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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...

Josh Weir: I love the writing on bebop spoken here... I think the work you are doing is amazing.


16527 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 407 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (June 12).

From This Moment On ...


Thu 13: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 13: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. £5.00. Upstairs.
Thu 13: Musicians Unlimited @ Dorman’s, Middlesbrough. 8:00pm.
Thu 13: Jazz Guys @ Tynedale Beer & Cider Festival, Corbridge. 8:00pm.
Thu 13: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 13: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guest band: Musicians Unlimited

Fri 14: Mark Williams Trio @ The Old Library, Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 14: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 14: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 14: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 14: Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. ‘Ella & Ellington’. 7:30pm. £18.00.
Fri 14: Customs House Big Band @ Customs House, South Shields. 7:30pm. Donations (online, min. £3.00.).

Sat 15: Keith Barrett & Andrew Porritt @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 12 noon. Free. A Cullercoats Festival event.
Sat 15: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Sat 15: James Birkett & Emma Fisk @ Sunderland Minster. 7:30pm. £15.00., £8.00. (u16s free). ‘The Great American Songbook’. A Bishopwearmouth Choral Society event, conductor David Murray.
Sat 15: Jude Murphy & Dan Stanley @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 16: Jason Isaacs @ Stack, Seaburn SR6 8AA. 1:00-2:45pm. Free.
Sun 16: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 16: Gaz Hughes Trio @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. £10.00.
Sun 16: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 16: Gaz Hughes Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 16: Jazz Jam @ Fabio’s Bar, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 17: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 17: ‘Tower of Power’ @ The Library Bar, Saddler St., Durham . 7:30pm.Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Tue 18: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Victoria & Albert Inn, Seaton Delaval. 12:30pm. £13.00. ‘Jazz, Sausage ‘n’ Mash’…’with Onion Gravy’!
Tue 18: Jam Session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Stu Collingwood, Paul Grainger, Tim Johnston.
Tue 18: Libby Goodridge & Ben Davies @ The Lost Wanderer, Leazes Park Road, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £6.00. Triple bill, inc. Goodridge & Davies (jazz).

Wed 19: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 19: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 19: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music: Zoe Rahman Octet @ Jesmond United Reformed Church, Jesmond - Sept. 28

(© Ken Drew)
Zoe Rahman (piano); Rowland Sutherland (flutes); Camilla George (alto sax); Tori Freestone (tenor, soprano saxes); Mark Armstrong (trumpet); Rosie Turton (trombone); Alec Dankworth (bass); Gene Calderazzo (drums)

The octet featured most of those who had appeared on Colour of Sound album which came out earlier this year, however, Tori Freestone and Camilla George had been called off the bench for the tour. This was not the sort of second team you put out for the League Cup! In fact it was the first gig that featured Camilla George; her and Tori Freestone are the sort of quality players that would grace any team, both having impressive reputations, live and on disc.

(© Ken Drew)
The octet would run through the Colour of Sound album in more or less the same order as on the disc. They faced an appreciative audience but would have to do battle with the acoustics in the URC. This problem was apparent from the opening tune, Dance of Time. The elegant piano opening led into heavy duty chordal piano playing. (IMHO Zoe Rahman’s left hand should be recognised as a national treasure). It was Mark Armstrong’s trumpet solo that really struggled with the hall. Perhaps it might have sounded less bright and thin if I’d been sat on an umpire’s chair and could hear the sound up there. Calderazzo’s drums were also a victim, but, strangely enough, Sutherland’s flute solos rang out strongly as did Rahman’s piano.

Rahman writes strong tunes and her arrangements for the octet allow for both extended solos and extended ensemble playing. I always think that an octet is about the perfect size group for jazz, neither too big nor too small. No one hides and there are no longeurs where fifteen people are stood counting bars whilst the rhythm section backs a soloist. And she knows that there is no point in having eight voices if you don’t let them sing together.

For the second piece, For Love, Rahman donned a fetching pair of bejewelled long sleeved fingerless gloves that would catch the light during the rest of the show, especially during her more energetic solos. For Love opens with the whole octet before Freestone comes to the fore with a wistful, yearning solo; Rahman’s solo dances as her sleeves catch the light, her right hand rings out like bells. A brass, reeds and flute charge lead to the close.

Little Ones is dedicated to Zoe’s children and opens with a delicate piano solo. The complex melody is embellished by Freestone on soprano, the two of them waltzing over bass and drums. Sweet Jasmine is an opportunity for Turton to declaim like a town crier on trombone before attention moves to the other end of the stage for Rahman’s sliding blues piano. It mixes sixties' soul with rolling rhythm and blues with Armstrong’s trumpet punching holes in the roof. Calderazzo’s furious solo using brushes is beaten by the acoustics; he would have fared better with a couple of lump hammers!

Peace Garden is named after a garden at Rahman’s children’s school in High Barnet that was created during lockdown. It’s an elegant lullaby with rolling bass and cymbals. A flute solo of flights and trills leads into the return of the full band to ride into Conversations with Nellie, a storming closing dance to end the first set.

Part 2 opens with Roots with just the trio on stage. Plucked and strummed piano strings lead into an intense, brooding, stormy solo with heavy, ominous chords in the left hand while the right hand rings out its struggles to escape. It’s very dramatic and would, IMHO (again), work as a brilliant sound track to the right sort of animation, (Fantasia 3 anyone?)

Go With The Flow simply sings with the flute set up in opposition to the brass and reeds, a charging trumpet solo and thunderous drumming. By way of contrast, Maya, is all warmth and fondness with soft flute and buzzing muted trumpet. It’s a song of home and hearth, the security of place and family.

Unity is the last tune played from the album and captures the feeling of musicians being able to play together again after lockdown in its spring-like re-awakening blowing away some of the dark undercurrents in the opening bars.

This is a great band poorly served by the echoey acoustics which not all the musicians were able to overcome. Still, a great night out and a big win for the Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music. Dave Sayer

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