Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Hadouk Trio Hi Jazz Hijaz

Yaron Herman performs at CosmoJazz Festival Chamonix, 28 July 2010

Back in July, I felt like I needed a day off... shoulders were hurting from strimming steep slopes and holding hedge cutters higher than I should have. It had been quite hot and I hadn't been down to the lake for a swim and I was becoming frustrated...

Mrs, P said to me as she walked out the door at 6am to catch the 6.15 train to work... "go on, go, enjoy it...sod it...take the day off"

And so an hour later I was speeding along the autoroute A40 towards Chamonix with the mountain top of Mont Blanc shining in the summer sunshine down the valley. Once I had arrived and parked up by the téléphérique for the Aiguille du Midi, slung my pack over my arm and walked towards the lift station ticket desk, I saw an enormous snaking queue around the forecourt and tail back towards the tunnel I had just walked through. A couple of people clothed in T-shirts proclaiming CosmoJazz Festival Chamonix told me I might just make the concert en haut, but it was as likely as not that I wouldn't. However, across the valley on the other side, other concerts were about to take place and I could easily get there in time; besides, the Brévent lift was under far less pressure of people wanting to ride up and so thanking them I walked across town, buying a couple of croissants on the way and soon found myself, lift ticket in hand, at the head of the line for the télécabine to Belvédère Planpraz.

At about 2000m altitude, that's 6000 feet in proper money, I settled down to watch and listen to an excellent solo piano concert by Yaron Herman who had only walked off a Marseille stage at midnight the previous night and been driven directly north to Chamonix for this free concert. After only a few hours sleep Herman climbed on stage, settled over the keys of what lloked to me like a baby grand piano and seemed lost in his solo. He played like that for over an hour and a half.

As he left the stage at the end of his concert I climbed higher above the seated audience, and found a space to picnic and lean back against a rock and wait to discover the wonderful sound of the Hadouk Trio...

This is part of what I heard...

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Working Class Hero by John Lennon

If ever there was a working class hero to me, it would have to be Lennon.

As a kid growing up in Britain in the 1960's there were not many heroes who were not musicians, singers; 'pop stars'. The youths that made up these groups were seen as rebels, they acted for some part like rebels, but unlike Lennon, they did not all know how to take on the authorities and start to assert their own authority on the next generation yet to rise.

I remember arriving at school one day with a copy of Lennon's "A Spaniard In The Works". Most of it I didn't understand at first, but with assistance from an interested and enlightened teacher, who made me stand in front of class and read some of Lennon's poems, I began to see more in what he wrote, where he was poking fun but at the same time being critical and forthright.

At the time it was probably my first exposure to satire.

So for that John Lennon, thanks. And I wish I could say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY.