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On a mission for jazz

25 Feb 2010

Review by Lou Lou Belle

Ah, the end of another working week. A balmy Friday evening and I am off to the Mission of Seafarers to attend the second appearance of John Scurry’s Fine and Dandy Quartet.

I don’t have any expectations of the evening and with a 5.30 pm start, commuters are rushing to get out of the city.

As I enter the 94-year-old heritage-listed masterpiece, I am transported into another world from a bygone era. It is surprisingly quiet. The traffic and outside noises are blocked out. I pay my $10 entry and go through to a small courtyard. The band is setting up. The bar has wine, champagne and a couple of imported beers to choose from.

The courtyard is an intimate setting and the band starts playing as a steady stream of people arrive. There is a couple up dancing.

I am introduced to others, business cards are exchanged and stories told. We all discuss how many times we have driven past the mission without understanding what was behind the closed doors. The band takes a break and a small group of us is treated to a guided tour of the premises.

The chapel, the beautiful stained-glass windows, the billiard room, the hall that contained a stage and used to host dances two or three times a week. The stage now houses computers for visiting seamen to stay in contact with their loved ones.  

The band is playing again and there are about 50 people enjoying the jazz. The ambiance of the evening is wonderful. The band is playing at just the correct volume so you can have a conversation and hear what each other is saying. Before we know it the band announces their last song. We all agree the evening has gone too quickly.

Luckily the band will be playing for the next three Friday nights at the Mission, so we all agree it was a lovely way to end the week and plan to catch up with our new found friends to listen to some great jazz again next Friday evening.

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