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!
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