Saw Courtney Pine at the Jazz Café with my dad on Saturday (I mean I went with my dad, it didn’t look like Courtney needed the help of a fellow saxophonist)
Piney was great. After an hour and a half he said to us ‘’well, our time is up now, and I guess your busy, you’ve got things to do and all that….. shame cos me and the band are just getting warmed up’’
Then when the audience made some noise he said ‘’I want you to sing along with this next one: we will do a three part harmony, yesterday they managed something special but you’re gonna do better cos you’ve got the Saturday night Camden Town Jazz café vibe, yeah?’’
So he pointed his sax at different parts of the audience, played a riff and got them to sing it back to him. And he liked our part of the audience the best cos we made the most noise at the beginning, so when another part of the audience didn’t come up to scratch he said to them ‘watch how my people can do this’ and turned back to us to do the riff. When we’d got it right he just left us to repeat it over and over again while he was off playing something else entirely.
I found it inspiring that someone at the top of his fame put so much effort, warmth and fun into his performance, into involving the audience in it, and into creating a memorable evening.
I remember seeing Tommy Smith play the sax at the Glasgow Jazz festival. He was quieter than Courtney. He played old standards, hackneyed tunes you’d heard millions of times before, with a real care and depth of heart that made them sound suddenly really touching and profound. I thought what dedication he must have to his instrument and int his art to play it that well.
My dream would be to let the passion, freedom and enjoyment shown by Pine, and the care and dedication shown by Smith , show up in my work too.
On the train back home Dad told me that the gig he played a couple of weeks ago was at The Greyhorse in Kingston: I was really impressed: they have some semi-decent bands on there.