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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Bit of a catchup! - Abersoch Jazz Festival 2009

Well I have realised that I neglected really to tell you about our holiday in Wales.  So just a few bits to share about the jazz festival!

Our main reason for choosing Abersoch again was the jazz festival – 2 of my favourite bands were there – Jim Mcintosh and the Jazzaholics (no weblink cos he still hasn’t done a webpage) and TJ Johnson. Jim’s band  was a riot! – They play together with such enthusiasm and energy – James Evans is supreme on the clarinet (especially this year’s addition of an electric box of tricks to electrify said clarinet – fantastic) Jim himself on banjo, Baby Jools and Annie Hawkins make up the back row , and Mike Pointon and Denny Illet on trombone and trumpet completing the line-up.  Jim also entertained and amused during Saturday afternoon with his “party” – a kind of Jam Session with skits! – Here follows a photograph – not for the faint hearted - of Adrian Cox, dressed as a naughty nurse having a lot of trouble playing his clarinet over his rather over enthusiastic bust!

Also “Baby Jools” and Jack Cotterill doing a drum duet as Laurel and Hardy – On one drum kit!!  – now that really rocked!  (Photo hopefully to be inserted here if I get permission from owner)

I should also mention the wonderful TJ Johnson band, slightly less along the mainstream Jazz lines but more of a rhythm and blues band in general, but delighting the crowd with everything from gospel to country as well. TJ’s voice seems to get better and better, he can melt your heart with a gentle rendition of “Just a closer walk with Thee” and a few minutes later have you laughing out loud (and dancing) to Willie the Weeper.  Along with Adrian Cox on the sax (and the first time I have seen – the guitar!), and Jamie Lawrence on Double Bass and Jules Fenton on drums this band is a must-see for those who aren’t into trad jazz as such but like a good all round band that will have you dancing for sure.

For anyone fancying a weekend Jazz festival – Abersoch is a great one to try. The location is truly beautiful, the festival itself is chilled and relaxed with plenty of time to enjoy your surroundings, not like some others when you find yourself at a slow trot moving between one venue and another.(!!) Many young musicians are booked as guests which is fabulous to see. This year Amy Roberts, Jamie Brownfield, Jack Cotterill, and Kate Browning all guested with most of the other bands. – Jonny Boston was also there as a guest although I don’t know if he can be classed as “young” any more???!!! (tee hee!) ;-) , although I have to admit he certainly rocks with the best of them, and his version (during Jim’s party I think ) of Running Wild was awesome! The younger musicians bring a new dimension to the shores of trad jazz, and stroll gently off the beaten track now and again, with an energy and vibrancy that has you clapping your hands and stamping your feet!

So with great thanks to Jan and all the organisers who work so hard for the whole year to get the festival together, and my dear friends in the bands – you all gave us a cracking weekend and we loved each and every minute of it.