Nothing, with the possible exceptions of clowns (once loved now, for no good reason, universally feared) and lard (fatal), gets a harder press than jazz these days.
Thanks mostly to the hilarious Fast Show ‘Jazz Club’ sketches, the stock response to the very word has long been a smarmy ‘Mmmm, nice!’ followed swiftly by a remark along the lines of ‘jazz is pretentious rubbish’.
Tripe. Obviously most jazz is pretentious rubbish, but – as in all kinds of everything – the best always shines through.
Pubs, for example.
And had you been with me in the compact but comfortable beer garden of The Moorbrook in Preston’s North Road, as John Coltrane’s While My Lady Sleeps flowed mellifluously up into the turquoise summer night sky, I am confident you’d have agreed you were blessed to be basking in the warmth of two shining stars.
On the strength of one visit I’d say The Moorbrook should be on the radar of every fan of real pubs and good beer in this parish.
Re-opening its doors after a respectful refurbishment earlier this year, my brother and I passed as enjoyable a St Ivels (five pints) on the premises as I readily recall.
The weather being kind we drained the lot outdoors, but nipping in for refills I found myself actively wishing for winter so as to fully feel the benefit of the cosy panelled snug, saloon and public bar in this compact gleaming gem of a drinking establishment.
The staff and decent crowd (for a Tuesday) were friendly, the music which quietly soundtracked the evening perfect and as for the ale...
Great. Five or six pumps along the bar, draught craft lagers and bottles to pick at, but we leapt straight on what seemed the most summery cask offer, a Lancaster Straw from the Lancaster Brewery.
Golden yellow with a thin head, musky lemon nose and the dryest of hoppy aftermaths, this was easily the best ale I have sampled from said producer.
Two of these down the tubes we changed tack and made an appointment with Dr Rudi, a crisp copper drop from Rochdale’s own Pictish Brewing Company.
Bitter, dry as you like, deceptively strong (the pump head said 4.1%, ahem, NO chance) we saw no reason to move on and placed our trust in the good – the very good – Dr to see us home.
Will be back. Soon. For the ale, the people, the music. All that jazz.