Saw Paul James last night at Irene’s. First time he had been in Ottawa in ten years. First time I had seen him since at the Colonial Tavern in Toronto, over thirty-five years ago, at a time when the Colonial Tavern was not exclusively a jazz venue. As last night and some thirty-five years ago, performing as the Paul James Band.
Something about those who never leave it, despite not having that major international stadium tour or consistent international accolades. They develop a core audience that remembers, over decades, and will come out to witness the experienced perfection. Reminded me of seeing Bill Durst at the same venue. Both with such energy, and such generosity and quality of performance. Both with forty plus years of experience.
Bill Durst forgot the CDs; Paul James did not. Knows much of his audience is not partial to intangible downloads. Taking no breaks between sets, instead meeting with fans, selling and signing his music. Never without a smile. Literally working the room with a cordless guitar. Going to the bar, continuing to play, drinking a beer and then playing slide guitar with the beer bottle.
No video from the time; couldn’t filter what was seen. Fortunately, others have taken the time, in other contexts:
Solid go. Modest excellence.