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Bebop Spoken There

Abbie Finn: "Even though there's a lot of great work being done to promote women in jazz, I still come up against some attitudes! I pulled up at a recording session with my drums in the car and the studio owner said, 'I'm sorry, this space is reserved for the drummer!'" - (Jazzwise April 2023).

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!"


15245 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 15 years ago. 264 of them this year alone and, so far, 77 this month (March 25).

From This Moment On ...


Mon 27: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Tue 28: Paul Skerritt @ The Rabbit Hole, Hallgarth St., Durham DH1 3AT. 7:00pm. Paul Skerritt's (solo) weekly residency.
Tue 28: Sanaz Lavasani Trio @ Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre. 8:00pm. £12.00 (£10.00. adv).

Wed 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 29: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 29: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 29: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 30: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library. 2:30-4:30pm. £2.00. All welcome.
Thu 30: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. Back to 1:00pm stomp off. Free.
Thu 30: '58 Jazz Collective @ Hops & Cheese, Hartlepool. 7:30pm. Free.
Thu 30: Lindsay Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man @ Harbour View, Sunderland. 8:00pm.
Thu 30: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 31: Lewis Watson Quartet @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT!
Fri 31: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 31: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 31: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm. CANCELLED! Back next week (April 7).
Fri 31: Jasmine Myra + Waclaw Zimpel @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Fri 31: The Revolutionaires @ The Shack, Boldon Colliery. 7:30pm. £10.00. The Revolutionaires' big band (horn section) line-up.
Fri 31: Andrew McCormack @ Maltings, Berwick. 8:00pm. £20.00.

Sat 01: The Big Easy @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm.
Sat 01: Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Steve Glendinning - In a Minor Key. £25.00. Enrol at:
Sat 01: Hot Club du Nord @ Pleased to Meet You, Bridge St., Morpeth. 8:00pm. £79.00. A charity fundraising event.
Sat 01: Boys of Brass @ Stack, Seaburn. 7:00-9:00pm.
Sat 01: Rendezvous Jazz @ Red Lion, Earsdon. 8:00pm. £3.00. RESCHEDULED to next week (Sat 08).

Sun 02: Smokin' Spitfires @ The Cluny. 12:45pm.
Sun 02: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.

Mon 03: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Pop Jazz @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - March 26

David Gray (trombone, vocals); Richard Herdman (guitar); Alan Law (piano); Jude Murphy (double bass, vocals)

Conversation led to the idea that they should play some 'pop jazz'. Prohibition Bar offered a platform and here we were on a Sunday evening on Pink Lane. The assembled quartet - David Gray, trombone, peddle board (!) and vocals, Richard Herdman, guitar, Alan Law, piano, Jude Murphy, double bass and vocals - pieced together a set list, not exactly last minute, nevertheless, as Jude confided, they would be 'flying by the seat of their pants'.

Musicians Unlimited @ The Park Inn, Hartlepool - March 26

Teesside's premier big band has once again settled into the Park Inn. A recent tour of prospective alternative venues resulted in Mick Donnelly and co deciding to return on a permanent basis to the Park Road hostelry. The band sets up, the punters turn up, and sometime shortly after one o'clock MD Donnelly gets thing under way. A simple formula and it's a winning one. All seats taken, band vocalist Jan Spencelayh was pressed into action from the down beat. Fascinating Rhythm was a new chart for Musicians Unlimited (the Ella version) and all, not least Jan, came through with flying colours.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

The '58 Jazz Collective @ Dorman’s Jazz Club, Middlesbrough - March 23

Kevin Eland (trumpet/flugel); Donna Hewitt (tenor sax); Django Zazou (trombone/vocals); Dave Archbold (keys); Ron Smith (bass); Mark Hawkins (drums); Jan Spencelayh (guest vocalist).

The evening's guest band, led by Kevin Eland, have now been together for several years and this was clearly  demonstrated  by their polished performance. 

Starting the night with Squiby McGee - a nice medium swing number by Jim Martin with trumpet intro from Kevin and fine sax and keyboard solos from Donna and Dave gave a first class start to the evening.

The three front line brass instruments produced a very effective big band sound on 88 Basie Street. 

