Enlightened Ealing

LIVE: Ealing Jazz Festival: (Continues till Sunday August 1st)

Continental Europeans would get the idea of the Ealing Jazz Festival straight away, because they are far more accustomed to local councils doing enlightened things than we are.

The Dutch , for example, would find its whole atmosphere “gezellig,” the French “sympa.” Older Germans would say it was “gemütlich, ” younger Germans just “cool.” It costs just one pound to get in. There are two music stages, food tents from all over the world, a friendly beer tent…

Walpole Park in Ealing is just a nice place to be of a summer evening. If the weather holds, I would recommend you get on down there. It’s a short walk from Ealing Broadway tube. Local authorities (some blame one evil little quango which should be abolished ) increasingly find it harder to put on this sort of thing. So enjoy it while it lasts.

And the music. There was quite a buzz last night about Chico Chagas’ group which I managed to miss. He’s a 606 regular. But I did catch Karen Sharp on tenor in fine form, with Robert Fowler. Last night’s headliners were Frank Griffith’s top-flight nonet plus the fine Georgia Mancio. There are so many great players in Griffith’s band – including a new name to me, Richard Pryce on bass – I find it easy to forget what a superb tenor player he himself is. And he does so many other things, I suspect he probably forgets what a fine tenor player he is too.

But last night he gave us Body and Soul in fitting tribute to much-liked, much-admired Phil Day, whose funeral had been earlier week. Full-toned, big-hearted, and absolutely unforgettable.

Phil Day (1938-2009)

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