After many previous visits to Canterbury, it was a relief to be able to stay and not rush back. Typical also that this was coming out of the coldest March for 50yrs (a century?) so I couldn’t exactly walk around at leisure – so amazingly cold! The Falstaff Hotel looked like a very old building – I am not exactly tall, but found myself bowing my head a bit to get inside the room (through doorways built for a smaller generation). There is some amazing history in that place – right on the old pilgrimage route traveled to the cathedral.
Sam Bailey is another great musician who has organised this session at a place called the Free Range Cafe. There is a wonderful range of musicians who have appeared there (Evan Parker, John Tilbury etc) , and the cafe itself has fantastic food and is very relaxed. I have never seen vermicelli and baklava presented like that!
I really enjoyed the close proximity of the piano to everyone. A couple of these tour dates have reminded me of the concerts my first teacher Milada Robertson used to give ( and my very first ever experiences performing) . It had been a while since the last visit to this town, and this cafe really suits acoustic music. The turnout was lovely – and a couple of familiar faces made this a treat for me. Cumulus benefited from a few inside piano explorations (these smaller Grotian Steinways have some uniquely special resonances going on). A great triad on A came back from the improv raffle (some musicians in the house!).
Can I say a thank you to Dr Bailey for putting this on. Some very important traditions in Canterbury music are being consolidated in this night. I hope it can go on and become widely renowned (and duplicated – as that cafe deserves to become a chain!). Thanks also to Rob Kitney (who took part in the fantastic concert at Turner Sims with Panacea) , and Jack Hues (of Wang Chung and The Quartet fame). Great to see you!