A Quiet Night In
It’s still hot here in the UK, Wimbledon started and the World Cup is in the knockout stages; either one or all three of these factors meant that the crowd at the Milford Arms was a fraction of its normal size. This of course was fine with me because I don’t like crowds but for the people who run the jazz club it was a bit discouraging, especially since it’s only been in the current venue for two months and I think they are worried about getting the boot if the numbers drop.
As I said it’s still hot, which I hate but it’s a shame Neil would have loved this weather. For the past three summers he’s complained about it not being hot and sunny – even though it was, just only for a few days which I’d prefer. But we’re going into our third week of 80°+ heat which is a bit extreme for a place with very little air conditioning.
Today is four months since Neil died. I still can’t believe it, but that’s why I’m writing this today and not him. Although I miss him every day some days little things happen that remind of things I’ve totally forgotten about. Like last week while Derek Nash was playing he licked the tip of his index finger and gestured an exclamation point. I don’t really know what that means but Neil used to do that when he’d done something he was proud of and wanted credit for. Last night it was me taking notes for the blog on the raffle tickets. When Neil was well and writing the blog he always kept about four recycled envelopes in his pocket for taking notes. They could be used for anything but at the jazz he usually used them to take notes like, the songs that were played or little events that happened like someone spilling their drink on the jazz club villain and him storming off as a result … Result!
A lot of nights at the jazz club would be either a night that he enjoyed or one that I enjoyed. Last night though I think would have been the rare occasion where I liked one half and he liked the other. Last night was a night of two halves. The first half was dominated by the smooth and spicy sounds of Theo Travis. I love the sax and have since I was a teenager, and Theo plays my kind of sax. I think he could make it on the smooth jazz circuit if he were looking for some extra income.
The first half included some of my favorites like Recorda Me and In a Sentimental Mood - a song that almost anyone would know even if they didn’t know jazz, it’s been in movie soundtracks and is a classic. For me it’s a song that would come to mind when you think of the sax .
The second half was more upbeat and featured more of the screeching trumpet and flugelhorn of Steve Waterman. I love a screechy trumpet while Neil loved a mute, he’d get excited whenever one was used. And like he always said, “If we were the same it would be boring”. I like smooth things whereas he thought smooth music was "inoffensive" which for Neil was not a compliment. Neil liked things to “grab you by the lapel and shake you”, so I think he would have really enjoyed the second half after probably sleeping through the first.
It’s the first week of July so of course Tim Wells was playing the bass. The “Baltimore bass man” as he’s known always seems to be at the jazz club around the 4th of July. The first year I wished him a happy 4th, he kind of rolled his eyes at me. It was okay, I was never really been a fan anyway. And because he was there the band played Old Blues which I said to Martin must be his favorite song because whenever he comes (which is at least once a month) they play it.
One of Martin’s favorites was on keys, John Horler. No original music last night which is a shame. They usually play one of his pieces when he comes. And of course Trevor Tomkins was on drums, and in another lovely shirt from Ghana. I told him, maybe it’s the shirt! Last week he was on fire and this week he was still smoldering. The band played Joy Spring again (Derek Nash, et al played it last week) but I liked this week's version better.
I thought I’d end this week’s write up with a story about Theo Travis. The first time I remember seeing him I told Neil he looked like Rev. Richard Coles who was in a Pop band in the 80’s called the Communards. Neil agreed with my observation. The next time Theo Travis came to our club I asked Martin “Have you heard of the Communards?” He made a perplexed face and said “Yes”. I said “This guy looks like the keyboard player, I can’t remember his name but he’s a vicar now.” Martin’s face looked even more confused after that. When I asked him if he’d heard of the Communards he thought I meant the Paris Commune not the 80’s Pop band. But after a few minutes he agreed that Theo Travis does resemble the Rev. Richard Coles.
What do you think?
One of Neil's write ups on Theo Travis
One of Neil's write ups on the Communards (Paris Commune not the 80's Pop band)
Robyn G. M. Harris
(a One Day at a Time Production)