About eighteen months ago we went to the Crypt Jazz Club in Camberwell, shortly after it had re-opened after a long closure and we said at the time that the club had not quite returned to its former glory in terms of atmosphere. Well, we went again last Friday and its obvious that the Crypt has definitely got its mojo back; it was totally packed out and there was a real buzz about the place. There’s really nowhere quite like the Crypt for listening to live music – for one thing it’s a cellar with a retro feel about it, and then you’re really close to the band – musicians just love playing here. Promoters Jazzlive attract a wide range of acts from around the UK and abroad, so there’s usually something to satisfy all tastes in the jazz genre.
On stage was the Gary Baldwin Trio, with Gary on Hammond organ and foot pedal bass, Winston Clifford on drums and local boy Simon Fernsby on Gibson electric guitar. Gary Baldwin was described by Time Out as the ‘British master of the Hammond organ’ and from his huge range of credits it’s easy to see why. He really does get the most out of the Hammond, giving us the full range of sounds in a repertoire encompassing some of his own compositions, along with a few jazz standards by masters such as Wes Montgomery and Chick Corea and then some brilliant arrangements of well-known songs. Particularly popular with the audience was ‘Georgia on my Mind’, made famous by Ray Charles and then Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’, which brought the house down. Gary was ably assisted by Winston Clifford, whose drumming would satisfy any ‘Whiplash’ tutor, and Simon Fernsby, who scampered up and down the scales on guitar.
As ever, there was plenty of food and drink at low, low prices. Food was supplied by Falafel & Shawarma of Camberwell Church Street, with Lebanese dishes at £2.50 starters, £7.50 mains and £2.00 for delicious baklava. The Crypt celebrates its 20th birthday this year and with entry at £8.00, less if you become a member, it really is an affordable night out. Set times are 9.30 and 11.00pm and the bar stays open till around 2am; if you haven’t been to the Crypt yet, you really should put this on your ‘to do’ list. Buy tickets in advance or pay at the door, but for tables it’s first come – first served, so to get one of the best tables get there by 8.30 latest.
The Crypt, St Giles Church, Camberwell Church St SE5 8RB