Tuesday 23 September 2014

Maurizio Minardi - Blind Bee Jazz

Maurizio Minardi - Accordion
A second visit within a fortnight to Jazz at Blind Bee (1 CHANGE ALLEY, LONDON EC3V 3ND) saw this night start to evolve from chrysalis to butterfly with the performance of Maurizio Minardi's quartet (18/09/2014).

Shirley Smart - Cello
If you haven't visited the venue then give it a go, with free entry and a sophisticated ambience it has the wind behind it, but there are the twin issues of background noise and lighting still overcome. Despite all 4 musicians dwelling in the darkest corner you cannot ignore the figurehead of Maurizio Minardi and his accordion. A man who reveals so little through his persona yet lays a whole gamut of emotions at your feet through his music.

You never forget the first time that Michael Nyman's music cascades over you. Its unrelenting waves, the pulse, the queer emotions that release themselves. Minardi undoubtedly possesses this power of simplicity too. At first his accordion marched us along with wheeze and guff, but alongside Shirley Smart on cello this soon turned to drama. Our emotions squirming out of safe hands and physically it felt though they had spilled out onto the floor before us.

Milko Ambrogini - Bass
It was such a broad range of speeds, themes and colours from Maurizio Minardi, with joy and menace in tunes that spoke of Germanic deaths, darker corners and Grimm fairytales. Alongside Shirley Smart they painted the pastoral too, a slow hollow-hearted start led to a landscape at peace, with a fresh wetness to the grass and a vastness to the sky ranging above us.

Marco Quarantotto - bass
Marco Quarantotto is fast becoming a favourite of mine to draw, his mushroom cloud of hair always appears to have exploded after a particularly strenuous attack of the drums. He imbibes in quiet moments and I catch the thought of Henry Spencer of Eraserhead fame under the Blind Bee's electric blue light. Milko Ambrogini unfortunately languished (only pictorially) in the pit of the dark. I made a sketch of what I saw but it might have been Nosferatu playing the bass for all I knew, such was the cloak of blackness that surrounded him.

The music was so strong it transcended light and dark, it rose and fell, it sparked with emotive charge. We even had time for a chase sequence that propelled the quartet along the narrowed streets of ours mind. Though we ran and ran, throats burning and with oversized hearts bursting, it was joy we felt. Pure unadulterated joy.

You/we have the opportunity to hear both Maurizio Minardi and Shirley Smart with Melange tomorrow night September 24th at The Vortex.


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