One of those weeks when live music came to the fore. Absolutely love it.
Started on Wednesday with Prince at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm. Absolutely magnificent and I’ve blogged about the concert already. You can read it here.
On Friday, a whole load of us went to see Graham Parker and the Rumour at the Shepherd’s Bush O2 Empire. GP was a big favourite at university, back in the late 70s. His blend of Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, a bit of soul and a lot of rock’n’roll worked perfectly and made him part of the UK new wave movement.
The concert didn’t disappoint in terms of the music Like Prince, GP gave the audience a lot of the favourites they had come for. And he had managed to reassemble his Rumours band. So they opened with “Fools Gold”, and over the course of the evening we had “White Honey”, “Howling Wind”, “Don’t Ask Me Questions”, “Hotel Chambermaid”, “Lady Doctor” “Love Gets You Twisted” and “Soul Shoes”, amongst others. A choice selection.
The only thing I’d say is that it all felt a bit sedate. These are guys in their sixties. Bruce Springsteen is still amazingly energetic at the age, but he’s the exception. GP and the Rumour were not in-yer-face. The old Parker snarl was a bit of a whimper. And that’s fair enough. But it meant that I didn’t get the buzz from the concert that I’d hoped for. I was still coming down from Prince, who was still out there rocking, I guess.
Then, on Saturday, I went down to a pub in Brentford called The Brewery Tap. In all my years living nearby, I’d never heard of it, even though it is a Fullers pub. It was on a road leading down to the river, amid garages and disused warehouses. The pub has live music most nights, mostly jazz, and today was the turn of Grape Juice. They are a bunch of young lads in their last year of A-levels. The saxophonist is the son of a friend of my friend Jon.
They were good! Playing not exactly jazz funk, but jazz with a bit of funk. They covered Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man”, Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke” and ” Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine”, and the standard “Caravan”, amongst others. At the end of their second set they played an encore of “Pick Up The Pieces” by the Average White Band. All with a lot of improvisation on sax and guitar around the basic melodies.
I was impressed by their musicianship and the fact that they were playing jazz at their age, given all the other influences these days. I asked them afterwards how they had got into it. And guess what. Kyle, the saxophonist, had learnt clarinet at school and his teacher was a jazz fan.
How important are teachers?