffee; Desifinado; Lush Life; Like Someone in Love.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Newcastle Jazz Festival: Late Night Jam Session @ Newcastle Arts Centre - August 18

Alan Law (keyboards); Paul Grainger (double bass); Abbie Finn (drums) + Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Pete Tanton (trumpet, vocals); Niffi Osiyemi (vocals); Jan Spencelayh (vocals); Minnie Fraser (vocals)

Following the Alex Clarke Quartet's superb concert, the tried and tested jam session format in the intimate Black Swan bar transferred into the larger performance space for a late night Newcastle Jazz Festival jam session. The house trio - Alan Law, Paul Grainger and Abbie Finn - didn't need any introduction to jam session regulars, however, some in the audience were, perhaps, new to it all. By accident or design, the opener - Just Friends - seemed rather appropriate.

Newcastle Jazz Festival: Alex Clarke Quartet @ the Black Swan - August 18

(© Mike Tilley)
Alex Clarke (alto/tenor sax); Andrzej Baranek (piano); James Owston (bass); Dave Walsh (drums)

The show kicked off with If I Were a Bell and the die was cast for an evening of post swing, not quite bebop, booting tenor by a player who has absorbed the past and brought it into the present. Using a borrowed 1935 Conn tenor surely helped her on the journey. A big sound.

(© Mike Tilley)
Moonglow featured James Owston who was amazing as if to say this is how it's done! Alex switched to alto for Cole Porter's I Love You done as a samba. Her approach on alto comes across as more modern. Back to tenor for a luscious In a Sentimental Mood and the set concluded with an uptempo version of You do Something to me.

Alice Grace & Pawel Jedrzejewski @ The Lit & Phil - August 18

(© Patti D)
Alice Grace (vocals); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar)

The Lit & Phil jazz concert this month was totally in the ‘jazz the intimate art’ category.

Singer Alice Grace gave us an intriguing set of contrasting songs put across in such a charming manner. All were exquisitely sung and all underpinned by Pawel’s gentle guitar accompaniment which was based on effortless finger style, classical guitar technique. His arpeggiated chordal playing, walking bass lines and contrasting rhythmic interludes provided the perfect backdrop to the songs, many of which I’d not heard before. Mostly he played an electric archtop but for three pieces he switched to a nylon strung classical guitar which I understand was his first gig with the new instrument. It sounded lovely.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar - Aug. 17

Merlin Roxby (piano)

The second night of this year's Newcastle Jazz Festival drew a capacity crowd to the Strictly Smokin' Big Band's gig in the upstairs room at the Bridge Hotel (see BSH Editor-in-Chief's review). An early start (seven o'clock) brought about a relatively early finish, time enough to dash along the road to Prohibition Bar...

(Press release) Sage Gateshead flings open its doors for an Open House Weekend of free live music experiences for all

Tap your toes to local artists, hear the building’s secrets, get up close to Royal Northern Sinfonia in rehearsal and embarrass your kids on the dance floor…

Sage Gateshead’s doors are wide open on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September, with a programme of free events for all to explore and get involved.

Sage Gateshead opens its doors on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September for a major celebration of music making in its first Open House Weekend. Lovers of live music can enjoy free gigs, workshops and tours, or soaking up the sounds while enjoying the view over the Tyne.

Newcastle Jazz Festival: Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ the Bridge - August 17

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
Michael Lamb (MD), Pete Tanton, Dick Stacey, Gordon Marshall (trumpets); Jamie Toms, Matt Forster, Keith Robinson, Dave Kerridge, Sue Ferris (reeds); Mark Ferris, Kieran Parnaby, Ben Haslam, John Flood (trombones); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); James Peacock (keyboards); Michael Whent (bass guitar); Guy Swinton (drums); Alice Grace (vocals)

One of the established traditions of the Newcastle Jazz Festival is that Thursday night's action takes place at the Bridge where the Strictly Smokin' Big Band pull in the punters and not just because it's free. If it were ten times the price (joke) they'd still show.

