Oh What A Beautiful Mourning

Another week gone and once again I am updating my personal entry a few days later than normal for various reasons of increasing banality. So how has the week been? Its been a funny old week with a few points of interest, I finally caught up with Major Tom who was just about to set off on a three week family holiday to Ibiza. No he isn’t planning to go for a rave up, he’s hired a private villa for the duration and I do believe sleep is the main thing on his agenda. Still, it was good to catch up before he went away. I also caught up with C. Maximus who is his usual entertaining self and various fun topics were brought up ranging from the ridiculous excess of the Labour party purge, my collection of ex girlfriends (I’m rather good at acquiring ex-girlfriends, it is current ones I have a problem with acquiring) and for want of a better term Diner Mourners: people who only attend the wake of someone who passed away and don’t bother with the funeral service. We had two guys at the Mytton asking where the funeral party was, only to find there wasn’t one there and then wondering where it might be or if they have the date wrong. As Mike put it “why not go back to the funeral service and ask?” Clearly these people were just in it to scoff some free nosh… since they weren’t even sure what the party was booked under. It is an awfully bad state of affairs if you ask me, that is hardly paying your respects now is it?

So what else has been going on? Well after last Sunday’s not very successful attempt at finding live Jazz, Tuesday evening turned out to be a more successful affair with the Boycott Arms at Claverley hosting a monthly Jazz night meaning that once again Tuesday night is Jazz night. It is a nice little pub which is a food pub so you can time it so you dine and listen to live Jazz which I may well do next month. The band was Barbara and All That Jazz, a swing/mainstream band which is fronted by vocalist Barbara, who is a veritable Gracie Fields of a singer, lead by trumpet player and Chuckle Brother lookalike Tony Billingsley and has a Frank Zappa lookalike playing the drums. The first set opened up with that well known standard “There’ll Be Some Changes Made” with Billingsley double up on vocals. This was followed by the Bix Beiderbecke associated number “Davenport Blues” which I believe may have composed by Bix but I’m not a 100% sure on this occasion. Next up was a tune I’m not familiar with called “Rhythms Ok In Harlem” which was quite catchy and lead into Barbara’s first sitting at the microphone. She did a trio of numbers starting with the “Birth of the Blues” followed by “It Is Only A Paper Moon” and finally “Careless Love”, all of which are very different styles of song. She then took a break and the band performed “I’ve Got A New Baby” introduced with a very Brummie accent and this was followed by a feature piece for Tenor Sax player Harry Christian which was the Gershwin composition “The Man I Love”. It always is no end of amusement for me that “The Man I Love” is so frequently played by male musicians, this particular version had echoes of Coleman Hawkins in the style. Talking of Colemere Hawkins my arrival at the Boycott Arms prompted a minor freak out moment as playing on the stereo in the bar was the same track from Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster that I had been listening to in the car, not only that the moment I walked in the teack was playing from the exact spot I’d switched it off at in the car!!! Ok, back to the bandstand; the first set closed with Barbara returning to the stand for a rendition of “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate”, a song which mmakes more sense when sung by a woman. During the interval I caught up with a few familiar faces from the Harp who, like me, very much miss the old place. Not just because of the music but the social aspect of it aswell. I met a good variety of interesting people there, some I would call friends, some perhaps acquaintances and others just ships in the night, but always it made the place very interesting.

Set Two kicked out with a lovely ballad called “The World is Waiting for a Sunrise” and was followed by a song clearly about “Rose” called ‘Girl of my Dreams’ and then the tune which was reworked as ‘Sing Sing Sing’: “Christopher Columbus”. Barbara returned to the stand for her second set and as I am getting cramp I will just list a few highlights. She performed the Nat King Cole associated song ‘Gee Baby, Ain’tI Good to You’, “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” and ended on a brace of spirituals with “I Shall Not Be Moved” and the ubiquitous “When the Saints Go Marching In”. All in all a good night and judging by what the bar staff said, this will by no means be the last one. I hope they do get some other bands into get the mix interesting but at this point I’m just glad to have some decent live Jazz on again.

Peace out guys.


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