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Bebop Spoken There

Raymond Chandler: “ I was walking the floor and listening to Khatchaturian working in a tractor factory. He called it a violin concerto. I called it a loose fan belt and the hell with it ". The Long Goodbye, Penguin 1959.

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.


16350 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 230 of them this year alone and, so far, 27 this month (April 11).

From This Moment On ...


Tue 16: The Horne Section’s Hit Show @ Middlesbrough Town Hall. 7:30pm.
Tue 16: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Bradley Johnston, Paul Grainger, Bailey Rudd.

Wed 17: Bailey Rudd (Minor Recital) @ The Music Studios, Haymarket Lane, Newcastle University. 11:40am. Bailey Rudd (drums). Open to the public.
Wed 17: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 17: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 17: The Horne Section’s Hit Show @ The Gala, Durham. 7:30pm. SOLD OUT!
Wed 17: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 18: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 18: NONUNONU @ Elder Beer Café, Chillingham Road, Newcastle. 7:30pm.
Thu 18: Knats @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. 8:00pm (doors 7:30pm). £8.00. + bf. Support act TBC.
Thu 18: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Ragtime piano.
Thu 18: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guest band night with Just Friends: Ian Bosworth (guitar); Donna Hewitt (sax); Dave Archbold (keys); Ron Smith (bass); Mark Hawkins (drums).

Fri 19: Cia Tomasso @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. ‘Cia Tomasso sings Billie Holiday’. SOLD OUT!
Fri 19: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 19: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 19: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 19: Tweed River Jazz Band @ The Radio Rooms, Berwick. 7:00pm (doors). £5.00.
Fri 19: Lindsay Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man @ Seventeen Nineteen, Hendon, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Fri 19: Levitation Orchestra + Nauta @ Cluny 2, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors). £11.00.
Fri 19: Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 8:00pm. ‘Ella & Ellington’.

Sat 20: Record Store Day…at a store near you!
Sat 20: Bright Street Band @ Washington Arts Centre. 6:30pm. Swing dance taster session (6:30pm) followed by Bright Street Big Band (7:30pm). £12.00.
Sat 20: Michael Woods @ Victoria Tunnel, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Acoustic blues.
Sat 20: Rendezvous Jazz @ St Andrew’s Church, Monkseaton. 7:30pm. £10.00. (inc. a drink on arrival).

Sun 21: Jamie Toms Quartet @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm.
Sun 21: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 21: Lindsay Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man @ Holy Grale, Durham. 5:00pm.
Sun 21: The Jazz Defenders @ Cluny 2. Doors 6:00pm. £15.00.
Sun 21: Edgar Rubenis @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Blues & ragtime guitar.
Sun 21: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 21: Art Themen with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00. +bf. JNE. SOLD OUT!

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

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Album review: Sue Ferris Quintet - That Shoe String Thing

Sue Ferris (tenor sax, flute); Graham Hardy (trumpet, flugelhorn); Ben Lawrence (piano); Andy Champion (double bass); John Bradford (drums)

It has taken a good few years but the wait has been worth it. Sue Ferris’ first album as a bandleader is a straight-ahead affair comprising six instantly recognisable compositions. Recorded in November 2023, Ferris can be heard playing tenor sax and flute working alongside Graham Hardy (trumpet, flugelhorn), Ben Lawrence (piano), Andy Champion (double bass) and John Bradford (drums). 

Saturday, March 30, 2024

The Sound of Surprise at Harlem Apollo, NYC - March 28

What started as an extremely promising night honouring those who have given their life to jazz, ended with a selection of jazz musicians trying to weave context between the occasion and a rock legend enthralling his loyal fans.

Tonight was called “A Great Night in Harlem,” a reference to the famous photo taken outside a red brick walk-up on 119th Street. The opening act was the Sun Ra Arkestra (normally a headline group) and they played their asses off!! I’ve seen this group in London and San Francisco and they clearly felt the spirit to push way over the edge. A really magical cacophony of retro space age free jazz from this large ensemble of septuagenarians, octogenarians nonagenarians, and Marshall Allen, centenarian, all replete in glorious sequin gowns and headdresses. The set ended with a coincidence that stretched my smile to bursting. As they departed the stage they chanted the title of my newest track Space is the Place.

