Edinburgh diary 23/08/19 – All that jazz

Jazz Bar Edinburgh

The sun is shining in Edinburgh, and it looks like it’s here to stay.  Well, until the end of the festival in two days time, anyway.

Not that I’m a fool of course – I’m still carrying around waterproofs at all times.  Edinburgh weather cannot be trusted.  Stupid, stupid weather.

The show was straightforward enough.  I had Anna back flyering with me, and between us and the organic pull of the show, mixed with general passing trade ‘giving it a go’, I was just shy of filling the room.

It was a bit annoying because at one point I was at standing room only, but once I started the show I had 2 empty seats.

It turns out that a small group came in with those queuing, but left before the show began.  As I quipped to the audience, how shit do you have to be that you have walkouts before you even begin??

I was happy with the turnout, of course, but it’s just annoying because I had a group of ten who wanted to come who had to be turned away!

The show itself was a bit hard work, to be honest.  The weather has gone hot again, and it felt hot and sticky in there.  Audience reactions dragged a bit, but overall it was successful enough.  Not my favourite show, not my hardest.

John Robins

After playing the Geek show again (which had a very nice crowd in), I grabbed some dinner, and went to see John Robins.

I was lucky, as I was able to get one of the last few tickets remaining.

John is a massive Queen fan, but I only just worked out that Hot Shame, his show title, is a homage to the Queen album Hot Space.  And that’s only because I recognised it was playing when I walked in.

I’m all for paying homage to things you love in your show title, but it must be something of a risk to name your show after your favourite band’s shittest album!

Not that that mattered, of course, as it was a good show.  Robins won the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2017, so he easily fills large rooms like this one.

It had a slower pace at times than I expected, but it was still great to see a skilled Fringe performer mining his personal life, and personality, for material.  Really giving of himself as a performer.

Valery Ponomarev Quintet

To end the evening I saw the Valery Ponomarev Quintet.  Valery Ponomarev is a trumpeter, who escaped the USSR in the 70s, and then toured with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers for a number of years.

To celebrate the centenary of Art Blakey’s birth, here the quintet played pieces exclusively from his back catalogue.

It was at The Jazz Bar, and the roomed was packed.  I sipped a Caol Ila while the band played.  Both were smooth, baby!

Particular kudos to the tenor sax player Konrad Wiszniewski, who I thought was superb.  He really opened up on his solos.

The final piece was Caravan.  I knew it was by Duke Ellington, but I didn’t know that Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers did a famous cover.  Either way, it was a piece worthy of closing on, and Valery provided his best, blistering, solo of the night for it.


God, I love jazz!


My show, Shit Socialist, is on 3.15pm, 1-25 Aug, at The Counting House (Attic).  Free entry, PWYW.