How do you turn a bird into a soul singer?

You microwave it until its bill withers, arf. I thought of labelling this post “Not your average white band” but the Bill Withers joke beat it by a margin.

The magic of photography manages to make this look like a smoke filled jazz lair rather than the eminently respectable and entirely smoke-free Charles Maude Room of Abingdon School. Though the rows of politely attentive audience might also be a clue. This represents, though I say it myself, a really quite good recovery job via Photoshop on a picture taken in a dim room by my phone on Saturday night.

Young Michael S, second band member from the left and playing bass, is a pupil at said school and has a close relative suffering fromĀ Addison’s Disease. And so, completely off his own bat, he arranged an evening of jazz and funk at the school to raise money for the relevant charity. He was ably assisted by a friend from church on keyboard, a friend of the friend from church on drums, and teachers on trumpet, sax and guitar. The sax teacher has apparently played with Manfred Mann, though whether that is the original group, the Earth Band or the individual I do not know.

And flipping good it was too: two hours of tunes by people I know or know of (Hoagy Carmichael, Gershwin, the Average White Band, Mr Withers) and people I don’t. A great time had by all and, I hope, lots of money raised. If Mike can keep going like that non-stop for a two hour gig, despite being the youngest in the band by a good 10 years, then great things lie in store for him. He was at primary school with Bonusbarn. I’m posting this now to register the fact, when he’s famous, that we knew him first …