Jazz at the Daffodil in Cheltenham
Miriam on Tour: Day one / Gig one
Blast reporter Miriam Davies has completed her challenge...seven Gloucestershire gigs in seven days! On day one, she travelled to the Daffodil in Cheltenham to hear Dave West and the Tim Ward Jazz Trio. She writes the following...
The band has already struck up by the time I impatiently dash up the red and black chequered steps and swing through the Art Noveau doubled Daffodil-ed doors.
I feel as though I have ascended into a land of diamonds and furs. The sweep of the open plan restaurant ripples to meet me in the high ceiled hall.
The décor has an affecting personality. Its laid back glamour languors and semi nods from the drop lighting and hand painted whirls in the wall paper.
The effortless symmetry of the stair cases, walls and floors is at once nonchalant and reassuring.
Looking down from the balcony bar I can see that the Daffodil likes jazz. She sits the four piece band above her bolstered seating in the glare of the rooms focus.
The open kitchen frames the tops of the players' heads while the black capped chefs run double rhythms to Tim Ward's jazz trio.
'Our Love is Here to Stay' stops and the band steps down.
During the interval I am able to meet Tim Ward, the Daffodil's resident drummer and organiser of the venues Jazz nights.
He is so friendly and approachable that we have covered top drum teachers, Ronnie Scott's, Radio Two interviews and Lawrence Llweleyn Bowen before I have even switched on my recording microphone.
A January Blossom
We cannot begin without discussing the breathtaking surroundings.
I was amazed to discover that the familiar face and sleeves of Laurence Llewelyn Bowen were behind The Daffodil's new look.
In January 2008 the ex-cinema hall turned restaurant had a complete renovation as part of a new Television show on BBC Living called 'To the Manor Bowen' in which various places in Gloucestershire are given the LLB touch.
Tim's father, Hedley Ward, was the nationally famous bandleader of the 40s, 50s, 60s. He inspired Tim to start playing the drums at the age of eight.
As his technique improved he was allowed to sit in with the band and drum for three songs in each of his fathers shows.
Miriam Davies at the Daffodil
Swing Swing Swing
I ask Tim what kind of music he plays and what sort of sound he hopes to achieve. He tells me that The Daffodil environment requires a 'dinner jazz' ambience which is neither loud nor intrusive.
The trio play and record together. Tim reveals that his new album gives 15 minutes of 'alone' time to the notorious drum solo of the Jazz tune Sing Sing Sing.
From my lofty vantage point I can see that Tim is clearly enjoying himself. During All the Things You Are, railings, waiting trays and serving hatches all take a reverential bashing before the 'boss of the beat' is back behind the drums.
Salad with Jazz
Tim was accurate when he classified his music as 'dinner jazz'. A starch napkin over my lap and a plate of grilled artichoke and beetroot salad before me, the second and third set drift in and mingle with the motions of my silver fork.
The guest Gloucester-based vocalist, Dave West, sings a beautiful version of Gershwin's 'Foggy Day': The bendable strings of the double bass solo slide over Tim's cool brushstrokes.
For All We Know
The evening is crooned to a halt with the standard 'For all We know'.
I feel exhilarated. For all we know Miriam Davies could be Bette Davis or a future Fay Wray.
A beaming face bound by a big yellow bow floats out through the double doors into the dark mild night.
last updated: 25/09/2008 at 18:15