Sunday, April 12, 2009

Humph's Last Stand

Last night's Film Club didn't really consist of much film watching. With Dong and Shazzerooneypoos on family visiting duties elsewhere in the country and Slocombe not being able to make it on Saturdays as a rule; combined with Frankenkeith doing his coast watch shift at Rame Head until a later hour than we'd normally get started, we were a few audience members short of a full house.

Then we'll need to add on the fact that we don't get another DVD from Cinema Paradiso until next week...so what to do?

As it happens, last week Mrs The Millbrooker had downloaded a couple of programmes from the BBC's iPlayer; both featuring the late and much lamented Humphrey Lyttelton. We plumped for watching "Humph's Last Stand" - concert footage from the 2007 Brecon Jazz Festival.

There's probably not too much point in reviewing the concert of a such a much loved master, indeed such a national treasure - could Humph ever really put a foot wrong?

The answer, of course, is "no". Even well into his 80s his playing was assured and selfless as he allowed his band to explore around a theme; so what if he couldn't quite get his instrument to squeal the highest of high notes anymore? The great man didn't have anything left to prove and had made it his life's work to always "put on a show", which he duly did and both we and the live audience loved him for it.On the right of the shot above is Scott Hamilton, Humph's "special guest" for the evening, a legendary jazz man who augmented the already sax laden sounds of the band (three in all plus Mr Hamilton) with his virtuoso playing.

Well, I guess you either like jazz or you don't - I love it and so does Mrs The Millbrooker. Humph's Last Stand is still available to download on iPlayer as I write (click the link and search "Humph", it'll come up), and I recommend that you do so. Frankenkeith arrived in time for the final number (he's a fan too) and told us how he had a ticket to see Humph at Carnglaze Cavern for the very night that the all round good egg of an entertainer died - appalling luck for Frankenkeith (even worse for Humph, of course).

From then on we made a merry triumvirate of quaffers and the conversation ranged far and wide over a couple of bottles of something decent followed by an indecently large port or two. Plus ├ža change.

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