Josie Moon

Poet, Musician and Educator

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Spirit

I was going to call this blog post Spirit of Jazz in recognition of the fantastic CD The Spirit of Trane by Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble because the band had me and the rest of the audience in rapture last night at Grimsby Jazz’s final gig of 2017. But actually it’s spirit I want to write about because it has been a week of feeling spirit in so many lovely ways and although last night was the apex there have been some fantastic moments of community and togetherness that I want to try to capture.

When we talk about spirit what do we mean?  I think it’s a word that is myriad in its meaning and probably context specific.  There was a spirit in the room last Friday when the community choir performed at Cambridge Court.  There was a sense of shared purpose and fellowship which I think is captured in these pictures.

I know I talk a lot about the power and the value of singing together but it comes home when we go out into the community and perform.  The choir’s spirit is immense; big-hearted, generous and welcoming. Monday evenings at St Mark’s should be available on prescription.

Last night’s gig at Grimsby Jazz was just spectacular.  Gilad Atzmon is a genius and I would never use that term glibly. When Gilad plays Euterpe enters and something transcendent happens.  The Orient House Ensemble is a stunning band. Each musician plays from the soul and inhabits the music so completely. It was an immeasurable joy to be lost in it.  It was a poignant night as well  because it was Gill Wilde’s swansong gig. But what a finish. My best human remarked that it was one of the best gigs he’d ever been to and I have to concur.

Three best humans

I woke up thinking about jazz this morning and its glorious defiance as a musical genre. It is so free and so revolutionary and it challenges you as a listener to really engage.  I started going to the jazz in Grimsby years ago because I wanted to be excited by music and musicianship. I’ve had such an education and such revelations and have immersed myself in jazz as a writer and performer. I want more of it all the time.

Back to the ordinary world today and the second Riverhead Coffee Poetry Cafe. What a rich afternoon.  The participants bring so much, not just writing but themselves. It’s evolving as a place to consider the nature of ourselves not just as writers but as beings, existing in a time and a place.  Today there was such a wealth of shared narratives and everyone left with an uplift.

 

And spirit is the thing that unites this experience, the spirit of people coming together to do what they do; to talk, make art, share ideas, perform, give.  It’s something spectacularly human and wonderful and the stuff of living.  Long may it happen.

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Ebb and Flow

Drill Hall Ian 1

And so the official tour comes to a glorious finale with a wonderful gig at The Hive in Shrewsbury. It was a special evening after a very special run of gigs.  This tour has been an incredible experience for me as a writer and performer. I’ve found a rhythm and a style on stage that I am very comfortable to inhabit. I feel like I’ve found my home now as a performer and it is a very happy one.  The warmth and generosity of the musicians has played a big part in me finding my groove. I will miss them all and am already forming plans and ideas, dreams and schemes as to what happens next.

So, thank you to everyone who has made this a success and such a joy.  But special, heartfelt thanks to my lovely friend, mentor and jazz wizard Gill Wilde. It was Gill who started this and she was there to the last note and the last word. Her energy, commitment and belief in this project have been the special ingredients that have made this work.  Gill is stepping back from her role as Mrs Grimsby Jazz and the town will be poorer for it. Gill has given so much time, love and energy to jazz over the years and although she deserves her time in the sun, we will miss her so very much.

And so, adieu for now beautiful jazz and poetry world but we won’t be apart for long …