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Bebop Spoken There

Ambrose Akinmusire: “ I am certainly always aware of what the masses are doing. And when I see too many people going one way, I'm going another way - even when I don't know what's over that way". DownBeat, March, 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.


16246 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 128 of them this year alone and, so far, 72 this month (Feb. 29).

From This Moment On ...


Mon 04: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 05: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Joe Steels, Paul Grainger, Abbie Finn.

Wed 06: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 06: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 06: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 07: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 07: Ray Stubbs R & B All Stars @ The Schooner, South Shore Road, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Thu 07: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Ragtime piano.
Thu 07: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. Guests: Mark Toomey (alto sax); Donna Hewitt (tenor sax); Garry Hadfield (keys); Ron Smith (bass); Mark Hawkins (drums). 8:30pm.

Fri 08: Noel Dennis Quartet @ The Old Library, Auckland Castle. 1:00pm. £8.00. Noel Dennis (trumpet, flugelhorn); Rick Laughlin (keyboards); Mick Shoulder (double bass); Tim Johnston (drums).
Fri 08: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 08: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free. CANCELLED! Back on March 15.
Fri 08: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Sat 09: Alex Fawcett Band + Lindsay Hannon Blues Trio @ Sedgefield Parish Hall. 7:00pm. £15.00. A Sedgefield Rock & Blues Club event. Tickets:
Sat 09: Shunyata Improvisation Group @ Cullercoats Watch House. 8:00pm. Donations. A Watch House renovation fundraising concert.
Sat 09: Ray Stubb’s R&B All Stars @ The Peacock, Sunderland. 6:00pm. Free. Gig in the downstairs bar.

Sun 10: Am Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:30pm. Free.
Sun 10: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 10: Salty Dog @ The Lounge, Blyth. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 10: Vintage Explosion @ Wylam Brewery, Newcastle.
Sun 10: Fraser Fifield: Secret Path Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 10: Jazz Jam @ Fabio's, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 11: Matthew Forster Quartet @ Yamaha Music School, Seaforth St., Blyth NE24 1AY. 1:00 - 1:45pm. £8.00. + bf.
Mon 11: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 12: Lewis Watson Quartet @ Newcastle House Hotel, Rothbury. 7:30pm.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Album review: John Pope Quintet – Citrinitas

John Pope (double bass, percussion); Jamie Stockbridge (alto, baritone sax); Faye MacCalman (tenor sax, clarinet); Graham Hardy (trumpet, flugelhorn); Johnny Hunter (drums, glockenspiel).

Having been mightily impressed by Mr Pope’s 2023 album, Mixed With Glass, I made a point of booking to see one of the gigs at the Star and Shadow cinema where this album was recorded back in April. And here we have Citrinitas, only six months after the recording dates with the same musicians on the bandstand as for the previous album.

First up is Free Spirit which opens with a New Orleans strut and slips and slides its way through the blues, loudly and declamatory. The shadow of Charles Mingus hangs over this one but in a good way. There are worse things for a bassist/composer than to be compared to Mingus.

Shadow Work gives a nod to Fables of Faubus in its opening few bars of melancholy march but develops into something altogether more free and disconnected as Pope invites us to follow him into his world of squeaks in the darkness before we climb back up for a series of rolling wrestling matches with furious blowing from Stockbridge on baritone.

A Procession of Heads sees the bass pushed to the fore and the drums lower in the mix. It’s almost a duet between bass and baritone with MacCalman throwing in the occasional comment from the Greek chorus. Pope gives us a bowed, occasionally abrasive, solo whilst the others dance lightly around him.

World Dancer is a tumult of melodies born, shadowed, developed and abandoned as new ideas come to bear. We dive into a tunnel of ideas, the tune is first anchored by Pope but then he sets off on runs of his own and the melody starts to flow as MacCalman leads the call and the others answer her before Hardy’s trumpet flies out of the melee. It’s exciting stuff and having played it once I had to flick back and hear it again from the start. 

Hiba, which follows, gives us a long, eastern flavoured melody line to follow over Johnny Hunter’s rattling drums. A frantic solo from Pope over subtle droning from the others that sounds like it could be electronica ends as he counts the band back in and MacCalman, this time on clarinet, blows a piercing swooping solo line. 

Much of Quantum Stepper sounds like music for modern dance with an extended section suggesting free, flowing, moves and hot stepping, though how the choreographers would deal with the free section in the middle is beyond me.

Closer, ShiryO opens with a wild rampage, the tenor manages to cut through the madness. It’s another album highlight that requires the listener to just hang on until it all breaks down for a bold and compelling unaccompanied tenor solo. Storm clouds develop in the background which grows into rolling thunder from the rhythm section behind long mournful sweeps from the front line.

This is another really strong album from Pope and friends and all credit goes to him and Wesley Stephenson for this album. It’s another high point for jazz in the north east and for the NEWJAiM  (New Jazz and Improvised Music Recordings) label.

It’s out now and is available through Bandcamp. Dave Sayer

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