|Michael Janisch, Phil Robson, Paul Booth at the 606|
An evening to curse the pathetic Boris-and-Bob tube strike, but to get over it by celebrating the presence of two remarkable adoptive Londoners, people who bring huge energy to our city, and both of whom had significant, milestone gigs tonight.
Bassist/ Whirlwind label proprietor/ promoter Michael Janisch was marking the tenth anniversary of his first ever gig in the UK. That gig had been at the 606 Club in SW10, and so was this one.
The first tune the band played had meaning: Precisely Now is a tune dedicated to Dave Holland, a bassist whose own life-changing long-term move across the Atlantic had been in the opposite direction to Janisch's.
Michael's contribution to the UK scene continues to be astonishing. The team behind his recent, very successful Jazz for Babies project were in the audience tonight.
The band tonight were Paul Booth and Alex Garnett on saxophones, Jim Hart (who had flown in specially from his new home in France- stunning final cadenza on How Deep is the Ocean) on vibes, Andrew Bain drums, Phil Robson guitar, and Michael Janisch.
A third tenor sax, Nigel Hitchcock had come up from South coast. He was sight-reading. He is the player all the other saxophonists in Britain revere, and his blistering solo on Adalante had the other two players looking on in complete awe.
The band in the audience included Peter Ind ("You're making me nervous," said Janisch) and Tim Whitehead.
I caught the first set and headed for the other gig. Whereas the strike had taken its toll on bookings at the 606, the Pizza Express Dean Street was sold out.
Gabrielle Ducomble who arrived in the UK in 2006, was launching her fine CD of French chansons, Notes from Paris, at the Pizza Jazz Club in Dean Street.
If you think you know what she can do from that album, then think again. Since the it was recorded, her voice, when she wants it to be, has become more authoritative, intense in tone, more powerful, just bigger. The final chorus of Edith Piaf's Padam had real heft.
By contrast, the encore, Charles Trenet's Que reste-t-il de nos Amours was allusive, elusive, stunning. Done at the speed of what the French call ' un slow'. There was a nice, delicate accordion solo from Dan Teper. Others in the band Nic Meier on guitar, Richard Jones violin, Salim Raman drums Nic Kacal bass.
That's ten years here for Michael Janisch. Eight years for Gabrielle Ducomble. Thank you both for what you've brought us.