Ella and Sarah on BBC

This evening BBC 2  treats us to lots of  Ella Fitzgerald starting at 8:35pm and going on into the early hours which works out at five hours and forty-five minutes of Ella. Now nobody loves Ella's singing more than me but 345 minutes* nonstop is overkill. 

Tomorrow afternoon at 4:00pm on BBC Radio 3's JAZZ RECORD REQUESTS Alyn Shipton marks the century of the birth of Sarah Vaughan, who was born on March 27, 2024, with an hour long programme of tracks by 'the Divine One'. 

Both great singers but I do think that the balance could have been tipped more evenly,

Just sayin'. Lance 

* Clocks changing is confusing.

Thundercat @ Newcastle City Hall - March 29

Thundercat (bass, vocals); Dennis Hamm (keyboards); Justin Brown (drums)

Weather Report allegedly claimed that ‘We never solo and we always solo’ and that ethos was live, well and had its big boots on on Friday at City Hall. I’m still not entirely sure what the hell that was. It was jazz, Jim, but there was so much in the mix that it’s almost impossible to see what there was. Visually, Stephen ‘Thundercat’ Bruner channels Japanese manga/Anime and Afro-Futurism in the huge Thundercat backdrop, the frequent references to the Dragon Ball films, the kimono, the golden braids and the wide, golden collar. By way of contrast, the keyboard player looks like an accountant on dress-down Friday. All that’s before the music starts.

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

There's been some difficulties in the programming over the last few weeks. This should be the playlist for Easter Sunday, fingers crossed!

Aycliffe Radio is now available on DAB in County Durham & the Darlington area.

Playlist 31/03/24 (repeated Tuesday 02/04/24)

Easter: Benny Goodman, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Carla Motis & the Sant Andreu Jazz Band, Sammy Rimington.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Album review: Hannah Horton - Live in Soho

Hannah Horton (tenor/baritone sax); Tim Lapthorn (piano); Rob Statham (electric bass); Nic France (drums).

I must confess this one initially had me confused. Five of the eight tunes were on the saxophonist's previous album Inside Out reviewed HERE in 2021. That studio album had John Crawford on piano, replaced here by Tim Lapthorn, with drums and bass as previous. 

I haven't got the earlier album to hand (I must devise a filing system)* to enable me to compare the studio versions with these live ones recorded in January 2023 at Pizza Express but, going by my review, they must have been excellent whilst these tracks are super-excellent and, being live, extended which is a big plus and, going by the applause, the audience agreed.

Classic Swing on Good Friday @ Cullercoats Crescent Club - March 29

Olive Rudd (vocals); Jim McBriarty (alto sax, soprano sax, clarinet, vocals); Alan Marshall (tenor sax, clarinet); David Gray (trombone); Carl Peacock (keyboards); Alan Rudd (double bass); Ian Stocks (drums)

It seems like spring has sprung. Blue skies over Tyneside, the North Sea becalmed, happy days. The Crescent Club, the club on Cullercoats bay, looked a picture, this being Easter weekend it remained to be seen if audience numbers would hold up at Classic Swing's weekly Friday residency. A pint of Whapweasel, a food order placed, let's take a seat.

Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2024 - nominations close today. DO IT NOW!

It's that time of year again when jazz fans go to the polls to cast their votes/nominations in the annual Parliamentary Jazz Awards. 

Since Bebop Spoken Here aced the Media category in 2018 the north east has had several more successes with Zoë Gilby bagging the vocal gong in 2019. In 2020 the Jazz Album of the Year: The Kate Williams Four Plus Three Meets Georgia Mancio included, as part of the Guastalla String Quartet, John Garner and Marie Schreer. In 2021 the Lockdown Innovation Award went to The Globe who also hit the jackpot as Venue of the Year in 2022. Last year  Jo Harrop and Paul Edis clicked for the Jazz Album of the Year with When Winter Turns to Spring. This made it six in a row for the north east. Let's make it seven.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Cornelia Nilsson -Where Do You Go?

A taste of a fine album by Swedish drummer/composer Cornelia Nilsson released last Friday on Stunt Records. BSH review soon. Lance

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Preview: Sid Jacobs & Tom Remon (Prohibition Bar - March 31)

On Sunday (March 31) Sid Jacobs and Tom Remon will be dropping by Prohibition Bar. The guitar duo's UK tour is coming to an end and this Newcastle concert will be your last opportunity to hear American virtuoso Jacobs before he flies home next week. London based Remon is no stranger to the Pink Lane venue and he'll be back again next month working alongside Laurence Harrison.   

