So suddenly it's November;As a result I'm faced with putting together my Top 10 albums of the year. always an intimidating task to which I'll return later in this blog. However it would be remiss of me not to mention developments that are taking place 20 minutes down the road from where I live, in Ashburton. Over the last three years I've been to some of the best jazz gigs that I've ever been to at St Lawrence's Chapel. It's a small but acoustically pleasing venue that, at a pinch. could probably accommodate 80 people (quite a lot of them uncomfortably!). Now, the Town has a potentially far bigger venue in the shape of an embryonic Arts Centre. It's the old Methodist Chapel. There's a lot of work still to be done, especially with regard to complying with fire regulations, but the new owners aim to have it up and running as a serviceable venue by early 2018.
I visited it last week and have to say that it's a beautiful and quite well maintained building with an enormous potential to support all sorts of arts events and workshops. Ashburton Arts faced a huge challenge to raise money and bid successfully at the recent auction but it's a great example of what communities pulling together can achieve and I'm certain that there'll lots more mentions of it next year in this blog (and perhaps some more photos and details)
As is often the case there's been a late flurry of excellent albums during November and it's added to the difficulty of choosing a Top Ten albums of the year, so I may well extend it to a Top 15. Recent albums that I've played endlessly are The Leo Richardson Quartet album "The Chase" the Pat Martino album "Formidable" (it is!) Django bates first ECM album "The study of touch" and a particular favourite "Shadow work" by Mammal Hands. However, as I write albums for consideration are still arriving on a daily basis. I'm aiming to get the full fifteen up in two parts in mid-December ( I try, I try!).