Blues, Baby-Blue and Blue Vanguard
Although I did notice last May when at a gig here, having recently seen TV’s The Hotel Inspector where Alex Polizzi [a tad patronisingly] visits and advises hotels – including in her current series The Gipsy Hill – the baby-blue lounge was all the more evident for having been featured as an alteration on that programme.
It does seem a shame Alex didn’t visit and record a Blue Vanguard Jazz evening [I’ll assume it wasn’t within the filming timeframe] because this would have shown how one of the well-worn features of the venue is hugely popular, as was the recent with guest saxophonist Iain Bellamy. Indeed, the room where the gigs with house-band the Blue Vanguard Trio are played is still very much an imprint of an era, and that isn’t a recent one.
But the music was, as ever, wonderful in the here and now. Having reviewed a fair number of performances [see more here], I have probably said it all, especially about the outstanding qualities of the BVT, but also about my lapses in remembering the names of songs played – I used to take a pen and pad to make notes but that seemed a little pretentious, as well as cumbersome – so I don’t have any to share. Of course I don’t always know the songs that are played, unless I’m told, but then I don’t remember…
What I do remember is how special Iain Bellamy is as a player. I’d seen him once before [read here] and on this night he excelled again: a rather special guest to this listener, which is saying something considering the high quality of all who play at this venue on these jazz nights. I again warmed particularly to his breathy playing, but there were also the rolling runs and the range. There were two blues, one rather funky, as well as a ‘classical’ piece [or part of] where in particular the piano accompaniment of Craig Milverton was vibrant.
Al Swainger had one glorious extended bass solo, and Coach York made the integral dynamism of drumming the treat it always is.
I did buy at the gig and have been listening to Bellamy’s 2001 album Organic and GM Food. This is an innovative and experimental work [avant garde?], with some humour, and I am enjoying very much, hoping to review at a later date.