chronicle: June 2008

Eye-catching and ear-catching, The Tall Poppies twanged and swayed through a set at the glorious George pub in Commercial Road, followed by trombone poetry, positioned at the other end of the saloon next to the soup tureen. The set seemed to succeed, and there was a friendly wave from a leggy stranger in a scarlet dress, but this turned out to be Dylan Bates, about to play violin with The Rude Mechanicals. At least there was soup. After some Shouted Word and whatnot, Hugh Metcalfe rounded off the evening in his gentle chamber ensemble, Fuck Off Batman.

The East End beckoned again with a glad return to A Spoonful Of Poison at The Rhythm Factory in Whitechapel Road, where trombone poetry revisited an old tango, El Cuchillo. Bitesized! Improvised! Televised! plastered comedy dialogue onto film clips and interviews.

The place to be on Brockley Road is Moonbow Jakes Coffee Bar, where trombone poetry shared the evening with the rather secretive IM, described as “electric trumpet with Hammond organ, percussion, old analogue synth sounds and home-made instruments”. This bare list hardly does justice to the engrossing musicality and sonic range of the duo, augmented this time by a skillful percussionist. No website: seek them out at Jakes.

The spectacular Montague Arms in Queens Road, Peckham, hosted a Bloomsday event (celebrating James Joyce’s Ulysses), supported, needless to say, by The Hungarian Cultural Centre. Emile Sercombe himself was first on, with his top-notch absurdism. Trombone poetry cranked up the wordplay for Joyce’s sake. Zolan Quobble‘s set reminded us why his poems should be heard more often. Endre Szkárosi intoned his poems over spacey soundtracks. Punk jazz crew Tudósok herded us to the coda. VJ Flickering Light shone throughout.

Phones, Tones and Trombones was the first of two trombone poetry nights at the Humber Mouth Festival in Hull. This was a collaboration with The Sound & Fury Collective, held at a cultural oasis called Pave on Princes Avenue. Two old Blowpipes Trombone Trio originals were worked into the programme with Dave Ellis on tuba for Emerald, and on double bass for Freek, with poet John Robinson on soul band renegade trombone. Ellis also performed his Olympian solo sound poetry/loops piece, Lhasa Fever.

After all that came the Pave Jazz Jam, featuring such local luminaries as the dapper John “Blind Lemon” Holborn on tenor sax (where was the misery stick?) and a visiting trombone.

The second night was co-hosted by the stalwart Hull Jazz at The Goodfellowship Inn on Cottingham Road. A solo trombone poetry set started the event, and the rest of the evening also featured a fine local backing band comprising The Melody Trio – Peter Elson, piano; Ollie Hopkins, double bass; Keith Stutt, drums; and special guest percussionist Gary Hammond. All tunes played were Taylor originals. Many thanks again to bassist/visionary Dave Ellis for helping to make all this a success.

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