Monday, May 25, 2009

Snowboy launches book

Worth reading for all those who were in the scene or not!
A thouroughly entertaining read about a period in London club life when it was the norm for every club to have a jazz dance hour happening in the middle of a Disco club night,where tracks by Art Blakey & the Jazz messengers would see the dance floor taken over by young people for a frenetic sweaty workout!Ably told by DJ/musician Mark 'Snowboy' Cotsgrove Southend's finest. Who delivers a thorough comprehensive encyclopeadic insight into an area of Britains multi cultural heritage that helped to shape a music scene that evolved from humble beginnings into the Acid Jazz scene that was taken up by dancers worldwide, This book is guaranteed to bring back memories for anyone that went to the clubs wore the clothes and bought the music!Foreword by Straight no chaser magazine/Edge 09 stalwart Paul Bradshaw!

Freedom of the City 2009

I haven't performed for a couple of years at the Freedom of the City festival and I have missed it.The Conway Hall is one of those venues that has an interesting history that encompasses so much of the Improv music history of london That I always feel relaxed as soon as I enter the building.The last time I was there was for an event organised by the Wire Magazine where I performed with John Tchai,Sonny Murray and the Springhill Jack band..the last couple of years I have been busy when the Festival time has come around and haven't been able to be there.
So when I was invited this year by the London Improvisors Orchestra and found that Iwas free for a change I gladly accepted and turned up with my 14 Year old son who was out for the day with me!As always the Orchestra was packed with some of Europes finest players this time a welcome addition was Trumpeter Henry Lowther who was performing a concerto with the Orchestra..
My son throughly enjoyed the 2 hours of music performed which included me filling the Piano chair briefly while Steve Beresford performed a conduction!six memebers of the Orchestra performed conduction these included Guitarist Dave Tucker,Violinist Alison Blount,Bassist Dave Leahy,Bamboo flute/Spoken Word specialist Terry Day..There is a review of the concert at the folowing blog:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Edge 09 forum on Afrobeat with LEMI GHARIOKWU &TONY ALLEN

Afrobeat: A Culture – The Edge09 Forum featuring Lemi Ghariokwu & Tony Allen

Edge09 in conjuction with BASS festival presents AFROBEAT: A CULTURE – a forum for all Afrobeat headz with a stellar panel that includes Lemi Ghariokwu (The Man responsible for Fela’s artwork), Tony Allen (Afrobeat Master drummer), Rich Medina (Jump’n'Funk NYC), Wunmi (Afrobeat Queen), Dele Sosimi (Keys/Egypt80). The discussion will be hosted by Paul Bradshaw (Edge09/Straight No Chaser). Join us and a host of invited guests to assess the global impact of Afrobeat – a culture of creativity and resistance.

Forum – Weds 10th June @ 1pm-2.30pm

Exhibition Art’s Own Kind – 8 June – 6 July 2009

Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA

Edge 09 On the way announcing some upcoming events

Last year Paul Bradshaw from Straight no Chaser Jason Jules and myself put together some events That we termed Edge 08 as a fringe to the London Jazz festival.These events included a documentary screning of Four Hands a film about Cecil Taylor. FUTURIZM a night dedicated to new young artist, FREEDOM PRINCIPLE music sessions,A photography exhibition and a sold out Dingwalls session with DJ Giles Peterson..This year EDGE 08 becomes EDGE 09 We will be bigger and better with some thought provoking sessions planned.
To kick off the EDGE 09 Experience we will be announcing various sessions in the coming months with events starting earlier this year than last year..
One of these upcoming events will be a celebration of UK jazz dance.UK Jazz dance is an art that was honed in bedrooms and on the dance floor. Edge 09 will revisit the scene at Cargo with Cuban rumba from Dilanga in the yard and a live twisted jazz set from The Mighty Jeddo in the main arch. DJs Gilles Peterson & Snowboy will set the scene for some fast and furious competition on the dancefloor from the dancers who carry on the legacy of the movement. As well as book signing and record stalls, Dick Jewell's legendary film The Jazz Room will be screened alongside other classic shorts.
This is all in to do with the publication of Mark ‘Snowboy' Cotgrove's book, From Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz: The History Of The UK Jazz Dance Scene, Edge09 + Straight No Chaser has got together with The Barbican to celebrate the unique, underground, UK dance jazz movement which gave us aggressive, innovative and stylish dance crews like IDJ, Jazz Defektors, Brothers In Jazz, Foot Patrol, Floor Technicians and Jazzcotech, along with a host of highly individual dancers.



