If you were there you certainly heard something special. If you were not... well. I'm obviously talking about Orphy Robinson's Spontaneous Cosmic RawXtra on Monday, which I've been looking forward to since he mentioned it to me a fair few months ago.
There's always an issue with expectations of gigs: will it actually be as good as you hope it will be? Is the mix of musicians right? How is it even going to work? But let's face it, there really wasn't any doubt: looking at the sheer talent in the room was enough for anyone to know how well this was going to go.
We were conducted, but the music was loose, free and open. Shabaka had got a lovely feel on Sun Ra's They'll Come Back that became progressively dirtier as we moved through the set. Camelle Hinds threw down some serious dub, which was made heavier with Cleveland and Steve Noble. And on top of all that, you had Pat Thomas, Rowland Sutherland, Brian Edwards, Otto Fischer, Ntshuks Bonga AND HKB Finn. AND Orphy on marimba, which is always a killer. Raucous freeness and heavy grooves... what more does a lad need? Nothing more, I say. It will return, and you really should be there when it does.
I was on good form, but tired by the time I'd got there: I'd had a lovely gig the day before with The Mitchell and Soweto at the Drum. Soweto and his dad are still keeping it going there, getting people in to hear and participate in music. No one stepped up to jam this time, but the audience got a treat! Robert was just Robert, and he and Soweto pulled in a gorgeous slow version of John Coltrane's Countdown. I dragged out a mash-up of Nardis by Bill Evans that I swore to myself I would commit to paper instead of trying [and failing] to remember. To date, it is still buried away and unlikely to be notated. Still, that sounded all right—which was always going to be the result with the other two in the room.
So, what at the moment? I got Jazz Services touring support for Corey Mwamba | Dave Kane | Joshua Blackmore, and I'm soldiering away with putting things together for that: not writing, but organising train tickets and looking at deals for accommodation. The exciting life of a freelancer..!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I really must make a call.