Okay, we started fashionably late which was good as Clive, our last regular on the list, made it just in time not to miss anything [he was followed by another couple: Becky & Terry as a bonus] which gave me an active opportunity to waffle on about last summer's “A Love Supreme” festival over at Glynde – a nice message co-opted from John Coltrane of 1964 set to a wayward take on “Woodstock” of the era, by me [cos I used to be an Existential Impressionist but I'm all Post-Modern now …]. All of which seemed to free me up to stretch out a bit on the ballad “Autumn Leaves”, as a very loose instrumental. I hope this didn't come across too indulgently but it seemed to fit; it felt right and Chris had set me up nicely with a stereophonic rig through the sound desk, so it was kind of airy and transparent as an improvisation on the written chord changes [which were adhered to].
Chris then followed me in reflective mood with his 'Something To Believe' circa 1976' and enhanced by Martin on the amplified Uke-Bass. It had an effectively recurring Sus-4 chord right there in the fabric of it [in a 'Rock' way] but tempered by a Maj-7 vibe, I thought. But the next song from Chris, 'Inside Of You' with Simon [Farmer] on soprano saxophone, was definitely of that kind of tonality [: C Maj-7/E Minor :] and the soprano floated over that as of a wash [in water colours]. Jazz is a cliche but we were all atmospheric thus far [yeah, I know – I used to be synaesthetic too but I'm better now … blah, blah …]. They concluded with 'Farewell My Love' – supremely!
Simon stayed on backed up by Heather at the piano [I would say as an accompaniest but I can't spell it so hitherto it will be deemed as 'comping' all the way]. Dial 'M' for Merger, there was nuance; it was “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” followed up with a nifty switch to Alto by Simon for “Fly Me To The Moon” and I comped on that one. It was in 'C'. Heather sang “April Come She Will” and “Carolina On My Mind” – there is something aptly shrewd about the guitar playing of James Taylor, it permeates through all of his work. I mean it is mildly syncopated in a way that always seems to leave space for bass and/or electric pianos, even when they are not there – It's implicit. Happily, Heather was playing guitar on this one and the bass seemed to be much more transparent in the lines that Martin was playing there, rather than merely comping [or 'jamming' on it]. I think it's an American thing. Mavis Staples's band had all of that over at Glynde, on it at the festival last year. Her man on the Telecaster was supremely in-and-out of it, turning-the-beat-around and really digging into the grooves that they created – it was truly inspirational [and expensive for me: I had to start acquiring Teles again, forthwith on the strength of that – will I ever play them again?] Hmm ….
Rhetorically, I digress. Simon, on guitar, followed them with a Cliff Richards pop song entitled 'Wind Me Up Let Me Go' – The BBC certainly wound Cliff up, of late didn't they – poor man … this light rendition was much more pleasant and euphorically conveyed [as Simon was a provisional Grandad throughout the duration] after which he took us on an odyssey through Canada with a song phonetically described as 'Ooh-ter-cheen-ia' – a pronoun I believe [Although it’s spelled like this: Ootischenia and is by the ‘Be Good Tanyas’]. We do get around don't we …? From there it was The Grateful Dead – “Ripple” so here’s a toast to the newborn.
Time for 'One-Woman-And-Her-Guitar' Lisa Jackson, with a couple of originals; in the true sense of the word, the second piece 'Mid-Winter Mist' struck me as an original song-form per se with its open-inversions over the static bass pedal [E-natural] which must have felt like a gift from Heaven for the actual bass-player, Martin again providing subtle enhancement with that fret-less sound-scape with those little black rubber strings [yep]. I must add, and hope, Lisa won’t feel patronised in any way by all of this purple prose of mine but any of her many facebook friends whom will have surely seen her consistently vibrant nature photography, enough to realise the tangible ‘in-tunefulness’ of her body of work will get it. And, these things do, in fact, crossover sometimes – I've been trying to achieve it for years but sometimes just being 'aware' is enough. Like, maybe it did, maybe it didn’t – it’s Art. And I don't mean to overlook Lisa's first piece, either. It felt like a prelude taken altogether -- these ramblings are of course entirely subjective.
Another person who often appears in a duo, but solo tonight, is Mark Lynch. From Danehill, he played and sang 'Lost Little Girl' from The Doors’s “Strange Days” followed by Trent Raznor's, 'Hurt' – it was relatively painless! So, Ella turned the electric piano on with “Lone Star” and “Love Me Like A Man”, Influenced by Bonnie Raitt. It was a slow-burner eventually moving me off the stool on the corner, getting up there with it to plug in and cause something of a chain-reaction with bass and then, additionally, Simon on saxophone – it's a blues in 'G' by John Prine.
At this point Clive kindly offered to move over in order to accommodate our guest duo, Becky & Terry thus giving them a platform on which to perform three songs, consecutively; “The Touch Of Your Hand” and “I Will”, both by Alison Krauss and then “Like Diamonds” by Patricia Conroy followed on by Mr Woodman and his pre-tuned acoustic guitar with a lead dedicated to itself, for 'Seven Golden Daffodils' and Greg Lake's 'Lucky Man' all of which was very lyrical and assured in performance – very reassuring within the arc of the proceedings – the problem with being of a jazz sensibility, like me, is that you never know what the time is when you really should when watches become like capodastras and other add-ons [wedding rings, mirror sun-glasses, A&R men, i-pods etc ….] it just all gets a bit irrelevant to the fundamental cause of enjoying it, sometimes. So I got up again to play an impromptu Herbie Hancock medley of “ Cantaloupe Island” c/w an almost-segue into “Chameleon” -- with its attendant bass-line picked up on, and indeed embellished ably by Martin on that quirky, but very reliable little bass instrument over there in the wings: Bom-Bom-Bom-Boom – Bom-Bom – Bom-Bom-Bom-Boom-Bom-Bom it went. It was like having an engine in a room behind a pub in a village.