£10adv, £10 otd



2009 All Party Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The All party Parliamentary Jazz awards is one hell of a title for an awards night,it's also a very different venue to have anything to do with Jazz!!Never having been invited to one before I was intrigued as to what they would be like! So having finally received an invitation after first finding out that I had been nominated in the Jazz Educator category through the internet then having to chase up an invite that eventually just days before the event.I think I kind of knew already that this was just a chance to party in a very different place than normal..
Well I went along with my son on Wednesday to the Houses of Parliament for the 2009 Awards. Had some food, drank some wine and then it was over! To be nominated was enough recognition for and some of my students who are out there giving a good account of themselves..I had a good time chatting to fellow musicians and friends and catching up with news and views etc,these kind of affairs are normally places where you bump into people you haven't seen for ages probably because you are all normally out there working rather than talking about it! ..Darren Taylor of Jazz reloaded was a worthwhile winner collecting the Best online publication for Jazz with his online magazine. The Jazz reloaded team who have been doing some fantastic work going out to gigs and not only those they get free tickets for? Darren has around him a really good team who put in a lot of hard work and deserve some exposure!!They themselves are supporting talent and getting some exposure for many new artists who the mainstream press are very slow at getting any handle on normally maybe because they have to pidgeon hole them first!!!Kevein Le gendre was also a popular winner on the night in the best journalist category.Kevin is one of those writers who again gets out and about checking out much of the interesting and not so obvious creative people out there and always comes across with a genuine love of the music and people that he interviews! Which is probably why he tends to get exclusives from so many cutting edge musicians!!He also leads successful writing workshops for young writers each year as part of the London Jazz Festival!Other notable winners on the night were Val Wilmer for services to Jazz,Jazz musician of the year went to Guitarist Phil Robson whose award was collected by Vocalist Christine Tobin.
Anyway that's the awards for this year over with so now back to Music!
Visit this link for the official list of winners!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rehearsals finally get under way on "Once on this Island"

So finally we have arrived at the first week of rehearsals for the long awaited return of the musical "Once on this Island"Written by Stephen Flaherty and Linda Ahrens the writers behind the excellent musicial "Ragtime" "Once on this Island" contains some absolutely cracking songs and arrangements..This version is the first in 15 years in the u.k.Martin Lowe of "Mama Mia and Jerry Springer the Opera fame has been drafted in to work in vocally direct the cast and I will Musically Direct the show!So far we are sailing along and enjoying the incredible vocals from a truly first rate cast led by Sharon D Clarke and Melanie Le Barrie..Martin Lowe is an absolutely fantastic vocal direcor so it's a real pleasure to observe him in full flow..A great learning experience as well for me and I intend to make the most of the next 3 months. I will put up updates as the production gathers momentum leading up to the first night in the Birmingham are websites if you want to get along to one of the shows on the tour.

New Alexander Hawkins Ensemble Cd out now on FMR Records.

