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Bebop Spoken There

Immanuel Wilkins: "I'm against the notion of telling a story through lyrics. Dialogue or language can take away from the musical meaning. Words can do a disservice." - (The Hot House Jazz Guide January 19, 2021)

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".

Thursday January 21

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HONOR HORNSBY & FRANK GRIFFITH.

Postage

12,377 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 96 of them this year alone and, so far, 96 this month (Jan. 20).

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Rachael & Alex playback Paul & Gerry. Two of a Mind @ Kansas Smitty's - Jan. 21

Rachael Cohen (alto sax); Alex Garnett (baritone sax); Will Sach (bass); Jas Kayser (drums).

(Screenshots by Ken Drew)

Another of KSTV's playback sessions. This time, recreating a recording made by Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan in 1962 with Alex as Gerry and Rachael as Paul.

A minor gem helped along, not least, by the two sax players' verbal interplay between tunes and the musical interaction when the chips were down. They bounced everything off each  other both in words and in music but when they got down to business it was the real deal.

Luca Manning live streaming from Ronnie's: a Tribute to the Iconic Jazz Divas - Jan. 21

Luca Manning (vocals); Matt Carter (piano); Seth Tackaberry (double bass, bass guitar); Tom Potter (drums)

2020 APPJAG Jazz Newcomer of the Year award winner Luca Manning opened this evening's Iconic Jazz Divas show with Love for Sale. Manning's ace young band - Matt Carter, piano, Seth Tackenberry, bass, and award-winning drummer Tom Potter - swung like veterans. 

If I Knew Then, à la Sarah Vaughan, superb, followed by Underneath the Apple Tree, first known to our vocalist listening to Carmen McRae, pianist Carter excelling as soloist and accompanist. Manning loves Nancy Wilson and always includes Never Will I Marry - not a bad idea! 

Keith Nichols (1945-2021)

Pianist Keith Nichols died today (Jan. 21). A noted authority on ragtime and early piano styles, Nichols was born in Ilford, Essex in 1945. As a young child he played piano and accordion, becoming a national junior champion on the latter instrument. From running bands at school to becoming a world-renowned performer and scholar of 'classic' jazz, Nichols did it all with panache and a great sense of humour. 

To list Nichols' achievements would run to several pages, in summary: student years at the Guildhall, performing with and/or arranging for Digby Fairweather, Harry Gold, the Midnite Follies Orchestra, a first visit to America working with Dick Sudhalter (playing Carnegie Hall), and, one to dine out on, recording an album with Bing Crosby. 

Malcolm Griffiths (1941 - 2021)

More sad news as we report the passing of trombonist Malcolm Griffiths one of the great all-rounders of British jazz indeed, given his connections with Gil Evans and Buddy Rich, his talent was recognised well beyond these shores.

I remember vividly the first time I heard that unique trombone sound. Mike Westbrook's Release. An amazing 1968 album that seamlessly integrated avant-garde, bebop and big band swing. It was on Flying Home that Malcolm burst from the ensemble with as gutsy a sound as ever came out of New Orleans. Kid Ory with the technique of J.J. Johnson. In his  Jazz Journal review, Steve Voce wrote, "...Flying Home, for instance, is played with an intensity that makes the Hampton versions sound like teatime with Donald Peers."

JASON MORAN – THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS - Free Stream – premiere 22 January (5pm GMT)

(Press release)

Serious have partnered with the Kennedy Center in Washington to bring streaming of the ground-breaking event that we co-commissioned in 2018, at no cost, from 5pm GMT on Friday 22 January, running through until the end of February.   

Jason Moran creates an original response to the extraordinary story of James Reese Europe and the Harlem Hellfighters - bravery, race issues, and the explosive arrival of jazz in war-torn Europe. 


‘We won France by playing music which was ours and not a pale imitation of others, and if we are to develop in America we must develop along our own lines.’ 

(James Reese Europe1919).

John Russell (1954 - 2021)

Improvising guitarist John Russell passed away on January 19 after a long debilitating illness. A much-loved and well-respected forward-looking musician he will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

As I never experienced his playing first hand it would be unfair of me to comment instead I'll direct you to an emotional tribute from his friend and former colleague saxophonist Evan Parker, posted on LondonJazz News and a BSH review of a MoPoMoSo gig at Summerhill Bowling Club that featured both Parker and John Russell.

Lance

Evan Parker on LondonJazz News.

2013 review of MoPoMoSo on BSH,

Album review: Jeff Benedict Big Band - The Weather is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful

If I only heard 
Cheek to Cheek I'd want this album! The sax section on the Berlin classic is absolutely phenomenal. They whiz through the complexities of the parts only slightly slower than the speed of light and twice as fast as any big name band's sax section I've ever heard.

Having said that, the rest of the album isn't half bad either. How could it not be with Ellwood and Benedict, when not training for the saxophone Olympics, blowing killer solos? 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Kansas Smitty's play Hoodoo Man Blues and more - Jan. 20

Jalen N'Gonda (guitar, piano, vocals); Dave Archer (guitar); Will Sach (double bass); Jas Kayser (drums)  

(Screenshots by Ken Drew)

What a turn up for the books...Jalen N'Gonda singing and playing guitar and piano, no harmonica! Snatch it back and hold it, yes, this was Junior Wells, followed by Ships on the Ocean, the opening two tracks from Junior Wells' album Hoodoo Man Blues. Fabulous vocals, decent rhythm guitar, JN leaving the lead stuff to Buddy Guy, sorry, Dave Archer. 

