You know those people you meet, thinking
Wouldn't it be just, well, great to hook up with that person again? only for you to not see that person again for ages? Then you see each other, and it's just... right?
As usual, it all starts with a phone call from John Morris. John is not only the pianist in most of my projects, but a great supporter of my stuff and good friend. He's been running a very successful jazz jam in Birmingham at the Ipanema club for a couple of years now, fuelling the vibrant soul/jazz/funk scene there. This time, he'd booked Robert Mitchell, and was asking me to come down and play. And I thought, "Wow. Robert. I've not seen him for..."
A few days later, we're on the phone, catching up and talking about life, music. Robert's a really sound guy, and of course he's played with some of seriously good people, so he's seen a lot of the landscape of jazz and its changes. Vastly stimulating conversation. He talked me into using my Myspace site [which I've had since last November, but hadn't used at all. I'm only using it a bit and I'm going to focus more on this site and my web log].
I practise. I actually get to practising. I sound technically quite bad. I worry.
Two days ago [Monday 10th April]. I am, as usual, early; my housemate and I deciding to avoid the five o'clock snarl up. We wait for Robert and the group to turn up. Instantly get a feeling of warmth from them, even though I hadn't met Richard Spaven, Robin Mullarkey or Deborah Jordan before. It's a good sign. Robert and I have a quick run-through. It's like joy, laughing; and we reacquainted ourselves. It was just right. More people drifted in; I saw very familiar faces. They all asked me where I'd been for so long.
John's trio warmed up the crowd with a nice set, with guest spots from singer Yaz and poet/percussionist Kokumo. Then Robert's band came on and took everyone into outer space! They were playing songs from his new album, Trust—fantastic compositions, and gorgeous playing and singing. I then hauled my sorry carcass on for two songs, Caravan and Radiohead's National Anthem. My shoulders had locked up again but my goodness did I have fun playing off everyone and just swirling in music. It was just right.
Afterwards, I thanked Robert for allowing me to be there and swore never to leave it that long again. An absolutely superb evening was had, and the crowd were very receptive and up for anything.
Nine years... it's just disturbing how it flies by. If there's one thing I learned from Monday, it's that if it's just right, it'll almost always be just right.