The debut Alexander Hawkins Ensemble Cd featuring his new ensemble is released on FMR Records mixed, mastered,packaged and ready to go cased within a lovely cover photograph by his brother with Sleeve notes by Steve Beresford the long awaited release finally hits good stores and Gigs..Titled "No now is so" Check it out it's got some wonderful playing by a stellar cast of players from Alex himself on Piano duties and of course writing some excellent music as well as arranging music by composers like Anthony Braxton etc.The ensemble members are Spanish Drummer Javier Carmona on Drums,Otto Fischer Guitar,Dominic Lash on Double Bass and Hannah Marshall Cello and myself on Steel Pans and percussion duties. Recorded at the end of a critically acclaimed Uk tour last year the album catches the Ensemble at a crucial time in their developement!Anyway check it out and see what you think!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Album now out "BURN OUT MAMA"

Finally the waiting is over the "Burn out Mama" debut cd "OUT OF OFFICE" hits the shops this month!As well as the music created for the mama project An amazing amount of time and effort was put into getting the artwork and info looking good as well.This ably undertaken by Reija Lang who leads the project as well with her vocals.Reija has a design background and has brought that sensibility to this project in a big way achieving a very different look from anything else out on the market with an elaborate pullout CD sleeve that has now attracted attention from some very hip names in the design world. This has led to the Cd being picked up by people outside the normal Jazz Cd buying punter market! The album was Launched at the huge music industry convention in Bremen and the feedback has been remarkable.Fingers crossed that this interest transfers into gigs and sales!Anyway you can now purchase the album on itunes,amazon e.t.c.
Here is the website address for Burn out mama:

Jazz on TV

Here is something that you might want to look out for I have reprinted the info exactly as I got;

Hi Orphy,

Since we love and respect the Orphy Robinson Blog, we wanted to make sure you were aware of the biggest jazz event to hit TV this year. Icons Among Us: Jazz in the present tense has garnered attention from both the New York Times and The Los Angeles Times and we wanted to get you in on this exciting film.

“Icons” includes much well-filmed footage of musicians performing and rehearsing in clubs and studios. They include Terence Blanchard (who also serves the role of wise elder in interviews); Jason Moran; the Bad Plus; and Medeski, Martin and Wood. These purely musical sequences are the major attraction of the program: they indicate what current jazz musicians are actually up to. - NY Times

Icons Among Us: Jazz in the present tense is a documentary film series that captures the metamorphosis of jazz by showcasing the words, music, and spirit of the artists that are paving the way for an unprecedented musical evolution.

The four-part documentary film series examines the world of contemporary jazz looking at today’s brightest talent. Featuring live footage and interviews, the films include many current jazz icons including The Bad Plus, Terence Blanchard, Jason Moran, Ravi Coltrane, the Benevento-Russo Duo, Robert Glasper, Charlie Hunter, Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Medeski Martin and Wood. The films also features these performers’ legendary predecessors and influences including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Wynton Marsalis.

The Documentary Channel will present the film in its entirety Wednesday May 27th and Wednesday June 3rd starting at 8 pm EST. Check out the website for detailed information:

To learn more about the film, view the preview and get access to images and info go here:

Interviews Available With Executive Producer John W. Comerford

John W. Comerford is an award winning writer and producer of independent film and media. He is President of PARADIGM STUDIO, a film and television production company in Seattle and serves on the board of The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). SOMETHING ABOUT HIS RELATIONSHIP TO JAZZ & MUSIC (noone cares that he graduated from UC Boulder)

Icons Among Us on Facebook and Myspace

Thank you for your time!

Katie Simons

Surprise Surprise I got nominated!

Received the news out of the blue that I had been nominated for an Education award the other day. A shock as I have been happily working away in so many different categories for years that are not exclusively Jazz orientated whereas this nomination is for recognition by the All party parliamentary Jazz appreciation group! The students on the live Jam course at the Roundhouse venue in Camden are out and out Rock students who have no idea I play Jazz and would probably be very amused to hear about it! Anyway I have now been invited to the awards ceremony on the 20th May to see who picks up the award at the Houses of Parliament.There are some people nominated for recognition for the first time that have been doing some great work like Jason Yarde in the Jazz Musician category and Kevin Le Gendre for a Journalist award as well as Darren Taylor for his fantastic work with his Online news and views website so it should be a great occasion to catch up with the guys as well! Here is the full list of nominees: