Jerimiah Marques & The Blue Aces
All Saints, Lewes - Saturday 14th June 2008
I went to this concert in support of my good friend Sam Walker [otherwise suspected of being drummer in the awesome Turning Green]. He presented us with his usual set of magnificent multi-instrumental nonsense and misery. He seems to extend his mastery of nonchalant improvisory stagecraft gig by gig. I’ve said plenty in his praise on previous occasions so you’ll know what I think about his skills by now so I won’t bother repeating myself.
I am ashamed to say that prior to seeing posters advertising this event I had never heard of Jerimiah Marques, let alone his Blue Aces. I am now pleased to say I have put this omission in my musical education to rights. I was astounded when what seemed to be the whole of the population of usually sedate but laid-back and bohemian-trendy Lewes got to its feet a moment after Jerimiah walked on stage to shimmy and shake, boogie and bop away the next two hours. How did they know they were in for such a treat? They must have been party to information that had hitherto been kept from me. For this was to prove one of the best shows of consummate musicianship and collective community enjoyment I have ever witnessed.
Jeremiah looks a little like he might keel over and give up the ghost at any minute – his features are weather beaten and craggy – echoing the state of the building in which he currently stood. This perception is enhanced by his drawling speech delivered through gap-toothed battle scars and bushy beard which suggests he might have spent the last few months in the company of Robinson Crusoe. And its almost confirmed by his economical vocal delivery which is often a incoherent slur but in fact turns out to be the perfect foil for the exquisite musicianship of the band.
The Blue Aces include an amazing pianist, Pete Nash, who has played in support of countless blues legends and it’s not at all difficult to see why. Guitarist Lewis Fielding – another economist – is so impressive that he dominates the scene almost by his anonymity [if you can make sense of that] – his licks are so appropriate you almost don’t notice them! Drummer Mike Thorne delivers the rhythm is an equally masterful but unpretentious mode while Harp-man Wes Weston steps in and out of the limelight with blasts of liquid gold – heralding and echoing the velvet vocals of Jerimiah, thus completing the line-up on this occasion.
The gig has been advertised as Chicago Blues with Jamaican Roots, and the urban blues certainly form the backdrop for the performance but with plenty of nods towards the Mississippi Delta and the country blues too. The band has all the standard riffs and codas but the range extends from Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf through Elmore James and Canned Heat to meet James Brown and Booker T. So an authentic sound with plenty of variety for the audience to step out to. Some punters were calling for reggae, which was met with a robust reply from Jerimiah, ‘We don’t do Reggae, we play Jamaican Blues.’ But within a few tunes he’d taken up a Djembe, which he played with panache, and was delivering something that if it wasn’t Reggae, it was pretty darned close – perhaps dubskabluebeatroots!
A few words must be said about Jerimiah himself. He’s clearly been around and rubbed shoulders with many great names, but he is as friendly and personable as one could wish. After the gig he stood outside in the graveyard yarning with the smokers and other stragglers for some time. Everyone found him delightful. This is not unknown amongst musicians but always a welcome bonus when it happens.
I took the plunge and purchased the latest CD ‘This is Hip’ and have been playing it ever since. It’s very very good, but given the choice, I’d take the live experience every time!
This concert - well party, really - will be remembered by many of those present for a long, long time – it was everything a gig should be – fun, friendly, relaxed and exciting at the same time. I’m sure there will be many calls for Jerimiah Marques and The Blue Aces to return to Lewes. I, for one, will certainly put myself out to see them again and would urge anyone to go and check them out if they hear they’re performing in their neighbourhood.
A wonderful night out. 500%