I went to see some acclaimed LJF jazz at the green note last night. I remember excitedly telling the immediate company that "this was the band that played with ronnie scott" and "I've seen the pianist John Critchinson before with Simon Spillett" so you'll understand how shocked I was when the band started with what could only be described as a mix of minimal tech, trance and synth-jazz.

You see there is the Green Note, in Parkway. And the Green Man, on Euston Rd. The stalwart John Critchinson was at the Green Man...sadface.

After my initial reaction that I was listening to three wankers who didn't have a clue about music I realised there was some talent and skill in there. Mixed in with three and a half kilograms of pretentious noodling. I've always been of the opinion you have to get really good, before you can play really bad. Think 1960's John Coltrane i.e. post Giant Steps era.

There were a few good tunes in there, but there was little refinement and little technical skill. I must say their use of the loops and synths was an interesting addition and I could see it working.

Or to put it better, you would have to be really, really high to enjoy their music.

I was pleasantly surprised and relieved by the second band, headed up by pianist and composer Sam Leak, featuring tenor saxophonist James Allsopp.

Their music was truly beautiful to listen to. Heavy on modal and modulations mixed with an ethereal time feel and it all worked. Everything was tied together, even by the tiniest thread at times.

It was also obvious that these people lived their music. They were engaged with what they were playing, sometimes so much you could almost see the tears. 

A real pleasure to listen too!

If you haven't been to the Green Note before they run a jazz night on the first Sunday of every month which ends in a Jazz Jam. Well worth checking out.

 


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