“I remember the weekend when I was fourteen, my Grandad announced to me that he had two tickets to a jazz concert at the Great Hall in Exeter. I wasn’t overly impressed at first, not knowing an awful lot about the genre back then. When we got to the sold out, seated hall, filled with expectant music lovers, I started to realise this could be a special evening.
“The lights dimmed and a guitarist and double bass player walked out onto the stage, followed by an old man shuffling on in slippers. He sat down in the centre and spoke in broken English with a strong French accent as he humbly welcomed the crowd. The man was in his eighties (ancient to a young boy like me!) but then he began to play. He played with the energy and spirit of a musician half his age, I had never heard anything like this before and was immediately transfixed.
“The virtuosity and vibrancy he brought to his improvisation of swing jazz had a freedom that captured me and kick-started my interest in the style. From then on that fire and fluidity that Stephane Grappelli effortlessly displayed, ignited a passion for playing and breaking out of forms and structures I had been learning before. Years later I realised how lucky I was to witness him perform as this was the last tour he did. Still to this day he is the greatest violinist I’ve seen and his music will always inspire me.”
Thanks to Seth Lakeman for the latest in our series of artist blogs. Seth is currently touring the UK to promote his new album Tales From The Barrel House which is being re-released 2nd April with a bonus DVD. Catch him live on the dates below.
No shows booked at the moment.