Wednesday 22 April 2015

Darek Herbasz - Vapour trails

Darek Herbasz - Tenor saxophone
Darek Herbasz had an immediate presence upon hitting British shores despite being relatively unknown in these parts. He wound up his short tour of these isles with a final gig at Twickenham Jazz Club (31/03/2014). Part of this presence is musical and some physical for Herbasz cuts a figure like a bruising bouncer on a night club door. With what looked liked a permanent five o'clock shadow he spent his 2 hours playing with one eye cocked toward the audience and one screwed shut tight. This roving eye kept us all firmly in our seats, which wasn't an arduous task by any means.

Kelvin Christiane - Tenor saxophone
Although this was billed as an expression of our Polish guest's prowess the man who shone brightest was Kelvin Christiane. Forever the facilitator at the likeable Twickenham Jazz Club in the Cabbage Patch, here was a chance for Christiane to pull away from the curb of the quintet format with his headlights blazing. Dexter Gordon's 'Cheese Cake' was set up by the rhythm section of Julie Walkington (bass) and Simon Lea (drums) and then Kelvin Christiane switchbacked, turned around and slapped us with his sharp and fluid delivery.

Julie Walkington - Bass
There was gentleness too amongst the full bloodied tenor battle of Herbasz and Christiane. We woke up slowly to John Coltrane's 'Central Park West', our eyes at first dewy, the blurs dissipating as we reached the sunny day in our minds. It was the perfect spring fare, even more so than the habitual 'Joy Spring' rendition in the second set from Kelvin Christiane.

Simon Lea - drums
It was a first appearance in my sketchbook for both Walkington and Lea. The former was hard to tease out, often with head bent, the pincers of her hair drawing over her face. Lea sat upright and proud in contrast, his mouth more often than not turned down like a Easter Island head.
Alex Hutton - Piano
Alex Hutton is always a favourite at TJC and as usual he received cheer and applause that overshadowed the headliner but this wasn't a night set up for his spirited intensity. This gig was just days before he put the finishing touches to his latest album 'Magna Carta Suite' which is expected to be released in June 2015 on the F-IRE label.

Lesley Christiane - Sings Dindi
It wouldn't be a real Jazz night at the famous Cabbage Patch pub without our hostess opening up the second act with a couple of tunes. 'Dindi' is a favourite in these parts and Alex Hutton gave it a subtle exotic twist, like opening a can of Lilt when everyone else is drinking lemonade.

Coltrane's 'Lonnie's Lament' was the perfect foil for a night such as this. The lines of tenor sound crossed chaotically above our head, complex and overlapping layers scribbled designs in my sketchbook and mind. It was though both Christiane and Herbasz were burning vapour trails above our heads, their notes clear at first then blurring as the memory of their dexterity slowly faded.


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