Exam Board Reinstates Jazz on Curriculum

Jazz is back on the A-level curriculum and Courtney Pine has been reinstated after the powers that be did one of the U-turns that are so fashionable these days although, on this occasion, it's a turn for the better!

However, as our correspondent Chris K points out, it's still no good if schools don't teach A-level music in the first place. 

Lance

Harmonica Stories

(Press release)

We are now half way through my 4 Zoom lectures taking place on Sunday afternoons throughout January, called Harmonica Stories.
 
I've had incredible feedback and attendance each week so far. Come and join me this Sunday for the next one!

Next up: Toots Thielemans - Sunday 24th Jan 3:00pm GMT

Album review: Sam Newbould Quintet - Bogus Notus

Sam Newbould (alto sax/compositions); Bernard van Rossum (tenor sax); Youngwoo Lee (piano); Daniel Nagel (bass); Guy Salamon (drums/perc) + Beth Aggett (voice); Ian Cleaver (trumpet); Billy Marrows (guitar); Frederico Calcagno (bass clarinet).

Back in the good old days (pre-2020) apart from the regular big bands with their relatively stable, and often interchangeable, personnel there was also the university based bands with their yearly turnover of musicians who came up through the ranks and then graduated. Frequently, not to pursue a career in music, but to become rising stars in the city. Doctors lawyers, architects or arch-villains. Their musical achievements put on the back-burner maybe never to be rekindled.

Preview: Junior Wells at Kansas Smitty's (Jan. 20)

In September 1965, Delmark Records' boss Bob Koester invited Junior Wells to record an album with musicians of his choosing. A couple of months later the Chicago based label released Hoodoo Man Blues by the Junior Wells' Chicago Blues Band. It would prove to be one of the label's biggest selling albums. 

Chicago's classic 50s' South Side blues scene - Wille Dixon, Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf - continued to exert influence throughout the sixties with the emergence of the likes of Paul Butterfield and Charlie Musselwhite. On Wells' mid-sixties recording he adopted the classic, spine-tingling harmonica-through-the-PA set up. Sharing the vocals with guitarist Buddy Guy (cementing a life-long musical partnership), Wells recruited bassist Jack Myers and drummer Bill Warren to complete the studio line-up. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

KSTV: Alec Harper Trio playback Sonny Rollins Trio - Jan. 19

Alec Harper (tenor sax); Will Sach (bass); Will Cleasby (drums).

(Screenshots by Ken Drew)

These guys had some big boots to fill and any lesser musicians would have filled their boots at the prospect! Fortunately, Smitty's don't have any lesser musicians on their roster and tonight's session was tops.

Selecting their repertoire from Rollins' groundbreaking album, A Night at the Village Vanguard, the three musicians put their own individual stamp on the tunes recreating the mood of that night back in 1957 without loss of face. In fact, bearing in mind that Sonny was playing to an actual audience at the Greenwich Village club as opposed to tonight's virtual viewers, it speaks volumes that they could create such a splendid session.

R.I.P. Alan Smith (trumpet)

Just had more sad news. Trumpet ace Alan Smith died this morning. He hadn't been in the best of health for some time. Will post again after more information is received. In the photo Alan can be seen on trumpet playing with the Maine St. Jazzmen at Hebburn's Iona Club in 2008.

Sadly missed.

Lance 

R.I.P. Junior Mance (1928 - 2021)

It wasn't until 2003 that I first heard Junior Mance live. It was in fact the first and only time and it was in Gateshead at that town's Caedmon Hall where the event took place in a concert organised by Jazz North East.

If I hadn't heard him live prior to that memorable concert (and I'm sure I must have done somewhere down the line) then I more than made up for it on record.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Ivo Neame: Live stream from Ronnie Scott's - Jan. 18

Ivo Neame (piano); George Crowley (tenor sax); Tom Farmer (bass); James Maddren (drums).

(Screenshots by Ken Drew).

I'd convinced myself I wasn't going to like this latest live stream from Ronnie's so I approached it with a degree of trepidation.

I hold my hand up and admit that I was wrong to have doubts!

I should have known better. Neame is a fine pianist, composer and raconteur.

Album review: Will Glaser - Climbing in Circles

Will Glaser (drums); Matthew Herd (saxophones); Liam Noble (piano).

An intimate and subtle third album of this name, led by young London-based drummer Glaser, the culmination as a trio after 2 duo albums: Part 1 with young saxophonist Herd and Part 2 with widely-praised and versatile pianist Noble.  All three comprise a mix of standards and covers with some looser group improvisations, this recording with four originals and five   covers.

Album review: Wayne Alpern w. The Dorian Wind Quintet - Jukebox

Gretchen Pusch (flute); Gerard Reuter (oboe); Benjanim Fingland (clarinet); Karl Kramer-Johansen (horn); Adrian Morejon (bassoon); Wayne Alpern (producer/arranger).

Never judge a CD by its cover otherwise you may be duped into thinking that this was going to be a romping, stomping, dancing, prancing, hepcats' ball.

It isn't although there is a lot of quirky fun in Alpern's arrangements.

The notes describe the album thus: "Here are familiar tunes, neighborhood friends from our own musical backyards. What is new is how they are handled, elevating the everyday into the extraordinary. The Dorians are musical magicians, snake-charming the cherished from the commonplace. These are  gems extracted from nearby soil, glittering specks of sound culled from the canyon of our collective imagination.

R.I.P. Sammy Nestico

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