Album review: Bruno Heinen & James Kitchman - Rainbow Shadows

Bruno Heinen (piano); James Kitchman (guitar)

Two musicians not entirely unknown in the north east. Kitchman honed his skills in local gigs and jams. London based Heinen, a Prof at Trinity Laban, works well with Kitchman and the duo have played several venues together 'up north' achieving a rapport that makes this collaboration rather special.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Album review: Lizzie Thomas - Duo Encounters

Lizzie Thomas (vocals) with, individually, Helio Alves, John Do Martino, Rossano Sportiello (piano); Ron Carter, Dezron Douglas, Noriko Uedo (bass); Café da Silva (percussion); Russell Malone, Ron Affif, Guilherme Monteiro (guitar); Wayne Escoffery (tenor sax); Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf (cello)

Duo albums can often become tedious with the format frequently lacking in variety because of the limitations that come with the set up.

Thomas overcomes these obstacles by laying down twelve duo tracks with twelve different instrumentalists on six different instruments.

And not just any twelve musicians but, as the details listed above reveal, the cream of NYC and beyond.

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

Playlist 26/03/23. (Repeated Tuesday 28/03/23)

Spring: Fats Waller, Ella Fitzgerald, Willie "The Lion" Smith, Glenn Zaleski and Lauren Henderson, Stan Getz Quintet, Ramsey Lewis,

New Releases: Helena Kay, Wayne Alpern.

 EFG London Jazz Festival: Abdullah Ibrahim.

Scott Dunn, Claire Martin & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates ...

Back in February  I reviewed this beautiful album and this YouTube clip gives an insight into what must surely be, come NYE, among the front runners for the vocal album of the year. If it isn't then there's something rotten in the state of Denmark St.

Album Review: Sharon Sable & Joe Holt - Once Upon a Summertime: The Music Of Blossom Dearie

Sharon Sable (voice); Joe Holt (piano) + Amy Shook (acoustic bass tracks 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11)

I remember listening to Blossom Dearie before I knew about jazz, and being fascinated by her naïve and lovely sound. Readers of BSH don't need me to outline her work of six decades, performing in jazz clubs, cabaret, in Paris, London, NYC, and covering the GASbook and her own material.

These two performers developed this project during the lull of lockdown, twelve tracks including two written by Ms Dearie, Inside a Silent Tear  and I Like You, You're Nice. 

Friday, March 24, 2023

Roberto Cassani and Fraser A Campbell - Goodness Of The Human Heart

An interesting preview of a debut album by two musicians - one born in Perth and one who moved there from Italy, possibly having heard how fair the maids are up there north of the border which, for the geographically illiterate, means Scotland. They came together during the Covid thing when Roberto Cassani decided that the Williamsburg Bridge was a bit of hike to jet off to with his bass, what with the respect that baggage handlers don't always show to musical instruments and the lack of a decent haggis, so he opted for a park bench in Perth instead.

Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - March 23

Pianist Merlin Roxby is making a habit of this, getting a gig that is, down on Pink Lane. This evening, playing for himself and anyone who cared to listen, Merlin sat at Prohibition Bar's upright to knock out a few ragtime numbers. Some were there to listen, although the upstairs counter attraction of a medium spinning yarns perhaps won out in terms of numbers in attendance. No matter, Merlin's ever-growing repertoire is well worth hearing.

Julia Hülsmann and Sunna Gunnlaugs @ Sage Gateshead -March 23

(© Ken Drew)
Julia Hülsmann, Sunna Gunnlaugs (pianos)

The young(ish) blonde lady sitting nearby wondered if this two piano session would be like the Fabulous Baker Boys? I replied with a yes and a no and a maybe.

They weren't boys but, were they fabulous? No. However, they were pretty damn good which is as close to an accolade as this reviewer has ever bestowed upon anyone apart from Daryl Sherman who once kissed me (on the cheek!).

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Album review: Shirley Scott - Queen Talk: Live at the Left Bank

Shirley Scott (Hammond B3); George Coleman (tenor sax); Bobby Durham (drums) + Ernie Andrews (vocals on 3 tks).

Another belter from Baltimore's Famous Ballroom! It's 1972, organ trios were still very much in vogue and they don't come any better than this glorious triumvirate. 

