Thursday, 9 May 2013

Gabriel Garrick - The Roundabout of Life


Gabriel Garrick - Flugelhorn
I'd drawn him a few times before of course and heard a few tales but this was my first time with Gabriel Garrick's own tunes and to experience him as a frontman in his fleshy best. Last Sunday (5/5/2013) was my first visit to The Green Dragon in Croydon too, and it seemed long-overdue. It proved to be an excellent location, with a ample and laid-back crowd, who balanced and swapped weekend newspaper sections amongst each other with familiarity.
With its heavy air-conditioning conduit overheard it looked every inch the urban jazz den. An image that was shattered of course when the heavy drapes were opened and the sparkling May sunshine spilled in.



Sam Walker - Saxophone
It is always a strange experience when absorbing yourself  in the perceived darkness of Jazz whilst wallowing in full blown daylight. More than once Garrick mistook day for night and mixed the two up in his announcements. Despite some late night activity, none of the musicians looked too bleary eyed but poor Sam Walker arrived on the brink of the first tune, '(Birks Works) Insurance Blues' after negotiating the wonders of Croydon's road network.

Matt Ridley - Bass
It was great to hear/see Garrick playing the lead role, the only previous occasions I had drawn him was in Big Band action where he was very badly behaved along with most of the trumpets. He has perfected the naughty schoolboy look, a slight looseness to the lips that seem permanently wet, about to utter a cheeky quip or possessing that sparkling gloss after a quick freshen from his beverage. By no means a schoolboy in 'Just William' terms, there is courage and steel in his speech, never shy to cast his opinion or to take a stand.

Alan Jackson - Drums
My long suffering wife had given me special dispensation to be here, the Bank Holiday DIY jobs weren't going to do themselves after all. So Garrick generously gave me some time and spoke lucidly about his father's death and his new direction.

"I didn't live in my Dad's shadow but I'm so like him it wasn't necessary to take his space or place, I never wanted to push him out of the nest. It's nearly 18 months since dad's death and I've done more in that time than in the whole rest of my career. Now I'm thriving on a concoction of responsibility and freedom. I wasn't ready at the time, who is, but I haven't looked back since being thrown off the roundabout of life."

Will Bartlett - piano
To emphasise the mixture of the past and future in his life, old-hand Alan Jackson dominated on 'In a Mellotone' and then new-blood Matt Ridley excelled on bass during the third tune 'Someday my prince will come'. Jackson had reached such a high by the fourth, 'Skylark', that he had dispensed with his spectacles and was flying free.

I listened to the title track from one of his new albums 'Song For My Father' before leaving but it had been his 'Insurance Blues' that had piqued my interest and I'll be getting my hands on his other release 'Sunlight' before too long.

As I walked out the door I had a brief chat with the canny Ken Carter, we discussed the imminent refurbishment (and maybe loss of Jazz) at The Bull's Head. It struck me that venues like The Green Dragon need to be supported and encouraged more than ever, so we/they can nurture fresh original work.

On the way home my life stretched before me like the long list of Bank Holiday DIY jobs that awaited me. I wasn't too downhearted, after all, tomorrow is a new day and the Roundabout of Life already had a few surprises ready for me.

AL.


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