The Junction jazz bar is to shut

As recently as 2016 marlbank ran a list of 10 neighbourhood clubs in the massive London metropolitan area. We visited most of the clubs selected. Come this autumn 5 altogether will be no more. These were not necessarily that well-known beyond word …

Published: 18 Jul 2022. Updated: 23 days.

As recently as 2016 marlbank ran a list of 10 neighbourhood clubs in the massive London metropolitan area. We visited most of the clubs selected. Come this autumn 5 altogether will be no more.

These were not necessarily that well-known beyond word of mouth or musician recommendation. Some were quite new, some had been around for ages. But they all catered to local fans. One or two have thrived since despite the Pandemic.

All, upmarket or more modest, were valuable because they had a different feeling than the bigger budget west end clubs where people flock to attend from all over London, the south east and much further afield. These not always unassuming but just as often high quality spots musically catered to locals who did not want to take transport to and from their homes more than a short hop on a bus or a train ride away from their homes near by. They thrived on community spirit that kept them going for sometimes years and years and were a morale boost for local musicians who jammed or played low profile gigs while not on the road.

Junction

Of the 10 mentioned - the much missed Forge in Camden, very short-lived Jackdaw in Clapton, the excellent Kansas Smitty's in Hackney and the remarkable Hideaway in Streatham are all shuttered.

The fifth and last of these departures to join the list is the laidback jamming spot the Junction, situated to the rear of the massive King's College Hospital complex but closer to the Loughborough Junction railway station than Denmark Hill - roughly half way along going from Camberwell to Brixton.

The Junction is to close its doors in the late-summer, the owners on Facebook explaining: ''Unfortunately the Junction will be closing on September 1st as the landlords have decided not to renew our lease. We’re looking to try to find a new site but might not be able to nor have the available funds.''

The exterior of the Junction photo: marlbank

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Only a dream and feeling no pain: a few thoughts on Van Morrison's pre-Dangerous period best output on from Down the Road

The headline is partially inspired by the prophet of the east back at a time during Van Morrison's last great period 2002-8 and that began on Down the Road to reach a new plateau of achievement on the high ground of Keep it Simple (use of uke on …

Published: 18 Jul 2022. Updated: 22 days.

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The headline is partially inspired by the prophet of the east back at a time during Van Morrison's last great period 2002-8 and that began on Down the Road to reach a new plateau of achievement on the high ground of Keep it Simple (use of uke on drinking song 'Behind the Ritual' is a thing of beauty in the chug of the rhythm section traction) as is beyond the bridge the hook leading to an eventual transcendentalism.

You find the spiritual in the lyric is the Open Sesame moment of revelation.

That inspired Van 7-year purple patch as much the song as the singer unprecedented since peak period Glossopiana would not be surpassed again until 2017's Roll With The Punches when the Coalminers' Sumudu gelled most with Dana Masters in the blend of voices on the for the ages 'Transformation'. Masters topically now pursuing her solo career more and more is playing Paul Zauner's widely admired festival in Austria this weekend, again Zauner showing his genius in the puttting on for guiding likely artist international breakthroughs via his influencer festival exposure.

The satori of the early life inhabitant of Hyndford Street's work with Joey De Francesco particularly on 2018's The Prophet Speaks, ''Cooke-ing'' up mucho soulful brilliance on 'Laughin' and Clownin' for instance Van having met Philly legend Joey D over with David Sanborn while hanging out at John Daly's Limerick Jazz Festival, was a joy. Since then it's been mainly downhill on his own records given Van's multiple and often highly controversial non-musical distractions. But let's not forget his glorious work with Robbie Robertson that made it on to Martin Scorsese's brilliant mob movie The Irishman - 'I Hear You Paint Houses?'

Singing the gospel-blues 2015's 'Flesh & Bone' with the great Buddy Guy is jaw-dropping - that's obvious.

While still formidable live during this still current ''dangerous'' period up to the Yule before last anyway. That was when we last caught him live on that occasion at a Vince Power presentation in the former DIngwalls which was just about the best show of Morrison's that we have ever witnessed having seen the singer live 7 or 8 times over a 30 year period.

As a wordsmith and great songwriter let alone that one-in-a-billion voice that the icon is the custodian of, Morrison is peerless and gigging regularly again in the run-up to his 77th birthday next month preceded by a significant Cathedral Quarter 19 August home town show that is very fitting in the year of the Oscar nominated 'Down to Joy' - Belfast and yet another exquisite dream.

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