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Spiritual sound in the crypt

08 November, 2019 — By The Xtra Diary

Robert Pfeiffer, Sophie Alloway, Dave Barrows and Mike Searl

OFF to church, and the glorious surroundings of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square.

Diary was there to do a spot of worshipping, but of a different type: for each Wednesday, the wonderful crypt plays host to a packed-out jazz night (and the proceeds go towards the church’s vital outreach support projects for homeless people, and maintaining this incredible landmark).

The Reliables took the stage last week and wooed a sell-out crowd with their heady interpretations of the likes of Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

“We’ve been playing together for over five years now,” guitarist Robert Pfeiffer tells Diary.

“All of us love creative, groovy music that takes people into the ambiance of the glorious time of jazz in the Sixties, but to embark on a journey with us into modern music.”

The band is made up of San Francisco-born sax player Dave Barrows, bassist Mike Searl and drummer Sophie Alloway.

Mike loves travelling and touring and mixing global music influences.

“Currently he’s body and soul into all things Japanese, including counting us into tracks in Japanese,” says Robert.

Robert says playing jazz has shown him what an international language it is.

From Germany, he has studied in Lausanne, Paris and London. “My love for the guitar and jazz has been a wonderful companion,” he adds.

“Wherever you go, jazz is understood and interpreted in a fresh and exciting way.”

The Reliables came about when Robert and Dave met at a gig. “He happened to walk in with his sax and after the break and a chat he just jumped in,” says Robert.

“After that we decided to get a band off the ground that would start with a respectful bow to the classics, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and then go on to take our repertoire towards a wider range of modern influences.

“Along this path we wrote original pieces that hopefully capture some of these influences.”

And for Robert, there is something even more special about playing in the church. He is also a member of the congregation.

“This is very special to me and not just any gig,” he adds.

“St Martin is a spiritual place and whether you’re a Christian or not there is a sense of meaning and community you can feel vividly – not least in the amazing crypt. As a musician the idea of being connected with each other in a spiritual sense comes quite naturally.”

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