Thursday, 31 January 2013

Ray Gelato - Bloomsbury's Top Cat

Ray Gelato - Top Cat
Like the phoenix rising from the flames, Ray Gelato resurrected the newly revived Twickenham Jazz Club last Thursday (24/01/2013) with a stellar night of swinging tunes. It's no surprise that Lesley and Kelvin Christiane chose Ray to kick-start the Club, he is the totem of the current swing revival and resurgence of 1950's values & tastes.

 Although he's been nominated for Jazz's highest awards he has never been a member of the Jazz Elite preferring to rub shoulders with us mere mortals. In fact that is part of his charm and he has retained his youthful vigour and humour throughout the years and most reminds me of the loveable Top Cat from Hanna-Barbera's animation. With his witty alley-cat jokes and roguish tom-cat charisma he had us all purring with delight by the end of the evening.

Kelvin Christiane - Saxophone

Ray Gelato's repertoire was pure unashamedly old-school with tunes by Count Basie (Doggin' Around & Topsy), Nat King Cole (The Frim-Fram Sauce), Jesse Greer (Just You Just Me) and Coleman Hawkins (body and soul).

The dark-suited and dapper Kelvin Christiane joined Gelato on stage for 'Robbins' Nest' and Duke's 'Cotton Tail'. Richard Busiakiewicz was very much an unassuming figure visually on keyboards, but more than stole the show musically once given his chance. He has a trance like zombie playing style, perfected by Bill Evans, with chin hung against his chest whilst deep in concentration.

Richard Busiakiewic - keys
It was good to get a proper look at Julian Bury on bass. The last time I'd drawn him was at Pizza Express for the Burton Bradstock CD launch, where you have to avoid strategically placed pillars and tomblike lighting to produce a sketch.
This was my first view of Matt Fishwick  (drums), although I have drawn his twin-brother Steve before. He has a sit-up-and-beg style with a beautifully straight back, and is a musician I would like to see and hear again.

Julian Bury - Bass
Matt Fishwick - drums
The jazz cats weren't restricted to the stage either and I spotted some very cool ones in the audience too.
There was a group of ruddy cheeked dudes whose 'Boss Cat' was the sleek Lister Park, with Colin and Andrew either side.
Lister park - Dude

I'll look forward to seeing them all on Valentine's Day, not for a romantic rendezvous, but to see Nigel Price playing at the next instalment of the Twickenham Jazz Club.


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