Corks social club in Smethwick plays host to a regular Thursday evening jazz club and this Sunday I was lucky enough to attend an out door event in the beer garden of this unassuming little club. Tucked away in the back of Corks social club at 558 Bearwood Road I was mesmerised by the beauty of this event.
Maybe the venue was not the prettiest but the quality of the music and singing was breathtaking. The BlueNotes sing regularly in the upstairs of this humble club every Thursday and this Sunday they had an al fresco event which seemed the perfect setting for such top notch live music. The BlueNotes were formed by Andy Hamilton MBE and are still playing here. For my visit this Sunday I was entertained by lead singer Vic Evans who has a soulful and haunting quality to his voice and a youthful twinkle in his eye.
Sitting outside in the sunshine and enjoying a gin & tonic really is the perfect way to enjoy this free live event, but sadly it seems to be something of a secret so if you want to hear some superb live music this is definitely an event to attend. A pint and a gin & tonic came in at a very reasonable £6.00 and there was some food being cooked on the barbecue too. Families with children, groups of young adults, what looked like some rugby players and elderly couples were in attendance, it was all very friendly and we shared a table with another family. There are some wooden picnic tables and a few chairs had been bought outside, but if you want to bring a blanket then sitting on the floor would be a great option.
Vic was accompanied by Andy Gayle on saxophone and the grandson of Andy Hamilton himself, Louis Hamilton-Foad on drums. What a talented young man Louis is too. The pianist and guitarist were equally as talented and together this band were so much more than the sum of their parts!
Saxophonist Andy Gayle
A few guest singers also took a turn on the microphone and after Vic had regaled us with a few jazz classics he moved on to singing some reggae covers including the Bob Marley hit Don’t Worry (’bout a thing) and a few calypso style songs that I didn’t recognise, so if you think you don’t like jazz, no worries, there is bound to be something to get your toes tapping. I will admit I did enjoy a bit of a sing-along with a lot of the music from yesterday, including For all we know. Vic also enthralled the crowd with a perfect rendition of Moon River. Moon river bought a tear to my eye, such was the emotion from Vic. With hits a plenty from the likes of Nina Simone, when Lorna sang My Baby Just Cares For me. We were sat in the beer garden of a social club in Bearwood, but it felt like we was in a smokey bar in downtown New Orleans, such was the atmosphere here.
The music really was beautiful, the singing was emotive and soulful, the atmosphere was fun and friendly and this was all free. We are planning to return to one of the Thursday evening jazz nights which are not free. We even took a peep inside the upstairs room that plays host to the regular Thursday jazz nights and I was delighted to see a huge poster of Andy Hamilton upon the wall.
Everyone was so friendly and welcoming to us. From the cheery and chatty barmaids in the club to other guests enjoying the jazz in the sunshine and even a few members of the band came over to say hello and shake our hands, female vocalist Lorna Harris even greeted me with a hug like I was an old friend.
The next event at Silvershine jazz club is on September 7th where the BlueNotes will be holding a jam night. Entry is only £5.00 and as I said earlier, the drinks are very resasonably priced.
Should you wish to attend the next event at Silvershine Jazz club, and I highly recommend you do, you can find further details on their website here http://www.bearwoodjazz.co.uk/index.html