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Live at the Log: Jazz musicians who have made Hampstead Heath home during lockdown

PUBLISHED: 17:19 27 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:19 27 August 2020

Jazz performers Live at the Log. In this photo are Joe Fenning (trombone), Theo Malka-Wishart (bass), Gustavo Clayton Marucci (clarinet and, Louise Balkwill (voice)? Picture: Robert K Bauer

Jazz performers Live at the Log. In this photo are Joe Fenning (trombone), Theo Malka-Wishart (bass), Gustavo Clayton Marucci (clarinet and, Louise Balkwill (voice)? Picture: Robert K Bauer

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For musicians, lockdown has been difficult as putting on gigs has become nigh-on impossible.

Live at the Log: Jazz musicians who have brightened heath-goers' days. From left to right:Tom Olsen (saxophone), Eleazar Ruiz Spreafico (guitar), Lewis Taylor (trumpet), Joe Fenning (trombone), Theo Malka-Wishart (bass), Gustavo Clayton Marucci (clarinet), Louise Balkwill (voice).  Picture: Robert K BauerLive at the Log: Jazz musicians who have brightened heath-goers' days. From left to right:Tom Olsen (saxophone), Eleazar Ruiz Spreafico (guitar), Lewis Taylor (trumpet), Joe Fenning (trombone), Theo Malka-Wishart (bass), Gustavo Clayton Marucci (clarinet), Louise Balkwill (voice). Picture: Robert K Bauer

But a group of enterprising jazz artists found a novel way of tackling boredom – they started holding open air performances on Hampstead Heath.

Singer Louise Balkwill, was one of the instigators of the “live at the log” concerts you might have stumbled upon.

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After turning up to an enclave in the middle of the Heath – north of the Mixed Bathing Pond – with friend and colleague Lewis Taylor, a WhatsApp group formed and a loose collective of instrumentalists grew up – all keen to play music for a live audience however they could. 
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Golders Green woman Louise said: “Lockdown has been absolutely catastrophic for the music community. None of us have received help really – we are all effectively jobbing musicians. Gigging and teaching are what we do, and we thought we needed to find somewhere that was out of the way.”

The Live at the Log crew in Hampstead Heath - featuring  Lewis Taylor (trumpet), Tom Olsen (saxophone), Eleazar Ruiz Spreafico (guitar), Theo Malka-Wishart (bass), Louise Balkwill (voice), and Gustavo Clayton Marucci (clarinet). Picture: Robert K BauerThe Live at the Log crew in Hampstead Heath - featuring Lewis Taylor (trumpet), Tom Olsen (saxophone), Eleazar Ruiz Spreafico (guitar), Theo Malka-Wishart (bass), Louise Balkwill (voice), and Gustavo Clayton Marucci (clarinet). Picture: Robert K Bauer

The 2x-year-old added: “It’s a way of playing with other people. It’s been really nice to see people who find us on the log whether deliberately or by accident who all tend to sit around for a while and watch.”

Louise and the gang have been performing most Thursdays and Sundays. She said: “We set up around one o’clock and weather permitting we are there until about seven.

“It started off with just two of us, myself and Lewis Taylor, and now we have got a little group together. It’s been a real success.”

The gang are using the WhatThreeWords navigation tool to point people to where they are performing, their three word code is ears.grace.encounter.


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