Jon Regen, The Crazy Coqs, London

From 2016. Opening with ‘Stop Time’ on the final night of his Piccadilly club residency Jon Regen managed to “crack this code like a scientist,” to draw on the lyrics from the title track of his latest album. A persuasive Billy Joel and Randy …

Published: 26 Apr 2020. Updated: 2 months.

From 2016. Opening with ‘Stop Time’ on the final night of his Piccadilly club residency Jon Regen managed to “crack this code like a scientist,” to draw on the lyrics from the title track of his latest album.

A persuasive Billy Joel and Randy Newman-inspired singer, as a jazz pianist he made his name accompanying Jimmy Scott and played this club gig ostensibly as a duo, the American at the piano facing bass guitarist PJ Phillips, a rocker whose stellar credits include gigging with Rod Stewart.

Concentrating on Stop Time material in the first set, Lydia Baylis, joining the duo, blended well in the harmonies of stuck-in-the-middle song ‘Borderline.’

In a switch of emphasis later in the second set there was more of a Doc Pomus and Elton John-inspired direction, a version of Rodgers and Hart standard ‘My Funny Valentine’ sung meltingly by another guest, Judith Owen, altering the mood – Regen returning tantalisingly to his jazz roots. Stephen Graham

Jon Regen above at the piano, PJ Phillips and Judith Owen

Tags: Live reviews

If a single note of 'All the Things You Are' falls in an empty jazz club does it still make a sound?

Consider for a moment: what precisely it is that you miss most about not being able to hear jazz live in these days of crisis. Ponder that moment when you turn up, sidle in, look around, and wonder if anyone else is coming. Who on earth are these …

Published: 26 Apr 2020. Updated: 2 months.

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Consider for a moment: what precisely it is that you miss most about not being able to hear jazz live in these days of crisis.

Ponder that moment when you turn up, sidle in, look around, and wonder if anyone else is coming. Who on earth are these guys anyway you have come to see, you ask yourself. Will they actually turn up? Those people yakking their heads off: are they ever going to shut up and why are they slurping their soup? Oh I wouldn't even mind hearing that peculiar suck of indeterminate gloop, even overhearing fellow patrons' tales of the intricate travel adventures they undertook just to get there given the silence now.

That piano player I'd be thinking: is he going to play a bit louder, ever? Every time the door opens the squeaks from the hinges are louder. Yes I miss thoughts like these. And hearing standards, where in a public place are you actually going to hear someone play 'Stella by Starlight' if it isn't in a jazz club? And what about those pictures on the walls of all the old jazzers often long since expired we used to stare at when the bass solo got a bit dull: where are the pictures on the walls, do they even exist. If a single note of 'All the Things You Are' falls in an empty jazz club does it still make a sound?

Then there is that thing about looking around and spotting a few regulars that you know by face but haven't a clue who they are. Where are they now? Locked down in Plaistow, sleepless in Prestatyn – arrested in Aberystwyth?

As for pizza: when was the last time you ate a pizza in public with your clothes on to the soundtrack of 'I Remember You'? When did you last detect a train rumbling as if under your seat? When did you last see a living breathing bouncer? When did someone approach you in the dark with a card machine as someone tinkles 'Lullaby of Birdland' in the background?

Stephen Graham

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