Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dave Chambers and Afroblue

Stapleton Hall Tavern
The Stapleton Hall Tavern (now renamed the Larrik), Finsbury Park, London*

Back in the early 1980s when I was a young postdoc, I lived in Finsbury Park, North London, where I owned a small flat. Those were fun, optimistic days and one of my favourite hangouts was the Stapleton Hall Tavern at the foot of Crouch Hill. The pub was slightly rough and I was witness to several brawls: reputedly it was frequented by the North London Mob (I wouldn't be surprised) and apparently Bob Hoskins was a customer in his pre-Hollywood days. What was for sure was the place had great live music. Better still it was free. I saw all kinds of jazz and rock bands including an early iteration of Iron Maiden. My favourite group by far was a jazz combo: Dave Chambers and The OK Band. Frontman, Dave, on saxophones and flute played a kind of electric version of classic jazz that I found very exciting. The pub's clientele seemed to agree as they were invariably bopping up and down by the end of the evening and calling for encore after encore. At one point I sidled up to Mr. Chambers and asked if he gave lessons (my bucket list includes playing flute in my own jazz band). He said he did and for ages I carried his address and phone number in my wallet. But I never did take Dave up on his offer. I moved to San Francisco and became deeply immersed in career, fatherhood and other such distractions. Memories of Finsbury Park faded.

Fast forward 25+ years. I was fiddling around on the internet and came across a photo of the Stapleton Hall Tavern. I poked around a bit further and discovered that Dave Chambers is very much alive and kicking and has a new band, Afroblue. He also has an excellent CD which he sent personally following an email. Cheers, Dave, you're a gentleman. And you're still making great music after all these years (please don't just take my word for it -go here and check out Bahula's Benfit for wonderfully joyous song)!

Dave Chambers (second from left) and Afroblue

* Photo courtesy Ewan Munro.

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