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"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Deep autumn blues blown away by red-hot sax on Clapham Common

Sax player on Clapham Common helps blow away autumn blues with some great John Coltrane phrasesLife can seem like shit at this time of year in SW4, especially if you are broke and adrift and 61 years of age.

The beautiful sadness of autumn can be thrilling if you have the heart for it, deeply depressing if you haven't. Anyway that's the sort of crap I was pondering on a recent walk around the common, late afternoon, after the school's out crowds but before the commuter rush.

Heading towards the  boating lake, the yearning sounds of  someone practising jazz tenor saxophone resonate across the  plate-glass water. There's a bloke in blue sitting on a bench on the other side of the pond, and he seems to be blowing his heart out with these repeated phrases, which sometimes seem almost to rip the fabric of the air they travel through.

Gradually he builds it up, adding a few notes each time, until it's unmistakably from Coltrane's A Love Supreme.

Another man, perhaps his friend, joins him on the bench and just lies back to enjoy the music and his bottle of whatever. Solitary walkers and a few couples  are watching from other benches. I move closer, stop, listen, move on, walk back across towards the North Side, still hearing those fabulously melancholy yet paradoxically uplifting riffs.

If I hadn't already been a jazz fan this would have ignited my interest. Instead it re-0ignited this dormant  flame. Thanks, anonymous sax player. I wish I knew who you were.

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