Monday, December 25, 2006

What I am listening to at the moment "Corey Mwamba" SIPPING RIOJA

My main listening at the moment is to the debut album by COREY MWAMBA the fantastic Vibes/Dulcimer player based in Derby.His debut album titled "Sipping Rioja at home" is a real joy and absolutely wonderful and full of inventive explorations of sound.
Corey is one of those musicians who can tell stories with every twist and turn of their music effortlessly.Always searching for new methods of expression he has the uncanny knack to always open up your ears to some amazing moments of melodic magic that can transport the listener into amazing harmonic and rythmic journeys you want to hear again and again and again.I'd advise everyone to check out one of his shows as they are guaranteed not to leave disapointed.Go buy "Sipping Rioja at home" and see the new year in style.He's also coming to a town hear you soonish watch out for the gigs in the new year with the great pianist composer Robert Mitchell and ace vocalist Deborah Jordan.For a more in depth profile look here.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The last gig of the year

This thursday I played with the BRUISE band.This is always one of my favourite bands with great players in John Edwards,Tony Bevan,Mark Saunders,Ashley Wales.The night at the Red Rose also had a trio led by Alan Wikinson with John Coxon and Tony Marsh they gave a full on set really enjoyed by the audience.I had last seen Alan Wilkinson playing Baritone in the 200 saxophone project for the London Jazz Festival.So it was great to hear him outside that wall of sound,Tony Marsh has always been one of my favourite Drummers so it goes without saying that I enjoyed his playing with John coxon ably supporting the proceedings guitar/fx.The BRUISE band always different always sheer joy in sound and composition.Tony Bevan had a new Soprano a model made by KING from the 1920s that had an unusual sound and Harmonics in the higher registers.This gig was also a good warm up for a Studio date we had the next day at The famous COWSHED studios.That session produced 8 compositions with me playing some keys for a change Hammond B3 and Fender Rhodes on some numbers.We'll listen back to see how it all sounds after Christmas.Happy

Friday, December 15, 2006


The Roundhouse Venue in Camden re-opened in July this year and what an
amazing place.I have been involved with the education Department since
it's opening.The facilities are really top drawer.I have just finished
teaching on the Autumn term of student classes.Each weekend there's a
Percussion Project called the Roundhouse Beat Band that I lead with
young students playing and learning the rudiments of Drumming plus having
a lot of fun maybe putting percussion to film soundtracks.One weekend
we even sat in and watched the soundcheck of Artist playing in the London
Jazz Festival.This gave the students a close up view of one of the most
incredible drummers on the international scene i.e Vinnie Coliuta who
was performing with Herbie Hancock upstairs at the Roundhouse in the main
Venue.The last 2 weeks have seen the centre involved with taster classes
in some of the activities on offer.Radio Broadcasting,Music Production,
Live Jam which is a course that involves helping young musicians to form
their own bands and compose original music.
80 students have taken part in the percussion classes that have involved
local schools.Hopefully the courses on offer will attract more students
to have these experiences next year.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Been neglecting the blog a bit as I have been travelling back and forwards to Derby the last 3 months,This was normally at least one day per week.The reason was a project with Derby Jazz and 2 Schools within Derby.The project being led by local musician Walt Shaw and myself.Walt a fantastic musician who creates lovely original instruments from found objects i.e drainpipes,wood,bins,metal,paper etc just about anything really. The Swamp project was funded by the Arts council creative partnerships scheme whereby original music and in this case instruments are created with students who are not necessarily music students.The students took to the project with great enthusiasm particularily the design phase which involved the CDT department of the local secondary school.I would muck in also with drilling,sawing,glueing what ever was needed to bring sn idea to fruition.
All the way through this project there has been research undertaken to look at the how the students are responding and engaging with different methods of creating art. Walt has been amazing at raising their awareness of what can be achieved with bits of junk.One school had an absolutely rreat head of Expressive Arts dept,Who went above and beyond the call of duty to make the whole thing run smoothly.However there was also in the background throughout the whole process some descenting voices who where doing the "Why can't we stick to the tried and tested methods that were used to bit" but I think judging by the ecstatic response to our final day and the subsequent evening performance from both the students and their parents,We achieved all that we had set out to do in the first place. In fact one parent even came up and said "Its probably annoyed them even more now that it gone so well". That they didn't even say goodbye at the end of a three month project or thanks was a teeny bit strange,but hey,it's about the students! I Had a great time and it really was fun conducting the final performance with such interesting sounds being generated from the students incredible array of original instruments.
This year I have been lucky to be involved in some big education projects all having their own difficulties but each having their own successes in the final analysis.Not all so called Educators have agreed with the methods employed in order to achieve the final result,but this has made the process in many cases more interesting than the final outcome due to the resistance,which is fine.It does however mean there are still more than a few dinosaurs out there who would love to maintain the status quo that sees them sitting atop their own mini castles but you can't have everything.Me I have learnt heaps and long may it continue.My final thought is about the student who came up and said "I didn't like music before,I didn't know it could be so exciting!but I want to play Violin now,do you think they'll let me"?
lots of Thanks to Walt,Corey,Geoff,Steve.