NEWS: Canterbury has a new jazz club (Upstairs at the Parrot)

Upstairs at the Parrot in Canterbury
L-R: Jonathan Ward, Dave Whitford, Dulcie May Moreno
Frances Knight, Paul Booth
Photo supplied by Dulcie May Moreno

Peter Jones reports:

The inaugural gig of the new Canterbury Jazz Club took place at the end of April, with a sold-out night featuring saxophonist Paul Booth, a local-boy-made-good. The venue was The Parrot – a fourteenth-century pub right in the centre of the city, which has an upstairs room comfortably able to seat around 70.

Dulcie May Moreno
Publicity Photo

Organiser Dulcie May Moreno is a well-known singer on the Kent scene. She feels confident that there is an appetite for more jazz in Canterbury than there has been up to now. “I’ve been putting on jam nights around Canterbury and the north Kent coast for the last few years, and I just feel the time is right for something a bit more solid. When I mentioned this idea to Paul, he jumped at the chance to perform at the opening night.” Booth’s band on this occasion consisted of Frances Knight on piano, with Dave Whitford on bass and Jonathan Ward on drums. Knight and Ward will be members of the club’s house band.

Moreno has previously curated events at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury and the Astor Theatre, Deal. Not only was she able to fill the Parrot, but by the time the music got under way it was standing room only, with a highly appreciative, listening audience. With plenty of angles and no marble or stone surfaces, the acoustics in the upstairs room were excellent. And as long as the sound equipment can be prevented from sliding across the ancient sloping floor – not to mention the patrons – the venue would seem close to ideal.

Booth’s powerful, energetic set included two of his own compositions, Red Rocks and Seattle Fall, both written while he was touring America with Steve Winwood, plus the Chick Corea standard 500 Miles High and Les McCann’s Cold Duck Time. Dulcie May Moreno sang her own new lyrics to Stolen Moments, and a gender-reassigned Nature Girl.

With the usual teething problems now ironed out, the intention is to continue Canterbury Jazz Club on a monthly basis, beginning in June with saxophonist Ian East’s Sonny Rollins tribute, followed later in the year by Phil Robson and Christine Tobin.

LINKS: Jazz Upstairs at the Parrot on Facebook
Nature Girl on video

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