Mon, 16 Jul 2018
Having had a successful outdoor jazz and blues festival last year, the organisers decided that another one this year would be a good idea. I was covering another event on Saturday but arrived on Sunday afternoon to hear the blues band Chicago 9 in full flow, belting out the 12 bar blues lines at a high level of decibels.
The lead guitar player built up some heavy chords and there was a harmonica wailing on most selections. The Market Place was filling up rapidly with people trying to find shade from the hot sun under trees or setting out their canvas chairs in the best positions. A very small girl was doing handstands and the braver folks were dancing in the heat, in front of the bandstand.
Local hostelries were offering discounts on pints of 'Good Old Boy,' and similar beverages although a few people appeared to have indulged rather too freely on GOB or lager. The Corn Exchange had a board up offering 'burgers and gin,' not a combination I would recommend unless in possession of a cast iron constitution.
Maybe they were selling them separately? Next up was the Sharon Vennall Trio although with keyboard, bass, drums and a tenor sax it looked more like a quartet to me. Sharon had a good strong voice and a way with standards, singing All Of Me, Blue Moon, Autumn Leaves and a nicely structured version of Black Coffee in a style similar to Peggy Lee, who first made the song famous.
I missed most of The Worried Men, a lively blues band but I was in need of a short break. After their set came Stripped Down Jazz, a basic trio of guitar, bass and drums with the leader doubling up as a vocalist. They played another version of Autumn Leaves and Paper Moon along with a pulsating version of All Blues, the Miles Davis piece from his classic album Kind Of Blue. The lead guitar player's heavy chord style worked well on selections such as The Very Thought Of You and I've Got You Under My Skin.
The trio sound came over loud and clear and thanks to the heavy rock style amplification system probably came over loud and clear in the next county. As the band played a chunky Mack The Knife and a bit later the Robin Bibi blues band came on to wind up the proceedings, I found a pavement seat some way away from where I could no longer see the bands but I could certainly hear them loudly and clearly. Judging by the smiling faces all around this festival must be judged a success.
Review by Derek Ansell