Book review: Kazuo Ishiguro - The Summer we Crossed Europe in the Rain - review updated.

A book of lyrics by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro to accompany songs composed by Stacey Kent's husband Jim Tomlinson from a number of Stacey's albums including one, Postcard Lovers, from her latest release Summer me, Winter me which has been released on naïve in association with ECN Music and will be showcased at Ronnie's on May 7 through to May 12.

Ishiguro raises the question as to how effective a lyric is without the music? Without that seductive melody and sympathetic harmony, do the words on their own tell a story?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The important thing is, do they tell a story long after the music is forgotten? Are they inseparable? Lester Young said they were, Art Pepper said they weren't. I guess that if you're playing a ballad they are but if you're playing Cherokee at twice the speed of light they aren't.

Album review: Michael Sutton - Those Leftover Dreams.

Michael Sutton  (vocals); Rob Barron (piano); Jeremy Brown (bass); Mark Taylor (drums) + Quentin Collins (trumpet - solos on tks  1, 6, & 9); Claire Martin OBE (producer/vocal on tk 5)

This could be the vocal album of the year and, even if it's not it will certainly be 'in the frame'. How could it not be produced as it is by Claire Martin OBE? Claire also adds her dulcet tones to Van Morrison's The Way Young Lovers Do

You don't have to scat to be defined as a jazz singer. It's all in the phrasing, the fraction behind the beat, the occasional reworking of the lyric, the creation of a mood ... Sinatra had it off to perfection in the 1950s - not quite so much later.  As it happens Sutton is of a similar age to when Frank was at his peak and with this, his debut album, the future looks bright.

Where was this photo taken?

A friend recently gave me this photo of the Tyne Valley Stompers taken sometime in the 1990s.

The band in the photo comprises of Eric Pollard   (tenor sax); Harry Blakey (banjo); Fred Rowe (cornet); Ray Brown (drums/leader) and Lance Cousins (trombone).

They were a popular band on the local trad scene playing all over the north east which leads to this question - can anyone identify the venue? Lance

Paul Hartley Quartet featuring John Hulme @ the Railway, Stockport - March 24

(© Jeff Pritchard)
John Hulme (flugel); Paul Hartley (guitar); Peter Hartley (split bass); Eryl Roberts (drums). 

On a weather-beaten Manchester night John Hulme played  flugelhorn on both sets of this well-supported gig. Whilst he played several tunes composed by trumpet players, my personal favourites were My Ship and My Funny Valentine neither of which were composed by trumpet players although often featured by such trumpet legends as Miles Davis and Chet Baker

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

90 Greatest Artists of All Time.

The April issue of DownBeat has an interesting article whereupon a team of experts have compiled an alphabetical listing of, in their collective opinion, the 90 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Of course, by their own admission, the list could have been longer but 90 was the figure chosen, this being their 90th anniversary year.

Like every other reader of that venerable magazine, I too have muttered sentences such as 'Why haven't they picked so and so?' or 'What are they doing there?' However my main gripe is that only one Brit makes the list - John McLaughlin.

So, dear readers, which, if any, British musicians do you think should have been included? Lance 

Monday, March 25, 2024

Michael Young Trio @ the Engine Room, Sunderland - March 25

(© Russell)
Michael Young (piano); Paul Grainger bass); Abbie Finn (drums)

The trio returned to the Engine Room for, I think, their first gig at the venue this year. 

It was an evening that was not without minor catastrophes and that's not counting the weather. Firstly the Metro that I planned to take was withdrawn from service meaning that I arrived just as the pianist was hitting the opening chord of Steely Dan's Do it Again and it was no reflection on the band when my first thought was 'not likely' or at least not until the new trains are up and running!

However, after Norwegian Wood my mood picked up although if they'd opted for Yellow Submarine instead it may have dropped even further. Fortunately sanity prevailed. More Beatles crawled out of the woodwork for Baby You Can Drive my Car.

Tom Remon - Sid Jacobs Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - March 24

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Tom Remon (guitar); Sid Jacobs (guitar); James Owston (bass); Jim Bashford (drums).

As expected, this Sunday night gig turned out to be a room filler and I’m pretty certain there were many fans of modern jazz guitar amongst the audience. Tom Remon has played this venue on at least two occasions but Sid Jacobs  was unknown to me and after checking the internet for information I was eager to hear him play.

