Rainlore's World of Music: A review of The Road To Bop (pre concert talk)

Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble - The Road To Bop,

The Hideaway, Streatham, London SW16, Saturday, 22nd October 2011 

Road To Bob this Weekend: 

3 The Road to Bop* / Gilad Atzmon & the OHE, The Edge Arts Centre, Much Wenlock

4. The  606 Lunch time gg is now postponed to the new year. We cannot fit in..

4 The Road to Bop* / Gilad Atzmon & the OHE, Colchester Arts Centre, Colchester


The Hideaway in Streatham was a venue entirely new to me. Contrary to expectations, it proved extremely easy to reach from Central London - less than twenty minutes from London Bridge Station, then a two minute walk from Streatham Station. And what a fabulous venue it proved! The staff at the Hideaway couldn't be more welcoming, friendly and helpful. As for the place itself, it is extremely spacious (no tables crammed closely together, you can actually breathe!), attractive, welcoming, has a capacity of some two hundred, and has comfortable and cozy seating areas for non-diners. The view of the stage is good from just about anywhere.

The stage area of the Hideaway is generous by club standards. Sound engineering is excellent, and the acoustics are superb. The baby grand is one of the very best in town.

As for atmosphere, the Hideaway's got plenty, and it's just great. It is not surprising at all that the Hideaway won the Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Jazz Venue.

But now to last Saturday night's Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble - The Road To Bop itself. Slated as a concert with a pre-show talk by Gilad Atzmon on the topic of how bop changed his life and eventually led to his latest scholarly literary work, The Wandering Who? (reviewed here), this proved an irresistible combination.

With the talk scheduled for 7.30, Atzmon and a small number of early arrivals assembled closely around a few tables in the Hideaway's smaller back room just after seven. An intimate discussion developed between Atzmon and the small crowd gathered around him on some of the topics covered by The Wandering Who?, while more and more people started arriving.

By 7.30, the small crowd had grown into a much larger one, and Atzmon commenced his talk on the subject of The Road To Bop, with more people still arriving and pretty nearly filling the room. The talk progressed from Atzmon's discovery of Bird (Charlie Parker) and his burgeoning ambitions to play jazz, with the associated dawning that greatness was not an exclusively Jewish attribute as he had been taught, and how jazz began to re-shape his life through the impact it had on his ethical and philosophical thinking, to the influence this ultimately exerted upon his music (with a few practical demonstrations along the way), and on to the latest fruits of Atzmon's ethical development in The Wandering Who?. After covering salient points of his latest book, Atzmon opened up the session to a question and answer discussion.

Throughout, Atzmon was very much at his ease, speaking with great fluency and eloquence. (He seems to cope better and better with his natural shyness these days.) The talk and discussion were an excellent introduction to  Atzmon's political and ethical views and convictions for those not familiar with them at some depth, and still stimulating for those that were. If you haven't caught one of these The Road To Bop gigs yet and want to discover 'what makes Atzmon tick,' you should try and catch one.

The Hideaway's main room was by now filling up rapidly, with only very few seats left vacant by the time the first set got underway.

Already a few bars into the first set, it became evident that this was going to be an outstanding, even exceptional performance. Throughout, Messrs. Atzmon, Harrison, Stavi and Hick had one on the edge of one's seat, with the tension and excitement being built up more and more. Even the ensemble playing - it really does not get any better than this! - was right on the edge, and the soloing all round even more so.

To read more: http://www.rainloresworldofmusic.net


The Wandering Who-A Study of Zionist and AZZ tactics - available on  Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk