Zog Blog - Royal & Dernagte, Northampton / by Elaine Crouch

Day 3 of the Zog Tour

This is a lovely theatre - a modern building built into the old front to the main road. We were playing in the Underground which is a small basement (not the big main hall I played with the Brubecks). There was a Steinway piano in position and a fearsome array of mics and monitors, which the helpful staff were happy to put away when I said we wouldn't be needing them!

We had a short soundcheck, as the journey up (Fri eve) and the parking had proved a bit of a mission for the drivers..... We found a Japanese restaurant nearby for some excellent noodles which set us up well for the gig.

There were about 70 there, an older demographic than the Pizza Express but still a fair number of younger music student types who keenly engaged me during the break. I'd elected to sell CDs at the bar, which was a dumb move as the main theatre break was at the same time! ("Why's this idiot trying to sell jazz CDs?" thought the thirsty "Jack and the Beanstalk", or whatever it was, crowd)

I got some new insight's to our "Zog" material. I think the "busier" tunes require a more economical improvisational approach. I play the trickier heads better and with a more centred feel when I think of the melodic shape rather than the notes themselves. I guess that's the difference between playing on the gig and practicing. That's why the greats of the 40s and 50s got so good so young because they gigged all the time. It's a much longer apprenticeship these days. Maybe after this tour I'll be a bit closer!

Just received a very nice message via my website from Tony Knivett:

"Wonderful show last night - just great. What a tight, brilliantly talented group. First saw you at the Leofric Hotel, many, many years ago. It just gets better."

Thanks, Tony.

Thanks also to Charles Simmons at NC Jazz for being a stalwart supporter.