Last night's gig.

Very enjoyable gig last night with Estelle Kokot at Octave near Covent Garden.

The enjoyableness came from playing great music with very fine musicians – Estelle’s a fab songwriter, singer and pianist, and is predisposed to stretching out her songs into long involved jams. Much fun. The drummer was Richard Spaven, a lovely understated creative player.

Fortunately that was all enough to get over the crapness of the venue. Whoever invented the term ‘dinner jazz’ needs a swift kick in the nads. Everything about the venue said ‘background music’ – very little lighting on the band, very few chairs that actually faced the band, tables not really laid out to give a good view of what’s on, no MC to introduce the music, no instructions to listen. They charge a fiver to just come in an listen, but if I’d paid a fiver to listen, I’d expect not to have to listen over the din of people talking. Next to the Octave, Thursday night’s Recycle Collective was like a night at the Royal Opera.

If the Octave sorted that out, they’d have a great little venue – it’s a nice room, not a bad PA, and God knows we need more decent jazz venues in London. As things are, this isn’t the answer. Still, it was £70 when I wasn’t doing anything else, in my home town, playing great music with great musicians, So I’m not complaining.

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