Jazz has always been a fun music, but there are those who take it very seriously and musicians sometimes need to careful and decide whether their talents are better used playing music as distinct from telling jokes.
But there are those musicians who can mix the two. And they do it so well with excellent timing and their funnies do not detract from the music. One of these is Tom Hill and with Al Gurr playing keyboards and Charlie Wright on tenor sax, the team for making music is complemented by the humour.
This was the basis of the first Monday evening in February when the trio came to play. And the evening was not just an endless landscape of the great American songbook and many other tunes that we had all heard a dozen times before. No, this two hours took in the unusual and obscure. For instance, Grandma’s Hands and a dedication to the NHS, New Cross. The former was sung by Tom and it was a Bill Withers composition about his grandmother and written and recorded in 1971. New Cross was written by Tom and he explained how he had undergone heart surgery a couple of years ago and how grateful he would always be to our NHS. His introduction was delivered with great passion and the tune was made more moving after that explanation. New Cross is the hospital in Wolverhampton where Tom had his surgery.
In amongst the unusual and obscure there was still a lot of good music which everyone seemed to enjoy. There was a superb version of Mood Indigo and a fascinatingly different I’ve Never Been In Love Before with an original piano introduction then some interplay with Charlie Wright’s tenor and then some delicious bowed bass.
Altogether it was a cracking evening of jazz with some fun which kept the evening going at a brisk pace.