Both guitarists were seated at the front of the small bandstand, Jacobs on the left, Remon on the right and at 9:00pm they went straight into It Ain’t Necessarily So from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. I’ve liked this number ever since I heard it on the Jazztet’s debut album. 

Sunday night @ the Globe: Bold Big Band - March 24

(© Russell)
Pippa Morgan, Max Storey, Crissi Booth, Lucy McCarten, Brian Wicks (saxes); Billy Bradshaw, Sam Armstrong, James Bateman, Andrew Marshall (trumpets); Alex Utting, Bertie Marks, Fiona Duxbury, Conor Polley (trombones); Ben Davies (guitar); Alex Ngeyu (keys); Joe Sharples (bass - 1st set); Ifede Osiyemi (bass - 2nd set); Dan Arenstein (drums); Conor Polley/Ifede Osiyemi (vocals).

A band well-named. Bold as brass is an old saying meaning, among other definitions, 'audacious' and they are all of that and more. From the opening Barnburner they hit the deck running. The power of the brass overwhelming, the precision of the sax section awesome. Crissi on tenor, Pippa on alto and Sam on trumpet had the solo spots on this one. The whole shebang driven along by Dan Arenstein, Joe Sharples, Ben Davies and Alex Ngeyu.

Luis Verde @ Queen's Hall, Hexham - March 24

Luis Verde (alto sax); Joe Steels (guitar); John Pope (double bass); John Hirst (drums)

Luis Verde has become a familiar figure at Newcastle Arts Centre's twice monthly Black Swan jam session. Last week alto saxophonist Verde made his long-awaited regional concert debut. That was at the Globe in Newcastle, this afternoon Verde was the guest of Jazz at Queen's Hall. A few miles west of Newcastle, Hexham's jazz fans turned out in force to hear for themselves what all the fuss was about. Would they be impressed? 

Joining Verde in the library within Queen's Hall were guitarist Joe Steels, bassist John Pope and drummer John Hirst. JP was on Verde's gig last week at which it was apparent there was a musical rapport. Steels had heard what Verde could do at the aforementioned Black Swan, for John Hirst this was to be a new experience. 

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Album review: Chet Baker & Jack Sheldon - In Perfect Harmony: The Lost Album

Chet Baker (trumpet, vocal); Jack Sheldon (trumpet, vocal); Dave Frishberg (piano); Jack Marshall (guitar); Joe Mondragon (bass); Nick Ceroli (drums)

Another Record Store Day release uncovered by Elemental Music's Jazz Detective Zev Feldman and, I'm sorry to say that this one doesn't quite work for me although there are moments.

Baker and Sheldon may have been big buddies off stage but in the studio the combination of their contrasting styles whether singing or playing doesn't always gel.  Sheldon's vocals are, to be polite, too extrovert as opposed to Baker's which are, as ever, the epitome of cool. The same applies to their respective trumpet playing.

In fairness to Sheldon, I've heard him on some excellent west coast albums including Art Pepper's Smack Up where his more restrained approach actually enhances the proceedings and he doesn't sing.

New Century Ragtime Orchestra @ Gosforth Civic Theatre - Mar. 23

Steve Andrews (MC, baritone sax, clarinet); Martin Litton (piano); Ed Cross (violin); Alistair Lord (trumpet, cornet); Dave Hignett (trumpet); Neville Hartley (trombone); Jim McBriarty (reeds, vocals); Alan Marshall (reeds); Gavin Lee (reeds); Keith Stephen (guitar, banjo); Phil Rutherford (tuba); Paul Smith (drums); Caroline Irwin (vocals) + Olivia (xylophone); Benjamin (alto sax)

The New Century Ragtime Orchestra is an occasional happening. Two or three performances a year constitutes a busy schedule. As and when the NCRO takes to the stage it pays to be there. This evening at Gosforth Civic Theatre the NCRO played to a full house and no one but no one left disappointed. GCT is a well appointed venue, in some ways an exemplar - level floor throughout, accessible to all and, from the musician's view point, there is a half-decent Yamaha upright piano on the premises. 

Preview: Luis at three today (Sunday)!

