Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Saturday at The Ealing Jazz Festival

I last visited the Ealing Jazz Festival 2 years ago. The venue, the layout etc hasn’t changed much if at all, in the year in-between. Initially, the audience seemed much smaller, but as the day wore on, and certainly after 5 pm, the place filled up remarkably. Due to the bargain entry fee of £1 it seemed to me that many more people came in during the evening just to party. The music was for them incidental, which may be why, at the end of the evening, after some terrific music, an act of crowd vandalism seemed to be performed. A can of “liquid” was thrown at, or towards, saxophonist Andy Panayi. It missed, but the expected encore was called off immediately. I have never seen anything like it at a jazz festival before. The only similar type of action I have experienced used to occur at the free parts of the Brecon Jazz Festival, where drunken boys and girls from the local valley communities would throw beer cans at each other on either side of the street.
The musical side of the Ealing’s jazz was very accomplished. I stayed in the Main Stage for most of the day, only venturing forth for the odd break, and for sustenance!

“Harlem Airshaft” had some elder statesmen of the music playing tunes associated with Ellington and Basie, with a traditional line up of trumpet, trombone, clarinet, piano, bass, and drums. They still sounded fresh, and they seemed to be enjoying what they were doing. My main surprise was seeing Eddie Harvey at the piano.

They were followed by “Paul Carmichael’s Flight”, which was quite a large ensemble of 9 players and a singer. Good fun, crowd pleasing latin type music, with 2 trumpets (one of them being Steve Fishwick), trombone, sax, keyboard, guitar, bass guitar, drums, latin percussion, with Jackie Rawe providing the vocals. A really big sound. It was really well played funky music, and many in the growing crowd outside the main marquee danced to it.

As the crowd continued to grow, there was a set by someone I would not have felt was “my cup of tea”. But “Xantone Blancq’s Fewture” were an absolute blast of entertainment. Xantone is a keyboard player and singer, who encourages the audience to join in, playing a kind of Stevie Wonder music. It was great fun. He was supported by a lady saxophonist (Dee Byrne), guitar, bass and drums. The audience loved it, and he had to be told to stop. He didn’t know what time it was!!

A more conventional form of jazz followed from the “Jack Honeyborne Quintet”, and here, I am going to insert a few more names, because, although the combined age of the players probably added up to in excess of 400, they were all legends of the game. With Jack on piano were John Barnes on saxes (and voice!), Ronnie Hughes on trumpet, Dave Green on bass, and Tony Kinsey on drums. It was jazz, it swung, it was fun, what more do you want? It seemed like an anticlimax to put them on immediately after a show stopper like “Fewture”, but at the end, just as many of the crowd were shouting for more. Jazz like that is infectious!
The evening ended with a wonderful set by Liz Fletcher and her band, that included Steve Fishwick again on trumpet, Andy Panayi on saxes, Leon Greening on piano, Ben Hazleton bass, and the combined rhythmic talents of Marc and Will Parnell on drums and percussion.
It was great music from everyone, the audience wanted more, but one member of the audience obviously thought it was time to go home. I hope someone made sure he remembered what he had done.
To all in that band, I thought you were terrific, No jazz fan could want for more. Excellent singing from Liz (in a wonderful dress), Leon Greening is a very good jazz pianist indeed, Andy Panayi has had my admiration for some years, he usually organises the bigger ensembles of Alan Barnes, and the Parnell brothers were a percussive knockout. Which leaves me to mention Ben Hazelton who was getting a very good sound out of his bass.

And after all of that, what have we got to look forward to?

Hedsor, Thursday 8.30 pm, our own mini festival of jazz, with, this week, saxophonist Peter Cook, and guitarist John Coverdale in front of our regular rhythm section.

OK, it will cost you more than £1, but still a pretty mean £5. But we are on every week!

Next week, we will have guitarist Max Brittain with us alongside Clive Burton, and on Thursday 26 th August we have, in addition to our regular quintet, Simon Spillett.

So, come on down to our regular weekly jazzfest!! You know it makes sense


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