Sophia goes Backstage! at Jazz in the Bar


Philip Clouts was born in South Africa and enjoyed a childhood of surround-sound Cape jazz that has been a big musical influence in his life, whilst Brummie Pete Canter lived in London for 11 years and worked with Soho’s underprivileged children; so it made perfect sense when they told me,

“Jazz is our common language”

And the intimate friendly Marine Bar on a Mothering Sunday afternoon was the perfect place to enjoy the duo’s musical medley.

It was Philip who organised this gig and Pete chose the pieces,

“I went through my big fat book of tunes I’ve played over the years” and it truly is a bulging book of music. Except not the sort of sheet music I am used to with crotchets and quavers riding the staff; with jazz it’s all about improvisation based on a set of chords.

They started with Nostalgia in Time Square that transported me to that busy American city but on a lazy Sunday afternoon when the hustle and bustle have been replaced with a relaxing stroll.

The Saga of Harrison Crabfeathers put me on a grassy bank next to a stream, the sunshine glinting on the water; although I suspect my vision is slightly off target given the rather unusual title!

Each piece, including Joyce’s Samba and Bluesette written by harmonica player Toots Thielemans, effortlessly conjured up a different image for me but watching Pete in particular who played the alto, tenor and soprano sax, those soothing melodies required a lot of energy on his part!

Philip and Pete also compose music, combining innovation with originality,

“We write our own pieces, exploring the boundaries of what people consider to be jazz”

And that’s exactly what it did for me, taking me off to places I may never go except through the medium of jazz.

Philip will be performing this weekend at St Peter’s Church Eype raising money for the Tusk Trust charity and Pete can be seen monthly at the Exeter Phoenix.

Thanks Sophia, thanks Philip and Peter! More Backstage! next week…