Something of a misnomer: in the absence of Mr Paul Foot (life president) after his appearance on Television's 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks' November (10)'s meeting was a dedicated musical evening in the spirit of improvisation, loosely termed ' a widdle bit of Jass', or Jazz for the modernists.
The idea was, as Private Widdle likes to break the rules, to set up a 'happening' with free-form music, poetry, film and entertainment. Not really jazz, just living art.
The ticket proved a harder one to sell than the cabaret soirees, the faint-hearted and conservative baulking at the mention of the J-word on the publicity.
However, with the stalwart plugging of Mr Greenham, Widdle's musical director, and the hard-nosed schmoozing of the Social Secretary, the night, once again sold out in so many ways.
As ever, Private Widdle was hugely grateful to those who, in the spirit of the event, lent their efforts to the cause. Mr Benji Powling - fresh from his Leed's Conservatoire - gave a fanfare display of a ten minute saxophone solo to open the evening. Young Master Jess McConnell had spliced together an audio visual display of jazz film which was projected to the strains of beat combo 'Gang Starr's' Jazz Thang (v2) by which time the audience numbering already 100, was feverish for more free-form entertainment.
Reader, they were not disappointed:
The Zen Bicycle Band gained one of the Astor Theatre's rare standing ovations for their 45 minute improvised set, warmed up, as they had been, by some jazz-related poems by the wonderful Ms Sophie Parkin.
Ms. Parkin, daughter of 60's novelist and libertine Molly, newly resident in Deal, is doyenne of the Chelsea Arts Club and the much missed Colony room in Soho. She and Private Widdle had exchanged memories of the great scat artist Slim Gaillard, whom both had known in his last soujourn in London in the early 1980's. rare footage of Slim at the WAG, not long after we saw him:
Ancient Slim from the 40's
Zen's flautist, Paul Chenour (world ranking number 74) brought back memories and tapped new synapses with his evocative use of at least 74 flutes: from the bass guttering pipe to the chinese 2" penny whistle. He is expertly aided and abetted by his equal member Zenner's , Messrs Clive Fletcher and Dave Robinson, all of whom enjoyed Private Widdle's pumpkin soup and quiche before the show. (recipes available later on this blog)
A short burst of rapology was interspersed with Mr Ollie Seager aka MC Kochin, plus harmonica playing by diminuitive harp-master, Mr Phil Holden (pictured), who also provided some comical delineations throughout the event.
Laura J Martin next, was a revelation, everyone fell in love with this bastard daughter of Kate Bush and Bjork and...a man. (Her very nice dad who drove from Liverpool, I think)
I will leave the words in favour of her clip...
Finally Zoo For You, 8 piece funky brass combo funked up the remainder of the evening as tables and carpets were rolled up for the medium of dance. Their bedrock drummer Josh is brother of Syd Arthur's Joel and Liam MacGill...fine musical gents all and Canterbury's answer to the Gallaghers.
Words can not do justice to the musical quality of the evening, the reviews have been rave.
Try the clips to get a flavour of the wonderful pot-pourri once again brought to Deal by Pte Widdle and his clever associates at The Astor Theatre.
Widdle once again, pulled himself, and others, off...