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Zoot Money at the Bull’s Head

Zoot Money

This being Christmas week, Zoot Money needed to call up some deps for last night’s gig at the Bull’s Head in Barnes. A whole band of deps, in fact. But what deps they were. The great Jim Mullen on guitar. John Altman and Bob Sydor on soprano and tenor saxophones respectively. Kenny Wilson on bass guitar and Mark Fletcher on drums. All they were getting, as one of them said, was a key and a count-in. And away they went.

It was rough around the edges, gorgeous in spots, and suffused throughout by the spirit of the music they share. “The Promised Land”. “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer”. “My Babe”. “Let the Good Times Roll”. Eight-bar blues, 12-bar blues, 16-bar blues. Zoot toggled between B3, Rhodes and acoustic piano sounds on his electronic keyboards.

The highlights included two duets at the start of the second set: Mullen with Zoot on a lovely “Please Stay” and Sydor doing the Fathead Newman thing on Ray Charles’s “Hard Times”. The pianist Kenny Clayton and his daughter, the singer Alex Clayton-Black, were invited up for a guest spot which included a delightful “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home to”, with a sinuous obligato from Altman’s curved soprano.

Cues were hit, cues were missed, but a good time rolled for the musicians and their audience in the little back room. That’s what the common language can do.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Paul Tickell #

    I did not know that Zoot Money was still going strong. I saw him live circa 1970 and, while it was not the greatest gig, boy did he bring such energy to the stage!

    December 29, 2019
  2. Paul Crowe #

    Likewise, I didn’t know Zoot still gigged. Sounds like an enjoyable set.

    December 29, 2019
  3. I follow him on facebook but George doesn’t seem to play much outside London. Saw him play a show in Nottingham’s market square circa the turn of the century and hung out with him a few times when he was working with Kevin Coyne in the late 70s. That man has some stories to tell.

    December 29, 2019
  4. Tim Adkin #

    Any band with Mullen in the ranks has to be worth watching. We caught Zoot a few years back in a band fronted by Alan Price and with the excellent Bob Tench on guitar. Zoot pretty much stole the show. Had forgotten about that Coyne band – didn’t it have Money’s old cohort Andy Summers ( fame with The Police still a few years away) in it too? Glad to see the great man is still around.

    December 29, 2019
    • It was with Alan Price that I saw ZM in the Market Square – as I recall he got one number to himself. He accompanied Kevin Coyne for many shows in the late 70s as a duo. The gig they played in support of Dynamite Daze at Rafters in Manchester in 79 was the best I ever saw Coyne play. I fondly remember George and I taking on challengers as a double at pool and his noble insistence on the ‘two shots don’t carry on rule, which cost us our final game.

      December 29, 2019
  5. Mick Steels #

    Good to hear Bob Sydor is still playing he made valuable contributions to Graham Collier’s Music, btw anyone aware of another GC saxophonist Murray Hill whereabouts

    December 30, 2019
  6. John Jennings #

    Caught Zoot and his band (sometimes called Surprise Party) a few times at the Bull’s Head in the last ten years. It was always a great night of music. One show featured Nick Newell on tenor. Zoot is a very funny man, and very easy to talk to.

    January 3, 2020

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