Some of the choicest musical discoveries are those which come by surprise, which are as unexpected as they are exquisite. Last summer, this happened when my Dad and I stumbled across The Martin Harley Band playing in London's famous music pub, "The Half Moon" in Putney. Not quite knowing what we were in for we went for a night out, and the music has stayed with me - I'm still raving about it.
I'm happy to report that our family had a similar experience this summer. After a morning walking high in the French Alps, up to a great viewpoint we descended to the town of Samoens in search of food in the afternoon. Everything was shut and we wandered around the town with a line of hungry (and tired) children behind us. Food was not easily found, but as we walked through the town square we heard a fabulous band rehearsing.
The band was Robyn Bennett and Bang Bang, a jazz/swing/blues/funk group who had just set up a stage and were sound checking. "A quelle-heure est la musique?" I franglaid to the sound man who was happy to confirm that the main event was at "Neuf-heure".
We returned to Samoens and at Nine O'Clock the town square was packed with people, who had come to hear the band as part of a local music festival. Unbelievably it was completely free too, and we got great seats up close to the band.
The band deliver some lovely jazz grooves, some funky rhythms and provide a perfect backdrop to Robyn Bennett's voice as they delivered most of the songs from their new album "The Wait", alongside one or two standards and a cover for good measure.
The band's performance was engaging enough to grab all my kids attention, despite the fact that this is not the kind of music any of them would normally listen to. The fact that this was something we all enjoyed together, helped to make this one of the highlights of our trip.
It was a hot night in Samoens, and we sat in front of the stage as the band played, and the sun-set on the Alpine peaks which tower over the town. It was just one of those fabulous nights.... Buying the CD, and chatting to the band after the show, we discovered that they have never played a gig in Scotland. This is an oversight, I hope they will correct soon!