Monthly Archive December 13, 2021

Phew- the gig went ahead!

We were asked to put together a concert as a partial fundraiser for the truly lovely St Mary’s Church in Totnes and there have been several bumps in the road, with each attempt thwarted by the damn plague. Finally – on a cold Saturday night of December 2021 we pulled together the gypsy jazz quartet, Boulevard Combo, ourselves and the incredibly dry and hilarious Matt Harvey who hosted the event.

Man it was cold – checkout the white hot water bottle at my feet! the Boulevards kicked things off with a lot of Django style and Matt got away with subject matter not normally associated with a holy space making it all the more intensely funny. We were honored to have a go at performing some improvisation behind a couple of Matts’ poems before our finishing set of totally new music.

With the Omicron varient threatening we were concerned about safety but the Church is a very large space (seating 300) and there were about 100 people in all with plenty of air and mostly masked up so it felt fine. The sound quality was amazing and even though it’s a very reflective space, the bass was tight and Bevs saxes sounded fabulous. We even had a bar in church!

It felt risky debuting nearly an hour of previously unheard music but it seemed to pay off and the response was fantastic as well as a lot of spontaneous dancing throughout the isles.


The event raised some cash for the Trust and we thank them for the opportunity to play in such a beautiful space.


With a bit of luck 2022 will allow a lot more of the same…


We even got a review from Totnes Journalist John Anderson as below:

Witty Words and Wonderful Music Warm the Crowd at St Mary’s Totnes

St Mary’s Totnes was alive last night with the sounds of wonderful music, witty poetry and a crowd of about 80 people, many of whom ended up dancing in the aisles.
It was a “Christmas in the Air” evening and the line-up of entertainers provided a fascinating look at just some of the creative forces that are present in the greater Totnes area.

First up was a quartet called “Boulevard Combo”, a tight little group that displayed a mastery of music ranging from Django Rheinhardt to Klezmer to American classics such as Honeysuckle Rose and Autumn Leaves. Whoever set the line up for the evening was clever by putting Boulevard Combo first. Their music engaged with the audience and put everyone in a good frame for what was to come.  And what was to come was Matt Harvey, the poet who has both a local and national following and for good reason. His ability to shoe horn witty rhymes with topical issues proved a great way to spend a cold Winter evening. We were entertained with musings on the characteristics of a baby, the special place whales occupy in the environment and the use of poetry to attract new entrants to the sperm bank donor community. Matt was hitting all the spots with the audience and they returned their affection most nobly.

Rounding out the evening in a most appropriate manner was Jazzient, a popular local duo made up of Bev Knowlden on saxophone and Peter Shearn on guitar. They had actually made a background appearance providing some atmospheric music in support of Matt Harvey.
When it came to take centre stage themselves they made full use of it. Embracing a genre, I would call “new age retro” they played some stunningly beautiful music that was both melodic and quite rhythmic. On a chilly night two weeks before Christmas they had the crowd up and dancing.

It was simply a great night and the next time this line up comes your way I would strongly suggest you make an effort to see them.
The event was put on in support of the Totnes Heritage Trust.