Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Simon Spillett - Winter Sun

Simon Spillett - Saxophone
Dave Green - bass
Twickenham Jazz Club killed several birds in one stone's throw with the arrival of Simon Spillett and his quartet at the club last week (18/12/2014). Not only was this the first gig in their new home at the legendary Cabbage Patch (67 London Road, Twickenham) but also the Christmas party, complete with mince pies and mulled wine, as if you doubted it. The 13th January 2015 qualifies as the 'official' launch with Ray Gelato cutting the jazz ribbon on Twickenham Jazz Club's new Tuesday night slot.

Neil Kornfein
Simon Spillett, he of the dry wit, opened proceeding with his usual offhand humour and fluid saxophone honesty. His quartet were working unscripted because of a moment of absentmindedness, the result of their sheet music being left at home under the Christmas tree. It reflected well on the musicians themselves as they seamlessly adapted.

John Critchinson - piano
Alone Together introduced itself to Jimmy Van Heusen's But Beautiful, in which Spillett's rich hues were as warm as the Glühwein aroma that wafted around the Patchworks' grotto. This musical introduction heralded one for the musicians too. Many know drummer Trevor Tomkins as the host of the Monday night jazz gigs at the nearby Red Lion in Isleworth. Simon Spillett introduced bassist Dave Green as the 'Pendulum of British Jazz' and to be honest John Critchinson (piano) needs no moniker, such is his reputation.

Liz and Gordon
The light fragrant Critchinson had an air of levity about him, yet there was real depth about his playing. He excelled on second set opener Someday my prince will come. I was lucky enough to cast my eye and the net of my sketchbook away from the lights of the stage. The princely Liz and Gordon sat serenely at the Cabbage Patch bar, heads tilted together, listening intently.

People in the sun - Edward Hopper
The tune that summed up the night was another Jimmy Van Heusen composition, this time his 1939 hit I thought about you. As I looked deeper into the Twickenham Jazz Club crowd it was clear that many attendees held hand to chin in pensive pose. A homage to Rodin or an intensity in air, this was a time for contemplation. The sound was slow and juicy, reminding one of lounging in the Californian sun, like sitting on one of Edward Hopper's famous recliners in People in the sun.

Trevor Tomkins - Drums
The whole performance exaggerated the timeless air which accompanies Simon Spillett, there is a sincerity and a straight-ahead honesty that lured us all into an act of collective escapism. Kelvin Christiane, the able host, joined the quartet toward both the end of the first and second sets, letting loose on Night and Tunisia and Cherokee.

Kelvin Christiane - Sax
Twickenham Jazz Club will be welcoming guests to the Cabbage Patch on January 13th 2015, 8.30-11pm. Heralding an exciting period for the club and all the excellent performers who grace their stage.


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