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Bebop Spoken There

Hugh Masekela: “I advise every kid to check out their past because without a past you are in limbo.” (Songlines December 2017)

Leo Richardson: “I think your image is really important. You look at those old Blue Note recordings and you look at the liner note, the booklet and they’re in the studio and they’re wearing shirt and ties. They used to wear suits all the time.” – (Jazzwise December 2017/January 2018)

Submissions for review

Whilst we appreciate the many emails, texts, messages and other communications we receive requesting album/gig reviews on BSH, regrettably, we are unable to reply to them all other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
Similarly, CDs received by post will only be considered if accompanied by sufficient background material.
Finally, bear in mind that this is a jazz-based site when submitting your album.
Lance

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Leo Richardson Quartet @ Opus 4 Jazz Club, Darlington - December 1

Leo Richardson (tenor saxophone), Rick Simpson (keyboards), Tim Thornton (double bass) & Ed Richardson (drums)
(Review by Russell)
Tenor saxophonist Leo Richardson has received rave reviews in the jazz media with his debut CD The Chase garnering 5-star awards. In demand on the London scene, sharp-suited Richardson is on the road with his quartet and he stopped off at Opus 4 Jazz Club. Darlington Jazz Festival has been ahead of the curve having already been treated to Richardson’s hard bop style in trumpeter Matt Roberts’ all-star band in 2016 and again this year. Would Richardson attract a crowd?


On the night other attractions in the region – Saltburn to the south and Ushaw to the north – made for a difficult choice…or, perhaps, not so difficult. Bebop Spoken Here was only going to be in one place and that was right here at the Traveller’s Rest. Portraits of legendary jazz figures hang from the walls in the upstairs room of the West Auckland Road hostelry and looking on with a particular interest this evening as Richardson took to the stage was the great Tubby Hayes. The Curve from The Chase opened the set followed by another cut from the album, Blues for Joe (Joe Henderson). Wow! Absolutely stunning hard bop! What a band! Ah, the band…Richardson introduced the man who needed no introduction whatsoever, Rick Simpson. A local lad, living and working in London, Leo playfully referred to Rick as the ‘Prodigal Son’. Bassist Tim Thornton, a man in possession of imperious technique, and the no-relation, stupendous young drummer Ed Richardson are as good as it gets.

Effing and Jeffing isn’t on the album but it could be on the next one. Richardson took it down just a touch, for a few bars only, then ‘bang!’ more killing bop. Demon E was inspired by Richardson’s wife. Bluesy, languid tenor playing, Mrs R must be some woman! Forty minutes in, forty glorious minutes of hard bop, it was time for a ballad. Elisha’s Song, named after Leo Richardson’s niece, featured the Prodigal Son. A new tune, The Demise, served as a commentary on the state of the world today, or rather, the state of so-called world leaders with Simpson yet again dazzling the on-side full house.  

Another new tune – Shake – suggests Richardson is writing material on a regular basis. Good, the second and third albums must be taking shape! The second set opener featured Leo’s namesake,  drummer Ed Richardson in a sharp exchange of fours. Richardson E was nothing short of amazing all night. Ed must surely be in the ‘first call’ category of drummers in the capital city. Martini Shuffle recalled Art Blakey’s insistent drive, with Tim Thornton’s bass solo as good as any heard by your correspondent – that’s anytime, anywhere, ever. Silver Lining, another of Leo’s compositions, the man Horace Silver the inspiration, produced one of those ‘how did they do that’ scenarios. Exactly Like You quoted fleetingly at breakneck tempo by Leo, the quote developed by Rick, amazing, just amazing, and the other Richardson Ed, was all over it. Live jazz, there’s nothing like it!

Mambo (it’s on the CD, buy it, just buy it!) featured more superlative bass playing from TT, with first Leo, then Rick referencing Footprints. Another original titled Peace (are you listening, yes, you, you ‘world leader’. Bah! Probably not), then the one tune they were yet to play…The Chase. Absolutely brilliant playing all round, including a blistering ‘just my tempo’ drum solo. Leo Richardson couldn’t have made a bigger impression. He’ll make a return visit, that’s for sure, and when he does, please be there! Gig of the Year? Yep.

Russell                                                

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Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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