4/3/09: Jack Honeybourne All Stars @ The Spice of Life, London (71/100)

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There’s no better way to feel young again the day after you turn 33, than to be the youngest person in the room by a good 40 years. Which is what I experienced today when I popped by The Spice of Life for a little lunchtime jazz, courtesy of Jack Honeybourne’s All Stars. Seriously, everyone in the room was over 70, save for the sax players and yours truly . But that didn’t matter – they were still tipping back pints of beer at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. I guess when you don’t have to go back to work because you quit working years ago, fuck it right?

Or, when you’re on vacation and have to get in your 71st band in a row, but are headed back to NYC tomorrow and so you’d like to get some daytime music in so you can relax for one night of your trip, fuck it right? Right. So that’s what I did.

I got up this morning for my last full day in London and immediately scoured the Internet for something, anything I could see during the day. I know it’s Friday, and there will most likely be some good bands to see tonight. But the thought of dragging myself all over London again, late at night, changing trains three times, etc sucks. I need a night of relaxing for a change.

In steps Jack Honeybourne to help me with that. God bless you, sir.

Every Friday at lunchtime, Jack hosts two hours of jazz with guest musicians at The Spice of Life in Soho, London. Brilliant! And it’s only £5. Briliant! Brilliant! And it was noon when I found this out, so I didn’t miss the show. Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!

The all stars today were: Yanusz Carmello on trumpet, Vasha Gelok on alto sax & Vasilis Xenopoulos on tenor sax – joined on stage by Jack on piano, and two guys whose names I don’t recall on bass and drums.

I threw on some clothes, ran out the door, caught the Bakerloo line to Piccadilly Circus (the Times square of London), got out, got lost a few times looking for the place, finally found it, popped downstairs, paid my £5, grabbed a pint, and grabbed the last remaining seat in the house, off to the right of the stage.

This place was awesomely hilarious, at least today. Like, I said before, most everyone there was in their 70s or older. But they were still throwing back pints, dressed smartly in ties, sweater vests, sport coats, and so on. It was great. Most seemed to know each other, and at the intermission, they all sat and talked jazz. I was a fly on the wall on their home turf. That is until I unstuck myself and approached one of the sax players, Vasilis Xenopoulos (Vas for short), and told him about my 100 bands project. He was thrilled, as many musicians have been. Then he asked why I was doing the project. I said just because, to which he replied,”That’s why I love America. I have to move back there.”

I have to admit, I felt like this was sort of a cop out, seeing lunchtime jazz so I could relax at night. But that all changed when these guys played. They were great. In fact, they was probably better than the jazz show I saw in Paris. It was loose, the solos felt improvised, but thought out – not perfunctory and rehearsed like the Sophie show in Paris. The atmosphere was great. The crowd was a genuine jazz loving crowd. And then there was me: A guy who is loving jazz more and more every day of this project. And a guy happy to have #71 under my belt, and able to take it easy tonight.

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One Response to “4/3/09: Jack Honeybourne All Stars @ The Spice of Life, London (71/100)”

  1. The bass player was John Ferguson and the drummer Dennis Smith. At the time I was a youthful 60 year old.
    finest regards

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