|The Other Compass|
The Globe Newtown
Tuesday 12 November
On the second Tuesday of each month (roughly) the Globe Inn in Exeter's Newtown is the venue for new and experimental Jazz. Jesse Molins and Charlie Hearnshaw get together with friends to run through their new compositions. Members of the public are welcome to come and enjoy the music, which is not only highly skilled and expressive - but also costs nothing to attend.
|Guitar: Jesse Molins|
|Bass: Al Swainger|
|Sax: Charlie Hearnshaw|
The venue is the upstairs room at the Globe. Access is from the small courtyard at the rear of the club. Having found the Globe (in Clifton Street) and gone inside, one must then go outside again and climb a narrow set of steps to a small platform (where smoking is not permitted) from which a fire door allows admission to the music room.
|Guitar: Mike Outram|
|Drums: Coach York|
|Keyboard: Billy Bottle|
From about 8pm the far end of the room is filled with instruments and a bewildering array of electronic equipment. Al Swainger has perhaps the most elaborate collection of devices - layed out on the floor like an electric train set. This nerve network controls the nature of the sound, and also the balance between the different musicians.
|Guitar solo: Mike Outram|
|Ensemble: The Other Compass|
Most of the pieces to be played are composed by clarinettist/saxophonist Charlie Hearnshaw and guitarist Jesse Molins. They arrive early with manuscript copies of their work to distribute, and discuss with band members how they would like the piece to develop. Essential to most pieces are solos on different instruments (with continuo provided by other players) alternating with ensemble playing. Beyond the detailed intstructions in the scores, there is ample scope for improvisation and experimentation with different sound combinations.
|Clarinet: Charlie Hearnshaw|
|Composers: Jesse Molins|
|and Charlie Hearnshaw|
At 8.30pm all the elements come together to create 'The Other Compass'. The sound is electrifying from the outset. Both guitarists (Mike Outram and Jesse Molins) beguile with their imaginative creative playing. Al Swainger's bass guitar provides a delicate and nurturing background, which often breaks out into solo playing which takes the music in a new direction.
Coach York's work with drumsticks and brushes is lively and adventurous, as he moves sinuously around the drumkit compiling his compelling rhythms. Charlie Hearnshaw's saxophone diversions are meticulous and endlessly inventive. For some pieces he switches to clarinet for a different but equally engaging sound.
Sitting calmly at the keyboard playing a gentle accompaniment is Billy Bottle. (Billy is also known for his work with 'The Multiple'.) When Billy gets the nod to take over the solo line, his contributions are staggeringly beautiful. He has a very gentle touch and a confident and imaginative improvisation style.
The combined effect is a jazz-lover's delight. An evening with 'The Other Compass' is well worth the effort of seeking out this unusual location. The sound is electronic/amplified but never overpowering - in fact just right. The team's control of their equipment is skilled and effective. The classical training of the instrumentalists shines through in their playing, and the overall effect is beautiful to experience.
Happily, there will be more live entertainment from 'The Other Compass' in a month's time, on the second Tuesday of December. With free admission, and real ale on tap, The Other Compass provide a great night out in Newtown.
The Other Compass
The Globe Newtown
Tuesday 10 December 8.30pm
Jazz compositions by
Jesse Molins & Charlie Hearnshaw
Guitar: Jesse Molins & Mike Outram
Bass Guitar: Al Swainger
Clarinets/Saxophones: Charlie Hearnshaw
Keyboard: Billy Bottle
Percussion: Coach York