It was a Thursday night, the odour of Donor kebabs intruded against the will and the soft Autumnal sunlight slanted across
From a pub, its doors open to the street, came the stench of a blocked urinal, and vested big bellied men managed to quaff lager with this clinging to their pint pots.
Elena and I put our heads down and leaned forward towards
Street, where we knew nestled Charlie Wright’sClub offered refuge: jazz and the blues.
That same night in London, musicians doing no more than following orders were making good money and customers with tin ears were paying good money to watch them.
Thomas Beecham said that the English don’t really like music but they love the noise that it makes. I have much fear that he was right.
But here at Charlie Wrights, a great young jazz musician and his brilliant quartet would play to a small gathering of the elect, those who had risked the taking of a turn off the musical motorway of mass distraction, those who were willing to open their hearts and expose their souls to the divine sound of another human possessed of complete mastery of an instrument and an idea.
But would the elect arrive?
Just like Calvin’s Elect, or Luther’s, maybe they are carrying the light but see not its feint glow.
My fears were groundless.
The lager was cold and crisp.
Binker Golding and his young crew were unpacking their instruments.
Founding Father of the club, John Nash, rattled the cash box and took his place on the stool by the door.
Hands were shaken, kisses were given, drinks were bought, jokes were told and trials relived and then came an insistent beat, fast, percussive, turning heads.
A deep, sonorous, and then stabbing tenor tore and slashed through the chat and all eyes were on the quartet.
Open mouthed eighteen year olds stared in amazement, their fingers compelled to tap the beat, their minds tingling with the intimations of a hunter gatherer ancestor hearing the bellowing of an elephant from afar.
Knowledgeable veterans struggled and laughed as they failed to count the chord changes underway in a Coltrane inspired number that was testing the rafters of the building, but caressing the ears of everyone there. Strange genius indeed!
Moses Boyd, the 21 year old drummer of endless imagination and exquisite control, played with his head tilted back, eyes rapt, and women wondered at the lightning swift and gentle strokes that sent silken sounds across the room.
Binker Golding’s tenor sax seemed to assert, then challenge, doubt and reformulate every belief you ever held, but still left you a level up on the rocky road to Nirvana.
Every player in the quartet – Binker Golding on Tenor, Rick Simpson on Piano, Moses Boyd on Drums and Max Luthert on Bass, every guest player in the jam session, including the sublime Peter Edwards guesting on Piano, seemed clothed in golden raiment, and they shone with sound that dazzled the senses.
A spirit soared away and a heart beat faster and I knew it was mine but I saw that it was others too.
All for £3.00 at Charlie Wright’s Club,
Street, N1 ( www.charliewrightsclub.com )
Every Thursday, The Binker Golding Quartet has a residency. Be there if you want to know how it feels to belong to something special, very special, a love supreme!