"Scotty", as she was known by her fellow musicians, could out-swing most of her male contemporaries on both keyboard and pedals and is in top form here providing the foundation for some wild, funky tenor playing from Coleman on the 12 minutes long blast on Coltrane's Impressions the whole caboodle driven aggressively along by Bobby Durham.

Info wanted on The Tonics

Stephen Carmichael, son of the late Tyneside sax, flute and clarinet player Charlie Carmichael, sent me some photos of Charlie playing with a local band called The Tonics. Can anyone recall the band and the names of the other members? Lance

Photo link (more to follow).

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Album review: Walter Bishop Jr. - Bish at the Bank. Live in Baltimore

Walter Bishop Jr. (piano); Harold Vick (tenor/sop sax, flute); Lou McIntosh (bass); Dick Berk (drums)

A truly eye-opening double album. I'd only heard Bishop on early bop recordings with Bird, Getz and Mobley where his role was primarily that of accompanist with only the odd 32 bar solo here and there. Just enough to let you know he was up for the gig and, let's face it, if he wasn't able to cut it he wouldn't have been moving in such exalted company although they did have other things in common...

Preview: Julia Hülsmann and Sunna Gunnlaugs @ Sage Gateshead -March 23

(Press release) Two leading jazz pianists, one from Germany and the other from Iceland, sit at two grand pianos and start a conversation. Julia Hülsmann and Sunna Gunnlaugs perform their own composition and play with melodies, moods and the unexpected.

The two pianists Sunna Gunnlaugs from Iceland and Julia Hülsmann from Germany first met in Berlin in 2013 where they performed together at the prestigious Felleshus. Little did they know that the connection they formed would carry them to festivals in Iceland, Germany, Belgium and Sweden over the next 10 years. The duo explores each others compositions with a mutual admiration and fascination that conjures artist interaction in its purest form.

Album review: Pharoah Sanders Quartet – Live At Fabrik, Hamburg 1980 (Jazzline Classics, 2023)

Sanders (tenor sax); John Hicks (piano); Curtis Lundy (bass); Idris Muhammad (drums).

As it was for scruffy scousers in the early '60s, based on this ongoing series of archive concert releases, in the '80s Hamburg looks like it was the place to be for jazzers. And that’s no Fabrikation! This week brings a 1980 recording by the Pharoah Sanders Quartet out of the drawers. And it is Sanders looking quite old on the cover but displaying no age related restraint in the music. In fact it is, largely, 70 minutes of joy, swing, energy, screaming, screeching, blueswailing fun. I don’t know whether it was exceptionally well recorded back in 1980 or if the sound is the result of some analogue to digital cleaning up, but this recording leaps out of the speakers. I first played it whilst driving on the A1 and Ferrybridge has never seemed such a joyous place.

The Black Swan Takeover - March 21

They had been massing on the horizon for some time. It was only a matter of time before they would launch a raid on the Black Swan. MC Paul Grainger decided to launch a pre-emptive strike, a case of getting in your retaliation first. An invitation to three of the student ringleaders to lead this evening's jam session was accepted and here we were, surrounded by a large number of 'bright young things' eager to show what they could do. 

The student house trio - Jacob Egglestone, guitar, Jamie Watkins, bass guitar, Bailey Rudd*, drums - opened with Stella By Starlight. The students would stand their ground for half an hour and more playing a selection of classic and contemporary numbers (In a Sentimental Mood, A Night in Tunisia), Jacob playing all the chords and more, Jamie knocking out pulsating bass lines, Bailey impressing, not least in his use of brushes.

Album review: Larry Bluth Trio - Never More Here

Larry Bluth (piano); Don Messina (bass); Bill Chattin (drums)

Another piece of Tristanoism emerges. This time in the form of Larry Bluth, a pianist and a Tristanoite by proxy of having studied with Lennie Tristano's most well-known piano student Sal Mosca.

Hopefully, the release of this album and the Mosca album reviewed a couple of days back may lead to a renewed interest in Tristano and his followers of whom I'm rapidly becoming one. This may sound like heresy and it probably is but, much as I love Monk, apart from Stan Tracey, his imitators tend to sound like Les Dawson!

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Ten tenor sax players I never heard live

Gene Ammons, Chu Berry, Benny Golson, Wardell Gray, Joe Henderson, Eddie Miller, Hank Mobley, Brew Moore, Sonny Rollins, Lester Young.

