Into November

Time marches on! Always much to report and little time, plus the needs of diplomacy. Booking the Jazz club and promoting the gigs, and compering – it’s a constant task in the back of my mind. And all activities distract from the ludicrous idea of making music myself (even this activity). I played for a class at the dance school (NSCD) this morning, which was not Ballet nor Contemporary, but Impro, and a much more creative experience it was, providing a loose atmosphere, occasionally interacting, avoiding cliche or repetitive beats (Michael Howard would have approved) – a musical experience! On a somewhat battered upright piano, but the openness was satisfying.

I finished the Nate Chinen C21 jazz criticism book – too much promotion, not enough critique by the end, but some useful context. I found a new Zizek paperback last week (Like a Thief in Broad Daylight) – possibly not as stimulating as when I first read him, his transgressions seem old hat, or routine, a sense of wheeling out his shtick on a new bunch of cultural things (eg Bladerunner 2049), but perhaps he’s having to work too hard to find new insights. Even so, it’s bracing. Marx, Lenin, Lacan. If only I had time to work out if I understood what he’s saying, and how to take action upon it.

There’s an excellent exhibition at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol – Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance – seriously engaged current art, and historical (ie from my youth in the 70s/80s) speeches/videos/artworks/strategies – inspiring, particularly for our 3-year-old companion, who will no doubt still be considering his role in the patriarchy a week later.

A remarkable performance at Wakefield Jazz the other week from Esther Bennett – not a great singer, but a stunning communicator of the songs, unashamedly living each lyric with unaffected joy and pathos, an unlikely old-world sense of performance and engagement. And from Alan Barnes’ Octet last week, I might pick out the unsung northern heroes, Dean Masser on tenor sax and Neil Yates on trumpet/flugel horn, plus the effortlessly polished and quicksilver Mark Nightingale on trombone. I’m looking forward to the return of Greg Abate in a couple of weeks, and need to sharpen my bebop instincts in preparation.