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Lizy Exell

Lizy Exell: I went to the Watermill Jazz Club virtually every week from the age of 14 after being introduced to the place by my then drum kit teacher, Peter Howland. The first time I went, I saw Martin Drew play with the New Jazz Couriers (Mornington locket and Jim Hart were in the band I think… though its 10 years ago) and Martin knocked me for 6. I was delighted and astonished by the sound, feel and interactive of what he could get out of the drums. Up to that point I had listened to pop, rock and little bit of funk, but nothing so intricate, musical and astonishing as what Martin could do. He left me with tears in my eyes and a gust of inspiration that still pushes me today. I saw a very broad spectrum of jazz during the 3 or 4 years I frequented the club. I remember Art Themen, Peter Cater Big Band, Pete King, Pete Saberton the sublime pianist, Sax Appeal (Derek Nash’s energy and enthusiasm has always inspired me) and Curfew, Kit Downes, Emprical, Nikki Iles, Gene Calderazzo and Dave Wickins….. I think it was the best introduction to jazz anyone could ask for, to see the greatest musicians in London popping down for the evening. It was a blessing to be so close to London at the time when I was very hungry to hear everything but unable to go to London for gigs.


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