Grammy-award winning saxophone player Jean Toussaint attracted a large crowd at the Royal British Legion on September 24.

Jean boasts an exceptional career. He studied Saxophone at Berklee College of Music, toured New York extensively in the 80’s as a member of Art Blakely and the Jazz Messengers, and to top it off won a Grammy with the band for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance.

The room became silent as he took to the state alongside a pianist, bassist and drummer.

Speaking briefly into the microphone he joked that organiser Michael Eagleton said he must say a few words, and he then went straight into a classic Miles Davis anthem.

The band began in perfect harmony.

From the first note he played on the tenor saxophone his tone was nothing short of perfection. Through his many years of playing he has embodied a crisp and emotive sound from the iconic instrument, making every riff a pleasure to listen to.

The piece was riddled with genius improvisations from Jean, often straying far from the melody in genius moments of scalic ascends and arpeggios but he always managed to return to the main tune with ease.

The other musicians all had their moments to shine as the saxophone would drop in and out, giving the crowd drum, piano, and bass solo’s all worthy of a round of applause.

I spoke to Jean half-way through the concert, and he spoke of his incredible career and his love for the instrument.

He said: “Once you get the bug for performing live you can’t go back, I love my job, but don’t tell anyone I’d do it for free.”

His passion for performing shone through as he spoke and even more so when he performed.

He’s been performing in venues across the globe since the 80’s and continues to do so today.

Jean later invited a fellow saxophonist from the crowd up on stage, to have a “saxophone off”.

The guest played on the alto sax and definitely gave it his all.

The higher notes which can be achieved on the alto contrasted the deep mellow sounds produced by Jean on the tenor, as they both ‘riffed’ away, Jean clearly impressed with the local’s musical talent.

The performance was incredible and to be able to watch such a talented and accomplished musician in a small and welcoming setting was special.

The venue was scattered with cosy fairy lights, posters of Jazz icons past and present, and the audience sat chatting around tables with their glasses of, very reasonably priced, beer and wine.

And as much as Jean is an incredible performer, the niche venue and welcoming owner has made me want to keep going back to the club, whoever’s performing.