19 September 2011


It was a sunny day and we were at San Francisco’s Farmers’ Market which is held three days a week at the Ferry building. This is both terribly touristy and very local. It was madly busy, with tons of stalls, some truly excellent food stock and unusual varieties, a mélange of people, some great views (Alcatraz, Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate just around the corner) and buskers.

Don Cunningham is a veteran clarinetist with a generous repertoire, a long history of playing since the ‘40s, a fine presentation, a frequent smile and an admirably witty turn of phrase. These were joyous standards performed with mirth and joy for a bright sunny day.

Teodross Avery was a recent returnee to his homeplace in the West after 15 years in NYC. This was a very different presence. Cool and capable soprano sax playing over accompaniment tapes for lithe popular tunes like Sade and Sting.

Billy Philadelphia was actually playing at a restaurant at 1 Market Street, just across the road. Billy Philly is a piano man with that theatre-cum-standards repertoire, but also with a big link to Australian culture: he’d backed Dame Edna Everidge on gig here in San Fran for 5-months in 1999. What don’t we have in common? I’ve caught gladioli! We loved the tunes, were surprised to discover the similarity of Peter Allen’s I still call Australia home and New York state of mind (I prefer the latter), but we were taken when he played The Beatles’ Here, there and everywhere. We are suckers for the Beatles, and this is a richly sentimental and superbly written little tune that is a relatively seldom played. And what’s a piano man for if not for sentiment?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Eric, must be time for you to come home. You are having too good a time :)
cheers, Neal G