Friday 2 January 2015

Steve Trowell - Composure personified

Steve Trowell - Vocals and bonhomie
Retro waitress
A first visit to Jazz at Retro for Art of Jazz pulled us a cracker that had more inside it than the usual miniature surprise. Faint praise you say, well it was anything but. From décor to Maitre d', music to personality, the ambience had a warm glow that anybody's roasting chestnuts would be jealous of. The party never stops over the yuletide period and this eve of new year's eve was the perfect preparation for the debauchery that followed in the next 24 hours

Jamie Trowell - drums
Local jazz fixers Janet McCunn and Terence Collie run this popular night in Teddington once a month. It has seen a generous sprinkling of talent in 2014 with Gabriel Garrick, Gilad Atzmon, Gareth Lockrane, Ant Law, Rocky Winslow, Hannah Horton, Femi Temowo, Bobby Wellins, Orphy Vibes, Robin Banerjee, Christian Brewer gracing Retro's stage. The responsibility for pulling the final gig of the year together in a swinging fashion was singer Steve Trowell.

David Jenkins - bass

The Retro restaurant was a delight for this artist, a feast for the eyes if that isn't too much of a cliché. Not only did the glow from their feature wall bathe the performers in a honeyed light, it also created a sticky amber that was conducive to conspiratorial conversation and my favourite sport, people watching.

Janet McCunn
The performers were of course centre stage. Steve Trowell possesses that professional edge that both elevates him and allows him to effortlessly rub shoulders with the clientele. It is the stillness of intent that makes it easy for both sketchbook and audience to connect with. 'Nature Boy' in the second set gave us all of him and the band, especially David Jenkins on bass. Drummer Jamie Trowell had a glow even richer than a Rosa Gallica and a welcoming face that belies the physique of a cyclist's credentials below. 

Terence Collie - Piano
My eye invariably rests upon the talents of Terence Collie who I have sketched before with quartet Prison Break at the Southampton Modern Jazz Club. This time it was no exception with a swinging contribution to an upbeat 'Night and Day'. He is co-organiser of the TW12 Jazz festival alongside Janet McCunn, who joined the quartet on stage for two tunes early in the second set. It promises to be an exciting and fruitful 2015 for Collie with both the festival (July 19th) and a new Prison Break album in the offing.

Vincent Gerbeau -
Maitre d' Retro, Teddington
It was not only the band that caught my eye on this evening. I could have spent the whole night sketching flamboyant Maitre d' Vincent Gerbeau. The crackling energy that surrounds the man as he jinked between tables was mesmerising. Hopefully one day soon I'll be able to create a small animated sequence that befits the narrative of his body language. The story of Jazz at Retro continues with Dominic Ashworth, Gareth Lockrane and Nigel Price in 2015.


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