Guitarists Thomas “Spats” Langham and Martin Wheatley are two of the warmest people and finest creative musicians I’ve ever met. In the accompanying photograph, they are appearing at the 2012 Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party — the guitars they are playing are not the ones they brought later on; the video performances that follow come from the 2016 Mike Durham Classic Jazz Party.
Two guitars, trading solo and accompaniment, and Spats’ remarkable singing — especially on two ballads I’d never known. Spats introduces each performance, so I will leave the commentary to him. And unlike other guitar extravaganzas, this delightful interlude is about music rather than sparkling displays of virtuosity — although any guitarist will tell you that the simplest-appearing passage here is the result of experience, taste, and long years of practice and performance. About Spats’ singing, I will only say that he is one of my favorites among the living and the departed: especially on ballads.
Before you launch into this assortment of pleasures, know that the videos are less than superb: I was stationed in an unusual spot, holding my camera in mid-air, and one of the patrons had run over my foot with his electric scooter, twice, once forward and once in reverse (annoying but not crippling). So those factors must be accounted for. But I think that these two artists are worth the inconvenience, and much more.
I think they’re wonderful:
and an absolutely gorgeous love song, new to me:
and a tribute to Irving Berlin, Carl Kress, and Dick McDonough:
and yet another lovely surprise, this wistful Ivor Novello composition:
and a Victor Young movie theme, with romping variations:
I have it on reasonably good authority that Martin and Spats are planning a duo CD. I can’t wait.
May your happiness increase!