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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.


16590 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 483 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (July 14).

From This Moment On ...


Sat 20: Snake Davis & Helen Watson Duo @ Chopwell Community Centre NE17 7HZ. 7:30pm. £17.50.

Sun 21: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 21: Salty Dog @ The Globe, Newcastle. 3:00pm.
Sun 21: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free. Sun 21: The Big Easy @ The White Room, Stanley. 5:00pm.
Sun 21: Ben Crosland Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 22: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 23: Nomade Swing Trio @ Newcastle House Hotel, Rothbury. 7:30pm. £10.00. Tickets from Tully’s of Rothbury or at the door (cash only). A Coquetdale Jazz event.

Wed 24: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 24: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 24: The Ronnie Scott’s Story @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Wed 24: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 24: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

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: 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.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The Symphonic Music of Wayne Shorter @ Royal Festival Hall (EFG LJF 2023) - Nov 19

Philharmonia conducted by Clark Rundell with Ravi Coltrane (saxophone); esperanza spalding (voice); Danilo Pérez (piano); John Patitucci (double bass); Terri Lyne Carrington (drums) 

One of the most daunting and impressive highlights of the 2023 London Jazz festival was this two-hour programme of “symphonic music” by Wayne Shorter, who died in March 2023 while writing and planning this music for a concert that would have celebrated his ninetieth birthday this year.

Eighty musicians of the Philharmonia conducted by Clark Rundell augmented by five of the absolute cream of the jazz crop, each one a former collaborator of Wayne Shorter. Their shared history working with Shorter can’t be denied but a heavily ‘written’ programme didn’t give much indication of their iconic quality, with functional playing from John Patitucci on double bass and Terri Lyne Carrington on drums, and only brief luminous moments of piano from Danilo Pérez or saxophone from Ravi Coltrane reprising Shorter’s own role in the proceedings as they have been performed in previous concerts. esperanza spalding showed impressive prowess as a de facto opera singer, but stays off the bass this time sadly.

The two-hour programme amounted to a comprehensive examination of Wayne Shorter’s original writing for orchestra. When asked what advice he would give to young composers, he said "Write what you wish for.” Shorter’s finest works possess a sophisticated harmonic ambiguity that forges a distinctive identity of musical mysticism and his substantive works in jazz include standards like Footprints and Speak No Evil, but as with other jazz composers such as Mingus, their forays into classical realms are not always as convincing. Some of the vocal writing, often wordless, might grate on you as “Bloody Star Trek singing” though admittedly the European premiere of a suite of Highlights from ... (Iphigenia) were convincing as operatic writing, even if the two-hour running time of the full opera Iphigenia would be otherwise a labour to get through. The half-hour mega-work Gaia is certainly symphonic, and you tend to forget the programme of the music as you immerse yourself in its undoubted richness.

These are works of deep classical music with not much jazz about it, the language of his rearrangements of Villa Lobos and Sibelius, reminiscent of Ravel, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Barber, Vaughan Williams, even moments of dense modernism out of Birtwistle but mostly a post-Romantic paradigm. Midnight in Carlotta's Hair and Causeways are buoyed by the comparatively lighter tone of the shorter works. Forbidden, Plan-It! is reimagined for orchestra and while it improves on the dated gated-reverbed 1980s synthpop production it’s an arrangement with little room to breathe, though the composition itself is interesting enough to deserve a more sympathetic setting. Orbits is better, with less of the orchestral pomp and more like a jazzy Gershwin rhapsody with especially tasty piano from Danilo Pérez. Every note is notated (except for the ones that aren’t). Daniel Pérez described the process of his work with Shorter over the years as 'comprovising" - composing and improvising; composing works based on improvisations. The programme was billed as “a timeline of Shorter's journey and his vision of a living, breathing, evolving style of comprovising” but the sheer density of the notated material was somewhat compromising.

Conductor Clark Rundell introduced himself as the “relative newcomer” who had only worked with Wayne Shorter for fifteen years of the 125 clocked up by the musicians present (37 of which by Terri Lyne Carrington). Short reminiscences interspersed the musical pieces. John Patitucci called Shorter “nicest genius you could ever meet” and Carrington called him a rare genius and “champion for women before it became fashionable.” esperanza spalding recounted visiting his house where he worked on tree trunks of score paper writing every note in ink with his hands in a home filled with three hundred fairy statues that he said came to life at night. As esperanza spalding praised in Shorter’s intensive writing practice: “Every single note is written with transformative intention.” There is a mythic level of spirit and struggle in these works, but they can be a slog for fans more acclimatised to Shorter’s more dextrous and mystic jazz language. AJ Dehany

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