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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.

Postage

16590 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 483 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (July 14).

From This Moment On ...

July

Tue 23: Nomade Swing Trio @ Newcastle House Hotel, Rothbury. 7:30pm. £10.00. Tickets from Tully’s of Rothbury or at the door (cash only). A Coquetdale Jazz event.

Wed 24: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 24: Nomade Swing Trio @ Café Needles Eye, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. 6:00pm. Reservations: 01670 641224.
Wed 24: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 24: The Ronnie Scott’s Story @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Wed 24: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 24: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Thu 25: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 25: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Garry Hadfield (keys); Noel Dennis (tpt); Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Adrian Beadnell (bass).
Thu 25: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Fri 26: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 26: Bailiwick + Sleep Suppressor + Christie/Chan @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors 6:30pm). ‘Experimental evening of jazz, punk and jazz-punk’.
Fri 26: Nomade Swing Trio @ Repas7 by Night, Berwick. 7:30pm. Free.
Fri 26: Stuart Turner @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Fri 26: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Fri 26: Bold Big Band @ Old Coal Yard, Byker, Newcastle. 9:30pm. A Newcastle Fringe Festival event.

Sat 27: BBC Proms: BBC Introducing stage @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 12 noon. Free. Line-up inc. Nu Groove (2:00pm); Abbie Finn Trio (2:50pm); Dilutey Juice (3:50pm); SwanNek (5:00pm); Rivkala (6:00pm).
Sat 27: Nomade Swing Trio @ Billy Bootlegger’s, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sat 27: Mississippi Dreamboats @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 27: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Sat 27: Theon Cross + Knats @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 10:00pm. £22.00. BBC Proms: BBC Introducing Stage (Sage Two). A late night gig.

Sun 28: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 28: Miss Jean & the Ragtime Rewind Swing Band @ Fonteyn Ballroom, Dunelm House (Durham Students’ Union), Durham. 2:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Sun 28: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, Union Quay, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Nomade Swing Trio @ Red Lion, Alnmouth. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 28: Jazz Jam Sandwich! @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 28: Jeffrey Hewer Collective @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 28: Milne Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Mon 29: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 30: ???

Wed 31: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 31: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 31: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Album Review: Mike Westbrook – Band of Bands (Westbrook Records)

Kate Westbrook (voice); Chris Biscoe (alto and soprano saxophones); Pete Wyman (alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet); Karen Street (accordion, voice) Mike Westbrook (piano); Marcus Vergette (bass); Coach York (drums).

This is one of those little big bands, a seven piece that doesn’t believe it can’t also be an orchestra if it chooses to do so. There’s a limited range of voices on here (reeds plus accordion and piano in the main with no brass) and you would have thought that might lead to some restraint. But no. The ensemble moments are full blooded, such as on the opening romp, Glad Day, and the well supported solo passages insidiously worm their way into your attention and before you know it a stripped down backing behind the solo has marched to the front of the hall, metaphorically speaking, and it’s a full screen performance again. Blues For Terenzi does this to perfection, building up from an alto sax solo, by the end it’s a full voice march being directed around the parade ground to display the quality of Westbrook’s writing and arranging.

An argumentative reading of Billy Strayhorn’s Johnny Come Lately develops into an accordion/alto duel (not a phrase that suffers from over use) with the accordion both filling in the landscape and pushing the saxes on as the piece slides between familiar Ellingtonia and something just a little left of where you expect it to be.

Kate’s voice makes its first appearance on Yellow Dog, a new version of a song from 2019. A martial drum beat provides the foundation for accordion swirls after a French Fashion whilst Kate intones a grim song of rats and snakes and a post-apocalyptic vision of a sun scorched land with a north-eastern reference in the lines “No one will whistle Blaydon Races, For a dead Geordie lad.” She channels a growling Marlene Dietrich on Black Market, a Brechtian song from the 1948 film A Foreign Affair. The music is more free-association than what has gone before with only Kate’s growl and snarling voice and Vergette’s bass holding it all together amidst the cabaret accordion and various whistling.

There’s more of that insidious, sliding, sax playing on Doll’s House; there’s elements of swing too, all anchored by Vergette’s bass. Again, it’s in the mood of Brecht/Weill before it breaks out into a multi-instrumental frenzy with the frenzied saxes duelling and duo-ing; the accordion holding it all together with a simple repeated riff. My Lover’s Coat opens with a delicate solo piano, all angles, like a pastoral reading of a Monk solo and that mood persists. It’s a surreal love song from a lover spelling out the letters L,O,V,E across the earth so that they are visible to an astronaut lover flying overhead; a joyful image and the band rolls cheerfully along behind Kate. The most uplifting moments on the album with the saxes giving full voice behind her. My Pale Parasol is a revisit of a track on the 2005 album, art Wolf that they toured up north, at least as far as Darlington, in the mid noughties. The Alpine imagery plays out over a swirling and swooping alto and restrained piano punctuation. The lines and the music match perfectly as Kate sings ‘A great glacier before me, Alpine Swifts above, I shall live forever, An image of love.’

Gas, Dust, Stone is a return to space, though less optimistically than on My Lover’s Coat, as the protagonist is now floating in space with nothing but Gas, Dust, Stone for company. The title is repeated with Kate’s voice falling, more resignedly, on Stone with every reading. A stuttering, longing sax solo comes in after the vocals to give another voice to the absence and loneliness before an escape into higher registers but the weight of York’s drums add gravitas to proceedings and prevent full flight. Dancing accordion and sax combine wonderfully to lead us into a closing full band section, where, once again, this Band of Bands sounds a bigger beast than it is.

The set closes with a drinking song full of good cheer. Lyrically it’s a list of Kate’s favourite things with the band riffing cheerfully behind her as she sings ‘I like bossa, I like swing, Dance me a round again and hear me sing, Which dance? Any dance!

Jumping jive, rock ‘n rolling.’ After the intensity of some of the previous pieces this is a purely escapist show tune full of the joys of life, with the sax solos spiralling up, a thumping drum solo, full of crashing cymbals and a solid bass performance to anchor it all. The crowd at the Ashburton Arts Centre, Devon in November last year show their full appreciation. Dave Sayer

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