If you're in striking distance of Hexham there is only one place to be this afternoon. At precisely three o'clock alto saxophonist Luis Verde will take to the stage in the library at Queen's Hall. Following a period of something like twelve months, during which Luis Verde frequently sat in at the Black Swan jam session in Newcastle Arts Centre, this time last week Luis finally made his Tyneside concert debut. The Globe on Railway Street in Newcastle was packed to the rafters for the occasion and it really was one of those 'I was there' occasions. Expect this afternoon's concert featuring guitarist Joe Steels, bassist John Pope and drummer John Hirst to make a similar lasting impression. Book now at: Russell 

Jazz Time Aycliffe Radio - Sundays 6.30-8.00pm (repeated Tuesdays 8.00-9.30pm).

Aycliffe Radio is now available on DAB in County Durham & the Darlington area.

Playlist 24/03/24 (repeated Tuesday 26/03/24)

Requests: Chris Barber, Cab Calloway.

Memories: Sarah Vaughan/Clifford Brown, Buck Clayton/Ruby Braff.

Seasonal Requests: Pee Wee Russell, Charles Mingus, MJQ, Mahalia Jackson/Louis Armstrong, Tim Boniface, Ella Fitzgerald.

What’s on: Dean Stockdale.

Requests: Tina May/Nikki Iles/Tony Coe, Tubby Hayes.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Book Review: Chris Searle – Talking The Groove; Jazz Words From The Morning Star (Jazz In Britain)

The Costa Book Awards would each year, honour the best fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books and first novels. One category they always missed was the best Bog and Bedside book; those volumes that are structured so you can read as much or as little as time allows and pick it up again anywhere in the book next time. Everybody has one. It was rumoured that Her late lamented Majesty had a copy of the Observer's Book of Corgis on the shelf in her smallest throne room next to Jane’s Fighting Ships for Phil. Had the award been available this year, this new collection by Chris Searle would be an obvious contender.

Vasilis Xenopoulos-Paul Edis Quartet @ Opus 4 Jazz Club - Mar. 22

Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute); Paul Edis (piano); Andy Champion (double bass); Russ Morgan (drums)

Earlier in the day Vasilis Xenopoulos and Paul Edis played a duo concert up the road in Durham. This evening at Darlington's Opus 4 Jazz Club it was the quartet, the two principals joined by bassist extraordinaire Andy Champion and the returning Russ Morgan, drums. The Traveller's Rest to home to Opus 4 and the organisers must have been heartened to see the room filling up nicely. 

Vasilis Xenopoulos & Paul Edis @ The Gala, Durham - Mar. 22

(© Malcolm Sinclair)
Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute); Paul Edis (piano)

Jazz at the Gala is on a roll with another full house, little surprise there given this afternoon's concert featured the return of Vasilis Xenopoulos and Paul Edis. Feels Like Home is the duo's new CD due for release on April 19, however, the physical product was available on the day and, of course, the capacity audience heard the album played in its entirety. 

Friday, March 22, 2024

Jimmy Hastings (May 12, 1938 - March 18, 2024)

I only heard Jimmy Hastings once which was with the Lyttelton band at the Customs House in South Shields. Sharing the front line with Humph on trumpet, Pete Strange on trombone and Kathy Stobart on tenor, Hastings impressed on alto, clarinet and flute to the extent that I looked forward to hearing him again which unfortunately I didn't and now, sadly, never will.

Press release: NN North Sea Jazz latest

The NN North Sea Jazz Festival, the world’s largest indoor music festival, has announced an additional wave of artists for this year’s event. Taking place from Friday 12 – Sunday 14 July at the Ahoy Centre in Rotterdam, North Sea 2024 will present a line-up bursting with huge international stars from across the worlds of jazz, blues, soul, pop and beyond.

Album review: Vasilis Xenopoulos/Paul Edis Quartet - Feels Like Home

Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute); Paul Edis (piano); Adam King (double bass); Joel Barford (drums)

The latest album by Vasilis Xenopoulos and Paul Edis, comprising eight tracks (five written by pianist Edis, two by tenor saxophonist Xenopoulos plus Antonin Dvořák’s Going Home), features original music inspired by the many places they’ve called home over the years. In turn lyrical (Going Home), by way of an Edis bossa and the pianist's Lockdown London with its John Coltrane-McCoy Tyner vamp (Xenopoulos playing soprano sax), the two principals are joined by the excellent bass and drums pairing of Adam King and Joel Barford. 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Album reviews: Cannonball Adderley Quintet - (1) Burnin' in Bordeaux: Live in France 1969. (2) Poppin' in Paris: Live at L'Olympia 1972

(1); Cannonball Adderley (alto sax); Nat Adderley  (cornet); Joe Zawinul (piano, electric piano); Victor Gaskin (bass); Roy McCurdy (drums) + unknown vocalist on Oh Babe.

