Sunday 28 July 2013

TW12 Jazz Festival - Day Pass Believer

Janet McCunn - Singer
Way back in the Nineteen Nineties Hampton Hill was visited by the eminent critic Jonathan Meades, who wrote a review that waxed lyrical about this quiet town's Number 1 restaurant. He pompously assumed this corner of South West London and its inhabitants were not worthy of the classy eatery in its midst. Many before and after have made the same lazy assumption, with even the local politicians campaigning to wipe it off the map and encouraging its consumption by larger neighbour Hampton.

Angie Tabbiner - Singer
You would have to be made of brave stuff therefore to stick your head above the suburban parapet and organise a cultural event, plum in the centre of Hampton Hill. Against the odds Janet McCunn and Terence Collie were the two hardy souls that had both the heart and stamina to do just that. Last Sunday (28/07/2013) saw the birth of the inaugural TW12 Jazz Festival at the Hampton Hill Playhouse. It was a roaring success, supported by local culturalites and Jazz lovers from further afield.

Wendy Linsey - Singer

Split into two marathon sessions, there were three choices available to the audience, a daytime pass, a evening pass or an all-dayer! Decisions were necessary from yours truly and I plumped for the daylight hours at an attractive £10. I knew that I still wouldn't be able to sketch from 11.30am to 6.30am continuously so I had to make some hard choices.

RYJB - Ella Davies

Apologies first and foremost, I'm afraid that I didn't sketch Charles Alexander and Andy Robinson. Despite this brief tea break I sketched every other daytime performer (except Meredith White, who's hair shielded her face & Tansay Omar) and include all 26 here in this blog entry. Understandably you'll have to excuse the briefness and quality of some drawings because it really was an action packed session.

The community has a musical bent and its beating heart is Richmond Music Trust so it was fitting that the festival kicked off with a set by the Richmond Youth Jazz Band in the theatre's foyer bar.
RYJB - Gavin Sandford
Notable solos from Ella Davies & William Jackson on 'Honeysuckle Rose', David Bustos on a grooving 'Mercy Mercy Mercy'. We were treated to a gutsy solo from Gavin Sandford on 'Lady is a tramp'. Unfortunately I couldn't see the quality bass work on their finale 'I'm feeling good' but I sure heard it loud and clear.

RYJB - William Jackson
The venue was a delight throughout with tight technical sound by Surrey Audio Solutions' Leo Appleyard and Jonathan Bird (of Big Band fame). The acoustics and lighting in the theatre were spot on and we enjoyed  a clear and uninterrupted view of the performers. Throughout the morning session the stalls ebbed from 50% to 90% full, and then overflowing with the arrival of the Max Luthert fan club for Partikel's set.

Paul Cavaciuti - drums
Our first taste of original music was from the Meredith White Trio with the shy White on piano, Paul Cavaciuti seated at the prominent drums and standing beneath the blue backdrop Dave Jones on Bass.

Dave Jones - Bass
It was pleasure to launch straight into White's 'Dunedin' and later to be propelled along by her 'Schwinger', the later being my favourite of the set. It was a brief introduction to the trio and those who were tardy only caught the final tune, Carole King's 'It's too late'. There was a healthy amount of toing and froing over the sessions and the audience quickly decided whether each group would get their emperorised thumb.

Gary Bartlett - Singer
A healthy band of vociferous vocal acolytes invaded the auditorium for the next set, for it was the Queen Bee who took to the stage. Janet McCunn is one of the doers of the local scene, buzzing around with limitless energy and charm. Here she fronted a showcase for 4 local singers, Gary Bartlett, Wendy Linsey, Angie Tabbiner and Mark Nesbitt.

Maureen Hardman - Saxophone
Janet started proceeding amongst a skilful quartet of musicians. Nick Cooper excelled
on piano whilst Maureen Hardman kept us upbeat as her sneakered toes jumped to the rhythm. From the shadows emerged Marianne Windham (Bass) and Dan Allsopp (drums) to support the more inexperienced vocalisers.

