Photo credit: Benjamin Amure www.benjaminamure.com
Like all good things in London, the monthly Abram Wilson Foundation jazz shows at the Hospital Club have remained a very well kept secret…
After working with founder, Jennie Cashman Wilson towards the end of 2014 on a research and development fortnight for The Philippa Project, I was invited to one of the Foundation’s jazz evenings in collaboration with their Associate Artists, Kansas Smitty’s. “Arrive early,” said Jennie, “it gets busy.” Yeah, whatever…I thought…it’s a wet nondescript Wednesday night, it will be fine, won’t it?
Still, I listen to her advice and I arrive early… The doorman opens the heavy door into the cool club lobby, the receptionist ticks me off the list, the smooth, smooth lift takes me four floors upwards to the Oak Room, polite smiles and nods from staff, all hush-hush, peaceful and calm, the venue’s double doors swing open and oh, I see…. there it is!!
The most brilliant music, the most crowded tables, the most welcoming hostess, the most attentive bar staff, the most delicious drinks, the vibiest vibe .. an utter assault of joy going on in a packed, wood panelled room, with a small raised stage at one end and the most beautiful meandering soulful sounds coming from Giacomo Smith’s clarinet…I swear I was overcome with temporary synaesthesia…everything colliding, colours, sounds, musicianship, happiness, skill, a magical rhythmic sensory overload.
The musicianship of the Kansas Smitty’s musicians is completely outstanding. Everything is presented in a low key/low slung/gentle way and as the musicians are in hot, hot, hot, demand, the line-up is in a constant fascinating flux truly reflecting their ever increasing community of young talent. It’s intriguing how radically the flavour of the evening changes dependent on which artists are playing, but it is always, always magical.
I have known Jennie for a couple of years now and her care and understanding of the musicians, their schedules, needs, complex relationships with travel/budget/music commitment/inter-band relations is obvious. She creates an inclusive, joyous, celebratory, meaningful vibe and it’s spectacular.
As an artist these evenings offer a beautiful way of meeting people who celebrate and support music making. Other than the occasional monster/mini hangover, the morning after the night before aftermath is an energising heartwarming feeling of possibilities and a recharged attitude of can-do-ness.
I cannot recommend these evenings highly enough .. see you at the bar!
– Sukie Smith is an actress and the front woman for her band, MADAM.
To find out how you to get an invite to the Hospital Club click HERE.