Jazz fan who played with Sting in Newcastle Big Band wins award for music website

Lance Little in his playing days
Lance Little in his playing days

A jazz lover has won a noteworthy vote of confidence from MPs and Peers to claim a prestigious award for his online music blog.

Lance Liddle’s in depth Bebop Spoken Here site - about all things jazz in the North East - has won an annual ballot of parliamentarians.

Lance Little, of East Steet, Hebburn, who has won  a parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group award for his Jazz Blog 'bebop spoken here'

Lance Little, of East Steet, Hebburn, who has won a parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group award for his Jazz Blog 'bebop spoken here'

The All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG) has named it the nation’s best media-based source of the genre, at its annual awards.

Mr Liddle, 80, of East Street, Hebburn, says he is stunned at clinching a title - whose previous winners include musician Jamie Cullen.

Bebop Spoken Here went live in 2008 and has had over 3.5 million page views - ranking it third in the country and 26th globally in terms of visits and quality of posts on jazz blogs.

Retired saxophonist Mr Liddle said: “I couldn’t believe it when it was announced that I had won, I was quite overwhelmed. I was very proud to have been nominated, but honestly thought I was at the ceremony just to make up the numbers.”

Mr Liddle, who is married to Marlene, 77, developed a love of jazz at the age of 15.

Born in Jarrow of music teacher parents, his passion for the genre led him to become a skilled tenor saxophonist.

He played in numerous groups, including the Newcastle Big Band, where a fellow member was Sting, its bassist.

His love of music transferred into his career – he worked as an assistant at the JG Windows instrument and records shop in Newcastle.

To keep his blog up to speed, he inputs new data of gigs and record and live reviews daily, supported by a small team of fellow enthusiasts.

He credits some of his award success to top British saxophonist Simon Spillett and US singer and pianist Daryl Sharman, who wrote supportive messages on his blog.

The APPJAG, which has 80 members from the House of Commons and House of Lords across all political parties, aims to encourage wider and deeper enjoyment of jazz.

The awards ceremony was held at sponsor Pizza Hut’s outlet in Holborn, London, in front of a gathering of musicians, promoters and politicians.

Kelvin Hopkins MP, APPJAG Co-Chairman, said: “The Parliamentary Jazz Awards are a great way for MPs and Peers of all political parties to show their support for British jazz by recognising and honouring the amazing musical talent we have in our country.

“From established stars to fresh new talent, the range and diversity of this year’s winners shows the vibrancy and creativity of British jazz.”