Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jazzmen Never Really Die

I watched "Humph's Last Stand" last night - a recording of the Humphrey Lyttleton Band's last performance before his premature death at the age of 86.

I'm no jazzer, but even I could see that the band was something special. Even I could see that Humph's lip wasn't quite what it was, but I loved the way he worked around that, like a veteran midfielder who doesn't have the legs any more but makes up for it in guile and experience. Plus he was smart enough to surround himself with an amazing mixture of old jazzmen and two young lady sax players, Jo Fooks and Karen Sharp.

Jo Fooks composed my favourite piece, with the downright daft title of "M25". Unlike the motorway, it flows and moves along at a fair lick. A wonderful virtuoso piece, and she makes that big tenor sax seem very light on its feet indeed. I've checked, and she is known to name her tunes after the first thing that comes to mind e.g “Faffin”, “Song for Sid”, “Bums on Seats” and the immortal “Quite likes Brussels Sprouts”.

According to her gig guide she's been playing some pretty small venues since Humph's band broke up - if there's any justice in the world though someone's going to give this girl a break soon. Meanwhile buy her album. Or if you've already got it, give your copy to a friend and buy it again.

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