Wednesday, 7 September 2016

New Blood.

We went to our Jazz Club on Monday but I wasn't feeling so good and didn't really get into the groove - luckily Robyn G. May agreed to do a guest spot on the Blog - some much needed 'New Blood'.

Here's her review;

I have to be honest, I don’t like jazz! I like jazzy music. I love smooth jazz! It’s the perfect genre of music, it’s well … smooth. It can fill almost any requirement; its soothing when you’re frustrated, relaxing when you’re suffering from insomnia, romantic when you’re having a date night, and funky when you need a groove. It’s perfect! I’ve been listening to smooth jazz since I was a teenager. I even did an internship at a smooth jazz radio station in Philly.

When I started coming to the Red Lion I thought it would be a good place to meet a husband (I’ve been told since I was a teenager to go to the places the type of man I wanted would be), I was right!

 I thought I’d like the cool cats that dig jazz scene. I met a few nice people and kept going to have something to do. After a few months I only kept going to see my friends. In my first few visits I thought I should ask if they ever have big names like Paul Hardcastle, Peter White, Chris Standring, Oli Silk or Richard Elliot, after all they are all British!. I’m glad I didn’t ask; that would have caused an uproar resulting in me being banned from the Red Lion forever.

Don’t get me wrong, I like just about any kind of music (except country really). Most of time the Monday night jazz is too heavy for me. Once or twice we were “treated” to New Orleans style jazz, most of the regulars got a kick out of that, but not us. Every few weeks someone plays a nice ballad which I enjoy. Every few months there may be a group of musicians who play songs that I know; songs that I sang in a choir at school or songs that have been covered by a smooth jazz artist, and I enjoy that as well. 

When you are a regular attendee you see the same familiar faces year-round, some every few weeks.  Sometimes it’s reassuring, sometimes a treat and sometimes redundant. What it needs is new blood.

That’s exactly what we got this Monday. One of my favorite pianists Ross Stanley was scheduled to play but he was unable to make it so Trevor called in an old student named Will Barron. He was pretty good! No Ross Stanley but he did have some of his flavor. Great debut for the young pianist.

We see a lot of bass players at the Red Lion but my favorite by far is Dave Green. A lot of bass players provide the skeleton of the music and other musicians add the rest of the body that makes it whole, but not Dave Green. His bass has a melody all of its own, it talks to you. He could play the bass all by himself and you wouldn't miss any other instruments. He’s that good!

Of course the incomparable Trevor Tomkins was on the drums. I’ve known a lot of drummers but when I started attending the Red Lion he soon became my favorite. I’ve never seen anyone play like him. And as the resident drummer we get to hear to him every week.

Neil always gets very excited when there is a quartet (the Red Lion usually has quintets). Monday night I understood why. When there’s a quintet you have the sax and the trumpet or trombone fighting to have the last say. Or the guitar and sax competing for applause. Quintets leave musicians fights for time and trying to outdo each other. Quartets are much more relaxed. Monday night we were treated to Stan Sulzman all on his own free to explore the music at will, able to play as much or as little as he saw fit; with few exceptions.
Stan brought his young son Matthew Sulzman along. Matthew plays the soprano sax and joined his dad for three pieces on Monday night. You could see how proud Stan was to have his son play alongside him, at the same time he made sure not to let the youngster outshine him.

Richard Rozze was in the audience Monday night. Richard usually plays with Paul Booth. I like when they play, they too are young and bring a fresh prospective to the jazz club. Also they play a lot of songs that I know and in the style I’m familiar with.

It was great to have new blood in the house. Adding a new feel to and old familiar place. Adding new artists to the rotation breaks up the monotony and gives the regular artists a needed and welcome break. It also gives the audience a chance to hear new people, different styles and new material.

Robyn G. May. 

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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