We returned to Andrea’s place so Andrea could get changed for the evening out I ended up chatting to Casey about some of his artwork and if he was going to go professional or if he had sold some, I believe he had sold a few to a bar somewhere and I went through some of his pictures. At this point Pogo and Carmen were having the usual fight for dominance round the house, it was quite amusing to see a Collie getting totally ass-whupped by a Chihuahua. We broke them up and Carmen went into play mode and we played fetch with her for a bit, a few moments later I was drink a cup of coffee and Carmen landed on my lap having jumped on from behind the sofa, that dog was definitely full of beans. Andrea’s mum returned from work and was feeling somewhat unwell and had been sick a few times so she decided it would be best to give the Faux-Christmas celebration a miss as Andrea’s cousin had a newborn and she didn’t want it to pick up a nasty bug which was fair enough. She had a wander round into the spare room and asked Casey if he slept well, which he confirmed, and she replied ‘well in that case if you want to again I suggest you make the bed’. So Casey disappeared off for a moment, I talked to Andrea’s mum about my dog and how Pogo was scared of me still. This didn’t surprise her as Pogo is a bit shy and at six-foot-two I’m taller then anyone she regularly sees, but while Andre and her mum were sorting out gifts Pogo did come and jump on my lap…. except by the time she did it was time to go. I can’t recall where it was we were going but it was quite a long drive and believe we did touch on the outskirts of Detroit, while we were driving we put on my third disc I’d prepared which was mostly modern Jazz but with a smattering of Blue and closed with a swing track.
This discs tracks included:
Acoustic Ladyland: Iggy– a short track which clocks in at under two minutes but is very loud and bombastic and works as a good opening track. It always amuses me that the band is called Acoustic Ladyland considering they aren’t electric or have any women in the band… of course the name derives from the famous Hendrix album. When the Band first started out they were doing Jazz covers of Hendrix.
Polar Bear- Augmentative: A fast paced free session duel between the bands two sax players.
Stan Tracy: Starless and Bibleblack– The well loved ballad track on his highly successful album “Under Milk Wood” which was a Jazz suite based on Dylan Thomas’ famous book.
Esbjorn Svensson Trio: Behind the Yashmack– One of the best trios to of come out of Europe in the 00s, this is a good track as it truely uses space to great the bleakness of a journey through tundra and builds up and up before leading to a surprise sudden ending. In contrast to Iggy this on clocked in just over the eleven minute mark. There were a total of ten studio albums produced by EST but the band’s longevity was cut short when Esbjorn Svensson died in a scuba diving accident.
Courtney Pine: In a Mellow Tone- A much more straight ahead track of an Ellington classic
Abram Wilson: Jazz Warrior– The titular track from his debut album for Dune records which fused hip-hop, funk and Jazz for an interestingly texture album. Although the rapping on this album was far more akin to the styles of Gil-Scott-Heron’s work with Brain Jackson rather than Chuck D or Snoop Dog. Abram Wilson was one of the few modern bands to play at Jazz club 90, this was brought about by the club getting a lottery fund grant on the promise that they higher some younger bands. The band went down a treat which I think surprised the band more than anyone else! Sadly a lack of funding meant the band would never return to Jazz club 90. Abram Wilson died of colon cancer on the 9th June 2012 aged 38.
John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton: All your love- Needed a spot of British blues so went for one of my favourite tracks.
Alan Barnes: The Cape Verde Blues– A good solid cover of Horace Silver’s classic track performed.
There were a few tracks, but I can’t recall what they were but I closed it off with Nat Gonella’s New Georgian’s signature song Georgia on my Mind which neatly dovetailed the set. This probably wouldn’t of happened if I had found the Harry Roy track to be the opening of the set.
It was about half way through Jazz Warrior when Andrea asked if I’d put disc two back in as she’s fallen in love with the opening track. It was very long trip as we’d gone through the disc once and were about a third of the way through it again when we arrived at our destination.
