I spent Monday night with the ‘Trane, Thelonious, and Dexter – ending up ‘Round Midnight’.
Day two of my ‘fill your pockets and run like f@#k’ tour, before playtime ends next Monday when I have to go to my clinic.
I went to my Jazz Club at the Red Lion, Isleworth to see the great Art Themen, giant of British modern jazz, who is kind enough to come and see us freeloaders roughly every three months. It’s his social work.
Apart from the jazz it’s also a chance for me to put two fingers up to my illness and celebrate the sheer joy of being alive. Just over a year ago I was still trying to get my act together and struggled in to see him – the Olympics had just finished and a week later I broke my ankle – did I ever mentioned that?
November last year, I struggled in again pretty triumphant, this time wearing an air cast boot and crutches although I wasn’t doing a lot of toe tapping. Then in February it all went wrong on me, my ‘fighting February’, then even worse news in May. So, it means a lot to me, it’s an achievement every time I see him.
The set started with ‘For regulars only’, Art crouched squinting over the music until someone got his glasses from his car – it didn’t seem to do the music any harm though, fast and furious. ‘Forest Fire’ was a quieter contrast and then it was back in top gear again for John Coltrane’s ‘Lollies lament’, with Trevor Tomkins getting pretty fired up on the drums, triggering a first round of whistles while Steve Watts was on bass.
John Donaldson was let free on piano for Michel Legrand’s ‘You must believe in spring’, but then as this was only a quartet tonight (always much better than five) everyone had the chance to play, and they did.
‘Trinkle Dinkle’ ended the set – Thelonious Monk’s part pretty much stolen by Art Themen on the sax.
At half time I snuck out into the garden to check out shooting stars, but it was too cloudy and light.
More Monk (‘Played Twice’) –really tight, really sharp, after the break there was more Monk again a couple of numbers later (4 in 1) – no prisoners taken there or anywhere.
‘I’ve grown accustomed to your face’ was an Art Themen Tour de Force, followed by a brisk old blues.
Then, this brisk old bluesman stumbled out into the night, hoping for a helping of stardust (previous Blog) later on.
The ‘tour’ continues!
(a don’t stop till you drop production)