On the Road with Jim and Julian - Day 5 - BrayPosted on March 13, 2010 with 0 comments
So we set off from Cork this morning and thanks to the new motorway made good time to Dublin – 3 and a half hours, I remember, not that long ago, when it took about 5 hours to get from Cork to Dublin – happy days....... More music chat on the way, more sorting out of the world’s musical problems, more rhythm practice – all in a day’s work for the contemporary travelling band.
Tonight we played in the Mermaid Arts Centre in Bray, a place I have a long history with and at which I have played many great gigs – including one with this band on our last tour. The people in the Mermaid are great, and have a very enlightened policy on jazz. I also like the sound on stage very much, it has a clarity to it that suits me very well, and suits this band in particular.
We had a very good gig tonight – very different to last night, probably because of the very different sound – no smothering carpet to deal with, instead we had a crisp clear sound in which we could explore much more of the dynamic range than in Jury’s in Cork. Before we go on stage we never discuss what we’ll play – we just walk on and start playing. We have 6 pieces of composed music, but we never make a decision as to whether we’ll play them or not – we just let the music happen. Tonight we improvised almost all of the whole first set, the only concession to the composed music was when we somehow slid into Ornette’s ‘Round Trip’ towards the end. The second set on the other hand was comprised of nearly all composed pieces – again not by any prior agreement, we just ended up going that way.
It’s a very liberating way to play – I have all the composed music memorised, so I don’t need to bring any music on stage and have no need for set lists etc. It’s a real luxury, as are the short soundchecks. So often soundchecks double as extra rehearsals as you usually never have enough rehearsal time, and so you spend a lot of time at soundchecks checking notes rather than sound. But with the trio this is completely unnecessary, so we’ve been having minimum time at the soundchecks and maximum time in the restaurants – a very civilised division of our time in my opinion.
The only downer tonight was the small audience. Sometimes I almost despair of this – what do you have to do to get more than 20 people to a gig these days? I know Ireland is in the grip of a recession at the moment, but when you consider the combined experience of and track record of the members of this trio, can we really only attract 20 people? I’m convinced there’s a way of getting the message across to people, via the internet probably, but we just haven’t cracked it yet – but hopefully we will. We have to, otherwise we’ll all need day jobs again!
JJ’s in Dublin tomorrow night – should provide the setting for a fitting end to the tour. A JAZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ gig...................