Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Noise Upstairs

Two gigs last night. Julian Argüelles as part of the fab Learn Live series of events and Jon Cervantes new outfit, Current Affairs.

The Learn Live events are basically:

"informal talks by each of the featured artists in a relaxed and friendly venue. We wanted to create a place where you could hear great gigs from internationally performing artists and ask them about their lives, loves and music!"
I've been to several of these now and found them really enjoyable and useful. They're normally held in the RNCM Students Union and the attendance has generally been quite low so I'm really hoping they can manage to keep them going. Surprisingly few students show up - most people seem to be usual MCR jazz mafia. This one was well attended however with the Jazz Festival publicity behind it. Julian covered some of the issues of jazz education. This has become a big business since the 1970s and he made the point that it can be a problem with students looking to be given everything and maybe not going and finding things out for themselves. he thn talked about improvisation. He stressed that many of his favorite players with the exception of Coltrane were not master technicians. It's great to have facility and technique but there's a danger it can get in the way of expression and feeling. Music isn't supposed to be a competitive sport.

I then went over to Matt and Phreds to see Jons Current Affairs. It was quite Steve Coleman and very fusiony at times but there were some really good grooves in there. Quite liked the poetry style vocals. It's good to see Jon's finally got something together. We've met at jams many times over the last couple of years and played together briefly in a funk band, the Vibrant Family Collective.

Also finally chatted to Anton at M&Ps. I've known who he is for a while but our paths didn't quite cross for some reason and hadn't spoken to him before. Had a really good chat actually. I was really excited to hear he's involved in setting up a free improv jam night called 'The Noise Upstairs' at Fuel Cafe Bar in Withington - sounds really amazing:

"The idea is an improv-jam night combining our backgrounds of jazz, contemporary classical and electro-acoustic music. In order to create a totally democratic evening, the way we're running it is; if you want to play, put your name in a hat at the start of the night, then ensembles are created at random by pulling, say, three names out at once (depending on how many people turn up and so on) and then you play for 10-15mins... Bring instruments, laptops, voices and toys!"
I've got high hopes for this - reminds me of some of the amazing sounding nights that used to happen in Soho in the 50s and 60s that I've read about. Withington is very studenty and quite a young crowd so I'm hoping I don't feel too much the old git. I'll have to give it a try for sure.

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