Gosh it’s hot! Nothing to do with this post but I thought Id mention it. Its 8 in the evening and still 25C! It looks like its going to last into the weekend as well….
But back to my post. I’ve been getting behind with them the last few weeks. Work has been manic but, apart from taking a few bits into the office tomorrow, I’ve do it all! So I should be getting back to normal now. Well until the next time of course. I have managed, though, to organise my workload to take in some of the Jazz Festival. All work and no play would make Tom a dull a boy and we wouldn’t want that would we? Absolutely not!
These pictures are from the Jazz Festival on Tuesday. We returned to St. Ann’s Square to listen to another concert in the church which is light, airy and cool, even on a day like this. Since I wrote my last post about the Monday concert I’ve had a couple of tweets from the church. Someone had read my piece. I called the church ‘Georgian’ but it actually dates from the time of Queen Anne (1665 – 1714) so that would make it late Stuart. To be considered Georgian it would have to have been built in the times of one of the Georges (1714 – 1820). But the church, with its elegant simplicity and classical detailing, does have a lot of the features of Georgian buildings. But I stand corrected.
It is dedicated to St. Ann of course but also has connections with Lady Ann Bland, who was something of a mover and shaker in late Stuart Manchester society. And of course, it always helped if you church gave a nod to the reigning monarch, the aforementioned Queen Anne. I did discover something quite interesting about Stuart Manchester religious life. Of course religion was a very important part of life in those days, much more so than today. And people would go to the first service of the day to the Collegiate Church (now Manchester Cathedral) which still maintained some of the older church traditions; but would go to nearby St. Ann’s for the service later in the day where the religious observance was of a simpler, stripped back variety. I wonder what the people of those days would have made of the church being used for Jazz? Possibly some may not have approved.
Having seen what happened with the crowds descending on the church for Monday’s concert we decided to get their early and stake a place in a better position. We went for the ground floor where the rich would have sat in their dedicated pews. There was quite a difference. The pews are larger with a bit more leg room. And they had been lined with thick cushions to make the sitting a more comfortable proposition. Upstairs, in the gallery, the narrow pews were lined with a thin mat thing that would have become quite uncomfortable had not the jazz been good or the sermon was long and dull (not, I’m sure, does St. Ann’s go in for long and dull sermons of course).
We listened to two Spanish guys, Carles Benevant, who rocked the church with a wonderful fusion of jazz and flamenco. We were amused that one of the guys from Spain complained that he found Manchester too hot! But the music was cool…
After that finished it was a quick dash down Cross Street, through all the diggings for the new tram route, to Albert Square for some more Thai food, some cold beer and the second concert of the day. This time is was a traditional jazz quartet called the Dorian Ford Quartet. They were old school jazz and there’s nothing wrong with that. It had more of a blues vibe with the guys improvising on the tune and taking turns to show off their musical prowess and their instrument. It was a good concert. The guy who played trumpet and flugelhorn was from Italy and, like the saxophonist on Monday, went into a different place when he played. I like that in my jazz musicians.
While watching them a thought struck me. The excellent drummer was a black guy from London. Now I haven’t seen all the concerts but he was the only black person I’d seen so far. I may be wrong. A while ago we had the pleasure of going to New Orleans, the home of jazz as I understand it. We went to a couple of concerts, admittedly in the tourist orientated French Quarter, including one at Preservation Hall. Most of the musicians we heard were black and the concerts were attended by lots of black people and a few tourists like ourselves. In the UK, it seems, that Jazz has become something that is played by white musicians and listened to by almost entirely white audiences. Again I might have got it wrong and am ready to be corrected. Interesting how it’s developed once it cross the Pond. Just an observation…