These are just a few of those I missed. Be interesting to read your lists of whoever and on whatever instrument you missed out on catching live. Lance

Abbie Finn in April's Jazzwise

This month's Jazzwise, the best of the UK's jazz mags that you can actually buy in a proper newsagent or at W.H. Smith's is of particular interest to those who also log on to BSH.

It features an interview with drummer Abbie Finn. Abbie, known, loved and admired by all who have followed her progress from jam session sitter-in to bandleader, composer and in-demand percussionist comes across well. The girl's done good and this is just the beginning. Watch this (and Jazzwise's) space. Lance

The Central Bar Quartet play Wes Montgomery @ the Central Bar, Gateshead - March 20

Joe Steels (guitar); Alan Law (piano); Mick Shoulder (bass); John Bradford (drums).

Because of the shape of the building the Central Bar is known locally as 'The Coffin' so it seemed an appropriate venue for the exhumation of guitarist Wes Montgomery or, at least music associated with and recorded by him

You could tell before a note was played who the featured guest was. Joe Steels, in a powder blue jacket, snazzy shirt and tailored jeans stood out in the sartorial stakes. By comparision, the house trio were, shall we say?, casual chic(ish).

Another clue of course was that this being a celebration of Wes Montgomery's centennial they weren't going to book a banjo player.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Mike Hall Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - March 19

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Mike Hall (tenor sax); Dan Whieldon (keys); Ed Harrison (bass); Eryl Roberts (drums).

I’ve just been looking at Mike’s web page and he seems to have quite a few dates lined up for March/April so if you live outside the Greater Manchester area and are looking for some modern jazz, Mike will have something for you.

Here at the Railway there was a full house for this Sunday night concert and after mentioning that he was suffering from a sore throat, Mike went straight into a lively version of Bronislaw Kaper’s much played composition On Green Dolphin Street. A good tune to start any gig with before things got onto a Latin groove with Kurt Weill’s Speak Low during which we heard Dan Whieldon play an interesting solo plus strong support from the bass of Ed Harrison and some great drumming from Eryl Roberts.

Album review: Sal Mosca - For Lennie Tristano

Sal Mosca (solo piano).

Mosca will be forever associated with Lennie Tristano, who was both his friend and teacher, so it is no surprise that this recording, discovered after his (Mosca's) death in 2007, is dedicated to his mentor.

The Tristano school is very much an esoteric group of musicians who found their own voice even though the prevailing wind came from the almost all-encompassing influence of Charlie Parker. This exclusive clique, all Tristano alumni, included among others Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, Peter Ind, Arnold Fishkin and Billy Bauer. Mosca recorded or gigged with most of them going back as far as 1949 although this, his first solo recording comes from 1970 (there are also a couple of later tracks from 1997 added - ten years before his death).

Groove Crusade @ Union Lane, Brampton Community Centre, near Carlisle - March 18

(© Christine T)
John Moreman (trombone); Stuart Johnson (reeds); Willy Fluss (guitar); Peter Major (keyboards, vocals); Neil Harland (bass); Tim Franks (drums).

Images was the first jazz album I ever bought and the Crusaders remain my favourite jazz-funk act. Many call it smooth jazz but they’d be wrong. In hindsight, the seeds of smooth jazz were evident right from the very beginnings of jazz-funk, but the Jazz Crusaders came from the soul-jazz movement of the sixties, alongside Cannonball, Charles Lloyd and Ramsey Lewis, and they never lost that.   

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Raible/Gradischnig Quintet play the music of Elmo Hope @ Gala Theatre Durham - March 17

(© Malcolm Sinclair)

Steve Fishwick (trumpet, flugelhorn); Herwig Gradischnig (tenor sax); Claus Raible (piano); Giorgos Antoniou (bass); Matt Home (drums)

A beautiful spring day in Durham, the Gala Theatre studio space sold out and rightly so. This was an outstanding concert paying tribute to the inspirational music of Elmo Hope and celebrating what would have been his centenary. 

From the very first number, So Nice (Trippin'), we knew we were in for a special gig with musicians who have been touring and playing music they love throughout the UK and Europe.

