"I was so glad that Ginger had saved his dignity ,He didnt really have had to have finished the set .It was unimportant .What was important was the energy flow and connection while it lasted and that for me was the gift from inside that he shared !"
The night before I had gone and watched 2 bands in the small area in Earth that bored me shit less and I couldn't wait to get out of the over packed place .Today nothing bored me shit less at all 10 hours of pure unpredictable sonic Joy as far as I was concerned .Today I was about to touch down at the 1st Walthamstow Jazz festival and I had been looking forwards to it for ages .
I went to collage next door to the Town Hall Its where I got my city and Guilds .It was a luxury to be able to reach the venue on a bus and be able to get home at anytime. I had decided to hit the festival hard from start to finish and see as many bands as possible 17 bands and a DJ set in fact and. almost succeeded on my mission. Only missed 2 the 2 opening bands in the basement because I had decided to sit in the balcony for a bit and take in the strange elliptical shapes on the ceiling and giant art Deco candle light shades suspended from it too and the marble stair cases and gold edged star shaped windows high up, that flashed me back to when I was still a teenager and under the influence of the Hawkwind same place different world The 1st band in the main hall Tetes de Pois were slightly late coming on than billed due to over running sound check ,but it was quite a pleasure in its self just sitting and watch the place .It wasnt that busy until later and even then, the number of tickets sold still ment their was space and the only band that I couldnt get to see was Project Karnak in the small low ceiling basement space simply because it was rammed. I listened to some of the set from out side though .They are made up of bits of Tri Force a heavy fusion outfit I watched up at total refreshment on the 2nd day of the We out Here album launch .I watched some of Laetitia Sadiers solo set but headed down to the basement bit to check out what was happening down there. I found a band called" Hey Fish" that comprised of an upright bass a violin and Fender strat and drums I filmed some of their set (Just as well cos mine is the only thing on You Tube about them ).I really liked them. They had come down from leeds and had burnt some CDs and hand drawn individual sleeves, I have one in my bag that I havent had time to play yet ..Listen to my link to hear what they sound like .They played out on a loose" Space is the place " I popped up stairs in time to have a chat with Laetitia Sadier .Saying to her that I was" Star struck "but she knew I was teasing because of the big grin on my face .Last time I watched stereo Lab(I am a massive fan of the group and splinter projects like Caverns of Anti matter) was in the Paradisio Amsterdam pre smoking ban and I caught Source Ensemble s Moth show and up at Liverpool Psych fest .They were booked for Levitation France but canceled .Just as well really cos I went and didnt reckon it (see the Campfire write up) Stereo Lab are playing dates this summer .Next I caught Some of Evan Parker /John Edwards /John Russells set. This was very fractured avant guard free form jazz and wasnt easy listening ,.Its not day time Jazz FM ,but it isn't meant to be .They were pushing the limits of sound out of their instruments .I liked it but headed back down stairs for Snazzback who were playing seriously good grooved up Fusion (Ive left a link .).They were so good I actually missed some of Thurston Moore s set so I didnt break theirs .
Thurston Moore/Steve Noble I filmed some of it that Ive included .Thurston played in the hugely influential Sonic youth and this was the 1st time I had had the pleasure of watching him live. He was arched on a chair with his face covered by a very long fringe and was pushing sound to the limit distortion and feed back through FX ( I spotted a MXR 100 Phaser cos Ive got one my self ) At one point he jammed a drum stick under the strings on the fret board of his truly bashed up Fender Jaguar .This was exciting and put the hair on my neck up .It was performance art !
Waldos Gift Ive left a You tube link .They were playing fully grooved up fusion and were very good and sounded completely fresh ,like all the bands I watched in the place
I couldn't get in to see the Project Karnak set, but I did see a lot of CyKada .I knew nothing about them but have since found out they are American and they vier off on the cosmic psychedelic end of jazz fusion they ticked all my boxes .Going to definitely check them out again Superb .(see link )
Binker golding/Elliot Galvin (Piano /Sax /Clarinet ) .Last time I watched Binker Was up the Jazz Cafe where he was Aving it in a free form jam round structures playing with the extremely talented Moses Boyd (See My Write up ) Today it was more avant gard free jazz and pushing the instruments to the limit s of sound possibility and fragmented and spikey .I watched about half a hour of it from the Balcony but headed back downstairs to check out
Emma Jean Thackray
The basement was so hot and airless that sweat was starting to drip from the low ceiling but I propped my self up against the front of the shut bar area and got my self into the zone while sipping on my bottle of water .Emma was using backing tracks/samples on a laptop . That went off on all kinds of mad directions and singing and playing trumpet over them and I guess Loop peddles and delays I couldnt get close enough to see what she was using (Ive left a link ).She really impressed me. She passed me on the way out and I told her how much I enjoyed it. Her music had the same kind of freshness that I felt the 1st time watching Blue Lab Beats when they supported Mulatu Astatke up the Jazz Cafe A couple of years back .It really was that good
Monday I watched Joe Armon Jones band play the Village underground and Dylan was playing with Nubya and James Mollison as the horn section They took no prisoners .Tonight Dylan had the freedom and more space This was my 1st experience of this band .They are superb check the link .Its a Drum /Bass/Sax /Trumpet /guitar configuration and they are in the same class .See them
I watched most of this set too .They really impressed me .They had serious free form groove Really hypnotic funked up goodness Superb
More serious Funked up fusion signed to Lex's TRC label I had parked a little bit down from it on friday night and looked down the back wall of the BP garage and thought what a twisted cruel thing that the council had done shutting it and revoking its license and selling out to the cancer of gentrification .Still the Real estate men havent killed the music off and they wont . Fuck them !
