Waiting for Nigel

I started writing this on Thursday night on the way to the Nigel Kennedy gig at Kell's Kitchen. I didn't know what to expect other than that it was Nigel Kennedy and jazz… that's all I really needed to know. I knew he was playing with some of Sydney's top musicians and having seen him play with Jonathan Zwartz before, I knew this was going to be brilliant. I just didn't know how brilliant.

So here's my writing from Thursday to Friday and even a little bit from Sunday.

And all of these images are shot by me and therefore copyrighted to me, but if you want to use them, don't hesitate to give me a holler by leaving me a comment and I can provide bigger ones. Like if you want to print some and such.

Dad trying to get an interview out of Nigel…


8.00 PM

Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever develop my Dad's waning attitude. The thought sort of scares me. Much like developing his humour which has already started and I probably can't stop.

We're heading to Kell's Kitchen to see Nigel Kennedy tonight and while the restaurant name suggests trendy, Dad's wearing nothing but a t-shirt, daggy jeans, and sandals. Frankly, I'd be surprised if they let him in. And honestly, that sort of laziness feels disrespectful to Kennedy himself.

It dawns on me that I could have always gone with friends, but between the few I have, they're either:

Not people who like jazz
Too busy
Don't like violin
Don't want to be seen out with me

As a result, going out with my Dad to see Kennedy is all I have.


8.13 PM

Parked. *sigh*

8.33 PM

Standing in line with a Bourbon and Coke.

So much for worrying about getting in.

8.45 PM
Highlight so far (as I wat in the line):
Walking into Kell's and seeing a happy and spirited Nigel to my right.

I take a sip of the Bourbon and coke.

'I should've brought my violin from him to sign,' I think to myself.

9.14 PM
What a quaint venue this is.

And look… there's even a hot girl to my right with braces and a lip ring.

9.17 PM
Left, even.

It didn't take me long to lose track of time.

Nigel has a way with music. He treats music as if it's a loved one. Dignity, respect, and passion. Seeing Nigel play is a treat and you can tell he's happy when you're happy.

This was the way jazz is supposed to be.

Hot, dingy, crowded, cramped, sweaty.

This is jazz not some bullshit nightclub where beats are all that matters. This is people pushing out their hearts and souls in the strike of a bow, the horse hair lighting the string on fire and sending a pulse of sound our way. This is a bassist plucking like a madman, the notes bouncing and jumping all over your earlobes threatening to cave in your senses and make you believe that insanity is brilliant.

This is jazz. This is excellent. This is…


I'm sorry for being so frank but seriously, that will be the best twenty dollars ever spent.

Seriously. It doesn't get much better value than that.

You know when you're hearing some of the best renditions of Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Jimi Hendrix by some of Sydney's top jazz musicians as well as Nigel Kennedy, something in the universe is definitely right.

And it's not just Kennedy… it's the entire band. From Jonathan Zwartz on bass, Hamish Stewart on drums & percussion, Dale Barlow on sax & flute, and Gerald Masters on the organ (and I'm sure I'm spelling some names wrong), they were all standout.

Like… wow.

There will never be jazz that good in Sydney for a while I bet.

Click on this image to see it slightly bigger!

The last song they played was a suggestion  by Dad. Nigel asked what they should play and Dad said "Song For My Father".

"That's top," Nigel said and they got into, Dad clapping the beat on his lap as they started. It didn't exactly get everyone into the whole clapping thing though a few joined in.

I haven't been able to get the version I heard there out of my head yet.

As I write this, it's Friday and it's still playing along in a constant brilliant loop.

At the half-way mark, I got to hug Kennedy. At that point, your original thought of "well hang on, I kind of want his autograph on my Vivaldi CD" goes right out the window and into the lap of someone who seriously can't get their head around hugging the guy you want an autograph of.

Seriously… I got to hug Nigel Kennedy.

I got to talk to Nigel Kennedy. Like he's a bloke. Just a guy I know.

Un-fucking-believable. In a good way.

If you thought my happiness was up there when I got to hug him, you should see what happened at the end of the night.

Dad hanging out with Nigel…

I got to hang out with Nigel Kennedy!!!

Now sure, it was a school night… hell, it IS a school night and I'm writing this now (hey… an update for my blog… and all it took was a world class violinist)…

A school night and shouldn't I be sleeping? I mean I do have a lot of troubles with getting to work on time. Or even remotely near on time.

But geeze… this was Nigel Kennedy.

I quite liked how he told me I needed to get with blonde babysitting bimbos. I happened to agree.

It should be said that while I enjoy every sort of music and generally follow the mantra of "as long as it sounds good, I like it", I have two favourite artists.

Not in any order:

  • Mel Torme
  • Nigel Kennedy

Now not to put a dampner on any of this but… Mel Torme is dead. And I've just hung out with Nigel Kennedy.

I'm over the moon right now. Fly me to the moon and let me sing above the stars. That sort of over the moon. NASA could've let me shoot down the satellite with how universally accepted I am right now.

More pictures below. Leave me a comment with your email in it if you want bigger ones or just more pictures cause… I have LOADS more!!!



Click the image to see it bigger!

Posted in Music, Photography, Random Nights OutTags:
  • Thank you for this blog and for the pics ! I’d like to reprint what you wrote on my unofficial Nigel Kennedy website. If you give me permission to do it, I’ll acknowledge everything fully and put a link to your blog. Let me know.
    What a night !

    6:29 am February 25, 2008 Reply
  • Jordan Ceresoli

    hey i was there that night as well, lol i did take my violin for nigel to sign, he did. I’m friends with Jonathan Zwartz son, Henry. I was there for the soundcheck but didnt get to here him play (ouch). But it was great talking to him normally and we had something to eat together before the gig. it was so fucking awsome. At first i was surprised by how much he swore but then again, he’s nigel fucking kennedy. awsome blog

    4:56 am March 1, 2008 Reply
  • kristin

    Hey your photos are really great.. keep up with it, I hope its something you are going to pursue!

    11:05 pm June 4, 2008 Reply
  • I’m always taking pictures, especially of music (whenever I go to gigs, that is)… I just always forget to post them!

    7:14 am June 15, 2008 Reply
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