Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sa Mon Di, The Necks, concertinas, peacocks and nightingales

I didn't get a jam together for my birthday this year, as with previous years (getting a few CoTDroners together in Exeter was never a problem). Instead, I cycled (saz-free) along the Pilgrims Way with my woodworking friend Nick from Faversham, up to Kit's Coty House (a dolmen) and the Coldrum Stones (an extraordinary Danish-style long barrow). That was a good warm-up for this years midsummer cycle expedition to the Wiltshire Downs.

Coldrum Stone long barrow
Coldrum Stones

I had thought about getting some people together the following weekend (my birthday being on a Wednesday), but it wasn't going to be Friday, since Sa Mon Di were playing at The Neptune on Whitstable beach and I wasn't going to miss that. I cycled there to catch the latter half of the gig - very packed, but I squeezed up the front with the dancing few. They were a seven-piece this time (five last time), another drummer/percussionist and the horn section filled out with a trombonist. Just brilliant. The overall sound was excellent, and there was even a little bit of distortion on the vocals, rather like what I imagine a 'traditional' African P.A. would sound like.

Getting home after that, I put the radio on (something I do less and less), and couldn't quite believe what I was hearing. It sounded like two piano notes rocking back and forth, endlessly, gradually time-shifting, a bit of drumming going on perhaps. I was on the verge of sleep and completely tranced out on it. Kept thinking it was going to end, but it just kept going, building up. I forced myself to stay awake to find out what it was. When it finally ended, the erupting applause took me by surprise - didn't imagine it was live. Turns out to have been The Necks, a trio from Australia, recorded at The Vortex in East London, being broadcast on BBC Radio 3's "Jazz on 3". Completely improvised, it seems. Unfortunately the "Listen Again" facility will be disabled in a few days, but here's the link to the programme it was part of.

Jim from Red Dog Green Dog (doing an organic gardening apprenticeship in Kent, not so far away) stopped by on Sunday with his concertina. I managed to record three little jams, so I've bundled those up with some recent nightingale/saz recordings and uploaded them to the Archive.

Listen Here


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