Pub Jazz in London
One of the delights of staying in London is the variety of entertainment, including pub jazz. I love modern jazz, the kind where musicians have to improvise live in front of an audience, taking spine-chilling risks that sometimes result in sublime music. The thought of doing that kind of improvisation as a writer in front of an audience fills me with horror! Yet jazz musicians do it at every gig. We’re lucky enough in Britain to have some of the very best musicians in the world. The sad thing is that they’re not always very popular over here and often more famous in America, or in Europe than in their native country.
We went down to the local pub here in west London - entrance free - and found ourselves listening to four of the best around. The luscious Andy Cleyndert on bass - last seen on Jonathon Ross backing Barbara Streisand - the ebullient saxophonist Alan Barnes, who can also be heard on Radio 4's jazz programmes - and trumpeter Bruce Adams, who won Opportunity Knocks at the age of 14 and can play two trumpets at the same time. The pianist was John Chritchinson who played with the legendary Ronnie Scott until the latter died a few years ago. Quite a line-up. It’s the kind of music you can get high on - complicated, risky - you’re listening to people pushing their talents right to the edge, and what you’re hearing is completely original.
Sadly, there was hardly anyone in the audience under fifty. What will happen to the music when we’re all too old to get to the pub?
Below is a link to one of Britain’s most under-rated musicians - the great Don Weller.