It had to end ….
And who better, coming up to opus-50 [in reprise], but Chris J. Martin returning ultimately to do the honours and play us out with full ensemble for 'Toast for One' – I like that!
Before the evening began, there had been four email messages sent through. These were from four of our regular music - makers, each one a member of our Six Bells 'committee' and each of them saying that they would not be able to come tonight.
" Oh Dear" I thought to myself. ( to put it politely ) That means that we will be a bit thin on the ground tonight, and maybe the evening will be a bit disappointing and turn out to be as flat as a pancake. ( One of us had to make that joke, didn't we ? )
Anyway, as usual, it was not disappointing, and we ended up with an enjoyable night. We were a bit late starting, because I had been held up on my journey with the road being completely closed at Halland for repairs, and had to follow a diversion. Also, I had trouble with a guitar lead that I hadn't plugged in properly, which caused a bit of a technical glitch. I blame the guitar lead, not myself.
I got going with The Doobie Brothers' song 'Listen to the music' written by Tom Johnston. My second one was Paul Simon's 'Take me to the Mardi Gras'. This song had to be sung tonight. It's funny how 'Mardi Gras' is a much nicer name than 'Fat Tuesday'. As for me, I don't just do Fat Tuesday. -- More like every day of the week.
Mark Lynch has played here several times now, and tonight he was joined by John Budden, and together they gave us 'Till there was you' written by Meredith Willson, from 'The music man', and followed by The Beatles number 'Things we said today'. Mark and John live at opposite ends of the county, but they obviously get to rehearse together sometimes, because they make a good sound.
Chris Martin took time off from the sound desk tonight ( but still stepped in to help here and there),and now, stepped up to the mic to give us not just two, but three of his own compositions. (With permission)! 'King of the flies', 'It's only my time', and 'Standing room only'. Chris tells us that he has performed every one of his 100 songs at Open Mic Nights, and he is now re-singing them all , in numerical order, song by song. Tonight was number 33, 34, and 35. We've suggested that next time round he does them in alphabetical order.
Chris told us that someone else was unable to come tonight. -- This was Simon Farmer, the brilliant saxophone player who has been joining us for the last few months. He had apparently been feeding honey to a wasp and the wasp didn't like it so it stung him ! I've always found that wasps prefer beer.
Our other Simon, Mr Watt, came up next to entertain us with two of his own very clever and humorous songs, both of them very topical still: 'When Brexit Comes', and 'Rocket Man'. ( featuring Kim Jong -un.) Simon says The Brexit song will be out of date after March 29th. I'm not so sure. And how long will Rocket Man last? Jong-un could be a long-un.
Manus ( 'Jazz') McDaid, was number five on the list, and despite having a bad throat, was able to play us, in his great style, 'Song bird' written by Christine McVie, made well known by Eva Cassidy as well as Fleetwood Mac. Although a bit early in the year, then came 'Autumn leaves', written by Joseph Kosma and Jacques Prevert. We noticed a bottle of something strong sticking out of Manus' pocket. he says it's cough linctus. Huggh Hum!
Taking to the floor next we had Heather Curry with her take on another song done by Eva Cassidy, 'Fields of gold' written by Sting. ( Gordon Sumner). Then we were taken back to our childhoods with 'The owl and the pussycat' song with lyrics by Edward Lear. I think we've got a runcible spoon somewhere in the cutlery drawer.
A guest that we haven't seen for a while is Dave Dyke. He started up with 'Don't leave me this way' - The Ricky Nelson song from 1958, (not the more recent one by The Communards) followed up by Gordon Lightfoot's 'Early morning rain.' Very nicely done, with some fine finger picking.
Very patiently, Sylvie had been waiting, and she took the mic to give us a couple of her witty songs, this time with Scottish nursery rhyme themes. Never sit in the front row when Sylvie sings. - She'll make you join in with the choruses which you don't know!
There was now time to carry on into the second round, with Mark Lynch coming back to give us 'Jenifer', a song by Bert Somner, who was one of the lesser - known musicians who played at Woodstock in 1969.
John Budden then returned, this time playing on our old piano, making it sound good with a nice number from the band Heads Hands and Feet. Every time I think of them I can't help thinking of 'Heads shoulders knees and toes'. Sorry !
Chris appeared again (with permission) to do a fourth song of his own 'What happened to our love' This takes his list up to number 36.
Simon stepped back in to do a very nice take on 'It never rains in Southern California' by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood.
Following this, Manus launched into 'All the things you are' by Jerome Kearne and Oscar Hammerstein. Always classy stuff from Manus.
Another piano piece next, this time with Heather, and a nicely done song by Phil Coulter, 'Scorn not his sympathy'.
I thought it would be nice to let Mark and John finish off the night, seeing as they seem to have travelled the farthest to get here. -- Mark from the dangers of Danehill, and John from the worries of Worthing. So, back as a duo again, they sang The Korgis' 'Everybody's got to learn sometime', with some very nice guitar playing.
Thank you to all who came and sat and listened
And those who sang and played,
And to those who enjoyed it, all through the evening, and stayed.
So there goes another Tuesday night ! Now where have all those pancakes gone ??
See you next time.
The person that runs the evening writes the blog
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