Sunday, November 20, 2022

Perico Sambeat with the Ray Gallon Trio at Pizza Express Live

Dean Street, London. Friday 11-November-2022.

We were visiting London for my alternative 70th birthday party on the Saturday which turned into weekend of generally unplanned music - three jazz quartets in four days. I was due to visit my sister on Thursday, stay over and spend Friday with her, but she phoned on Wednesday to say she had tested positive for Covid. Sudden change of plan... 

Mary booked last minute for us to see this gig, Perico Sambeat with the Ray Gallon Trio, at what was the very first Pizza Express in Dean Street. We last went there 16 years ago to see Mose Allison. Back then we were so close I could reach out and touch the piano. This time we were initially seated towards the back of the room, but a very friendly waiter reseated us closer to the stage where we had a pretty good view.

The master of ceremonies introduced the band and reminded the room that this was a proper concert not just background music, the implication being that we should pay due attention to the musicians and so we did. He also mentioned that this gig was the very first of this year's EFG London Jazz Festival.

The music was good. As with many jazz musicians when one was performing a solo, the others stood respectfully, nodded and listened. From my seat, the drummer was hidden behind a pillar but Mary had a good view of him and saw that he regularly played with his eyes closed. 

I have noticed that some saxophones are bright and shiny and some have a matt patina. I presume it doesn't affect the playing quality, but is more a reflection of either the age of the instrument or the fastidiousness of the player. It is a versatile instrument and in the hands of the right musician can produce an amazing variety of tones. The Ray Gallon Trio played a very enjoyable set and their guest Perico Sambeat added some fine sax playing.

As it was still early when the performance finished, we went round the corner to Upstairs @ Ronnie's where Mary's membership card got us in for free, which is just as well considering the price at the bar: £14 for a 175cl of Sauvignon blanc and £8.50 for a small bottle of Peroni! 

We sat and listened to some lively Cuban music for a while, slowly sipped our drinks and then wended our way home back to our Airbnb in Fulham.

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