Thirty Thousand Streets

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Crypt

Went to the crypt at St Giles Church on Camberwell Church Street last night, which I've failed to go to on several occasions over the last year and appears to be one of South London's best kept musical secrets.

The venue itself is charming enough, a basement with pillars dotted about, and a tiny stage in the corner, and being in a church has a faintly quaint informal air - I kept expecting to see some props lying about from last years production of 'Joseph' or a table with jumpers on it for sale for 50p. But no, not even any scouts who'd come on the wrong night. Just some excellent jazz.

The act consisted of a five piece combo, with a guitarist, drummer, saxophonist, trumpeter and keyboardist, all laying down tight grooves on everything from 'Kind of Blue' era Miles Davis, to more funk-a-sized numbers like an excellent rendition of The Meter's 'Sissy Strut', which got heads a boppin', and would if there was room, surely have got people dancing. Looks like these guys jam together quite a bit, as the performance was consistently tight, with all the performers getting the opportunity to shine on a solo, with a barely perceptible nod as a cue. What is such a pleasure about performances like this, is that the joy that the players obviously take in their art prevents it from ever descending into out-and-out showboating; jazz's excesses are often equated with wankery, but I would challenge anyone to sit through a performance of such artistry, soul and skill, without smiling and tapping their toes by the end (not to mention howling, like a wolf, for an encore).

There was also a bar (of course) selling wine and bottled beers at very reasonable prices, and a kitchen selling food which I didn't get to sample. It probably pays to arrive early as it does get quite busy, and tables are something of a premium commodity here, but in any event the cramped conditions just kind of add to the atmosphere. Suffice to say, I'll be returning.

1 comment:

sigh9 said...

that crypt is a cool place for music. I once dj'd at a party at that spot an it was just the kind of comfortably small environment and comfortab;y relaxed opening hours for a real hootenanny, nay, shindig.