This was always going to be a pig of a day and then it wasn’t.
I had to get to hospital for a blood test, it was snowing and sleeting. After a weekend of rain we got another flood warning. I got there really early to miss the crowd but the crowd had looked at the bad weather and they all had the same great idea. It was packed. It was also a special diabetes day, as far as I could see. So, 10 minutes turned into an hour.
Then, off to the doctors to get a prescription – so many ill people I couldn’t park. Standing room only. Then to the supermarket for the pharmacy and got the prescription done. Then home to cook, then sorting endless things out.
So a crap day, cold and wet.
Except then I went off in the evening to see political friends for a meeting and the sleet had stopped. Then I caught the end of the first set onwards at the jazz Club at the Red Lion, Twickenham.
Now this was something different, this was the sound of Charlie Mingus, Ahmad Jamal, Woody Shaw and the great John Coltrane. Must admit I do love the Trane.
A more difficult night musically, no prisoners were being taken.
Chris Biscoe on Saxes (that’s plural because he was playing all the way up from bass to some squeaky thing) and Steve Fishwick on trumpet were doing sharp, duelling daggers of sound while Kate Williams was more dreamy on keyboards. This was modern with a capital M.
But the real stars today for me were Trevor Tomkins drums and Steve Watts bass. Trevor’s quiet cymbal work was sharp and tight. With the bass it echoed the sleet from earlier, tapping out the cold, cold night.
And I won a CD in the raffle (which is how the musicians get paid) which is a first for me.
Another great night at the Red Lion.
There is no other place I could ever want to be at. It’s a Monday night; it’s a cool, cool crowd. It’s cheap and you can smoke a small cheroot out back. Every week there is a different line up of the very best names in British modern jazz, all playing out of their regular bands and out of their comfort zones for the love of the music.
If it wasn’t organised it would be a jam session and in a way that’s what it is.
Then I drove back through the empty streets of West London, wet pavements reflecting the neon back at me. Cool sounds on the stereo. Police cars, sirens blaring, rush past in the opposite direction.
Not my turn tonight!
Red lights turning green as I get near.
It doesn’t get any better.
It’s possible I’m at a stage in life where my senses are particularly keen and I’m experiencing feelings that come from my illness, but then again, I know I wasn’t the only one who felt the vibe tonight.
Mmmmmm, that’s jaaaaaaazzzzzz.
(a don’t stop till you drop production)