I’d been hoping I’d be having another laugh or two but having been fairly ill recently it was looking a lot less likely. Also, for the first time I hadn’t been able to write for a fair while – I don’t mean Blogging because as you know that isn’t going to stop until I drop (Tee Hee). No, I write other articles, more complex stuff. This time it wasn’t working out for me - problems, problems.
But I was due to go out tonight and that always helps. I’ve had a number of disappointments recently – things I’d hoped to do one last time, but for a number of reasons nothing worked out. So I had a lot resting on this night at the Red Lion.
They were introduced as one ex member of Jools Holland’s band, one ex Stephane Grapelli band and one ex Humphrey Littleton Band, so there was never going to be a shortage of musicianship, but that isn’t always enough. In fact the only shortage was room to swing a cat – shrewdly the pubs two cats kept well out of the way and it was with a real struggle I managed to steal a stool to sit on.
In fact, it buzzed, starting with ‘I want to be happy’ at high speed, then ‘Beautiful love’, with big Alto or Bass Sax notes (I’ve never been able to tell the difference – it was big and deep and growling) from Derek Nash. ‘Summer kind of mood’ saw a move to a screaming Tenor Sax which happened again on a Cannonball Adderly number straight out of ‘Workout’.
Then it went into slow motion with a latin number by Jobim, ‘How insensitive’, it was sublime – at least the tiny suprano Sax and John Etheridge’s acoustic guitar were. Otherwise, you could hear people holding their breath it was so good.
And then we had a really stompin’ blues from Jimmy Smith’s ‘Chicken Shack’.
At the interval, I was having a friendly argument with B####, who couldn’t handle John Etheridge’s electric guitar (‘Too rocky for me’) and then “I don’t own any Jimmy Smith – too much Hammond” ending with real horror; ‘All it needs are Turrentine licks’.
I argued it out because this is stuff I love and as a joke I said I’d put in a request for something by Turrentine –of course I didn’t but someone from the band must have overheard me – the first number of the second set was ‘Sugar’ by Stanley Turrentine, as a result I was off - laughing uncontrollably for most of the number.
We had soul - ‘Since I fell for you’, we had an acoustic ballad which just purred and some bop - ‘Sister Sadie’ by Horace Silver, but played just a leedle bit faster and that brought out Trevor Tomkins towel. Tim Wells stood in at the last minute on double bass and Ted Beamont was on the Yamaha.
The last number was ‘Comin’ home baby’, made famous by Mel Torme, although sadly for contractual reasons, Mel couldn’t make it last night.
By this time glasses were crashing behind the bar, the floor was bouncing, the joint was jumping.
Since I got ill, I’ve really gone with the flow. At the weekend I bought an Ella Fitzgerald compilation – quite out of character for me but I was in a charity shop and just saw it for £1-99p. The basic ‘Great American Songbook’ and as I drove home, late into the night I was playing the crystal clear voice of Ella and getting lost in some of the greatest songs of the 20th century.
“I’ll take Manhattan,
the isle of Statton, too
Just to be with you”
Who writes like that?
A good night, a really good laugh and some great sounds, played out for the love of good music on a Monday night.
(a don’t stop till you drop production)Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com