The ‘what if’ situation is always interesting, to me at least. With travelling musicians relying on various bits of electronics and of course, working instruments, what if the PA amplifier springs a leak just before a performance? What if the electronics on a keyboard decide not to work as the session starts its second half? Is there a plan B just in case? I’ll bet with most musicians there is. But even brass instruments that require no electrical power can go wrong during a performance. I remember a story told to me by trumpet player Stan Reynolds who had worked for Geraldo, Ted Heath and a number of the big bands. His instrument developed a fault, sticking valves or such like and he had to take it to pieces He had to do it while he was on the stand and what’s more this was during a broadcast for ‘Music While You Work’. They were live on the Light Programme! So I was curious when Martin Veasey was about to play. “Where’s the trombone?” I asked. “It’s warming near the radiator” he replied. I thought it was very considerate of him to warm his trombone. Was there a society to ensure humanitarian welfare standards for trombones? Apparently, he explained, if the instrument is cold it can so easily go out of tune and that is not good.
Nothing was out of tune on Monday last. We were treated to an evening of standards, no surprises and nothing at all that would engender the response, ‘they’re not going to try that surely?’ It was all good nutritious home cooked jazz, the kind appreciated by the audience. Rod Kelly was leading his trio on keyboard and he also added a few vocals to the mix. John Day was playing bass while Roger Powell was on drums. All the musicians play regularly together so nothing at all was unfamiliar to them.
We were treated to all the classics – East Of The Sun, Long Ago And Far Away, Like Someone In Love, so no one was a stranger to any of this music. There was a blues composition by Oscar Pettiford and a version of Night In Tunisia added to the mix and neither item sounded out of place. But like any live performance, there were some numbers that worked well and others that didn’t quite hit the mark. That though is a situation that can apply to any performance.
To sum up, it was an evening of enjoyable jazz presented in a very friendly way.