(2): Cannonball Adderley (alto/soprano sax); Nat Adderley  (cornet); George Duke (piano, electric piano); Walter Booker (bass); Roy McCurdy (drums).

Just as I  never got to see Charlie Parker live one of my other eternal regrets is that I never heard Cannonball live either and these three discs, spread over two CDs (or four LPs), only serve to place an even greater awareness of what I missed. True I heard Nat Adderley at an excellent Corner House session in Newcastle but, good as it was, nothing could compare with hearing the brothers in full flight as on these three discs.

Something's cookin'

I was recently looking through some old issues of the American jazz magazine JAZZIZ when I came across a series of articles on the theme of jazz and cooking.  The magazine reproduced several recipes from the 1992 book Jazz Cooks: Portraits and Recipes of the Greats, which, according to JAZZIZ, “captures the essence of the food and music that has moved more than 90 renowned artists, from Dave Brubeck and Sun Ra to Wynton Marsalis and Roy Haynes.”

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Album Review: Charles Lloyd – The Sun Will Still Be There Tomorrow (Blue Note)

Charles Lloyd (tenor & alto saxophone, bass & alto flute); Jason Moran (piano); Larry Grenadier (double bass); Brian Blade (drums, percussion).

Blimey, this is good and deserving of all the raves that have been heaped on it thus far. It’s like a Lloyd biography, seamlessly combining the storm of his earlier Atlantic work with the becalmed ECM sounds of what we must now regard as his middle period. There are moments of languid beauty and times of barely restrained tumult stretched across two albums or 90 minutes of music. Floating and ethereal at times and a force of faith in hope and optimism at others.

The 'Start Queueing Now' Black Swan jam session - March 19

Michael Young (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Tim Johnston (drums) + Kate O'Niell (vocals); Adam Sams (guitar); Luis Verde (alto sax); Conor Emery (trombone); Niffi Osiyemi (vocals); Shivan Ruddick (trumpet); Abbie Finn (drums); Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Jan Spencelayh (vocals); Alex Shipsey (bass guitar); Edgar Bell (cornet); Ian Drever (vocals); Owen Jones (double bass); Issie ? (vocals); Theo ? (drums); Paul Ruddick (alto sax); Esther Coombes (clarinet, alto sax); Becky Tuck (vocals); Remi Coulthard-Boardman (vocals); Patrick ? (drums)

The Beatles' Norwegian Wood opened proceedings, the house trio - Michael Young, Paul Grainger and Tim Johnston - setting the standard, the rest of evening much like the usual down at the Black Swan. Not quite...

More Information: The Summer We Crossed Europe in the Rain – Kazuo Ishiguro

Readers of this blog may be interested in a newspaper article I have belatedly come across, further to Lance's BSH item of March 12.

See the Guardian Saturday magazine of March 2 (I told you it was 'belated'). An article on page 53 (catch it online) discusses whether song lyrics can ever be considered as literature. Ishiguro says that he wrote many bad lyrics before ever writing a novel, so the lyrics enabled him to find his voice. He became friendly with Stacey Kent after choosing one of her tracks on 'Desert Island Discs'.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

James Birkett & Bradley Johnston @ Blaydon Jazz Club - March 18

(© Roly Veitch)
James Birkett (guitar); Bradley Johnston (guitar)

Emerging from winter hibernation, Blaydon Jazz Club hit the ground running with a welcome return visit by master guitarists James Birkett and Bradley Johnston. This being Blaydon Jazz Club's 40th anniversary year, JB thought it a good idea to present a selection of new tunes, new to our guitar duo, that is. 

Several of our duo's compositions would feature during the course of the evening alongside a selection of standards written by the likes of Frank Loesser, Charlie Parker, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Frederick Loewe and Hoagy Carmichael. JB's Who's Blues? opened the first of two sets. Birkett and Johnston's tutor - student relationship has long since evolved into a guitar partnership of equals which was clearly demonstrated here at the Black Bull. 

