Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Art Themen

Had a great, lucky, evening last night; you have to take your chances where you can.  
I went to my jazz club at the Red Lion, Isleworth, hadn’t been there since before Christmas; family problems, not so well, blah blah blah.

I couldn’t miss it this time for a couple of reasons– the great Art Themen came with his saxophone, which he does roughly every three months. It was a night heavy with the bright sounds of Be Bop; Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk, no less.

It was like two groups in one; Art Themen on Sax and Henry Lowther on Trumpet and Flugelhorn linking together up front. They were particularly tight on “Straight no chaser”, a real Monk standard.

On the back row Dave Green on bass and Trevor Tomkins on drums were in there with Ross Stanley who was delicately on the nail on keyboards.

It was a great night.

It was even better as there were more than a few memories for me. Six months ago I saw Art Themen there a week before I broke my ankle, then three months ago I saw him again on my first proper outing armed with an Air cast boot and crutches. Both nights were a big deal – getting out again after difficult times.

So going back today with just my Ian Dury style walking stick was something to treasure.

Three months ago I was able to joke that the Red Lion was probably the safest place I could find myself at; Art Themen was for many years an Orthopaedic surgeon, so if anything went wrong….

Mind you when he saw me on crutches last time, his face fell, no doubt thinking he’d left all that behind when he retired.

But that’s the point; the venue is so intimate, it’s a privilege to see such great musicians playing so close.

As I said a great, lucky, night.


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

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