Thursday, July 02, 2015

The Jazz Society?

Since coming to Dorset this week I have been to two local jazz events, pub jazz!

You may recall that in my blog in 2011 I suggested that the kind of music we love is now being presented in tiny venues, almost in secret like Catholic worshipers during Henry VIII’s reign!

Last night I traveled to Charminster to visit one such dedicated venue, and one such dedicated set of fans of the art of modern(ish) jazz! 

The pub is called The Three Compasses, (9 The Square Charminster Dorchester, Dorset DT2 9QT)

It is an old world, probably Victorian, pub, (maybe not as old, but time worn!!).

An old retainer served a pint of Otter, there were matchboxes and farm instruments, postcards and notices strung all over the bar,but, at one end, making access to the Gents (and the skittle ally) difficult, were 7 musicians playing very passable 1950’s jazz, (no, not Trad, Modern Jazz). The bass player was the youngest, and he managed to keep the average age of the band down to below 80. Later*, I am going to include a link to my DropBox folder to one tune, not with all the players on the night, but a decent enough recording from my mobile phone to warrant sharing. If I get the chance to edit some of the other tunes I recorded I will include them in a later message from the western front.

During the interval I talked with them. The leader, playing the vibes was Mark Ward, a local farmer. The thing that stuck me was that none of the band that I talked with knew anyone of the people who have played at Hedsor!! I am equally sure that none of the people who play Hedsor will know any of them either. Almost more sad was the fact that they didn’t know the names of the current crop of best jazzers in the UK! Swanage and its jazz festival is near enough, but I got the impression that they didn’t go to hear what might be on offer.

The audience was thin in numbers, just like us at Hedsor, obviously local, and they really enjoyed the music. They were regular fans of the local jazz scene. This seemed to stretch from Charminster to Pool going East, and to Bridport in the West.

It has made me ponder that if we consider ourselves as an extended family of jazz fans (those from Hedsor, Reading or Marlow for example) we should realise that there are more of our family listening and playing in more small isolated venues just like The Three Compasses.

Some of the musicians who played last night had been at the session I commented on in my blog back in 2011. They were “Tickled Pink” about me writing about them then, and recognized ME from the blog photo!! Well, this time, I hope you will listen to at least this first tune, the one straight after the interval. No, there was no raffle, and no charge for entry either. So, if in the area on the first Wednesday of the month, why not sample what’s on offer here in the “Wild West”, well Dorset anyway!! 

I believe they should be encouraged and congratulated in carrying on the practice of live jazz. If only we could ALL meet up to share our understandings and joy, of jazz music.

* The Mark Ward ensemble:- Lullaby of the leaves:-

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