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Jazz at Lunchtime

After the roaring success of yesterday's Fringe adventure, today's was a humongous let-down. It sounded oh so promising (just look at the title) -- I had visions of snappy, light old school jazz while enjoying a light meal. Alas.

If we had read the flier's description more carefully (instead of getting carried away with mental images), we might have avoided it:

A unique show featuring the evocative, melodic live music of Ian Millar on saxophone & Dominic Spencer on piano from Scotland. With a video backdrop of beautiful, timeless, stunning Scottish scenery.

This is all down to the Fringe programme, which states that it is a

saxophone and piano duo, playing standards and melodic originals with inspiring video backdrop of Scottish scenery in an intimate jazz club setting. Good food. Good music. Good atmosphere. Have lunch or just listen!

My mind had skirted over the video backdrop (imagining a slightly ironic take with heather and cute cows -- none of which are uncombinable with good jazz) and focused on all the stuff that turned out to be lies, damned lies:

-the intimate jazz club setting was a horrible room in the Raddison hotel. It combined all the worst features of hotel lobbies with a sad attempt at historical connection. If I had not forgotten to include a memory card in my camera you could have revelled in the horror of it. As it is you will have to make due with my feeble attempts at explaining. There were hotel lobby chairs. You know the type. Rounded, very nice to sit in, but ugly as sin and very 90s in both colour and design. These were placed around round tables, completing the rounded, not-quite-spaceage feel that the chairs had begun. And then the roof had tapestry-like tiles in dark blue, maroon and green between white triangular beams. Add to this old pictures of famous Scots in IKEA frames and a tacky attempt at the coat of arms of Edinburgh over a giant fireplace. The horror was completed by the pink and blue neon-like lights on either side of the video montage in the stage area. This might suggest its nature:

-the good food was slightly less elusive. It looked very promising for a while. The coffee was not marvellous (and they managed to give us white sugar with it), but I spotted "Gin and Cucumber Soup" in the menu and couldn't help myself (who knew such a thing existed). This turned out to be a cold dish which tasted very interesting during the first three spoonfuls and then just got tiresome and sad as it sat there looking accusatory while I pretended I wasn't really that hungry.

-now for the good music, at which point I know Tor would tell me to play nice. He thinks that because the two men look like they are nice chaps, I should ignore the fact that at least one woman fell asleep, and I dearly would have liked to follow her example. I asked him what he thought of it, and he said

Litt snilt og kjedelig? Men behagelig. (A little nice and dull. But pleasant.)

I am clearly cantankerous and miserable, not to mention utterly spoilt by the Jazz Festival in Molde. Complaining about Molvær now seems a little ungrateful, as this was much the same sort of slow inanity, only with much less talent. Yesterday, during the Chamber Music in the Church I sat tapping my foot to the funky rhythm of Mozart, but this jazz barely inspired me to stay awake.

I should probably note that it got better towards the end. In fact, two of the melodies written by Ian Millar were some of the best of the set -- mainly because they were played with rather more energy. But the high point was one called ``Statutory notice blues'', inspired by the current situation in Mr Millar's flat (apparently), which I suspect derived its drive from some sort of anger and frustration mingled with a healthy dose of humour. It approached what I had expected from the show as a whole.

Instead we were treated to endless footage of waterfalls (in and out of focus), trees, waves, mountains, lochs and horses, and the worst type of hotel lobby soft jazz that you could imagine. It might be ideal for elderly ladies from Fife who aspire to culture but would be frightened off by anything remotely challenging (there was at least one in the front seats), but I'd advise everyone else to steer clear. It isn't worth the £8 or whathaveyou that we paid for it.


Tor,  12.08.10 17:50

Even though I feel a bit rude. They looked like nice people, and it's not their fault the venue was bad. But the first one hour and fifteen minutes was quite boring, and for a one and a half hour concert, that is a bit much.

a) fall asleep, or

b) press G for the ground floor.
Are,  13.08.10 16:13

The review was nice, though.