Preview: Black Swan Open Mic (Thursday 23)

You've been to the legendary Black Swan jam session at Newcastle Arts Centre, you've been to one or more of the monthly concert promotions, now there's the first in a new series of open mic nights. Described as an 'open mic night for soloists and bands', the first one, open to all genres, is on Thursday (March 23). Organised by a familiar face from recent jam sessions, Martha asks participants to sign up in advance for a 7:30pm start (doors 7:00pm). It's free admission to all - performers and audience. Get in touch at: If you need any further incentive, there's a £25 bar tab to be won! Russell 

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Album review: Luis Russell - At the Swing Cats Ball

Louis Armstrong (trumpet, vocal); Shelton Hemphill, Louis Bacon, Red Allen (trumpet); Wilbur DeParis, George Washington, J.C. Higginbotham (trombones); Pete Clarke, Charlie Holmes (alto sax); Albert Nicholas, Bingie Madison (clarinet, tenor sax); Luis Russell (piano); Lee Blair (guitar); Pops Foster (bass); Paul Barbarin, Sidney Catlett (drums); Sonny Woods, Midge Williams (vocals).

A fascinating collection of undiscovered 1938/40 airchecks by the Luis Russell Orchestra featuring Louis Armstrong and, to a lesser extent, Henry 'Red' Allen.

Both trumpet players are in fine form with Armstrong arguably at his peak soaring above the sometimes dated arrangements. It doesn't matter, when he cuts loose time stands still, maybe even moves forward. It may not be Dizzy or Roy but he is certainly laying the groundwork for them. 

Preview: Wayne Shorter at the London Jazz Festival (BBC 4, Sunday)

In tribute to Wayne Shorter who died on March 2nd, BBC 4 tomorrow (Sunday) is to broadcast a programme first shown more than twenty years ago. The American saxophonist's 2001 London Jazz Festival appearance was captured on film and this is a rare opportunity to see it again. Tune in at 9:10pm, Sunday. Russell    

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

Playlist 19/03/23. (Repeated Tuesday 21/03/23)


Mother’s Day: Clarence Williams & his Orchestra, Frank Sinatra/Count Basie, Etta James, Earl Hines, Jean Goldkette, Billy Strayhorn, Billy Test, Gregory Porter.

Requests: Herman Waldman, Carla Bley, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Mike Vax.

Spring: Cleo Laine, Clifford Brown/Max Roach.

What’s On: Sunna Gunnlaugs and Julia Hülsmann.

Spring  (cont.): Freddie Hubbard, Melissa Aldana

Friday, March 17, 2023

Tony Coe (1934 - March 16, 2023)

Sad to learn of the passing, yesterday, of Tony Coe. Over the years, I heard him in many settings both live and on record - he always delivered.

My initial memory of hearing Tony Coe was with the first great Lyttelton band. The band with Coe, Jimmy Skidmore and Joe Temperley on saxes. I heard them at a concert in London, somewhere near Covent Garden. This was back in the late 1950s. I'd gone to the concert expecting to hear some New Orleans' jazz and came away in what was an almost Damascus moment! I particularly recall their version of In a Mellotone and, most of all, the sax solos, plus of course Humph's humorous announcements and, to a lesser extent, his trumpet playing.

Gaz Hughes Trio @ the Lit & Phil - March 17

(© Patti Durham)
Gaz Hughes (drums); Andrzej Baranek (piano); Ed Harrison (bass).

Three linchpins of the UK's north west jazz scene made an eagerly anticipated trans-Pennine trip as part of their promotional tour promoting their recently released album Beboptical Illusion, the follow up album to Beboperation. Hughes asked for suggestions for the title of the next album and, not without a degree of self interest, Conversational Bebop crossed my mind! 

Saxophonist Helena Kay set for Scottish tour

(© Benjamin Ealovega)

(Press release) Award-winning saxophonist, Helena Kay’s KIM Trio tour Scotland in support of their latest album, Golden Sands, from Thursday March 30.

The album has won both praise and plays from radio presenters in Canada, the US, Australia, Ireland and the UK. One Italian magazine even went as far as to place Golden Sands among the best of current jazz.

“That’s very flattering,” says Kay. “But the coverage that has touched me most was the programme in Atlanta that used Xian Impressions from the album as the bridge between its tribute to the great Wayne Shorter, who died earlier this month, and the new music on its playlist. Being considered good enough to follow Wayne Shorter is quite a compliment.”

