Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Michael Garrick

I have just read the obituary of Michael Garrick.
When I had just discovered that I was expecting my first child, I attended a jazz singing course at the Guildhall School of Music (I was the worst one, rather screechy) where I was lucky enough to have a one-to-one singing lesson with Norma Winstone (who has a fabulous voice and who used to sing with Ian Carr's Nucleus) and also to work with Michael, singing and writing lyrics to an instrumental he had written called My First Born, which naturally meant a lot to me through my daze of morning sickness.
When I was in the sixth form I would sit alone in my room, listening to John Peel and then letting the radio run on to Jazz Club, which is where I first heard Garrick's music. In between the taped reggae and Pete Atkin quirkiness (this was pre-punk, guys), I taped a beautiful Garrick track with Winstone singing it called Galilee.
I could never find it: and now I have just downloaded a gorgeous version of it sung by Nette Robinson.
These things are always a matter of taste, but I think it is the most achingly beautiful piece of music with Robinson's voice soaring like a bird in the sunset over Garrick's shuffling piano rhythms.
Somewhere in this house is a vinyl album of Garrick's very English-sounding jazz. Some of it is disappointing but the best of it has an Alice-in Wonderlandishness about it, particularly when Winstone is singing.
Jazz has always been a bit of a mystery to me but something about listening to this track in my teenage angst and isolation makes it really evocative.

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