They have a new album together but on a day storm Doris wreaked havoc on travel plans for millions, Alan Barnes was not able to join Gilad Atzmon at the Spin in Oxford’s Wheatsheaf. Instead the fiery saxophonist breezed into the long gigging room of the pub on the High playing a John Coltrane-themed set half a century – as he observed in a wryly twinkling aside to the front row – after the great man departed this mortal coil. ‘Impressions,’ ‘Afro Blue’, Atzmon switching from tenor sax to a heavily amplified viscerally effective clarinet reminiscent of his dazzling For The Ghosts Within co-leading stint with Robert Wyatt and Ros Stephen, and a waltzing ‘Giant Steps’ saw the set well underway, the leader joined by Frank Harrison on piano, Yaron Stavi on double bass and Enzo Zirilli, drums.
The Spin’s house drummer Mark Doffman, manning the door and standing up on a table at one point to better view the stand explained to marlbank, dipping in briefly, that the Spin club night at the boozer – which serves decent Hobgoblin ale among other beer on tap – has been running for 18 years and he and guitarist Pete Oxley are regular performers.
Frank Harrison, above left, Yaron Stavi, Gilad Atzmon and Enzo Zirilli in performance at the Spin.
• A new piano bar, called Sandy’s, currently recruiting jazz pianists, will open on nearby King Edward Street later this year. Behind the venture is a company called Time and Space one of whose directors, Ted Sandbach, is the managing director of the Oxford Wine Company.
Cool for Coltrane at the Spin