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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.

The Things They Say!

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

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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

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.).

Friday, January 19, 2024

Sebastian Rochford & Kit Downes @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead - January 18

Sebastian Rochford (drums and compositions); Kit Downes (piano).

“This “short diary (of loss)”, as drummer Sebastian Rochford calls it, is offered as “a sonic memory, created with love, out of need for comfort.”” (ECM Website)

This performance felt like an intrusion on private grief. When I told Seb later that I couldn’t believe he could play this music night after night he replied that it was cathartic.

This is not how most reviews of live jazz begin but here Rochford and Downes presented Rochford’s diary of loss that emerged following the death of his father, Gerard. As he explained at one point during the concert that after the death, he kept hearing music when he didn’t want to, but sitting and playing it on the piano in his father’s house found that it matched what he was feeling at that time.

It was an unusually structured evening with a thirty minute first ‘half’ and a ninety minute second. Rochford started alone behind a fairly small drum kit. Gentle susurrations with mallets on the cymbals were allowed to dissolve in an echo into silence. He slowly worked his way through his tool kit of light sticks, brushes onto fully fledged drumsticks.  A section of solid drumming and fractured rhythm and blues riffs gave way back to the opening fragility before Downes crept on stage like a ninja in dark clothing to add pastoral frills, very delicate and spare.

The second set comprises the song cycle which makes up the recent album A Short Diary, and opens with This Tune Your Ears Will Never Hear. Its ominous chords and heavy drumming falls into silence and then repeats. Its elegant rolling piano suggestive of both grief and a hint of hope as part of the grieving process. Rochford skitters lightly around the kit. Communal Decisions was inspired by the time following the passing when so many decisions have to be made but people still need some time alone. Rochford is one of seven sisters and three brothers and this piece, a solo performance by Downes felt like a dance of people passing each other. It opened with single notes falling like raindrops, almost a waltz.

Love You Grampa is more hopeful, suggestive of the need to keep on going. A solid groove from Rochford behind Downes’ flourishes and embellishments; cymbal crashes are controlled and restrained. It’s a beautiful, lyrical tribute.

During his introduction to Our Time Is Still Rochford comments that “When people pass it doesn’t have to be an end, just a different beginning.” It’s intense but spacious, before a thunder of bass notes on the piano is answered by fulsome, energetic drumming. Suddenly peace returns for a mournful, delicate, contemplative passage and I wonder if the concentration on Rochford’s face is his focus on Downes’ playing or on his memories. The tune builds again to a flowing duet before it breaks again and slides to a finish. The Ten Of Us is another piece of the utmost delicacy until Downes reaches into the piano to play a rumble on the bass strings and Rochford upgrades from brushes to mallets to play a slow funereal drum beat. It is the ancient music of loss. A simple melody is embellished by Downes and Rochford’s playing the drums purely with his hands is mere punctuation. Rochford’s father composed the closer, Even Now I Think Of Her, recorded it onto his phone and played it to his son. It is gentle elegant, balletic; Rochford providing no more than murmurs with his brushes on the drums.

The encore, To The Country I Was Born, is a wistful, yearning celebration of matters Caledonian and its Scottish roots are on evident display. Downes packs every bar with fills and flourishes and Rochford follows him energetically up that hill leading to the evening’s loudest cymbal crash to finish with and they’re done.

It was an intense focused, intrusive evening where the sound rarely rose above a whisper as Rochford allowed us to see him work through his very personal and private feelings about his father. “It’s cathartic’” he said. Dave Sayer

1 comment :

Chris Kilsby said...

Blimey : just reading the review is cathartic.
What a review - I felt like I was there - thanks Dave!
I'd planned to be there but Covid (remember that?) decided otherwise.
Sounds like I missed a memorable, unique, remarkable night?

Chris

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