Gerry Richardson Quartet @ Hoochie Coochie - March 16

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
Gerry Richardson (organ, vocals); Garry Linsley (alto sax); Rod Sinclair (guitar); Paul Smith (drums)

The rarely spotted Gerry Richardson Quartet have recently been seen and heard twice. The Globe last month and tonight at Hoochie Coochie. Enough to make a soul/funk/jazz/blues twitcher to er well start twitching!

And twitch we did. The northeast has produced the UK's two finest exponents of the B3 or, in this case, a Crumar, in the form of the late Mike Carr and Gerry Richardson. Strong words I know but I'm open to discussion.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Survey reveals over 1 in 4 Professional Musicians Skipped a Meal due to Cost of Living Crisis

26% of musicians have skipped a meal within the last 12 months due to cost of living crisis.

  • 90% feel unconfident in the UK government’s ability to handle the crisis
  • 64% have seen their number of gigs decrease as a result of the crisis
  • 79% think it’s likely rising fuel prices will limit how far they can travel for gigs
  • 51% have taken a second job as a result of cost of living crisis
  • Young and female musicians are the most likely to have seen a drop in gigs
A recent survey of 301 musicians, by Encore Musicians (a musician booking platform), revealed that 26% of professional musicians, have skipped a meal due to the cost of living crisis. This is well over the national average of 14% recently reported in the Guardian (Source: TUC), suggesting musicians are struggling more than most.  

Jazz on the Tyne – What’s On, late March 2023

In the latest edition of the podcast, presenter Colin Muirhead will preview gigs featuring the Milne Glendinning Band, Sunna Gunnlaugs, Rebecca Nash, John Pope & John Garner, Archipelago, Jasmine Myra, Helena Kay and Andrew McCormack.  He’ll also showcase new music by Cécile McLorin Salvant and pay tribute to Wayne Shorter.

You can listen to the show anytime from noon on Saturday 18th March by heading to

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

Glasshopper and Nathalie Stern @ Bobiks - March 11

(© Ken Drew)
Jazz North East presented Glasshopper at Bobiks last Saturday and photographer Ken Drew kindly sent a couple of collages from the gig.

Glasshopper comprises Jonathan Chung (sax),  James Kitchman (guitar) and  Corrie Dick (drums). The Facebook blurb described the music thus: "This unit of focused players explore melody and improvisation with complete reverence and abandon, intricately weaving together moments of sonic bliss and euphoric rock-outs. Always aspiring to search for fresh interpretations, the bass-less line up blurs the lines between the jazz, folk and rock realms. Seldom settling, always searching".

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Paul Hartley Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - March 14

Paul Hartley (guitar); Gair Carson (tenor/alto sax/flutes); Ben Wilshire (bass); Eryl Roberts (drums).

 Paul’s guest tonight was Gair Carson a musician who apart from playing in local big bands, also plays in one of the west coast tribute groups that work around this area. His sound on both tenor and alto reminds me of the kind of saxophone style that was prevalent before Coltrane became such a big influence on the jazz scene. 

Preview: Raible-Gradischnig Quintet @ The Gala Theatre, Durham (Friday 17th)

The Raible-Gradischnig Quintet is dedicated to performing the music of  the American pianist Elmo Hope. Pianist Claus Raible and tenor saxophonist Herwig Gradischnig are on tour with their quintet and the good news is Durham's Gala Theatre is on the itinerary! At one o'clock on Friday, Raible, Gradischnig, Steve Fishwick (trumpet), Giorgos Antoniou (double bass) and drummer Matt Home will be flying the flag for the late, great American musician.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Album review: Chris Potter – Got The Keys To The Kingdom: Live at The Village Vanguard (Edition Records, 2023)

Chris Potter (tenor sax); Craig Taborn (piano); Scott Colley (bass); Marcus Gilmore (drums)

This feels like the one this band had been waiting for. The sense of freedom is almost palpable, as if the fear of a return to lockdown was in the air and the organisation and recording had to be accelerated before we were all ushered back into our hutches.


Potter had released an album during lockdown (There Is A Tide) on which he had played every note but with Got The Keys To The Kingdom he was now allowed to go out and play with his friends and, by God, he was going to make the most of it.

