A LOVE SUPREME

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With apologies to John Coltrane - I use the phrase to describe not just God's love for His creation but my love of the drums and of jazz in general.

Film makers Gary Barber (founder and former owner of the renowned Brighton Film School) and Paul Dutnall made the recent superb Bobby Wellins documentary "Dreams are free".

Twenty years ago, they cut their "jazz teeth" with a short film (25 minutes) about my strange double act as a musician and a priest in the Anglican church. I had recently been ordained and was working as a Curate in a parish in central Brighton and so the mixture seemed quirky. And so they borrowed the name of the Coltrane album "A love supreme" as the ambiguous title for the film (plus very clever artwork on the publicity, if you remember the Coltrane album cover .

Earlier this year, Herts Jazz Festival asked Gary (a) if they could show "A love supreme" at the start of this coming weekend's festival at the Rhodes Arts Complex, Bishop's Stortford and (b) if the film would be able to be expanded and the material updated to  show what had happened to me since 1999.

The elements of the original film would be retained and blended with the new. Less emphasis on the novelty of recent ordination and more concentration on the jazz aspects of my life.

Paul Dutnall was given the job of shooting more footage and re-editing the whole thing.

Over the summer, he has worked tirelessly re-trawling through my archive and filming more gigs and interviews. I am particularly grateful to Greg Abate, Art Themen and especially Simon Spillett for their contributions. 

The film now runs at 58 minutes and I am delighted with the final cut.

I also want to emphasise how honoured I am that Clark Tracey wanted to include this item in his festival programme this year. I am only sorry to gather from posts on FaceBook  that there has so far (I am writing this on Monday morning) been a disappointing take-up not only for the screening (only a Fiver to get in!) but for the festival in general.

Mornington Lockett will lead the Ronnie Scott’s 60th tribute band on Saturday evening

Mornington Lockett will lead the Ronnie Scott’s 60th tribute band on Saturday evening

One of the other attractions with which I am involved the following evening (Saturday) is a tribute to the Ronnie Scott club on the 60th anniversary of its opening in Gerrard Street in 1959. Dear John Critchinson is no longer with us so the pianist will be the brilliant Rob Barron but all the other members of the quintet (Dick Pearce, Mornington Lockett, Andy Cleyndert and myself) are Ronnie Scott alumni.

 I know how hard Clark has worked over the years as a promoter. It's no picnic and I can well understand that he's getting fed up with it. He deserves a much better response. 

I saw at first hand Clark and Sylvia in action organising everything when I did a double act with him in a recreation by Mornington Lockett and Simon Allen of the late Bobby Wellins's The battle of Culloden Moor.

The battle of Culloden Moor!

The battle of Culloden Moor!

 (Playing along Clark on that occasion, I got to thinking about all the tireless playing he has done with the pioneering groups he has led, discovering and encouraging young talent. Britain indisputably has its answer to Art Blakey!)

 I hope anyone who reads this will make the effort to come to at least some of the weekend out of respect for Clark's efforts.

 Sorry to have beaten my own drum a bit too much in this week's Musing. What I would like to do soon, having extolled the virtues of Phil Seamen, is to write a bit about other British drummers whom I particularly admire and who have inspired me over the years.

My choices will be entirely subjective. I'm thinking off the top of my head about people like Eddie Taylor, Tony Crombie, Tony Oxley and Tony Levin………………….

Spike Wells