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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.

Postage

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 ...

March

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: www.sedgefieldblues.com.
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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Album review: Marius Neset – Geyser – Live at Royal Albert Hall – BBC Proms (ACT)

Marius Neset (tenor and soprano saxophone, percussion); Ivo Neame (piano); Jim Hart (vibraphone, marimba, percussion); Conor Chaplin (double bass); Anton Eger (drums & percussion). The London Sinfonietta conducted by Geoffrey Paterson.

Mr Neset explains in his liner notes how much the changing world  has influenced his writing. It started as a post pandemic celebration with the geyser as a metaphor for the suppression of pandemic lockdowns and the post-lockdowns release; a bit like the tension and relief that can be found in much jazz music. Then came the Russian invasion of Ukraine which, to say the least, put a damper on things so it becomes an album of hope, bruised but surviving.

Geyser is Neset’s third album with the Sinfonietta following 2015’s Snowmelt and 2019’s Viaduct so he knows how to write and arrange for the much larger ensemble. The Sinfonietta’s role is to provide the background colour and a lot of the drama behind the solos from the jazz quintet at the front. Jazz with strings always throws up lots to consider. Sometimes the strings sound like they were (metaphorically) just bolted on, other times the actually jazz dissolves in a wash of insipid violins. This, however, is bold and audacious and helps to swing the mood across the whole album.

Opener, Waterfall, is a delicate rebirth, small sounds accumulating like the drops from melting snow in spring. Increasingly frantic on top whilst the lower turns develop into something more panoramic. A slow, stretching solo from Neset is spring, finding its new born energy. The optimism of spring is subsumed in the ponderous weight of the second track, On Fire, there’s even a little seasoning of Vivaldi in there. It’s beautiful, but tragic. The closing sections of the piece reminded me of Kamasi Washington in their ambition as Neset works both the quintet and the Sinfonietta expertly together as the forward line merge into and rise through rapid, rich interplay. That sense of release is carried on into Out of Sight. Ivo Neame’s piano solo becomes part of a huge, swirling and uplifting wall of sound pierced by Neset’s sax. A lyrical coda of pure Scandinavian jazz takes the tune to its end.

Lava opens with a folk dance feel as flutes, soprano and strings whirl round each other before the bigger stringed beasts join to give the tune more direction and energy, Neset’s soprano wrestles and fights its way through the melee; Chaplin’s double bass drives it all from the back row as Jim Hart’s vibes take centre stage. A short passage, reminiscent of something French and patriotic leads into a full-on assault from the Sinfonietta. It's an eruption. I expected from the title that Flow, which follows would be about the destructive power of the lava flow but, instead, it harks back to the delicacy of the opening part of Waterfall. The Sinfonietta strings accompany the quintet as Hart solos on vibes over bubbling bass before Neame takes over on piano. A melancholy passage is superseded by a Neame/Neset duet. 

Meeting Magma is a multi-layered folk dance with Neset doing most of the dancing; his solo is answered by the brass of the Sinfonietta which steps back behind the quintet and comes forward again to re-assert themselves. This is exactly what Neset was aiming for as the Sinfonietta pushes and exaggerates the group’s playing. Everything falls back, then, for a knotty, twisting, percussive solo from Ivo Neame over bass and rim shots from the drummer before the piece builds again to a crescendo that is big enough to fill the Albert Hall.

This whole album is a hugely successful marriage of strings and jazz and it matches Neset’s ambition of capturing both the post-pandemic relief and the clouds on the horizon in Ukraine. It also reminded me of those idealistic days when we used to talk about building back better and doing things differently with a new regard for the natural world after the pandemic. I wonder what happened to that.

Geyser is released on October 27 through all the usual channels. Dave Sayer

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