Monday, March 18, 2024

Freddie Garner Quartet @ the Railway, Stockport - March 17

(© Jeff Pritchard)
Freddie Garner (keys); Jim Collins (alto/tenor sax/flute); James Adolpho (bass); Phil Bennett (drums).

The Sunday night audience was a bit noisier than usual due to a few revellers celebrating St Patrick's day but it did not seem to bother Freddie who just keeps the bebop flame burning with his hard driving brand of modern jazz. There were lots of interesting numbers played by this excellent quartet including a tune called Little Bea’s Poem which was a flute feature for reed maestro Jim Collins who impressed me with his full sound achieved without the use of a mic. Who wrote this tune? I think it may be Woody Shaw but I could be wrong.

The Saltburn Big Band @ Dorman’s Jazz Club, Middlesbrough - March 14

Dave Brock, Dan Chirniside, Tony Turne, Django Zazou (trombones); Kevin Eland, Adrian Beadnell, Colin Moore, Karen Jones (trumpets); Mark Toomey, Ellice Jones, Donna Hewitt, Andy Devine, Simon Jones (saxes); Paul Donnelly (guitar); Dave Archbold (keys); John Daniels (bass); Chris Murphy (drums); Darren Moore (congas); Bridget Metcalfe (vocals).

The 19 piece band, formed less than a year ago with Kevin Eland as MD, were making their second appearance at Dorman’s and are now firmly established and acknowledged as a first class big band.

Opening the night with their signature tune, Louis Ferras's composition Domino, the full big band sound and a fine tenor sax solo from Donna Hewitt, started the night in great style. A more relaxed Nice 'n' Easy with lovely trumpet from Kevin Eland was then followed by Bridget Metcalfe taking centre stage to show what a class singer she is with a fast swinging version of Lerner and Lowe's Almost Like Being in Love. In complete contrast Bridget then sang I Can't Get Started and Mark Toomey showed his alto sax skills with his solo and his subtle finish.

Once a Fig @ the Green Note, Camden Town, London - March 12

Seeing a new band always has that sense of anticipation to it because you're never quite sure what it will be like. That's one of the reasons I go to Folkandroots shows because, in Graham Smallwood, you know you can trust the promoter's judgement. If he says they'll be good, they'll be good. Last night the cosy confines of the Green Note basement showed just why that faith is justified. 

Sunday night @ the Globe: Luis Verde Trio - March 17

(© Ken Drew)
Luis Verde (alto sax); John Pope (bass); Abbie Finn (drums)

Over the years I've been in the presence of greatness. Sometimes by musicians reliving past glories as well as others who were on the cusp of it.

Most of these greats were American, some British, but, apart from that wonderful pianist, the late Tete Montoliu who I heard at the San Sebastian Jazz Festival back in the early nineteen seventies, I can't think of any other Spanish jazzmen of such eminence.

Until last night that is.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Jazz Time Aycliffe Radio - Sundays 6.30-8.00pm (repeated Tuesdays 8.00-9.30pm).

Aycliffe Radio is now available on DAB in County Durham & the Darlington area.

Playlist 17/03/24 (repeated Tuesday 19/03/24)

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

Requests: Cab Calloway, Lester Young, Duke Ellington, Chick Corea, Frog & Henry, Sonny Rollins.

St. Patrick Continued: Noel Kelehan Quintet, Louis Stewart, Herbie Hancock.

Memories Birthdays: Harry James, Quincy Jones.

What’s on in the NE: James Birkett/Bradley Johnston, Paul Edis, Vasilis Xenopoulos.

Springtime: Willie the Lion Smith, Erroll Garner.

At the Globe, tonite...Luis Verde!

A year or more ago at a Black Swan jam session the place was busy, the bar doing good business, a low level hubbub filtering cross the room. MC Paul Grainger invited a newcomer to sit in with the house trio. Step forward an alto saxophonist. Within a couple of bars a hush descended upon Westgate Road as we heard the most amazing bop/post bop/modern jazz alto sax. Wow! Who's this? Long story short, it was Luis Verde. This evening (Sunday 17 March) at the Globe, Luis will be working in the company of two A-listers, namely bassist John Pope and award-winning drummer Abbie Finn. Whatever you do, don't miss this gig, it promises to be an 'I was there' occasion. Russell

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Swing Manouche @ the Old Black Cat Jazz Club, Sunderland - March 15

Steve McGarvie (clarinet); Mick Shoulder (guitar); Dave Smith (rhythm guitar); Paul Grainger (string bass)

1719 is a renovated Georgian church in Hendon (Old Sunderland), '1719' refers to the date the building opened. In the late 20th century the place closed, in danger of falling into disrepair. Fast forward to 2024, thanks to significant investment the place is now a flourishing community events space. Last month's inaugural jazz session featuring the Giles Strong Quartet drew a crowd, this evening, Mick Shoulder's Swing Manouche attracted as many and more.  Sunderland's Old Black Cat Jazz Club is well and truly up and running. Jazz in the heart of 'Old Sunderland', who'd have thought it? 

