There are some good Doctors, I thanked a good one on Monday morning.
Monday evening and I was watching another one – Art Themen, retired orthopaedic surgeon. There was nothing retired about his Saxophone work.
This really was Thelonious Monk night with loads of his numbers starting with a bright and sparky ‘I mean you’.
A couple of tunes later and we had a treat from Henry Lowther on trumpet, playing his own composition ‘Mataya Sleeps’, dedicated to a neice who was asleep while he wrote it. More Monk closed off the first set – ‘4 in 1’.
The second set brought us a Henry Lowther solo on a beautifully played ballad; ‘It never entered my mind’, and then Art Themen took over but with a segué into ‘April in New York’. I’d caught sight of the music and was dreading this sad and sentimental song. I didn’t need that on Monday, not after hearing bad news, but I was lucky to hear it torn apart and then reassembled without any fake sentimentality.
There were a few familiar Art Themen setpieces; Dexter Gordon’s ‘For regulars only’ and a Clifford Brown blues to finish giving John Donaldson a chance to shine on piano. It was still a great night of modern jazz from the greats, played on a quiet Monday night.
I should add that Stan Tracey was for many years the house pianist at Ronnie Scott’s and in that role he accompanied the greats of the jazz world. I remember seeing him several times in the early 1980’s, entertaining another local club, with some fairly experimental jazz.
(a don’t stop till you drop production)