Looking back is not the same as listening again…

So what did I get out of that lot?  It certainly was a lot, I see.  One year, 58 posts – some covering more than one set/gig. So a bit more than a gig a week – and occasional weekend gorging. I find, looking back, that there is no real payoff here in illuminating what music does for me, when it does it.  (I do seem to use the word “lift” rather a lot – which suggests it does something).

But the reliably inadequate words here to serve to remind me that live music is a reliable source of pleasure which cannot (for me) be got any other way – pleasure both emotional and aesthetic though not, I think, intellectual. Good to have the reminders of individual gigs, too, or good enough that I think I’ll go on indulging myself here next year.

Other conclusions? There is great music to be heard in Bristol, but I would not be without things you have to go out of town for. My top ten gigs are probably split about half and half between Bristol venues and Cheltenham/Bath/London. Thought of compiling a top ten, but not sure there are ten that really qualify as amazingly great all the way through. I can manage half a dozen: Dave Douglas at Cheltenham, Dave Holland in Bath, Ornette Coleman in London, and Kit Downes, The Convergence Quartet, and Partisans in Bristol. I’d repeat any of those tomorrow.

Otherwise, there were lots of gigs with great moments – from Swarbrick’s solo violin feature at St George’s to Evan Parker at the Cube to Iain Ballamy and Dave Newton at Future Inns at Cabot. I think that is the thing which re-reading the past year’s notes on what just happened reinforces. With jazz, especially, you never quite know when those moments will happen – but if you expose yourself to the right people often enough, they will definitely come along. That’s what keeps me listening. And, archived words aside, when they’re gone, they’re gone. That’s what keeps me going back.

So much thanks, and Happy New Year, to all the musicians who worked at their stuff to delight me in 2009, and looking forward to the further delights of 2010. I thought the first of the year was going to be the Resonation Big Band at St George’s on Friday, but I see Lol Coxhill is on at the Croft the night before…

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