Morden Tower, secreted into the medieval West Walls of the old city of Newcastle upon Tyne, is a hidden gem. The intimate tower is approached via a cobbled back lane off China Town. On a dark winter's night one could well stumble upon a witches' coven but this was a mid-summer's evening and it was the spirit of poets past walking the walls as the cool cats listened, intently, then momentarily distracted, then focussing once more on the words and music of Frank Reeve and friends. Reeve, a tall, seemingly intense, yet genial American sat in front of the cats and read. 'The Blue Cat Walks the Earth' is Reeve's third volume of poems about a cat and things...the politics of being a cat, a knowing cat. Rhythm and meter, jazz rhythm and meter were to the fore. Our cat, at times, wasn't word perfect; it didn't matter, he was a jazz cat. 'The Apology' and 'May Day in Moscow' were but two of many 'jazz' poems - Brighton based John Lake and Phil Paton, multi-instrumentalists both, played cool cat blues - to be heard this night on West Walls. A diversion, a hoedown - 'The Blue Cat Calls a Country Dance' - was a delight; Reeve, Lake and Paton got it just right. An evening of jazz 'n' blues, of New Orleans, Steinbeck, the Dust Bowl, of the stevedore on New York's docks, of solidarity.
'The Blue Cat Walks the Earth' by FD Reeve is published by Smokestack Books www.smokestack-books.co.ukISBN: 978-0-9560431-0-6. £8.95. (inc.CD). The CD features American musicians Don Davis (sax) & Joe Deleault (piano). Frank Reeve's website: www.fdreeve.org. Morden Tower's website: www.mordentower.org .
John Lake and Phil Paton should take a well-deserved bow. They met up with Reeve the day before the Morden Tower performance. Their contribution was as if they were long-time associates of Reeve. Cool, cats.