After seeing this unfortunate trombonist sneezing into his instrument I was reminded of the time I had a coughing fit (at the end of a cold) whilst playing a bass solo at Ronnie Scott's a few years ago. There's nothing you can do - luckily a kind soul brought me a glass of water whilst I played on through it all. I was determined not to admit defeat by stopping, God knows what it all sounded like. Another occupational hazard for bass players is 'holiday chops' - when, for whatever reason one hasn't been playing regularly. For most other instruments this might mean the odd cracked note or lack of fluency, but for bass players it means blisters. I don't get them much anymore (mainly because I play softer gut strings) but in my 'macho' bass playing days with people like Tommy Chase they were a regular occurance. More than once I remember looking down at a blood splattered bass where a blister had burst, but (like a man with a broken leg running away from a forest fire) I only really noticed the pain after the event.
The Tiptree Sneeze
We received our posters today, the familiar feeling of putting Chipp Jazz posters on noticeboards far and wide came back. I've discovered there are different rules in different areas - for instance all the noticeboards in nearby King's Langley (or is it Landing still? - what's that all about??) have to have a Special Number on them at all times. Without it, the Jazz Poster Police will swiftly remove said items within 24 hours ruthlessly. They seem to have a large and efficient presence, but I've never seen them in action. Sometimes they remove posters with the correct numbers on, depends on the direction of the wind. Speaking of which, the Most Important Noticeboard in the Village (next to St Paul's School) got blown down in the recent gales, and hasn't been replaced yet. On that one, one has to laminate a no - bigger - than A4 poster and put it on the RIGHT hand side away from the Parish Council notices otherwise it will swiftly be posted over or tracked down by the Jazz Poster Police I hope the new board is bigger, it's always over occupied and I find I have to check regularly to ensure it's not been laid to rest under a sea of other posters. Some nearby villages have sealed window boards, with no clue as to who holds the key, others have an elaborate labyrinth of people Who Know About The Noticeboard to track down. I sometimes wonder if it's all worth it, there's always a vague feeling that a Jazz Poster Police Officer might be ready to pounce...
I've been thinking about Bill Evans again today. Bill was a remarkable pianist. After him, everything changed in jazz because his approach to harmony and melody was so unique yet profound. Like all truly great creators, musically speaking he left only the essentials, stripping away anything superfluous to leave something both beautiful and delicately robust. When I think about the line drawings of Picasso I get the same sense of beauty through economy of material. He talks a little bit about this at the beginning of this clip then goes on to play a sublime version of "Alfie" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, accompanied by Eddie Gomez and Marty Morell. I love this because it's in someone's living room in Finland, the odd shot of wild windy weather outside through the window somehow adding to the sense of being in a sanctuary. Enjoy.
Up & Running
Well as you are witnessing, (after a lot of messing about) Chipperfield Jazz's fledgeling website is born. When Malcom Leach, Entertainments Manager of Chipperfield Clarendon CC suggested I start a Jazz Club in Chipperfield my initial reaction was lukewarm. I didn't think there were enough people interested in jazz in and around the village, but the last 3 events have proved me wrong. Thanks to all those that came and supported us last year, from all the feedback it seems lots of people are keen for us to continue, hence our next gig on the 11th April. As a jazz musician one learns to survive by continually seeking out new audiences and opportunities, and I feel in good company alongside fellow musicians Arnie Somogyi who runs Greensand Jazz in Leighton Buzzard and Clark Tracey who organises Herts Jazz. The Cricket Club kindly hosts us, which is particularly welcome as they serve the cheapest booze in the village. Please feel free to add suggestions for people you'd like to see at the club, the website or anything else connected with CJ. At the moment gigs will be every 6 weeks or so, but keep an eye on the website for some special events planned in the Summer. We hope to grow from our promising start and bring some more fantastic improvised music to the village over the next season!
steve rose has some thoughts