I have tried in my mind’s eye to visualise an order to my list of gigs and albums of the year, and I can’t do it! There is no way of rationally ranking the many hours of sitting in theatres, halls, tents and pubs. All are precious to me.
Here are just a few of my happiest memories of gigs this year, in no particular order:
Gregory Porter at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival – a glorious voice and a performer who genuinely reaches out to the audience with an almost child-like pleasure.
Marius Neset standing on the stage at St Georges Brandon Hill during the first performance of Flight by Dave Stapleton and visibly relishing the wonderful acoustic.
That same gig, the buzz of the audience in the interval, no-one talking about getting a drink, everyone saying “This is amazing”. It was.
A very hot day in May and the launch of Phronesis’ Walking Dark at Kings Place. Such a joyful, relaxed evening in a lovely hall and shared with friends.
And albums of the year that mean the most to me?
- Oddarrang Cathedral, absolutely magical
- John Law’s Congregation Three Leaps of the Gazelle for its great beauty
Tracks that keep going through my head:
- That Syncing Feeling from Yatra by Ivo Neame
- Holland from Where do you start? by Brad Mehldau
People seen for the first time who made a big impression:
- Josh Arcoleo
Bands I want to see next year:
- World Service Project – all credit to them for their pioneering pan-European collaborations and their sense of fun!
- Roller Trio – have heard so much about them, now want to see them
My last jazz of 2012 will be Phronesis at Oxford on 1 December. They are my favourite trio and I thank them for the joy and richness they bring to my life.