Wednesday 5 November 2014

Jon Allen - Rivulets and fountains

Jon Allen
Although he describes himself as a musical outsider, Jon Allen is anything but this. His ethos of being true to his ideals and a belief in his own musical journey override any desire to conform. This puts him squarely inside the embrace of most music lovers. His gig at the Jazz Café in Camden late last month (28/10/2014) was so eclectic it represented what many of us feel and experience in our everyday lives.

John E Vistic

Here he was sharing the music from his most recent album, Deep River (Monologue Records) rather than merely promoting it. He didn't just lay it before us in his shop window but took our metaphorical inside-leg measurement in a tailor made performance.

The night started with the honest narratives of John E Vistic. He was joined on stage by Katey Brooks for 'Long Time Gone'. Unfortunately I didn't get the opportunity to draw the tempting shoulders and deep dark eyes of this Bristolian singer.

Stuart Ross - Bass
Jon Allen was obviously the captain of the ship on stage, breaking the waves before us but he was no figurehead. It was an even handed night where the music did the talking and his band played their part in equal measure. During the night's opener he had a laconic and easy manner, with head tilted back and eyes closed, he shut out the audience in deep concentration. Soon Allen felt at home and his eyes opened, although they always hid behind a curtained fringe.

Rich Milner - Keys
By the time the second tune 'Night & Day' was put to bed you were already aware of his fellow musicians. The most striking of which was bassist Stuart Ross who appeared on The Who's 2006 album 'Endless Wire' amongst many others. Musically guitarist Simon Johnson caught the ear particularly on the album's title track 'Deep River'.

Tim Bye - drums
Again and again it was the keyboard of Rich Milner that took the groove and plaudits. He was instantly lickable on 'Sweet defeat', I would even go as far to suggest he was more effervescent than a sherbet fountain. The juices flowed again before long, and even rolled down the chins of the audience on 'Get what's mine' which was meatier than a slow cooked joint. Milner gave us the groove while Tim Bye (drums) was the buoyancy, the cool.

Simon Johnson - guitar
The eclecticism of Allen's talents were obvious in the light and beautiful 'Lady of the water'. It would be obvious to comment upon it's ephemeral nature with musical motifs like rivulets. It would be more accurate to describe it as a new sapling. The green wood of the song bent in our hands and like Jon Allen's music wound around our emotions.


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