Ginger Bakers Jazz Confusion with Tony Allen Aiko Biaye (Pecussion )Alec Dankworth (Bass) and I think Pee Wee Elis (Sax )
I was sat in the balcony having a rest while the set was being changed ,there seamed to be some kind of drum tech nightmare going on and I headed back downstairs to get a decent position .The hall had filled up now and a massive green kit with 2 bass drums had been wheeled on stage next to Tony Allens minimal one .Back in the 90's my father took me to see Louis Bellson in a jazz club on Sun Set strip Louis was the originator of the double bass set up .About 4 years back I went to watch Ginger up the Islington 02 it was billed as a 3.5 hour career retrospect but he couldnt finish the set Aiko was playing with him and Alec Dankworth but Pee Wee couldnt make the gig because he was undergoing lip surgery .Tonight after more drum tech twiddling .The announcer came back on stage and Ginger appeared He was still very formidably tall looking but he was very frail looking and needed help walking ,his hair was now white Ginger mounted his drum stool and the rest of the band came on stage .and Ginger explained that he had come out of hospital to play this gig his voice was pretty shaky too .After the brief introduction he sounded him self in playing the heavy sticks on the symbols and they started .He still had the rhythm and he still had the timing and the more he played the more it felt to me it was almost like the last of his prana life force he was projecting through his kit tonight and this was like watching his swan song and most probably his very last public performance In fact it felt like he could have keeled over on the kit anytime .I was watching Pee Wee s face and I think he felt this as well and I didn't know whether to feel joyous or start to cry Tony Allen then joined the band and they played together for a bit and then Ginger had to stop .but it felt like he didnt want to leave the kit. He stood up and carried on hitting the odd symbol before being helped away and disappeared back stage .Tony Allen carried on for a bit but the set seamed short to me and I wanted to watch them more .Last time I watched him was in the summer up Love supreme doing His Art Blakey set and before that with Ernest Raglin up the Barbican .I love the way he plays and I never get bored watching him Heavy sticks and pure economy of movement and energy .I was watching some footage on YouTube where he was playing with Moses Boyd. Moses defiantly has the groove too and is possibly my personal favourite at the moment .together with Femi Koleoso and Tom Skinner and Larnell Lewis who Drums with Snarky puppy and Yussef Dayes who Ive watched solo and with Kammal Williams
So that was it I had been talking with an Australian lady as the set ended who was a sound engineer record producer with a 50 odd year old BBC mixing desk and ran a pressing plant but I had a normal wrist band and the security wanted to empty the place out and decided to go even though I didnt want to . It was a shame because I would have loved to have carried on talking and in fact would have been quite happy watching another 10 hours of bands until morning because I never get tired of it .So walking back down forest rd and stopped in the bottle shop for some beer for the bus back and reflect on everything that I had absorbed and I was so glad that Ginger had ,saved his dignity and that he didnt really have to have finished the set ,it was unimportant What was important was the energy flow and connection while it lasted and that for me didn't need words cos it transcended them .
Sound quality was good, even though the hall has a high ceiling possibly the surface was designed to facilitate this (See my photo )
So that.s about everything I havent mentioned the superb Vegan vegetarian food that was being sold on the right side outside as I walked in with the vibrant fresh salads and falafels and patties £6 a box .I steered clear of the Setan based processed stuff on the right so all in all I would go as far as saying this was the of one of the best I day events I have ever attended and the fact that the bill was curated with such diversity and it had a jazz focus did it for me but the thing with jazz is the spaces in between and thats why its never going to stop its evolution as far as I can see and whats happening ,is theres a youth and vibrancy to the genre .This audience was quite mixed 8 to 80 year olds but Ive been going to watch bands like the sons of Kemet where Jazz Mosh pits happen with the energy coming off it .I am looking forwards to watching Shabakas future Cosmic Bebop out fit again up village underground because the Comet is defiantly coming and will smash through the Tram shed roof and Im going to be defiantly there to watch them do it !