Islay Jazz and no Fish and Chips

It must be hard for someone addicted to Jazz and Fish and Chips when visiting Islay. There's plenty of Jazz but no Fish and Chips, according to visitor of the latest Islay Jazz Festival. The lack of a fish and chips shop and no beer at the Indian restaurant in Bowmore were the only disappointing things a blogging Jazz lover experienced on the island during the latest Jazz festival. The blog I'm talking about is called rhythmaning and contains a lengthy report and many pictures. It was the third time for the author to visit Islay and each time specially for the jazz festival. He writes about the weekend: "The combination of the island, the whisky and jazz makes for a very memorable weekend." Below a quote from his interesting report:

I was staying in a B&B on the Oa, across the bay from Port Ellen. It overlooked the water and was a lovely setting. Rather than sit and take in the view, though, I dashed off for the first gig. The one downside of the Islay jazz festival: all the venues are a long way from each other – and the only way between them is to drive. The first gig I wanted to get to was way on the west of the island, at Port Charlotte. A very pretty village. The concert was a duet gig with Dave Milligan and Colin Steele. I have seen them both play many times before, often together, but never just the two of them. It worked really well. There was then a mad dash in convoy back to Bowmore, home to Bowmore malt. Bowmore is a great little town, but it somehow lacks a fish and chip shop. There is a very poor excuse for an Indian restaurant, though. Indeed, the whole of Islay lacks a chip shop; there is meant to be a chip van in Port Ellen on Friday and Saturday night, but I couldn’t find it. Continue reading....

The next day I walked from the B&B out to the lighthouse at Carraig Fhada. More of a folly, this was built by a laird to commemorate his wife who had died: he built it in the shape of their wedding cake. It must have been a very oddly shaped wedding cake! The sea was wonderful. Walking beside the bay, I was looking out for otters, which my hosts had said could be seen there, but they weren’t playing that morning. Instead, though, I did see a pair of golden eagles, which I had also been primed to look for. The first gig of the day was at Ardbeg: essentially a jam session featuring a front line of Greene, Quigley and Grieve, with Gourlay on bass, Milligan on piano and a drummer who I didn’t know and whose name I can’t remember... Back to Laphroig for my final gig. I was hurrying because there was only 30 minutes between gigs, but not as fast as an old Peugeot that passed me (I had had to slow down when the car in front of me turned right into the airport). When I got to Laphroig, Stu Ritchie was setting up his drumkit – so it was he who sped past. I caught the ferry back to Kintyre the next day. It rained non-stop, and kept it up for thirty six hours. I ate lunch of fresh oysters – straight from the sea – and langoustine from the seafood cabin, warm in front of a log fire. Magic.

Tag: jazz festival report

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