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Bebop Spoken There

Greg Osby: “I have my own style, my own attitude, my own opinions about things. I'm not a follower". DownBeat, February, 2024.

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Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

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'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.


16221 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 103 of them this year alone and, so far, 47 this month (Feb. 18).

From This Moment On ...

February 2024

Wed 21: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 21: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 21: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 22: Student Performances @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 4:00pm. Free. Inc. Remi Coulthard-Boardman (voice).
Thu 22: Crooners @ Darlington Hippodrome. 7:30pm. £30.00., £27.00., £24.00., £18.00.
Thu 22: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 22: Soznak @ The Schooner, South Shore Road, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Thu 22: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests Kevin Eland (trumpet); Josh Bentham (sax); Garry Hadfield (keys); Ron Smith (bass).

Fri 23: Mark Williams Trio @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 23: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 23: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 23: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 23: Salty Dog Trio @ The Greenhouse, Tynemouth. 7:00pm. £8.00. (£6.00. adv.).
Fri 23: Crooners @ The Maltings, Berwick upon Tweed. 7:30pm. £30.00., £28.00.
Fri 23: Strictly Smokin' Big Band w Dennis Rollins @ Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Sat 24: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm (doors). Free (donations). A Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra event, all welcome.
Sat 24: Bradley Creswick’s Western Swingfonia @ Hexham Abbey, Hexham. 7:30pm. £15.00. A fundraiser for Hexham Abbey.
Sat 24: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 25: Musicians Unlimited @ The Park Inn, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 25: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:30pm. Free.
Sun 25: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 2:30pm. Free.
Sun 25: Lindsay Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man + Lee Maddison @ Laurels, Whitley Bay. 4:00pm (3:30pm doors). £11.00., £8.80. inc. bf. SOLD OUT!
Sun 25: Bex Burch + Rachel Musson @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £11.00. Two solo performances. JNE.
Sun 25: Jazz Jam @ Fabio's, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 26: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 27: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm (7:00pm doors). £12.00., £10.00. (adv.).

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Joe Webb Trio @ Le Duc des Lombards, Paris - Jan 25

Joe Webb (piano), Will Sach (contrebasse), Sam Jesson (batterie)

For jazz fans, including myself, the absence of live gigs during the pandemic was a huge miss (though many musicians came up with all kinds of creative ways to fill the gap). Even when restrictions started to ease there was still some reluctance to mingle with groups. During this period there was one gig I was particularly disappointed to miss and that was the world premiere performance by the Joe Webb trio of the music of Art Tatum at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle. 

I regretted it even more when I read the fantastic reviews on BSH.

Art Tatum is a jazz icon for me, taking me back to my youth sitting in my friend’s back room listening to Tiger Rag, Tea for Two and the humour of his 90-second Irish sign-off piece The Kerry Dances and marvelling at how many musical ideas could be put into one short tune.

Since then I have kept an eye out for any appearances by Webb within striking distance of Newcastle, not just in the hope of hearing him play Art Tatum, but also because other reports have raved about his ability to play many different styles of jazz in a variety of musical combinations, as well as writing his own material. It seems clear he is a major young star of jazz piano.

After Christmas a long planned sojourn in Paris had me scanning the programmes of the numerous Paris jazz clubs to see what was happening while I was there. Much to my delight, amongst the many gigs featuring French musicians (all excellent no doubt, but unknown to me) and homage gigs to everyone from Albert Ayler to Zoot Sims (again, perfectly fine), I spotted that the Joe Webb trio was appearing Le Duc des Lombardes which I had read was ‘probably the best jazz club’ in Paris.

The club is on a street of the same name that in the space of 100 metres has three jazz clubs, an Irish pub with music, many restaurants and cafés and crowds of people standing, talking and smoking or sitting, eating and drinking. And wonderfully, unlike some other big cities I could name, there was no shouting or people staggering around in ridiculous costumes (they leave that to the participants in Paris Fashion Week which was on at the same time).

