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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 12, 2024

Sue Ferris Quintet @ Newcastle House, Rothbury - June 11.

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

“If you build it,” says Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, “they will come.” And lo, in Rothbury they did build it and lo further, they did come. This was the fourth in Coquetdale Jazz’s increasingly successful programme and with a quintet, their biggest band yet. So, having bought my ticket at the local delicatessen the week before, I donned my coolest shades as protection against the bright lights of Rothbury and headed north-west.

Tonight’s gig saw three members of the magisterial Voice of The North Jazz Orchestra on stage. The VOTN was an early victim of Tory austerity implemented by politicians who wouldn’t understand the word culture if you wrote it on the side of a banana milk-shake and threw it at them.

Leaving my sour mood at the door, I squeezed into one of the few available seats. It’s a small room with the musicians packed into the corner in front of a large Coquetdale Jazz sign tied off at the corners to any available projection on windows and furniture. It’s cosy and homely, a bit out of character for what followed.

They opened with a Horace Silver tune The Gringo. It’s almost the tenth anniversary of Silver’s passing and he would get a few mentions this evening. The tune is a piece of mid-paced bebop, Latin swing with an uplifting joyous melody out of which Ferris erupts to solo with the rhythm section laying down a solid backing. Hardy’s flugelhorn solo brings a bit of sunshine. During the ensemble section that follows horn and sax combine beautifully in a single voice. Still on the Silver surf, Song For My Father comes next and I wonder how many of those gathered here tonight haven’t heard the piece before.* It’s a perfect introduction to bop in particular and jazz in general. Lawrence throws a few unfamiliar different shapes into the mix. Hardy’s solo lifts and rises over Lawrence’s chordal accompaniment. Lawrence’s solo is a gentle beast compared to the rolling original. Bass and drums ARE SUBSTANTIAL. Ferris blows long, melancholy notes and picks up pace rolling and repeating and throwing out bursts of short note phrases.

Paul Edis’ McCoin a Phrase follows. The band crash into it with splashing cymbals; it’s full of 1970s' New York grit and sounds like a theme for a private eye film, more Shaft than Gumshoe. We’re not in Rothbury any more (Toto), we’re crossing 110th Street. Lawrence plays a lovely fluid solo (his piano could have done with being turned up a bit) before Ferris’ powerful blowing restates the urban blues, breaking free occasionally to lift the mood. Andy Champion solos, dancing around the melody, probing and challenging with Bradford rattling along behind him. The title is obviously a reference to Mr Tyner and the piece does have something of the expansiveness of the classic Coltrane quartet.

The first half closes with One Hand, One Heart from West Side Story. It’s a gentle ballad given a widescreen voice by the ensemble before Hardy blows a lovely flowing solo before handing off to Ferris to do something similar. This is fluid, modern dance music and you can almost see the bodies moving, not that there’s space in the place to dance. It’s a song for twilight to which Lawrence adds a solo of ethereal fragility. 

The second set starts with another piece of rolling Blue Note funk with a few new angles thrown in. I’m awarding points all round for the ensemble sound again. Ferris’ solo is dense and twisting and packed with notes. Hardy’s is sharp and cutting, full of piercing higher notes; he’s really reaching out. Lawrence picks up the character of the tune and carries it into a series of delicate runs over percussive left hand chords. Champion’s solo is jumping and jogging, full of majesty and depth, so heavy he sounds like he’s throwing boulders downstream as he moves up the neck of his bass to bring extra weight. Bradford explodes into a furious solo punctuated by prompts from Champion and Lawrence and the crowd explodes in turn as they finish and I think ‘This! In Rothbury?’

A tune by Ben Lawrence comes next, called Grand Nain, referencing bananas. Bright chords to which Bradford adds a click track and cymbal splashes before a long blowing ensemble section turns into a walking blues. Ferris adds a swinging solo.

Horace Silver’s Nica’s Dream has a punchy opening that leads into more Latin funk and into Champion’s bouncing, high stepping, popping solo using all the bass’ voices. Ferris storms in with a charging, full blooded solo to round things off. Listening to these tunes played with such irresistible, energetic enthusiasm is just a joy.

They close with Cole Porter’s My Heart Belongs to Daddy for which Ferris produces and assembles a flute to play in duet with Champion’s bass whilst Bradford gently brushes the drums and Lawrence adds decorative swirls on piano. The flugelhorn seems more at home on this slow-stepping blues. Lawrence picks the bones out of the melody and adds some fluid runs with occasional nods back to the title and its inherent innuendos. As they come back together Ferris’ flute seems to echo the jazz age of the 1920s and 30s.

I had arrived expecting a reasonably entertaining evening. Instead we got a band that is capable of heating up any room, bursting with energy and talent, blowing the cobwebs off some standards and adding a few new pieces of their own. This one will appear on my list of gigs of the year. Beat a path to Rothbury, last night it felt it was where it’s happening!

 *John Fordham in a Horace Silver overview after his death said “From the mid-1950s on, the perfect antidote for jazz fans to the grumbles of the jazz-averse (that it was a wilfully obscure music, made by introverts who didn’t know the meaning of "entertainment") was to spin them a Horace Silver record.” Dave Sayer

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