Happy Birthday Quincy Jones - 90 today (March 14).

Q has done it all. From Lionel Hampton to Michael Jackson via Basie, Sinatra, Hollywood and 80 Grammy nominations - of which 28 got the nod - he is the man. We wish him well and hope the cake is big enough to take all the candles - long may he continue. Happy Birthday.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Album review: Planet D Nonet - Blues to be There

(Collective); R.J. Spangler (bandleader, congas); Michael Zaporski (piano); Trevor Lamb (bass); Sean Perimutter (drums); James O'Donnell (vocal trumpet); Charlie Miller (trumpet); Tbone Paxton (trombone, vocal);  Alexis Colista (alto, sop sax); Christopher Tabacrynski (tenor sax, clarinet); Goode Wyche III (bari sax, clarinet); Alex Harding (bari sax); Ryan Bills (tenor sax); Kasan Belgrave (clarinet).

Please someone, send me some duck eggs to review just so I can vent my spleen! 

My spleen remains distinctly unvented by this splendid interpretation of some of Ellington's 1950s' classics. The soloists capture the mood to perfection and they don't fall asleep as some Ellingtonians were prone to do!

Ben Crosland Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - March 12

Ben Crosland (bass guitar); Dean Stockdale (keys); Rod Mason (tenor/sop sax); Dave Tyas (drums).

Once again the information on the March flyer was incorrect  listing this band as a trio when there were four musicians involved. I was pleased to see that Rod Mason was in the lineup as he has not played this venue for a while. He was using tenor sax and a curved soprano for this gig although I noticed he had also brought along an alto but I don’t think it was utilised. Rod likes to play sitting down these days but this does not impede his high energy approach and his solos tonight were well received by the Sunday night audience.

GNBBJF - Sunday 5 (Schools Section)

Sunday morning, bright and early. Following a workshop for a group of young musicians, the second day of competitive big band action began at eleven o'clock. Schools from across the region and one or two from further afield would battle it out to be crowned best band at the 2023 edition of the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. Later in the day it would be the turn of the youth ensembles. 

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Album review: Chet Baker - Blue Room

Chet Baker (trumpet, vocals); Phil Markowitz (piano); Jean-Louis Rassinfosse (bass); Charles Rice (drums). 
Chet Baker (trumpet, vocals); Frans Elsen (piano); Victor Kaihatu (bass); Eric Ineke (drums).

The Jazz Detective continues his investigations searching for previously undiscovered, unreleased gems and, as ever, comes up trumps with this one. Two sessions from April, 1979, by the legendary Chet Baker that have lain gathering dust in the Vara studio's vaults in Hilversum, having originally been broadcast on the Dutch KRO radio programme Nine o'Clock Jazz.

Preview: Pasadena Roof Orchestra @ Alnwick Playhouse (April 16)

Formed in 1969, the Pasadena Roof Orchestra turned professional in 1975, since when the dance band kings have worked non-stop, appearing at innumerable concert halls at home and abroad (including several tours of America), recording albums and fulfilling many radio and television engagements. The PRO draws upon in excess of two thousand arrangements, ensuring concert performances are fresh every time. Duncan Galloway leads the orchestra and, invariably, several household names are in the line-up. 

Book review: Richard Koloda - Holy Ghost – The Life & Death of Free Jazz Pioneer Albert Ayler

Listening to Albert Ayler’s early albums whilst reading this book is an exercise in submersion that is not for everybody. Indeed Blue Note’s Michael Cuscuna is quoted at one point, when describing a concert featuring john Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders, and Albert Ayler amongst others “… it scared me half to death, yet stimulated every aspect of my being. I don’t know if I loved it or hated it, but I was not indifferent to it….” Following my submersion I know exactly what he means.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Crowley Capers

Trombonist and River City bandleader, Gordon Solomon, kindly sent me this cutting from one of the local newspapers about a long gone, but fondly remembered session at the Crowley in Swalwell led by 'Mighty' Joe Young. The Inland Revenue had, at the time, one of the band members in its sights hence les noms de plumes.

Now that most of the suspects have gone to a higher (or a lower) place, those who have served their sentences (six month's hard labour or a week of listening to Des O'Connor) or are no longer on the run can be revealed as: Derek Cogger (trumpet); Gordon Solomon (trombone); Ronnie Robinson (clarinet); Dave Rae (banjo); Mac Rae (drums) and John 'Mighty Joe' Young (bass).

