It wasn’t long after I arrived in London around 2005 having moved from Amsterdam, that I began hanging out on the jazz scene. In many ways that’s where I really started developing my voice as an artist.
During the day I would study and practice, and at night we would hang out at jam sessions and go to concerts all over town, from small venues to renowned clubs such as Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza Express, 606 and The Vortex.
Soon I began gigging myself with other musician’s bands as well as with my own group. There were many small club nights, plenty of which are still going today and some of which are long gone. Different musicians were attached to different venues and scenes, although we all mingled and moved around.
I started hanging out a lot at Charlie Wright’s International Bar. It was a scruffy dive bar in Hoxton that was putting its mark on the up and coming London jazz scene. It was a cool spot, typical for the East London hipster life attracting all sorts of characters and music lovers, and for a good few years it was one of the most exciting jazz venues in London, promoting local and international jazz artists alike.
The rise and fall of Charlie Wright’s is a story for another time. But for me ‘Charlie’s’ gave me a unmatched platform as an upcoming artist to present my music. I met so many ‘cats’ there, amongst others saxophonist Will Vinson who came to the venue with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. Vinson ended up featuring on my first album. I also met another phenomenal saxophonist, my now good friend Zhenya Strigalev, who at the time also did some of the bookings of bands to perform at Charlie Wright’s.
If you’ve ever seen Zhenya play or talk to the audience, you’ll know he has a quirky sense of humour and an abstract mind that spins fast. A bit too fast sometimes. When he called me up to book my band to play at Charlie’s for the first time I was delighted. And when I saw the listings in Time Out and the venues program: “Kristian Borring – Norwegian Fusion Guitarist”, I chuckled and thought to myself: “only Zhenya would get both my nationality and music style wrong…”
Little did I know that my tag line in the London news media for years to come would NOT be “Danish Jazz Guitarist” but rather “Norwegian Fusion Guitarist”. Once that little piece of misinformation had been embedded into the databases, no matter what I did to try and change it, it always came up in listings for my concerts all over London.
I still laugh about this with my friend Jon Scott, the drummer in my band back then, and who has played on all my quartet albums since. He says I wasn’t so cool about it then as I am now! He is probably right, but what’s more, maybe nobody really sees or knows the difference anyway, except for that one poor Norwegian fusion guitarist who has wrongfully been accused of playing jazz and being Danish!! 🙂
Is there a difference? Who knows, judge yourself. The track below was recorded around the hey-days of Charlie Wrights and features Will Vinson, but I used to play it with Zhenya too. I wan’t to give it to you for free as my way of saying THANK YOU for being a subscriber.
If you like this track you might want to check my album ‘Silent Storm’ which I think injects something that is very Scandinavian… who cares from which country anyway!? 🙂
Thanks for reading,
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