Less than six months ago, Phil Donkin was part of Gwilym Simcock’s trio at the Proms in front of a packed, ecstatic Royal Albert Hall . Live on BBC 2. Profile as high as that in British jazz doesn’t come higher. All too rare.
And then? Not much. In the trio he’s been replaced by Yuri Goloubev who lives in Milan.
So where’s Phil gone?
According to the Guildhall’s website he’s still teaching , or delivering skills , or curriculum developing …. “Contemporary Jazz/Rhythm Studies” at Guildhall School of Music.
And then I see he’s popping up at Pete Hurt’s gig at the Ramjam tonight.
And then, more intriguingly, on the Charlie Wright’s website, I read the following:
THUR) – 29th of Jan–9pm- (£5) Phil Donkin and “Couple Friends” (Top Berlin based UK double basist on a short visit to his native England)
I love that spelling . Basist. So he’s now a “Berlin-based basist.”
And who are these “Couple Friends”? Are they from Berlin? Or is this merely 2009 English as Russian from Charlie Wright’s Zhenya Strigalev. Anyway, no clues as to who Phil will be playing with. At the level Phil plays it’s far more likely to be a nice surprise than a disappointment.
I’m intrigued. I keep using that word. I’d be curious to go. Phil is quality.
If you judge a Chinese restaurant by the number of Chinese eating there, you can also judge a gig by the number of musicians. Cases. They’ll be there tomorrow.
And talking of restaurants, that’s the curious thing. Charlie Wright’s starts the evening as a Thai restuarant. And morphs. Gradually.
In fact, there’s a long review/short Ph.D dissertation on the split personality disorder of Charlie Wright’s as Thai Restaurant and music venue HERE
Charlie Wright’s is another of those funny shaped rooms where those of us who don’t get in early to bag our seat have heard a lot from side-on, standing between pillars. Or standing in a throng feeling lucky to be tall.
And here’s a thought about hip Hoxton from Hemel Hempstead. It’s Ivan Hewett, writing in the Telegraph, the sentence lovingly reproduced on the Charlie Wright’s website.
“…sometimes I fear jazz might be becoming just a bit too clean for its own good. Which is why a visit to Charlie Wright’s International in the middle of achingly hip Hoxton makes a welcome change.”
It’ll be good. Not a comfortable place, but a good vibe. And the mystery of “Couple Friends” will be unravelled.