Henry Spencer's Juncture - Thursday 13th Dec 2018
Downstairs at the Wheatsheaf, you know what to expect - long haired rockers, multiple piercings in places you didn’t know could even be pierced (and these are just the faces!) and the pub’s classic sticky floor. However, it’s the upstairs of the pub that is a constant surprise. Every Thursday evening, punters venturing onto the first floor will find themselves in a dingy jazz club. The décor of Parisian red chequered tablecloths and fake candles give the whole place the feel of a stage set, as if each member of the audience has unwittingly become an extra on some cheap film noir.
The Spin Jazz Club is a weekly event hosted by the Wheatsheaf, featuring some of the finest emerging talent of the genre. Tonight is the return of Henry Spencer’s Juncture. It is a particularly special event, as the charismatic (and my god the spitting image of Russell Howard!) Spencer and his band mainly use their set to play brand new compositions - 'Here' was a particular audience favourite. The beautifully original compositions are written by Spencer himself, and required him and the band to read from sheet music (something they don’t usually like to do). Using sheet music can often make a musician less free in their playing, but not so with this confident lot, who paired their very new but finely tuned set with an obvious passion for the looseness and expressiveness of the genre. This love for the music was charmingly highlighted by Spencer’s enormous smiles sporadically beaming out at the audience during particularly complicated moments in his compositions.
A quick word on the critically acclaimed band (worth noting a sometimes rotating group of musicians). Henry Spencer - multi-award-winning composer and trumpet player, on trumpet and flugelhorn; the fantastic Ant Law on electric guitar; Jason Simpson on double bass (playing the instrument so tightly you could feel him tying the compositions together); Rob Brockway displaying his technical mastery on the piano and, finally, the impressive Jay Davis on drums (his final solo saw him playing with awesome speed and accuracy).
Spencer, Simpson and Brockway studied and played together during their time at
Now, I will be the first to say that, unlike the jazz aficionados sat around me, my knowledge of the genre is lacking. But regardless, the pure ability and dexterity of the musicians was obvious to me, seen through the mastery of their instruments and the ambition in Spencer’s compositions. The Wheatsheaf, once again, has done