Isn’t it odd how jazz thrives in the most unlikely of venues..?
Take, arguably, the best long-running Jazz club in our region – Wakefield Jazz. An award-winning venue, they regularly bring some of the country’s (world’s..) best and most exciting Jazz musicians to Yorkshire, and present them in front of a healthy sized, enthusiastic crowd. Yet this night finds itself in the most assuming setting – the club house of Wakefield Sports club.
The same could be said of the venue of my gig last night – at the Spice of Life, in Soho. Upstairs, the bar was packed with people having finished work, people heading to shows and gigs, people enjoying a chat and a pint. Yet, downstairs, and into the basement bar, one of London’s Premier Jazz venues was being set up ready for ‘Singers night’. The good-sized audience were friendly, open, un-intimidating, and enthusiatically listening to the wonderful music that was happening down there. Yes, it’s the downstairs bar of a place that had Ozzy Osborn playing in the Ladies when I arrived, but the Jazz (greatly helped by promoter/organiser Paul Pace, and the house Trio, led by Barry Green) is thriving, creative, innovative and accessible all at once.
I feel very lucky to have been able to have performed there (I just wish I hadn’t have been battling this cold whilst singing to a room of vocalists!) and hope I’ll get to return one day soon.