Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Lunchtime Concert - The Swiss Trio

On Friday 18th November The Swiss Trio came to Wonford House Hospital Chapel to perform the last in my series of concerts, and what a way to finish. The trio, consisting of Steve Down, guitar, Si Robinson, double bass, and David Hackett, drums, are one of the best I've heard in many a year. As a friend and psychiatrist working in Bristol said to me, this was the kind of concert you might expect at the Colston Hall in Bristol. I would go further and say that it would be worthy of any venue, anywhere. They combined melodic lines with inventive improvisation, and worked as a unit - in a trio there can be no weakest link. There is nowhere to hide. All three are exceptional musicians and combine with each other with amazing sensitivity. They have been playing together for some time now, and this can been seen in the way they communicate with each other, exploring their own compositions as on a joint voyage. The sound quality was great too - I was worried that the acoustics of the chapel might be too boomy, but the carpet deadens it a bit and meant that the drums were clear and well balanced with the other two. The guitar had a lovely tone that was enhanced by the acoustics, and the bass came through loud and clear. I made a recording which has turned out quite well, and may post some excerpts if the band are happy with that.
The only disappointment was that only about 15 people came. It was a surreal experience - here are one of the best bands on the jazz circuit, playing in a hospital where there are about 200 non-clinical staff, and three wards, playing for a ridiculously small fee, and hardly anyone turns up! The ones that did had a treat, and it was great to see a couple of my clients who have learning disabilities, and someone from one of the mental health wards. One of my clients use a wheelchair, and this exposed the awful accessibility of our hospital, an old Victorian institution. When he needed the toilet he had to go about 300 yards to the nearest disabled toilet, which happened to be in the corridor where all the most senior managers work! It was very gratifying to see him going into the inner sanctum of our trust, in a place where people with disabilities aren't often seen.
The guitarist, Steve, lives in Exeter, but the other two live in London. I hope to meet up with him more often, and exchange ideas.
Now I have to find funding for more concerts - about £500 a concert is usually enough - any suggestions/offers welcome!

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