Years ago, when I first moved to South-East London, I lived for a long while in Greenwich. I now live nearby, but one of my favoutite haunts is Oliver’s Jazz Bar in Nevada Street - a truly dark and beautiful jazz club. This is also the place where Clement Regert and his band, Wild Card, often perform.
Last month I went to see them play; tightly packed on the small stage, there is such freshness and joie de vivre in the band, it is compulsive viewing.
Clement opens the show with a tune by the great Horace Silver, but it is his second track, A Day Like No Other - written by the young guitarist on becoming a dad, that strikes a chord with me. I realize how new and different Clement’s sound is. Adam Glasser on harmonica adds a moving touch to the piece.
Sitting in the crowd at Oliver’s means that you can be so close to the musicians and this, to me, is not just a bonus, but a privilege. One can witness every move, every effort and every note played.
The band don’t just play jazz, but also some fusion, funk, and afro tunes.
On listening to another track written by Clement about his mother, Manic Phase, one realizes what a good writer he is. A moving piece.
The second set opens with Asparagus Moment II. Clement cannot explain to the public why it is called like that, but simply adds that “it is complicated”, which brings a smile to everyone’s face. It is a funny title, but contains a clever solo by the inventive Adam Glasser on piano.
My favourite track of the night is one written by Chick Corea, a ballad called Crystal Silence - Adam Glasser on piano and harmonica creates an amazing atmosphere. The cacophony and noise in the background by some of the people in the audience fails to impact the true beauty of the music.
Softly As In A Morning Sunrise, a stunning track jazz standard, gives the young Sophie Alloway on drums a chance to shine - beauty and talent in one.
There's a surprise guest appearance by Francesco Lo Castro, the talented guitarist whose playing on the night reminds me of the great Pat Martino, but whose great and unique personality adds a trump card to Clement’s night of fusion jazz.
Keep your ears and eyes open for this clever band, with their revolving line-up, and their wondrous mélanges to come!
Line up: Double-bass: Flo Moore, Piano/ Harmonica: Adam Glasser, Drums: Sophie Alloway, Guitar: Clement Regert
Words: Erminia Yardley
Photo: Carl Hyde