Inside the club is everything a good jazz venue should be - small and intimate with chairs around small tables gathered in front of a proper stage at the back. Also it was clear you had to turn up early if you wanted to choose a seat. The last available option was a high stool by the stage. However when the band turned up I discovered I was directly behind the drummer and his drum kit so a lot of neck craning was involved. But then I realised the club has fully embraced the latest technology with a number of cameras showing the band from different angles on TVs around the walls including one directly above the piano player’s head, which was perfect.

The arrival of Webb was greeted with loud applause as he has played here before and it was obvious he likes the club and they like him. He has an engaging and somewhat improvised presentational style which was in evidence throughout the show. His opening gambit was a bit left-field asking the audience in general, ‘Everyone enjoying Paris?’ to which the numerous Parisiens in the audience responded with a gentle smile and slight shrug which seemed to say ‘Bien sur, mais la météo, la circulation, le gouvernement…’

The billing for the gigs (two a night on two consecutive days) had said that they were to launch the Webb trio’s latest EP. I’m not sure how many tracks you can get on an EP these days and as far as I could tell all the pieces played were by Joe Webb (with one notable exception).

The show began with a piece called 208 and it was immediately clear that all the reports about the quality of Webb’s piano playing were true, wonderfully flowing lines and great rhythmic drive. This was followed by CCTV, the trio’s latest single, with some fine bass action from Will Sach. Webb is quite happy to share information about himself and the band so he pointed out it was Sach’s 27th birthday - Bon Anniversaire!

Webb has a way with quirky tune titles and as far as I could tell the next piece was called The Eternal Oner: something about mobile phones that run out of charge at the vital moment. He asked the audience for suggestions as how this could be translated into French - over optimistic perhaps.

Anyway the piano and Sam Jesson on drums complemented each other beautifully on this tune over an evolving bass riff.

We discovered that Webb has other passions besides jazz piano as he said he named the next piece Collblanc after the train station beside the Camp Nou, Barcelona’s football ground, where he had been a number of times to see his footballing hero (mine too), Lionel Messi. This began in a slow melodic fashion on piano and then jumped up tempo with the piano and drums driving the music along.

The Webb tunes rolled out (he seems to be highly prolific) with a story attached to each title. Curve Ball with a fine solo from Jesson, Nirvana, a (relatively) delicate, meditative piece.

One tune was introduced by Webb as featuring ‘Sam (Jesson) on drums and burgers’. Apparently they had both worked for McDonalds in their earlier lives. Anyway if Jessom was half as good on burgers as he is on drums I might go back to McD’s for the first time in 30 years. Football was the inspiration again for the tune Hamstrings and Hurricanes. It opened with terrific stride piano which I could watch on the screen beside me and Sach added an excellent bass solo.

This was already a fabulous gig but the icing on the cake was when Webb played a solo piece. I held my breath until he said it was Art Tatum’s version of Running Wild. Wow, what a bonus! Again I was able to watch on the screen as his hands left no note on the keyboard unexplored. Fantastique!

The thought occurred to me afterwards that his admiration for Messi could provide a metaphor for the music (non football jazz fans should look away now if you don’t want to know the ‘score’).

The music with the trio is like many of the goals Messi scored. Picking up a through ball from Busquets, beating a couple of players, pinging out a perfect pass to Jordi Alba then appearing in the box to finish the move off. While the Tatum piece is more like Messi’s legendary solo goal against Getafe - unique.

Now does anyone know the French for ‘absolutely stunning gig’? JC (Critique européen occasionnel pour Le Bebop Parlé Ici)


Russell said...

An excellent review, as always, Jeremy. Joe really is some player, isn't he? Joe's trio will be at Ronnie Scott's on May 28. And Messi, he's the best player of his generation.

JERRY said...

Un concert absolument eblouissant! Peut-etre?

Anonymous said...

Merci beaucoup, Jerry.


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