Dan Allsopp - drums
Allsopp was fascinating to watch, in repose he cuts a quiet and still figure, but once in motion he vibrates from head to toe like a runaway pneumatic drill.

Marriane Windham
- Bass
Gary Bartlett sang 'But not for me' ably but felt more comfortable in the swagger of 'I keep going back to Joe's' where his manliness gave him a presence beyond his mesmeric hair.

Wendy Linsey was smooth and strong when she took her turn in the TW12 spotlight. This is not the first time I have seen her in action (see Festival Of Awfulness)  and once again she impressed with 'Devil May Care'. Her svelte appearance belying a much large voice and a talent with longevity.

Mark Nesbitt - Singer
Mark Nesbitt let nerves run away with him a little and I bet he had more beneath his belt than we saw from this prowling lion. Despite being in perpetual motion I still enjoyed his rendition of 'Love Me or Leave Me' with its superb support by Nick Cooper on piano.

Robin Banerjee - Guitar
The toast of this showcase went to the magnetic Angie Tabbiner and her big voice. With flaming locks I wanted to be burned by this woman and her first tune 'Caravan' suited my desires. Forgetting I was in possession of a day pass I lay on the desert sands with her and gazed at her hypnotic stars.

Jean Berthon - Bass
I needed some air after this performance and took time out but returned in full fitness for the Motif Quartet's set. I was glad to have had a breather because this was the liveliest part of the day's offerings. The exuberant Robin Banerjee headed the funky foursome, kicking off with a ripping 'Sunny' proceeded by the poignant 'Ode to Amy'. A song dedicated to his friend, Amy Winehouse, who died so tragically in 2011.

Marta Capponi
The tunes composed by the bassist Jean Berthon were the high points of their set with equal impressive solos and support by Dom Pipkin on keys. Two tunes, two crackers!

Marta Capponi added some spice and feminine zeal with her appearance and we drunk deeply from her enthusiasm on 'Honeysuckle Rose' and pogoing 'Summertime'. Bouncing uncontrollably we sated our physical appetite before the main course of the daytime buffet, Partikel.

Max Luther - Bass
The cerebral trio, Partikel, have featured on several occasions recently in this blog. So I will not go over old ground, turning over the clods of their fertile talent. It seemed that Luthert once again lit the blue touch paper in front of a large fan club and was cheered during 'Assam' and its decent into 'Midnight Mass'.

Eric Ford - Drums
Eric Ford, hidden behind his drums, enjoyed himself. Not content with his new percussive toys he even beat his chest on the intro to 'The Landing', while Luthert's discord set up Duncan Eagles' emotive saxophone, fast paced, it hurtled toward its destination. Luckily the twinkling lights in Eagles cockpit brough him to his senses and we calmly cruised to a stop.

Duncan Eagles -
Soprano Sax
Eagles work on the Soprano Saxophone stood proud on one of the Trio's signature tunes 'Market Place'. Now a distant memory it harks back to the callers and barrowmen they once lived amongst. I was exhausted by the time I packed up my stall, knowing I wouldn't last the evening session I bid my farewells. It will not be a goodbye to the TW12 Jazz Festival though, I suspect under Janet McCunn and Terence Collie guidance there will be many more to come.

The reports of the evening session with Jason Rebello were very favourable and a with a packed house we must be optimistic about the future for Jazz in TW12. The discerning burghers of Hampton Hill don't need a critic to tell them what's worth experiencing, they know a good thing when they hear it!


Dom Pipkin - Keys

Nick Cooper - piano

RYJB - Matthew Cook

Roger Perrin - Keys

RYJB - David Bustos

RYJB - Connor Lynch

RYJB - Charlie Hayles


  1. Hi Alban,

    Hadn't seen these before - excellent stuff - no more than expected from the pen of the jazz art genius!!
    Hope you had a good summer and looking forward to catching up with you when the TJC reconvenes in September.

    1. Hey LP,
      Can't wait to get back in the Twickenham Jazz Club groove again.
      Hatching a plot to bring New York's finest saxman, Mike DiRubbo, to the TJC
      in November. Will tell all on the 10th September.