Saturday, January 06, 2007

Roy Ayers Ubiquity @The Jazz Cafe, Camden Town

You know when people talk about what they'd like to do before they die? Seeing Roy Ayers was one of them. We saw the jazz funk man last Friday during his annual residency at the Jazz Cafe and it was amazing.

It was our first time at The Jazz Cafe. It was slightly disappointing at first as I expected something a little more classy but instead we were greeted by a scruffy venue with a few couches in the corner. Maybe I was expecting something a bit more like Ronnie Scott's. We got there early to have a drink and we sat on the couches by the entrance which are so close together that when it began to fill up, people had to climb over each other to get to the bar/toilet. Forty five minutes before he was due to start we made our way to the front of the stage. As people started to fill the main area, it felt more like a real music venue. Small enough to feel intimate and big enough to create a great atmosphere. There are also two bars in the main area making it easy to nip through the crowds and get a drink.

I first heard Roy Ayer's voice on Masters At Work latin/jazz/salsa project Nuyorican Soul (1997) which includes the song 'Sweet Tears'. He started playing his trademark vibraphone when he was five years old which was given to him by famous vibes player Lionel Hampton. You'd still think he was five the way he plays them now at the age of sixty six!

The gig was fantastic and he performed classics such as "Everybody Love the Sunshine", "We live in Brooklyn" and "Searching". He performed a couple of unknown songs towards the end and the atmosphere seemed to flatten, but nevertheless it was an fantastic experience. As the gig ended and his band members waved CDs around we contemplated waiting for his autograph until a big Italian guy leaped on the stage and grabbed Roy Ayers to have his picture taken. We decided it was time to leave. On the whole it was a great night only spoiled by the fact that on several occasions throughout the gig we had to push our way through the crowd to go to the toilet. That's what you get for drinking beer. Next gig I think I'll stick to the shorts.







7 comments:

Suicidal Clown said...

OOOH! I love the Jazz Cafe. I miss the night life and the LOADS of things to do in London. But that's really all I miss about London. I miss the Jazz Cafe.

ems said...

Glad you enjoyed it - photos are good.

Ben said...

love the write-up - more personal than just putting up pics...

btw, i thought you were going to send me the pics to improve - not saying they need it necessarily... ;)

a.c.t. said...

Cheers Ems.

Ben, I know I said that but I've figured I need to have a go myself first on photoshop then if I can't do it I'll get you to help me out :-)

Martha Elaine Belden said...

so glad you got to conquer one of your life goals... it's a good feeling, huh?

and i love that last photo... so cool :)

Yau Ming said...

I remember my first jazz gig ever - 1993/4 in the New Trinity Centre, Bristol...I interviewed him after the gig for my uni newspaper...indeed, a great experience!

Anonymous said...

RE:Major Complaint................................I had reserved tickets to lee scratch perry on sunday and have only ever heard good things about your establishment apon arrival i collected the tickets for me and my father whom i went to meet after as he was on a different route to myself.We came back and were poitivley geared up to see the "upsetter" who my dad has been a avid fan of since he was my age and has never seen him live, we were told by a eastern european bouncer very rudley "you are not coming in here" and viewed me and my father with disgust.
i thought this was some kind of joke until i was immediatley told that my face would be "smashed into the pavement".Now, my father has very little money and suffers from bi-polar disorder and the rest of the night instead of chillin with my father at a positive reggae event with my fathers hero. i had to spend the night comforting my father in rainy camden town .Thanks a bunch.Now all this could have been made alot easier when i requested to speak to the manager, i am not sure that who i spoke to was the manager but when i spoke to him he said he could see no reason for me not to be admitted...but there is nothing he could do ,finnaly i requested from him a refund or at least tickets to another night in the future i was flattley told "you are lukcy you are not banned"...Why i thought ,what have i done to deserve this kind of treatment from anybody when i make a point in life of being humble to everyone i meet .i have been to many gigs and events and was very exited about attending your prestigous venue but in my history of attending music events i have never been treated so rudley anywhere, especially on a sunday the evening we thought would be the calmest. Now essentially what i am getting at is i am a 19 year old student and am very far from rich maybe if i was i could forget about the two tickets i paid for plus my train fair but this is a big percentage of money i have saved ...money aside this is the first time i have been out with my father probably since i was a small boy and was to hopefully be a socially bonding experience for me and my father,wich is why i saw the event and booked him a ticket knowing he would not pay me for it, as such a relationship i have come to realize in life is important if possibly attained and this was sabatouged by a employee of yours sailing on his ego-trip, this in my opinion is uncalled for at a venue such as yours with such a reputation of exellence. This is what happened i still have the unused tickets and will write a formal letter to yourselves if nobody gets this one.All i ask is a refund of the act i missed through no fault of my own or admission to a future gig.I feel cheated and treated like i am worthless, do you really want someone coming to your venue to feel this way especially on my first trip,I sincerly hope not and i am sure you could show me the respect i deserve as a human and essentially the good time/music i deserve too.Yours sincerley Samuel Lowe ...P.S i believe my details are still on your database.thank you for your time