Larger than life cities like London don’t give up their secrets easily. The razzle dazzle of familiar landmarks and hotspots serve as diversions. The mundaneness of day to day living creates a forbidding obstacle.
So it’s not surprising that it took me almost the better part of a decade to discover “Just East” at the Safari Bar.
“Just East” is a jazz music band who play every first sunday of a month at the Safari Bar in North Finchley. My late personal discovery notwithstanding, they have been around for the better part of the last two decades.
I must admit I am not a Jazz aficionado myself, but have a bias for sounds of the sax. With Jeremy Shohan’s soul stirring saxophone and Neil Angilley’s teasing and rollicking piano, the cramped confines of the Safari Bar is transformed into a vibrant and lively place.
The music draws not just from Jazz but also from Middle-Eastern and North African influences. Some of the pieces conjure hot siesta afternoons along the southern Mediterranean.
‘Don’t flex with me’ hits the ground running with brisk, muscular determination, while Neil’s Eastern tour de force, ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’, is evocative and marvellous.
First Sunday evenings are something I will look forward to. Sedate North London has given up one of her closely guarded secrets-the haunting sax of jeremy, and the lively piano of Neill with the feet tapping drumming of Rick.