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Bebop Spoken There

Charles McPherson: “Jazz is best heard in intimate places”. (DownBeat, July, 2024).

The Things They Say!

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

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

'606' Club: "A toast to Lance Liddle of the terrific jazz blog 'Bebop Spoken Here'"

The Strictly Smokin' Big Band included Be Bop Spoken Here (sic) in their 5 Favourite Jazz Blogs.

Ann Braithwaite (Braithwaite & Katz Communications) You’re the BEST!

Holly Cooper, Mouthpiece Music: "Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"

Simon Spillett: A lovely review from the dean of jazz bloggers, Lance Liddle...

Josh Weir: I love the writing on bebop spoken here... I think the work you are doing is amazing.


16573 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 466 of them this year alone and, so far, 12 this month (July 7).

From This Moment On ...


Fri 12: The Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ The White Swan, Main Road, Ovingham NE42 6AG. 12:30pm. Free.
Fri 12: John Settle @ The Old Library, Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland. 1:00pm. £8.00. Settle (vibes) w. Dean Stockdale, Mick Shoulder & Tim Johnston.
Fri 12: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 12: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 12: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Sat 13: Jazz Stage @ Mouth of the Tyne Festival. Free. Vieux Carré Jazzmen (12 noon); Trilogy of Four (1:35pm); Classic Swing (3:10pm); Archipelago (4:40pm).
Sat 13: East Coast Swing Band @ Tynemouth Metro Station. 1:00pm. Free. A Mouth of the Tyne Festival event.
Sat 13: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Prudhoe Riverside Park. 12:55-1:40pm. Free.
Sat 13: Michael Woods @ Cycle Hub, Ouseburn, Newcastle NE6 1BU. 1:30-2:30pm & 3:00-4:00pm. Country blues. An Ouseburn Festival event.
Sat 13: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ The Beehive, Hartley Lane, Whitley Bay NE25 0SZ. 5:30pm. Free. Gig in the Secret Garden.
Sat 13: Anth Purdy @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. ‘Swing Jazz Guitar’. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 14: OUTRI + Slowlight Quartet @ The Bandstand, The Sele, Hexham. 12 noon-2:00pm. Free. OUTRI is Ian ‘Dodge’ Paterson’s new solo bass project. ‘The Bandstand Sessions’.
Sun 14: Jazz Stage @ Mouth of the Tyne Festival. Free. Rendezvous Jazz (12 noon); Delta Prophets Trio (1:35pm); Abbie Finn Trio (3:10pm); River City Band (4:40pm).
Sun 14: MSK @ Tynemouth Metro Station. 1:00pm. Free. A Mouth of the Tyne Festival event.
Sun 14: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 14: Am Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 14: Jamil Sheriff’s Five Gold Rings @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm.
Sun 14: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free. Sun 14: Lounge Lizards + King Bees @ The Tyne Bar, Newcastle. 3:00pm. Free. The Tyne Bar’s 30th anniversary, top class blues double bill.
Sun 14: Richard Herdman @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Mon 15: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 15: Nathan Lawson Trio @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00. Blaydon Jazz Club.

Tue 16: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Victoria & Albert Inn, Seaton Terrace, Seaton Delaval NE25 0AT. 12:30pm. £15.00 (tel: 0191 237 3697). Summer BBQ in the Beer Graden.
Tue 16: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger & Abbie Finn.

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: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 17: John Pope & John Garner + Nisha Ramayya @ Cluny 2, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors). £15.00. (£12.00. adv.). A Gem Arts Masala Festival event.

Thu 18 Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle NE1 7BJ. 2:30pm. £4.00.
Thu 18: Theo Croker @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Thu 18: Brad Linde’s Continentals @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Thu 18: Eva Fox & the Jazz Guys @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 18: Ray Stubbs R&B All Stars @ The Mill Tavern, Hebburn. 8:00pm. Rhythm & blues.
Thu 18: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm.

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Album review: James Brandon Lewis Red Lily Quintet - For Mahalia, With Love

James Brandon Lewis (tenor sax) + : 

Disc One: Kirk Knuffke (cornet); Chris Hoffman (cello); William Parker (bass); Chad Taylor (drums, tambourine).

Disc Two: Roksana Kwasnikowska (first violin); Marcin Markowics (second violin); Artur Rozmyslowics (viola); Maciej Mlodawski (cello).

Perhaps surprisingly, for such a long-standing and prodigious soulboy as myself, I’ve had almost no interest in gospel music beyond a few select artists near to the soul music mainstream: Staple Singers, Mighty Clouds of Joy, Rance Allen, Sounds of Blackness and not many more.

I’ve always attributed this to me being an atheist, though I’ve always considered words in music along the lines of acting, and only notice it when it’s either very good or very poor.

However, for inspiration, consider one of the most interesting and exiting names in contemporary jazz releasing an album dedicated to the Queen of Gospel while the image of the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts is still fresh in my mind from the vantage point of Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans, where I’d just walked through Congo Square, widely regarded as the birthplace of jazz.  

Lewis is one of a number of musicians, academics and critics who are seeking to reintegrate the various strands of C20th Black American Music: blues, gospel, jazz and soul (together with less weighty forms: r’n’b, doo-wop, rock and roll and disco, with the jury still out on hip-hop) and reclaim its standing as the great artform of the last century.

The album is in two parts, the first featuring Lewis with the Red Lily Quintet, a standard quintet with tenor and cornet plus cello; and the second with a standard classical string quartet.

The first reminds me I’ve been listening to gospel all along, just like when I listen to jazz I’m also listening to blues and when I listen to soul I’m listening to gospel, blues, rhythm and blues and doo-wop as well. It reminds me of the best in jazz, with the weight of Christian McBride’s New Jawn, through the spirituality of John Coltrane circa A Love Supreme, back to a time when Jazz’s first great horn players: Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster and Roy Eldridge were assimilating the new language of bebop into their playing.

There’s much intricate interplay between all the musicians - and especially the two horns – but also heaps of freedom, disrupting  any claim to high art based on formal structures of the European model and establishing alternative paradigms of what constitutes ‘serious’ music, based on characteristics drawn from the black experience though the Civil Rights Movement, slavery and right back to Africa.       

On disc two, as if to substantiate any claim to high art, he uses a standard string quartet, but then subverts it by incorporating the very qualities of black music which are typically excluded from definitions of serious music, through the soulful, funky, bluesy, improvisation and spirituality of black music via his saxophone.

I’ve found this album joyous and life-affirming and think I may keep playing it for a very long time. The second disc is of less interest to me but I think could be very rewarding for those who come at jazz from the classical angle. Steve T


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