I'll let you know what I think.
Feel free to come along if you wish. The Rowing club is just down the road from you I think.
It's a small venue, usually full on a Jazz night (first Thursday of each month).
I think they are charging about £8.00 to get in nowadays.
Yes, he was really fast. I'm not sure if I can see the point either. It is very difficult to pick out any melody sometimes and as he played so quick, he could have been playing almost any notes he wanted (or didn't want to - i'm good at that!). Several solos for different songs sounded exactly the same to me. He did play a few slow numbers which were very good.
What amazes me is every time I go to the Jazz night is the band. I don't think they are often the headline performers regular band but they always perform so well. At one point Simon turned to the band and said 'It's a slow blues in ...' so they obviously didn't know the tune but after a count in they attacked it as if they had been playing it for years - very impressive.
It was a good gig, full to capacity and he can certainly play the sax well but a few too many notes for my taste in some songs.
Speed is OK if there is a degree of predictability about the music IMO. That is why I like Ska - it can be very quick but you know what is coming, and can be in tune with what is happening, rather than be rather bemused. The piece "Dedication to Thomas Mapfumo", by Don Cherry is in 6/8 time at "Quaver = 324bpm" - very fast, but a simple enough tune to follow and enjoy.
I think the way to appreciate a really fast player is to "stand back" and let the piece as a whole wash over you. I am very fond of Claude Monet's paintings. If you look at them up close, all you see is a lot of comma-shaped marks. Stand back and the picture becomes clear. With music, it's obviously a mental "standing back" , but the principle is the same. All the notes together are meaningful; if you try and follow each one, you're lost. But not everyone can like everything, of course.
I haven't heard Simon Spillett, but I too get overwhelmed by too many notes. But I do like MikeC's analogy with Monet.
It being April and with the inevitable association with Paris, I recommend anyone who hasn't been there to go to the Marmotan gallery in Paris. It is dedicated to Monet. Most of the gallery is in the basement of a large, typically Parisian house. A couple of the large canvasses are too much to take in close up or even 10-15 feet away but get better as you move away until you can stand on the other side of the gallery and take in the full glorious effect: exactly what Mike was saying. While you are sampling the many aspects of Paris go as well to Monet's house and garden at Givernay outside Paris - delightful (if rather full of tourists at peak times of year).
Yes I hear about the Botany Bay Cricket club gig regularly. I will have to try to get over there. I think there is also a Jazz jam on a Sunday in Hertford. I really should go over there once in a while.