The old Vortex, in Stoke Newington was a vital element in London’s Jazz-life. Along with the 606 and The Bull’s Head, it was one of the few places where you could regularly get to see the best of London’s jazzers playing in a small club for not much money.
So when it close about 18 months ago, it was a bit of a loss. There was talk for a while of it opening up in Hackney’s ill-fated Ocean venue, but then that went belly-up, and it looked like the Vortex was no more.
So it’s great to have it back, just off the A10 in Dalston. Very easy to get to, nice room, all back how it should be.
The fun thing about this gig was that it was the first time that Orphy and Theo had met, let alone played together. I’ve played with both before, obviously, so I was the link.
I set up with a mic on Orphy’s vibes so I could loop him, though had to be judicious so as not to loop Theo too (Theo’s loop-ideas are so incredibly well formed, that bits of his flute and sax cropping up in my loops is not really desireable).
Anyway, the gig went superbly well – we played a bunch of tunes from Open Spaces, and a load of improvs, with Orphy playing vibes and piano (I’m still not sure how well piano works with the thickness of sound that Theo and I get – I remember spoiling a duo gig with Jez at Greenbelt one year by putting far to many layers down and not really finding that gorgeous sparseness that is there on Conversations)
The audience was tiny, as per lots of midweek gigs at the Vortex, but David, the owner, loved it and wants us back for a weekend gig.
The only downer was that I was feeling steadily iller and iller as the evening went on (and not in the Beastie Boys send of the word ‘ill’ either)… I’m still not sure if I’ve beaten this cold or the worst is yet to come. We’ll see.
Anyway, it’s great to see The Vortex back happening again – check out the programme here.
Soundtrack – Tim Berne live at the QEHby