Friday, March 15, 2024

Album review: Jane Scheckter - I'll Take Romance

Jane Scheckter (vocals); Ted Firth (piano); Jay Leonhart (bass); Peter Grant (drums) + Warren Vaché (trumpet/flugel on 5 tks); Nicolas King (vocal on tk 11)

Yet another outstanding NYC vocalist. They must be standing ten abreast the length of Broadway hoping for a review by BSH that will enable them to be doing the same on Frith St. only to find that the pavements of Soho are already full!

Jazz @ The Lit and Phil: The Mark Williams Trio - March 15

(© Pam)
Mark Williams  (guitar); Paul Susans (bass guitar); Rob Walker (drums).

The Mark Williams Trio have released two albums: Balaclava Street and Last Bus to Bensham. Today was a chance for them to preview material, all written by Mark Williams, which will be on a third album to be recorded later this year. On today’s listening, what an album it is going  to be!

1950s jazz in north west Lancashire

As teenagers, back in the 1950s, we moved seamlessly from the rock and roll era to jazz. That’s modern jazz by the way, not the raucous trad jazz, as in When the Saints go Marching in.

In north west Lancashire we were truly fortunate to have talented jazz singers and musicians playing on our doorsteps at the Empress and Imperial Ballrooms in Burnley and Nelson, every week. 

Saxophonist Johnny Dankworth, Musician of the Year in 1949 (later Sir John Dankworth) frequented Nelson regularly, as did Ronnie Scott and Tubby Hayes. Scott, of course, opened his own jazz club in Soho in the 1950s.  It still hosts the cream of musicians and singers to this day.

Spicy Li'l Devils @ Prohibition Bar - March 14

Ali Affleck (vocals); Lorenzo Cortés (guitar); Mathieu Meyer (piano, vocals)

The Spicy Li'l Devils have been touring No Regrets, a first album by Ali Affleck's new band. This evening at Prohibition Bar it was the trio and for a time it looked like it would be a duo. Ali dropped off the boys - Lorenzo Cortés and Mathieu Meyer - at the door and drove off in search of a parking space. Fast forward some forty five minutes or so and no sign of AA. The boys were getting twitchy...

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Album Review: Jonny Mansfield Quartet! Live at Pizza Express (Resonant Postcards)

Jonny Mansfield (vibraphone); Will Barry (piano); Will Sach (bass); Luke McCarthy (drums).

Jonny Mansfield’s 2023 album, The Air In Front Of You was an enigmatic foray onto the edges of classical and jazz music; a third stream that could have been labelled dinner jazz. I expected more of the same from this album but, having replaced the violin and cello voices that featured on the studio album we have a more conventional jazz sound here. Similarly, although this is, I assume a date from the flog the album tour for The Air…  only Flicker  and The Air itself have made the cut here.

Sue Ferris Quintet @ King's Hall, Newcastle University - March 14

Sue Ferris (tenor sax/flute): Graham Hardy (trumpet/flugel); Ben Lawrence (piano); Andy Champion (bass); John Bradford (drums)

Four of the north east's big hitters and an expat from Cumbria in the form of Ben Lawrence, who's also making waves, made this a win win gig.

How could it not be? All five are at the top of their game blowing like the King's Hall was Birdland back in the day and, back in the day, these five could have held their own - if they'd been born back then!

Still, just as you don't have to be born in Salzburg to interpret Mozart nor do you have to be 'shooting up' in a downtown Manhattan apartment to pay tribute to Horace Silver, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, these guys did the biz.

Sue Ferris - King's Hall & an album!

Saxophonist/flautist Sue Ferris takes her quintet to King's Hall today. It's a 1:15pm start in Armstrong Building, Newcastle University. It's free admission. And, what's more, at long last Sue has an album in the pipeline! Russell

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