Monday, December 09, 2013

Grumpy Gets Jazzed Up In Guimarães, Portugal

Christine Morgan
It’s actually quite difficult, even for me, to be grumpy in November but I try. The trees explode in tones of russet and amber, the air is crisp and the rain stops, albeit temporarily. St Martin’s day, on November 11th is famous for its Indian summer. Actually the sun does show its face but it still feels freezing, so it’s my advice to admire the sun through a window whilst huddled round an open fire eating chestnuts. Eating Chestnuts is, in fact, what you do on St Martin’s day, along with copious amounts of food and beverage in the company of friends or family. Then you reach for the Andrews liver salts (if you are lucky enough to have any) to curb the subsequent indigestion.

The best thing about November in Guimarães though, by far, is the annual Jazz festival. It runs for 2 weeks and has been held here for over 20 years attracting some of the big names from the jazz world to this tiny corner of Europe.

This year I managed to see Ron Carter. I scurried there after work on the first Friday (the soft melodic sound had me dozing off at one point, proving I am not as young as I used to be and really should have been in bed). Of course it was well worth staying up for, but sadly I had to turn down invites from my girlfriends to go on to the après jazz session following. Some of us have to get up early on Saturdays...

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