Looking for a place to chill any given blue Monday?
First things first ''jazz at the Oxford'' is a weekly club. It's not on every night. It's also that thing that was typical in gigdom of lore on the London scene, a ''back-room-in-a-pub gig'' only this is a variant, an ''upstairs-in-a-pub'' gig. For many alas it's on a difficult night of the week, a Monday. But usually even on the London scene there isn't much on reliably regularly beyond Ronnie's on a Monday week in week out. So that factor gives the bands who play here an advantage, fans won't be going elsewhere if tempted by some other venue as much. The other main advantage is the Kentish Town pub's location because it's close to a tube and on a bus route. Forget about taking the car there – you won't get parked easily.
As to the feel of the place it's largely an acoustic sort of place, meaning they don't bother much or at all with microphones. The windowed upstairs room is laid out and compact enough to facilitate that. You get your drinks downstairs and bring them up so it's not ideal from a refreshment point of view for the interval. However, and more importantly, the audience is a listening lot, mostly gig-goers are fairly aged although occasionally a few younger faces are to be seen among the greybeards although the band are usually the youngest people in the room. There isn't too much talking over the band which happens at a lot of others venues unfortunately although some because of the amplification cloaking it are able to accommodate discreet nattering and impromptu table yodelling without it being too much of a factor. Not here.
Usually the bands put on are quite new on the scene or who have surfaced mainly in recent years. Last time we were in the spot for instance was to hear the up-and-coming trumpeter Alex Ridout. Sometimes more seasoned players intermingle from an older generation which is always stimulating. So all in all one of the best no-hassle grassroots venues on the north London scene putting on quality progressively-minded ''modern jazz'' (meaning: not avant, not trad, but rather generally bebop and hard bop or chamber jazz-flavoured) styles as a policy. A good place as any to ward off any old blue Monday.
Next it's flautist Gareth Lockrane, pianist Noah Stoneman, bassist Will Sach and drummer Will Cleasby – who leads the quartet – on 29 November. Tickets
Tags: Club and venue focus