Upton Jazz Festival 2012 day 1 part 2

Once the Red Stripe gig drew towards its climax I escaped the Jazz city quagmire and returned to venue under the bridge to see the John Peters Jazz and Swing Band, as always the band is very good and certainly a prime example of his particular idiom in Jazz and champion of some less well known material from over the ages, however I do find that his perception of what jazz somewhat narrow. To him it would seem anything post swing is the music morons listen to and is not real jazz, an ironic thought considering in his gig last year he did a cover by that famous Rhythm and Blues shouter Wynonie Harris. Well despite his somewhat limited tunnel vision of what Jazz is and can be, it was very good gig and the performance was excellent as ever, don’t fault me on that. Back in2003 I had a wonderful time at Jazz weekend he organised down in Bracklesham Bay, but that as they say is another story… After listening to a few numbers and taking a few snaps I stopped off for a quick bite to eat which wasn’t anything exciting, just a nice juicy cheeseburger from the excellent burger stand… which bizarrely had picture of Henry VIII on its sign, and I my made my way back to Jazz City and managed to not get too bogged down in the mud as I made my way to the beer tent. At the beer tent” Barbara and all that Jazz” were just finishing off their set, which fitted in between the intervals at the made tents… or as it was on this occasion, tent. While I purchased myself a beer, the name of which I can’t recall but it was a very nice blonde beer and got chatting to a chap who looked the spit of a young Gil Scott-Heron, the man often credited as being the godfather of rap music, he was one of the guys running the ‘Soul Food’ tent. For those of you unfamiliar with that turn of phrase, it was a Caribbean style food stall and I decided that I would eat something from there the next day. I went over to Fats’ Place where the Carl Sinclair boogie band was about to play. Carl Sinclair I am well acquainted with from his various visits to Jazz club 90 at the Harp, normally there he just performs as a duo with Howard Smith on drums and they possess enough energy between the two of them to light up half of Shropshire. Here he was in a quartet with Terry Roberts, another familiar face from the Harp, on saxophone. Now the problem I find with Terry Roberts when he appears at the Harp is that the area where the Jazz is performed is rather small, and the band sits in a sort of alcove with a series of photos mounted on whitewashed walls, this as you can imagine can create a lot of reverb when dealing with brass and woodwind instruments, but Terry bless his little cottons always plays his sax with the microphone directly into the bell… making it very loud! Here his technique was no different, but with it being with a tent with a capacity of six hundred it was not an issue this time. The rest of rhythm section included a bass player and Howard Smith once again on the drums, on this occasion in a change from the usual gigs I’ve seen Carl performed on a actual grand piano as opposed to a keyboard which must of been a nice change for him. Evidently by this stage I had reached a certain point in my ale saturation point as I donned my Fez and had the sudden urge to go and strut my funky stuff, at this point in the gig I was only one of two dancers, the other being an older gentlemen sporting a handlebar moustache which would of made Biggles proud, a red blazer which was adorned with at least fifteen badges from the Upton festivals over the years and a black trilby. Soon we were joined by many more dancers, evidently feeling that if we had the guts to get up and dance they might as well join us, there was as a result much silliness with my Fez being swapped around many times with many of the dancers, I danced with many different partners which is quite unusual for me as I rarely tap my foot let alone go full on boogie. As the gig drew too an end and everyone made a hasty departure toward towards Tommy’s Bar, I ventured across to Mr. Sinclair and purchased he latest two CDs and got one of them signed. I then went across to Tommy’s Bar trying my best not to get sucked down into the Quagmire as I went, fresh rainfall having caused the walk route to be somewhat treacherous, I purchased a pint of the appropriately named ale All That Jazz and decided I had had enough of the mud and once I’d checked out the band at Fat’s Place I’d go to the relatively mud free venue under the bridge. The next gig at Fat’s Place was the well known and quite popular “King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys”, more in the swing boogie variety. While their playing was very good and their dark blue suits look incredibly dapper, to date I have not yet warmed to the band and this occasion was no exception, so I politely waited for the number to finish and made may way out of Jazz City, across the river and back to venue four, under the bridge. I knew here I was in for a treat as the nine piece band marching band ‘Lamerotte’ was performing, this is a very engaging band from Holland of all places which was started in 1974 by a couple of the members just for fun. The write up in the Upton programme sports them as being New Orleans Jazz with a wink, while they obviously don’t take themselves too seriously, the music they certainly do. There is something wonderfully everyday about the personnel in the band, maybe it’s the washboard in the rhythm section, the rare use of a sousaphone to add a rhythm or the gaudy costumes, there is a real sense of ordinary folk getting up and having a go… a bit like a skiffle band. The Fez very much made its presence felt here with many people taking the opportunity for a few snaps… cue many Tommy Cooper style poses. I noted with perhaps sad interest that as of yet I had not seen ‘Al Capone’ as he is known, or as I dub him “the scary man with spoons”. This man has been a regular staple of the festival as much as the Parade, the stalls and ‘Sir’ Alan, from what I have been told over the years was he was a former music teacher and big fan of the music and used to be heavily involved in the festival, then he had a an accident and went a little bit off the rails, but every year he’s there tapping out the rhythms the bands play on his trusty teaspoons He’s harmless to be fair but very much a character, last year one of the people even painted a picture of him for the festivals ‘Rogues Gallery’, but his absence did to be present a hint of melancholy to think he may of joined the great jam session in the sky. In his place was a seedy looking guy in a Union Flag hat, again I shouldn’t judge from appearances he’s probably the astronomer royal! The gig was excellent and I did attempt to soak up the copious amounts of beer with a cheeseburger as I was beginning to feel somewhat tired and emotional. Lamarotte were excellent as ever and to show my appreciation I purchased their latest CD. No signature this time though, oh well, it was time then for my taxi so I bid the festival adieu and returned to my digs. The charge was ten pounds which was quite reasonable considering it was to a motorway service station, once within my digs I made a brief phone call to my good friend from London and made myself a cup of Pukka Teas Night Time Tea. A fine blend which really does aid relaxation and soon found myself succumbing to the pleasures of slumber.

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