Album review: Basie All Stars - Live at Fabrik, Vol 1

Harry 'Sweets' Edison, Joe Newman (trumpet); Benny Powell (trombone); Marshall Royal (alto sax); Buddy Tate, Billy Mitchell (tenor sax); Nat Pierce (piano); John Heard (bass); Gus Johnson (drums).

Another gem! Classic mainstream in the true Basie formula. "Four bars to the bar and no cheatin" as the Count was famously quoted as saying when asked to define swing.

There certainly wasn't any cheatin' going on, at least not on stage, at Hamburg's Fabrik on May 5, 1981 when eight Basie alumni ancient and modern teamed up with Nat Pierce who had Basie's distinctive piano style off to a tee.

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

 Playlist 12/03/23. (Repeated Tuesday 14/03/23) 

St. Patrick’s Day:  Ben Webster, Paul Joseph & Edgar Mills.

Requests From New Century Ragtime Orchestra gig at Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club: Tatiana Eva-Marie, Bea Wain, Stan Kenton, Johnny Hodges/Duke Ellington, Annette Hanshaw, Art Tatum, Louis Armstrong, Bunny Berigan, Duke Ellington & His Orchestra.

RIP: Wayne Shorter.

International Women’s Day: Melba Liston.

Request: - George Benson.

St. Patrick’s Day (cont.) Louis Stewart, Keith Jarrett.

Request: Miles Davis, Eric Miyashiro.

Pubs, books and smartphones

When taking my occasional afternoon libation as I sometimes do, if I'm not watching one of Sunderland or Newcastle United's strikers blast the ball over the crossbar (I've often wondered if they've ever considered rugby as an alternative form of employment?) I'm usually cosied up in a corner reading a book.

This could be a crime novel by Michael Connolly whose hero Harry Bosch is invariably listening to Art Pepper, Frank Morgan and other jazz icons in between bringing killers to justice and, usually getting laid in the process. Or I could be re-reading Evan Hunter's Second Ending for the millionth time. Then again I could be reading DownBeat, the April edition of which includes a letter from yours truly - just mentioning in passing.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Album review: Sonny Stitt - Boppin' in Baltimore, Live at the Left Bank

Sonny Stitt (alto, tenor sax); Kenny Barron (piano); Sam Jones (bass); Louis Hayes (drums).

Eleven CDs dropped through the mailbox this morning - three of them, like this one, double albums. Spoilt for choice? Not really, this one stood out from the rest and there were some big names in there. Maybe, after I've I listened to the others, I could be proved wrong but I doubt it.

Way back in the day, I heard Stitt at Newcastle's City Hall as part of the first JATP UK tour. Some years later, at the same venue, I heard him with Miles then further down the line, a couple of times at the Corner House. This previously unreleased live session recorded in 1973 at Baltimore's Left Bank Ballroom is perhaps closest to the Corner House gigs where Stitt stretches out with just a rhythm section.

Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club - March 10

Alan Marshall (tenor sax, clarinet); Jim McBriarty (alto sax, clarinet, vocals); Neville Hartley (trombone, vocals); Jeremy McMurray (piano); Alan Rudd (double bass); Ian Stocks (drums) + Jim Charlton (clarinet)

Hailstones, snow, a bracing North Sea breeze, what's not to like about Cullercoats? The hardy braved the elements, the Crescent Club, a social club boasting five hand pulls, three of them on tap, what's not to like? Fridays it's Classic Swing. One or two deps of late and, this afternoon, the lurgy-stricken Olive Rudd was absent, curled up in front of a log fire with a good book (or something like that).

Thursday, March 09, 2023

Friday Night is Jazz Night on BBC4 (From 9:00pm)

Every so often, albeit not as often as we'd like, BBC4 dishes up the good stuff. Not that this comes without a degree of compromise such as tomorrow night when the evening kicks off with a couple of hours of Top of the Pops featuring such 1994 whizkid idols as Ride, Skin, Eternal Club House, Level 42 and other chart toppers of the time.

However, come 9:00pm, sanity prevails and we're treated to an eagerly anticipated programme centred around the late Ottilie Patterson. 

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