This was in a very well to do area and the house was very impressive with an upright piano in the hall way a vast expanse of living space, Andrea had told me on the way not to worry they were a bit eccentric and were prone to bursting out into song at random moments, I nodded and said ok in the tone I have a feeling Donald Wilson used when Sidney Newman explained to him the concept of Doctor Who. Andrea’s uncle greeted us warmly and took our coats and placed them in the cloakroom, Andrea then introduced me to him and her aunt, it would seem that I’d ‘spoken’ to her aunt once before online when Andrea had left herself signed in on messenger. They had a small dog at the time who was sixteen and blind called Rusty, who was very affectionate and was always following me around and licking my ankles! I just I must of still had some scent from Vila on me as knowing I’d be going to some dinners I’d packed my pinstripe suit which only got an airing once in a blue moon and as such wasn’t in need of dry cleaning. I was introduced to the rest of the clan, can’t remember all of them but there was Andrea’s grandfather who was a little downbeat as his wife had only recently passed away and this was the first thanksgiving and Christmas without her. I had known this in advance so I offered my commiserations to him; I was then introduced to Andrea’s cousin Jessie. He was a nice chap if perhaps a little quirky talked quite a bit and was very interested in al sorts of things, at the time he was working in the Buzz Bar in Detroit which seemed like an interesting place to go but alas I never got round to it. I wonder if it is still running and if he still works there. There were two more grandchildren there who were a little younger then Andrea, mid to late teens I think, one was blonde and one was brunette and quite friendly; they were eager for me them to present them a recipe for Spotted Dick and Treacle Sponge, if I’d known in advance I would of come prepared and satisfied them both. Once the introductions were over we all went through to the kitchen for the Christmas/Thanksgiving dinner, rather then it being a sit down meal it was something of a buffet affair due to the available space and the number of people there. Andrea’s cousin who had the baby had just arrived with her husband meaning there were about twelve of us so I can see the logic. Andrea’s aunt made wonderful pumpkin and pecan pies, two dishes which aren’t that common in England so it was nice to have them. Once we’d eaten we’d all sat in the living room having a noggin or two and as Andrea had pre-empted they erupted into a rendition of Oklahoma… I thought she’d been joking! We were all encouraged to sing a Christmas song each and tempted as I was to “sing” ‘I’m Walking Backwards for Christmas” I settled on the much more sensible choice of The Christmas Song, I did joke with Andrea we do the Surrey with the Fringe on Top as a duet… an injoke relating to a Tubby Hayes cover. Once the yuletide silliness had died down it was time for everyone to open their Christmas presents… making me think perhaps I should of held off giving Andrea Barnaby-Barnaby until now. It seems a bit odd sitting in on someone else’s Christmas, especially considering I’d only physically met Andrea a few days prior. Strange as it did feel they put a lot of effort into making me feel welcome, I was on had as well to explain some of the British shows they’d given each other as gifts. While Monty Python needed no explanation except that the TV Series preceded the films, Andrea’s Mum had bought her father the DVDs of To the Manor Born and The Irish RM as he was fond of light British humour so I gave a brief account of both of them and who Peter Bowles was. It was quite a long evening and very jolly, but it was taking its toll on Andrea’s grandfather so his granddaughter’s took him. We all stayed a bit longer on at the house but made tracks not long after, apparently Andrea’s uncle had a cousin living in England but he wasn’t sure where. We bid adieu to the family and Rusty, I think her uncle may of got hold of the wrong end of the stick with me and Andrea as when he shook hands goodbye he did say “welcome to the family”, hmmm…..
The drive home wasn’t too bad although I’m convinced the long metal bridge we drove over had got longer while we’d been at the house. It got a little bit creepy when there was a heavy downpour of rain and the windscreen misted up very quickly and for a couple of moments we couldn’t see where we were going… luckily it went fine and we didn’t hit anything or drive off the bridge. Andrea and Casey got into reminiscing about their childhood and how they had an interactive book educating about history which had random things like settings for talking in Dinosaur if you wanted…. Sounded mad! Well after a cheerful evening I was returned to my digs and I bid them good night. I watched a bit of TV and went back to listening to The Sandman.