Monday 10 June 2013

Moses Boyd rides the Charlie Parker express

Moses Boyd - drums
This is the sort of history lesson you longed for at school, heroine addicted musicians and spontaneous recordings, rehabilitation and creative discoveries. Under the guidance of Alex Webb (piano) and in the shadow of Charlie Parker we had a journey through Bird's flirtation with Dial Records (1946-48) at Twickenham Jazz Club last Thursday (6/6/2013).

Nathaniel Facey -
Neither a rehearsal nor an unabated ripper, this young group of musicians will be stepping out at The London Jazz Festival 2013 to perform the same monologue. Conducted in chronological order, this night represented  Parker's spirit like the swifts that dive bombed us in Twickenham's twilight sky. It was a steady night with an understated air and perfectly represented by the quintet's leading light, Nathaniel Facey. An unflustered customer by outward experiences. I had drawn him before at Oliver's Bar in Greenwich in 2012, where he turned up an hour late. Facey was not fazed and with a beautiful young lady in arm, unpacked, set up, bought the lady a drink, and played most succinctly. Multi tasking at its best!

Freddie Gavita -Trumpet
That was then, this is now and Nathaniel Facey was every inch the professional at the TJC, playing strong and skilfully. Where Facey was hard to read, his partner on the front line, Freddie Gavita (trumpet) was the opposite, with a quick smile and open face. He immediately welcomes the audience into his musical embrace and we progressed through Parker's 'Ornithology', 'Night in Tunisia' to 'Moose the Mooche'.

Neil Charles -
The first musician to really break sweat was bassist Neil Charles whose mutton chopped beard was dripping with tearful perspiration by the time he roamed free on 'The Gypsy'. Pursing his lips he was more than proficient but it was hard to single out one performer in this tight unit. Impossible too to gage their velocity until a passenger tried to get on this speeding train. I have never seen Kelvin Christiane falter but this was a first. As Charlie Parker's locomotive swept through the club, Christiane tried to board the 'Cheers' express. I'm pleased to say by the second half he was happily ensconced in the lead carriage and playing with his usual dexterity.

Alex Webb -
The Driver's Cab was occupied by Alex Webb of course who was comfortably steering us on our journey through the Parker's rolling landscape, stopping off at 'Dewey Square' and then back to New York for 'Scrapple from the Apple'.

As you know I am always wrapped in my own cocoon of drawing and rely heavily on the audiences reactions and observations. So I made my way into Max Macson's lions den and whilst drawing the beautiful Michele asked his opinion on the night. "The kid on the drums is going to a big thing" he whispered in my ear, "He's really something!".
Yes maybe he was.

Here was Moses Boyd, a young man I had drawn in a Samuel Eagles line-up at least 2 years before, but not seen since. Boyd is unbelievably still at college with a year still to run at Trinity. Working with Zara McFarlane, Soweto Kinch, Tony Kofi and Gary Crosby can't of done him any harm in these formative years.
Joe the Hat
A relaxed player and personality who explained to me that he is loving living the life! In the future he would like to wander Stateside and expand his self-penned repertoire with his own quartet.

My eyes wandered over the crowd as the band started to 'Bongo Beep' and I saw local celebrity Joe the Hat in pensive mood. A student of the game, and even though he is way out of short trousers (stylishly dressed all in white) he pays his respects through avid listening. You can always learn it seems, whether that be from the old guard like Charlie Parker or the new talents laid before us.

Lister Park
We all raised a glass to Lister Park who is the lifeblood of Twickenham Jazz Club and was celebrating a significant birthday. The last tune, a fast and furious 'Donna Lee' was particularly apt as another jazz dude spilt a glass of wine into Lister's lap, which he swiftly avoided. Despite this calamity all eyes were on Kelvin Christiane's first class solo on the night's finale and an equally precise one from Moses Boyd who got the biggest cheer from all the passengers on the Charlie Parker express.


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