Monday, July 23, 2007

The Swanage Jazz festival Part 4

So, we have survived the shipwreck (in my case by going no where near the ship!), been disappointed occasionally with music and food (but not the beer!), and we eventually come to SUNDAY MORNING (another good tune).

And for me the best session of the weekend. Bruce Adams-Alan Barnes Quintet in Marquee 2. Never was an hour and 20 minutes lost so quickly! How do they do it so well after a night before (they both did appear to be on pints of water!). Wonderful ensemble playing, tied together by an invisible umbilical cord, the music and the common understanding was as one. Again, at this distance I think it was Dave Newton on piano, not John Donaldson as in the program, but the overall effect was just stunning, and my memory isn’t!

After that it just had to be sausages and chips!! Followed by a short listen to Robert Fowler, Karen Sharp and Lennart Anderson. Good, but anticlimactic after the morning session.

I then trekked to Marquee 3, and was rewarded by a lovely set from Anita Wardell, who was definitely accompanied by Robin Aspland. I am very pleased to see that she is getting a little more appreciation from the critics (and the punters), because she is a fine singer, creating a good rapport with her audience, and with her accompanying musicians. I first saw her at Swanage about 10 years ago, and she was desperately trying to sell her CD outside the Victoria Club in the dark, during an Alan Barnes Set. I didn’t take pity, but I did by her cd, and have never regretted it. A class act.

Another lovely dinner with my friends from Staffordshire was a fitting interlude before the closing session with Lianne Carrol. A great singer and entertainer, summoning up magic with voice and piano. Also on her bill was BBC Award winner singer Ian Shaw. I personally find his style a bit difficult to swallow, but there you go, we cant all like the same things.

Which is what makes The Swanage Jazz Festival a great event. A mix of musical styles, set in a wonderful landscape, with alternative things to do if you get tired of the jazz (like going on a steam train!).

One last memory of this years festival. As always, it is a great place to meet (and drink) with friends from different parts of the country. One friend, listening with me during the Lianne Carrol set, become aware of his thirst at about the same time as the bar ran out of beer!! BUT, the trad tent next door still had some, so this brave soul offered to buy me, another friend, and himself, a drink from next door. So, out into the dark the intrepid jazz fan went, retuning a few minutes later with 2 pints of the brown foaming stuff. “Where’s yours” we both ask. “I’ve got to go back for mine, I didn’t want to risk carrying 3 pints in the dark!” What a hero.

One last last thought. On Monday I took another stroll along the pier. Many of you will know that this Victorian pier has been refurbished and restored in the last few years and funds have been raised by people sponsoring a plank on the pier itself. Complete with brass plaque, it’s offered for a donation of £40. On Monday a mature gentleman was busy putting new plaques into place. I told him that he appeared to have a job for life, and he agreed that the task would see him out. He not only puts them into place, he engraves them all himself, AND he has routed out the recesses for the plates to go in. In all so far he has done 60,000!! Think about that the next time you walk his planks!


Don’t forget to support live jazz locally, because we all need to keep the music alive.

Geoff Cronin


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