Its the middle of August and its pretty quiet. But below the radar, there’s a fair bit of jazz going on. Just at the end of July in village outside Frome, the Jazz picnic, unadvertised and a fundraiser for the local school. But a small field was full of picnicing folk listening to Sirius B, GBH Big Band (was that Andy Hague, Nick Malcolm, Kevin Figes guesting there?!) and a little later an impromptu quartet led by Iain Ballamy. The next week had Kevin Figes at St. James Wine Vaults. Kevin is just getting better and better; the effortless, be-boppish, unfailingly melodic negotiationof the changes on standards is there as ever, but there’s a maturity and authority about his playing these days as well. The wider recognition he’s getting is richly deserved.
I’ve been having a very jazzy time. A week at Trinity’s Summer School has re-energised my practice a bit, or at least my good intentions. I won’t get into what you might or not get or learn from Summer school here, I may post about that seperately, but one of the things that really enthralled me during the week this year, was the tutors playing together in the club every night – often in combinations that I’m sure never happens at other times in the year. The results are never less than exciting, and frequently truly magical.
I’ve sneakily posted one moment here – I’m sure they won’t mind – just to give you a flavour. Three fantastic players ripping into Lennies Pennies, a crazily sinuous head by Lennie Tristano based on the harmony of Pennies from Heaven.