Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Nibble on Paul 'Jazzmouse' Fawcus

Paul Jazzmouse Fawcus
Even in my brief spell writing for this blog my descriptive words veer toward the hard edged and combative. Likening trumpets to guns and the musicians themselves to duelling heroes. I am not the first and I'm sure I wont be the last. Last Thursday though the audience at Twickenham Jazz Club (The Bloomsbury, 11/04/2013) saw a different type of performance. This was crisp, understated and very much grown up Jazz.

Ken McCarthy - piano
The Seven musicians on stage were led by the headmaster figure of Ken McCarthy on piano/keys who kept his charges on their toes. In fact he had a surprise test for his boys, the first tune 'Blues for an old new age' was executed in near darkness, they had to remember their lines or it would be five lashes from the Bloomsbury audience. Luckily the light switch was found and like the second tune, Dave Grusin's 'Summer Sketches' electric sunshine radiated out towards us.

Andy Rogers - Trombone
Through out the evening I was particularly captured by one man who defied definition although he was a dream to draw. He had an air both of wildness and domesticity. His nickname is very apt, he is to my knowledge the one and only Jazzmouse in existence, a rare species indeed. Now as you may know Jazz monikers often suggest innuendo or macho connotations, just to Paul's left was a good example, Andy 'Rapid Tongue' Rogers. Jazzmouse is every inch his name, diminutive and scrurrying on his saxophone, you could even see a bright warm face behind the whiskers. He has the greatest stage presence for a rodent since the emergence of Roland Rat in the 1980's and much more musical talent.

Henry Armburg Jennings - Trumpet
It felt more like a Dr Dolittle's menagerie at one point with an excellent version of Herbie Hancock's 'Dolphin Dance' featuring a superb solo by the very human Henry Armburg Jennings. A likeable figure from the exterior he expresses a relaxed air with his sneakered attire and playing.

Elliot Henshaw - drums
Even though Elliot Henshaw was doing his best to be hidden behind a mass of charts his influence was strong on the evening. Crisp and dynamic, it made tunes like Joe Henderson's 'Inner Urge' resonate and propelled the McCarthy penned tune 'Zugzwang' to its inevitable dramatic Check-Mate.

Healthy and educated applause rippled regularly for local favourite Kelvin Christiane despite the crowd being under strength. This made my drawing much easier so I spent some of time drawing the audience. If you ever make it to the club you'll know of two gentlemen who regularly man the door and collect the raffle money at half-time. This Abbot and Costello duo, or Neil and Terry as I learned later, have long been a fixture at the club and it was pleasure to be able to capture them in my sketchbook.

Next I turned my attention to another familiar face. I couldn't quite put my finger on where or when I'd seen him before. He had a remarkable resemblance to a young blonde Leonid Brezhnev so I gave him a friendly Zdravstvuj and hoped for the best. It transpired Max is the go-to extra on London's film circuit, you will have seen him most recently in 'Dancing on the Edge', 'Anna Karenina', 'The Look of Love' and yes, you guessed it he was Brezhnev in 'X-Men First Class'. Na zdorovje!

Lesley Christiane
A crowd sketch wouldn't be complete without two of Twickenham Jazz Club's biggest supporters Lesley Christiane's father and Peter, The Bloomsbury's landlord/Swing Jazz Supremo.

It was a great relief to hear Lesley Christiane back on form with her performance of 'Let there be Love'. For it is Lesley who will be hosting our Jazz Art Exhibition, Concert and Barbeque on Saturday 25th May (2-5pm).
Tasty fare for any Jazzmice out there, Culture, Music and Nibbles.

Come and join us!


Nick Pugh - Bass

Lesley's Father

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