Most months, Bruce's commentary on gigs past, gigs to come and other KJC matters is circulated via e-mail to members and other interested parties.
Groove Crusade, the relatively new band formed by local keyboard man Pete Major, but including kindred spirits from far and wide, made quite an impact on their first visit before a good-sized audience in August. Kendal Jazz Club has long had a policy of making room for all types of our music, the only exceptions being the lunatic extremes (but please don’t ask me to describe how we define those), and it’s a little surprising that we haven’t previously featured any jazz/funk/soul outfits like this one. So it was good to hear such positive comments about Groove Crusade on the night, proving that this relatively ‘niche’ form of jazz still has a wide appeal.
Of course any kind of music needs to be played well to be attractive, and there was no doubting the musicianship on display from all concerned. Everyone in the band gave their considerable all, with good shouting trombone from Jon Moreman and fluent, mainly tenor, sax from Stuart Johnson, while Pete himself was on fine form on keyboard and some soulful singing. In the solo department, however, for me the stand-out man was Willy Fluss on guitar, whose blistering contributions really turned up the heat, but he was almost matched by virtuosic bass guitar from Neil Harland and some of the crispest drums ever heard in our club from Jonathan Hartley. And on mainly unfamiliar material (though I did vaguely remember the Carole King song), interest was added by the neat arrangements which made the band sound very together, even though they claimed to have rehearsed mainly by e-mail. If that’s true (I have my doubts), then we have even more to thank Tim Berners-Lee for. Very good stuff, and the band deserves to do well.
On 11 September, playing in much earlier styles and bringing back the good old days, we welcome the triumphant triumvirate (see what I did there) of Jeff and Anne Barnhart plus Spats Langham. I hardly need to tell the faithful just how good these three performers are – they’re all at the top of the tree internationally, and Kendal is very lucky that they enjoy playing here. Their mix of enthusiasm, technique and entertainment value is absolutely unique, and this is one gig you really should try not to miss.