They had a few deps in but such is the depth of talent that they have to draw from it didn't show.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Album review: JazzMain - Blue Note Nights

Nick Gould (tenor sax); Steve Grossart (keys); Iain Harkness (bass guitar); Kevin Dorrian (drums)

As regular visitors to this site will know I'm an out and out dedicated follower of the music put out by Blue Note Records in the 1950s and '60s. If their albums hadn't been so expensive when they were first released in the UK I'd probably have the whole, pre-Liberty catalogue on my shelves. Nevertheless, I've got a fair number so that when anything comes along paying tribute to the artists who recorded for that iconic label I tend to regard it with a degree of suspicion.

Newcastle Jazz Festival: Ben Shankland Trio + Amy Thatcher & Fran Knowles @ The Globe - Aug. 16

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
Ben Shankland (keyboards); Ewan Hastie (double bass); Chun-Wei Kang (drums)

Pianist Ben Shankland is an emerging force in Scotland and on the wider jazz scene. In 2022 bassist Ewan Hastie was crowned BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year, and Chun-Wei Kang is a drummer we're all going to be hearing a lot more of. As the trio ambled onto stage, many of the Globe's row upon row of seats were occupied. Clearly word had got round, this was one of the hot tickets at this year's Newcastle Jazz Festival. 

Saying It With Jazz by Joan Merrill

An essential website for singers and those interested in the history and the art of jazz singing by broadcaster, producer, and author of five jazz based mystery novels - to mention but some of her achievements - Joan Merrill of South Bend, Indiana.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

A not-so-quiet midsummer Black Swam jam session - August 15

Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Tim Johnston (drums) + Fiona Finden (curved soprano); Rachel Richman, Luis Verde, Paul Ruddick (alto sax); Harry Keeble, Nick Gould, Ian White (tenor sax); Stu Finden (baritone sax); Ferg Kilsby, Edgar Bell, Shivan Ruddick (trumpet); Stu Collingwood (piano); Giles Strong (guitar); Jude Murphy (double bass, flute, vocals); Jamie Watkins (bass guitar); Abbie Finn, Bailey Rudd, Felix Parkin-Christie, Dan Potter, Kris Finney (drums); Jan Spencelayh, Ian Drever, Niffi Osiyemi, Kate O'Neill, Jane Gould, Bethany (vocals)

August, schools out, students backpacking, others holidaying, it was likely to be a sparse turn out. Nope, just the opposite! As the seven thirty down beat approached the Black Swan was filling up nicely, lots of new faces, too. The house trio - Alan Law, Paul Grainger and Tim Johnston - warmed up with a couple of tunes before inviting the first of many sitters-in to step up.

Newcastle Jazz Festival starts tonight

At last the fifth Newcastle Jazz Festival is here and there are plenty of goodies in store. Over the past couple of weeks Russell has previewed each day individually which, for convenience sake, I've collated below. Lance

Wed. Aug. 16

Thu. Aug. 17 - one

Thu. Aug. 17 - two

Fri. Aug. 18

Sat. Aug 19 

Sun. Aug. 20

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Album review: Jalen Baker - Be Still

Jalen Baker (vibes); Paul Cornish (piano); Gabriel Godoy (bass); Gavin Moolchan (drums)

Baker, a relatively new name to me, is a welcome addition to the vibraphone lineage that began with Red Norvo and Lionel Hampton and developed over the years via Terry Gibbs,  Milt Jackson, Victor Feldman, Gary Burton, Bobby Hutcherson through to Joe Locke and many others although not that many compared to other instruments.

Press release: HOMER’S LANE and others

I am very happy that my audio play Homer’s Lane,  inspired by the life and work of Joe the Quilter, is finally coming very close to its original setting.

After a wonderful reception at the UK International Audio Drama Festival, the play will be presented at the Old Gaol Museum in Hexham, just around the corner from Homer’s Lane, a little country road near Warden. 

On Friday the 15th of September Homer’s Lane will be played three times (2pm, 3pm, 5pm) as a special broadcast in the upstairs room of the museum. 

Monday, August 14, 2023

Preview: The Lewis Watson Quartet - Blaydon Jazz Club (Monday, August 21)

Next week (Monday, August 21Lewis Watson returns to Blaydon Jazz Club! One of the finest saxophonists of his generation, Watson will be in the company of guitarist Mark Williams, bassist Andy Champion and drummer John Bradford. Now that's what you call 'A-list'! Join Lewis, Mark, Andy and John at the recently refurbished Black Bull for an eight o'clock start. Admission eight pounds, what a bargain! Russell 

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