It turns out they haven’t reached the stage of actually rehearsing in the hall yet. A couple of band members – double bass player Phil Donkin and drummer Chander Sardjoe - are there, warming up I suppose you’d call it while the stage crew plug in some plugs, wire up some wires, mic up some… ok, nobody’s called Mike.
Although the two musicians appear to be trying out completely unconnected things at first, the one noodling out some basslines, the other essaying a few spasmodic shots on his kit, every so often they slip into a groove as if unable to help themselves.
Oh, but now the crew need some peace and quiet for a bit and send the pair packing. So maybe I can digress for a moment, and confess that the sound of bass and drums like this rarely fails to raise a tingle of anticipation. Before I realised I loved classical music, before the idea settled on me that I might actually one day call myself a musician, I loved jazz. It opened up a whole world of music, perhaps even of life, that I hadn’t clocked in my conventional classical music education.
As I became more engaged with my own musical practice, learning the viola and absorbing myself increasingly in classical music, my obsession with jazz subsided. Particularly when I realised I’d never be able to play it properly myself (and don’t try and tell me that jazz is some kind of let-yourself-go medium that plays itself if you would only just lose your inhibitions).
But hearing stirrings of it, like just now, reminds me that there are indeed other worlds of music out there, and perhaps other lives. In other words, that music offers the possibility of a different world. And sewing a glimpse of that into the cloth of our regular lives, whether through projects like Eclectica or some other process or accident, is exactly what musicians, and by extension music organisations, should be trying to do.