No I haven’t regenerated into Jimmy Witherspoon or Billie Holiday, nothing as exciting as that it just so happened to be the name of the piece of music playing on the radio as I opened the post. Thanks to the London Jazz Festival the boys and girls at the BBC have started a pop -up digital radio station dedicated to Jazz in collaboration with Jazz FM and so far from what I have heard it is very good. Currently they are broadcasting a live concert from the festival with London Jazz Orchestra under the direction of the great British Trumpter and Arranger Guy Barker.
I was intending this to be my first vlog entry but I haven’t had the time or privacy to sit down with the camcorder and record it so you will all be spared having to look at my ugly mush as well as reading my prose…. for now.
It’s been an up and down period at work what with the change of the seasons and the cold dark nights but it is nothing to be concerned about, trade is nowhere near as bad as the Kynn or the Shoe have been at this time of year. One of the good things about this time of year is that the log burner gets lit and the Plume, and any other pub with a fireplace, gets that lovely sense of ambiance. I don’t know what it is about the distinctive smell of burning, the crackling of the fire and the glow of the flames but it always adds a homely feel conjuring up those images you see of rose-tinted shows set in the past, it is a pity that so many new pubs don’t include a fireplace as they lose a lot of character that way. Chances are it is down to PubCo and the Big Chains who would rather use the space for more seating and rapid turn over rather then trying to make a pub the spirit of the community.
Oh yes and now a much belated quick overview of my most recent visit to Jazz Club 90 which, despite having been based at Albrighton’s Sports and Social Club for just over a year now, I still keep saying I’m off to the Harp.
The Band in question was a first time visit by the Doc Houlind Revival All stars who come from that country of well known Jazz pedigree, Denmark. You can find out about the band here: http://www.dochoulind.dk/
Being an afternoon gig I made myself a sandwich before I went out which was a Bacon, Onion and Peppers sandwich which seemed an appropriate Jazz snack as it could be described as a BOP sandwich, see what I did there….. oh alright please yourself. As appears to be my tradition at these lunch time gigs, despite my good intentions I still managed to arrive missing the first number and the band intros but never mind. Now I was intending to try out my new HD video Camera but my late arrival meant I was stuck at the back of the venue and the only video you would have got was more white hair then on a Polar Bear’s behind with some vague shadows of instruments, but I managed to get a seat near good old Mike and we had a nice chin wag while listening to the band.
With pleasantries exchanged I settled back and listened to the next number which was a vocaless version of “Someday Sweetheart”, a song wildly associated with the late great crooner Henry Lilis “Bing” Crosby and it was as I expect it would be played with a vibe very reminiscent of the stylings of the Fletcher Henderson and Paul Whiteman Orchestra’s and perhaps the early big band works of Duke Ellington. I note with interest that a lot of the Dutch and Danish bands seem to emulate this idiom, I wonder why, not that it is a band thing- I am just curious as to why this has come about. Next up we were into Mills Brothers territory with a song which I think everyone is vaguely aware of in someway or another: “You Always Hurt the One You Love”. I personally remember it best for being used incredibly ironically in Joss Whedon’s telefantasy series Angel in the episode Rm w/a Vw which concludes with a guy being tied to a chair and walled up by his mother because she doesn’t approve of his fiancee and the song is playing in the background. Once again this was a vocal free number as was the next one which was a rendition of the hymn “The Old Rugged Cross”, prompting to me to wonder if this would be a rare example of a vocal free gig. This was quickly quashed when a few minutes into “Lousian-i-ay” the band’s drummer lent over to his microphone and contributed a slightly stilted vocal refrain which had echoes of the vocal talents of the late Bob Wallis. The band went into Bix Beiderbecke territory with the Jazz standard “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home” which was again a vocal free performance and the band went even further back in Jazz history for the next tune which was a tune named about a topping you wouldn’t want on your morning toast, “Clarinet Marmalade”. This number dates back to the very early days of recorded Jazz as it is an Original Dixieland Jazz Band number and curiously enough the first ODJB number I heard back when I first started getting into Jazz. The set closed with a number which always strikes me as an odd song to be sung by a male, “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate” and again the odd decision to have a male vocal was repeated, anyway it is a good number which swings along pretty well and was a good choice to close the first set.
After what seemed like a longer than usual break the band returned to the stage and kicked off the second set with Wabash Blues and what I think was Muskrat Ramble, the latter I am not too sure because I had to visit the facilities when they announced the number, but they certainly quoted a few bars from it. Next up was “Who’s Sorry Now” which is a staple for bands who play Dixieland/Trad Jazz and also is the name of one the early live albums by rising star Amy Roberts and this was performed with plenty of gusto. We were definitely in New Orleans territory for the next two numbers which were Burgundy Street Blues and Bourbon Street Parade, the latter of which had the band leaving the stage and having a mini parade up and down the isles of the club bringing a bit of the spirit of New Orleans to Albrighton. The closing number was very much a return to England with a song which is perhaps the song most associated with war time Britain “We’ll Meet Again” and sensibly none of the band tried to impersonate Vera Lynn and the number remained strictly instrumental.
Overall while an enjoyable gig it wasn’t the best I’ve seen at Jazz Club 90 and far from the worst but a perfectly enjoyable way to spend an Sunday afternoon. Alas what with Christmas coming I doubt I will be able to attend any more Sunday gigs until 2017.
Red Dwarf XI has come to its end and while it hasn’t been bad it hasn’t been the triumph series 10 was with the episode Krysis for me being the only to really stand up high and it had the amusing notion that the Universe has a speaking voice and it sounds like Morgan Freeman plus a fellow Mechanoid whom I thought was being voiced by Brent Spiner of Star Trek fame. Equally I think the new series of the Big Bang Theory is also lacking and the whole set up feels very stagnant, only one episode to date for me has raised any real laughs and that was the one with Sheldon and Amy spending the night together and trying to adjust to each others sleep patterns. Plus what is happening with Raj? He seems totally underused at the moment and just being in the background, are they planning to slowly write him out?