Monday, 14 January 2013

Alex Hutton - Subterranean Jazz at Nolias 11

Alex Hutton, Graeme Flowers, Henrik Jensen & Chris Nickolls
This was my third visit to Alex Hutton's residency at Nolias 11 since it started in September 2012. The subterranean room at Nolias 11 is one of my favourite venues to draw in. It has a wonderful ambience with its low lighting and brightly lit stage. In fact the contrast is so effective that I'm never quite sure who I'm sitting next to. This creates a wonderful sense of mystery for any one with an active imagination. Luckily I'd introduced myself to the gentlemen sitting next to me earlier in the evening. It turned out to be the 'Mr Fixit' of the popular publication/website Jazz in London, Mick Sexton. With his superior Jazz knowledge he was able to tell me about the two players I'd never drawn before, Trumpeter Graeme Flowers and Bassist Henrik Jensen. The other two members of the quartet are frequent contributors to my portfolio and I overheard them sing the praises of Nolias's music room too. Chris Nickolls complimented the acoustics and Alex Hutton said that without a designated bar in the room it feels like a concert.

Alex Hutton

Every Friday evening from 9-12pm Alex Hutton presents a new body of tunes, usually with an ever fresh selection of musicians. Of course he relies on some of his own powerful tunes that have made him popular on the London circuit too. Last Friday (11/01/2013)  it was themed around the music of Gil Evans and we were treated to tunes like 'The Duke' and 'My Ship'. Alex had a contented air about him and admitted as much as we briefly passed in the dark stairwell,
 'I'm having a bit of a problem concentrating tonight, Christmas was so good it's taking a while to get back in the mood'.

Of course he was being too tough on himself. I enjoyed Alex's delicate playing very much and it was interesting that he chose to forsake his signature tune 'JJ' even though the crowd we're shouting for it at the end of the evening. JJ is one of those tunes which has an intensity that make your pulse race and the temperature rise. We didn't need to tamper with the thermostat though, despite the inhospitably cold Waterloo streets outside, the room inside Nolias 11 was toasty. In fact as the evening continued and we all peeled off layers of clothing, Henrik Jensen resolutely still wore his Danish fisherman style wolly hat. It was mystery as he sweated and redenned, until he quickly checked underneath, and an unruly thatch sprung up and was hastily supressed once more.

Nolia Devin

No evening would be complete without a song (Autumn Leaves) from the first lady herself, Nolia Devin. To add to the subterranean feel of the the venue, Madame Devin emerged from the dark looking every inch the charismatic jungle queen, clothed in a zebra/tiger print wrap.

My subterranean night ended with a late night crawl home across London. Still a spectator as I stared out at the bright lights along the Thames from my empty train carriage.


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