...had another triple play yesterday, that is, three gigs in one day. It happened for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and again today as part of a glorious summer, of feeling wanted as a freelancer...
First cab off the rank was a 10am-3pm audition piano session at a church hall (underground) in Covent Garden for the next Thriller tour, due to set off in September. They're looking for new male leads, so some of them were on recall from a session the other day that I did. They also had to see, Daleele and Shaheen, the two younger kids that we toured, with which was a bit of a laugh.
"So, do you know any Michael Jackson songs?" joked JM, the MD, as Daleele came in.
"All of em?"
When he said it, there was a look in this unassuming twelve-year-old's eye which I had seen many a time before, like looking at the horizon from the beach. It reminded me of a particular afternoon on the bus when a Temptations DVD came out and he knew every word. Here was someone who was about to make music his whole life, if it wasn't already, someone who had an inkling of it's true powers and the inspiration it held, for himself as well as others. That far off look in his eyes was one of the true believer.
Dashing off early to the next engagement in Dagenham East, I only just made it in time for a set with Omar Puente, Cuban violinist, a gig I got through Dorance, a friend of mine, today on bass. For all the musicians I've ever known, Latino and otherwise, Dorance's cool and collected manner and expert musical direction distinguishes him amongst so many lunatics. Someone who's chilled out, just wants to get the job done and do it well - why are there not more like him out there?
It's a bit of a thing now, here in England, playing Cuban music with really good Cuban musicians. I don't get to do Latin gigs half as much as I used to, so on my rare outings, it's my sincere hope that I'm doing the material justice for these guys. In all honesty they're probably more focused on their own thing, just as long as I'm holding my end together....there was Temo on congas, easily distinguished with dreads and skin so black as to have a bluish tinge - his English isn't great but you don't need it to get the vibe that he's a bit of a dude! We played one set to the locals who were more or less into it. Scamming a lift back to the tube with a friendly event guy in a van, he said that if they didn't like it they usually would have walked away - promising I suppose. He also told me about the BNP demonstration in the morning - Dagenham happens to be situated in a borough where a quarter of the councillors are BNP members. A reflection of the people's wishes, one can only gather...
I ended up tubing it straight to my next one in Waterloo, a late three sets at Cubana, the hippest Latin bar in town. Getting there with about three hours to spare, I took a stroll down to Southbank and decided to treat myself to a sit down meal, in a restaurant, an occurrence that is becoming less uncomfortable as I get older...
From uninspiring wine and pasta that I could have done better myself, my attention turned to a bit of people gazing, ideal from my position outside at the front of the restaurant. A young couple arrive, present themselves to the staff. The girl is voluptuous to his slender frame, she is perhaps a little older than him. They're all over each other, it seems like early in the piece, like they'd just gotten together, when all that body language between two people is just immaculate, and conversation is magically effortless.
She idly casts a hand down his shirt and into the small of his back and I think yeah, I remember that. I remember what that was like, from now years ago, when you're so into someone, like the rest of the world doesn't exist, or if it does then it exists just for you two, to present you with a park to frolic in, a movie to see....it's not the dry touch of someone you're trying to make like you, someone you're trying to force into some sort of relationship. It just happens, of its own accord, and there's nothing you want to do to stop it.
But do I miss it? If I did miss it that much then wouldn't I seriously do something about it?
Miguel and the bass player were late by an hour and a half. It was yet another scattered latin jammy bunch of songs, the usuals, massacred with called missed endings and rubbish sound. I've done this, I've done this scene so much before, years of it in Melbourne, but I'm such a gig slut. It can be a hard habit to break, staying home on the ones you shouldn't venture out do to any more. But the bar is cool and I meet new people, so it's not so bad. And the girls are so fine, to look at from afar anyway....