Tuesday, 9 July 2013

6 instead of 4.

I went out early Monday night – hoping to find a new hat on the way to the jazz club. The shop was shut as I got there, actually it was shutting, a security guard on the door keeping me out.

In any case I need a special hat and I didn’t really expect to find it. A hat with a little jaaaazzz in it, a cool hat. Somehow, although I have no idea how I am going to get away to do it, I need to get up to London. We’ll see. My current hat, well, it’s just not where it’s at. It needs to be a really baad hat.

It wasn’t a cool day; it was high summer at last. Hot n’steamy long into the evening but after last Thursday’s moonstomping, I wasn’t looking for slow ballads or introspective noodling, I was looking for some bounce. I wasn’t sure I was going to find it, but it’s always worth looking.

Meanwhile, to celebrate the end of winter, people had rediscovered alcohol and the beer garden. Shell-shocked drinkers wandered to and from the bar. As the night went on they got more and more wasted, the conversations more surreal.  One large gentleman was carrying a poodle wherever he went. Very strange.

Every number started off quite slow, then they’d forget themselves and race away with it. My kind of night.

Leon Greening, a last minute replacement on the keyboards – each time he’d start off on a bluesy thoughtful mood, then he’d hunch, the bluenotes would hit in, then his head would get closer and closer to the keys and the race was on again.

Tonight Quentin Collins trumpet just lay back and screamed. Even the mellow, quiet flugelhorn got a hammering when it came out.


 Theo Travis was new to me – his Sax would be looking for a quiet ballad, a quiet stroll amongst quiet leafy lanes – moments in and the ghosts of bebop took over. Trevor Tomkins was grumbling that he’d spent all day in the studio – he’ obviously had a good time, you could hear it. Mick Hutton’s bass was hammering out an inner city rhythm. It was hot.

Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker. Jobim.

“An old standard but in 6 instead of 4”.

A hot, sultry ill-tempered sort of night. At the all night kebab shack, the handcuffs were out.

Good sounds though.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)
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