Friday, June 26, 2009

Hugh Hopper's Au revoir

Yesterday was a strange one what with the day ending with the news of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett Majors Checking out as well! However it was also the day when we celebrated the Life of the great Musician Hugh Hopper!
The gathering was held in Teynham an absolutely beautiful idylic spot in Kent!I drove down with Lol Coxhill and Wifey Ulrika quite early in the morning to avoid the London traffic jams at rush hour.It was a really lovely send off with three members of the Delta Saxophone quartet leading Hugh's casket to a clearing in the grounds of the burial site.A simple ceremony was held with some poignant words read out by various members of the family.Guitarist John Etheridge accompanied a song led by Hugh's wife Christine!The proceedings were then brought to a close by the releasing of a White Dove of Peace up into the clear blus sky!We then decamped to Whitstable on the coast meeting up at the Oyster Restaurant which was also the venue for the benefit concert last year!
All in all a lovely day and a perfect send off for Hugh!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Soulstice 3

On Saturday The third Summer Soulstice took place in Barnet!The weather looked a bit dodgy at first and there was a little drizzle at one stage but not enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowds that were making there way to the Soulstice!The Jazz Tent was the first port of call where I managed to hear Djs Jester and Jazzy Ruth Fisher of Starpoint Radio who played some cracking tracks by amongst oothers Lou Donaldson,Jimmy McGriff,Brecker Brothers and vibes player David Pike..The main stage was where most of the activities were focused for the day with volunteers maning stalls and all backstaging duties etc!All Djs played a 1 hour set on the main stage or the Jazz tent with some playing on both like the excellent Bob Jones!Sound crew had a nightmare of a time setting up with things running late plus having to work around the Djs and Bands simultaneously but still managed to do an adequate job in the circumstances!Well done to all concerned!!Beggar & Co and the Funk Jazz collective started the set with a version of Ronnie Laws "Always there" with special Guest Glenn Goldsmith and Ray Carless they delivered a set of classic funk moments including a bunch of kool & the gang originals as well as some slamming funk of their own!All in all a fantastic day in Barnet for a good cause with all proceeds going to a cancer charity.Looking forward to next year Summer Soulstice 4 here we come!.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cleveland Watkiss & Antonio Forcioni

Thursday 18th June sees Incredible virtuoso vocalist Cleveland Watkiss and leading Guitarist Antonio Forcioni join forces with Filomena Campus at the Riverside studios in Hammersmith.
The night sees the launch of Filomena's new band with Steve Lodder on Piano,Dudley Phillips Double Bass and Drummer Helder Pack..Be there or be square an action packed night for all concerned.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Theatralia Third Interlude

Celebrated Sardinian Theatre Director/Singer Filomena Campus puts together another of her amazing shows this Saturday at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.This new piece "Third Interlude "sees Filomena Campus together with Saxophonist Evan Parker,Pat Thomas,Mark Saunders and John Edwards plus visuals by SDNA.Expect the unexpected as always with Filomena at the helm anything can happen and probably will! Check out the box office for advance tickets. or for futher information you could go to the myspace page on

The Summer Soulstice 2009

This coming Saturday 20th June 2009 sees the annual Soulful alldayer festival the Summer Soulstice held in Barnet since 2007 by the friends of Andy Weekes who had died of Cancer a year earlier..Each year has seen crowds of between 1500-3000 enjoy a day of soulful funky music with Live Bands and Djs.This year sees the festival headlined by eighties iconic Brit Funkers The Beggar & Co formerly known as "Light of the World" with some very Special Guests performing with the band..I will not spoil the surprise by naming here! Here's a link to the Summer Soultstice website with all the relevant info The festival is for a good cause with all proceeds going to local Cancer Charities.This year they aim to raise £7,000+ for the Cherry Lodge Cancer Care..Please come along if you like your music Funky with Fun activities for the kids onsite as well.Its a great day out for all the Family starting from 2pm.This year sees the welcome addition of a Jazz tent..See you there as I will also be appearing with the Beggar & Co band.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Inside British Jazz

Stumbled upon a link for the fantastic book written by Hilary Moore about the history of Black Jazz Musicians in the U.K. A very interesting read indeed if you get a chance have a read even better go buy the book. Here's the link below:

Gary Crosby awarded an O.B.E.

Gary Crosby Stalwart of the Double Bass was awarded a well deserved  O.B.E in the recent Queens Birthday Honours list. A reward for the hard work that Gary has put in with the various bands and solo artist that have come through the ranks of the various ensembles he has led. 
Gary continues to put in time and effort with not only his award winning record Label DUNE that brought musicians like Soweto Kinch, Denys Baptiste, and bands Tomorrows Warriors,Nu Troop, Jazz Jamaica and the Jazz Jamaica All Stars Orchestra to the attention of many audiences around the world. Gary has also invested no little effort in Educating and bringing through young musicians on to the U.K Jazz scene with the recent announcement of an extension to the popular Tomorrows Warriors band with a fully fledged Youth Orchestra arm.

Announcing the launch of The Spontaneous Cosmic RawXtra

Groundbreaking promoters Twisted Lounge have asked me to curate an event for this years Black History month Celebrations. Tickets have now been announced on sale at the The new Uber plush venue The Kings Place situated in London's newly developed Area around Kings Cross station. Monday 26th October 2009 will see the Debut of a new project of mine The Spontaneous Cosmic RawXtra. The RawXtra has within its ranks Musicians Pat Thomas, Steve Williamson, Cleveland Watkiss, Shabaka Hutchins, Ntchuks Bonga, Otto Fischer,Brian Edwards There will be a few very special surprise guests on the night. I will add some info to this blog plus interviews with some of the members of the The Spontaneous Cosmic RawXtra later. Now the way that the Kings Place promotions work is the earlier you buy tickets the less you pay as it gets nearer to the concert the price goes up so please book early for this one.As its gonna be a cracker!Please visit the Kings Place website at
or The myspace site of the RawXtra ---

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Hugh Hopper R.I.P.

I just received the sad news that Hugh Hopper Bassist with Soft Maching and fellow Clear Frame band member has died following a long struggle with Leukeamia..Hugh was one of the most fascinating musicians I have been fortunate to meet on the improv circuit through the coming together of the members of the ClearFrame band. Together with Fellow members Lol Coxhill, Charles Haywood we had performed some well received concerts in the U.K and Europe.
One concert recorded by the BBc Radio 3 team has constantly been one of the most requested concerts for repeat broadcasting by listeners to the popular Jazz on 3 programme for the last 4 years.An album was released by Clearframe with the addition of his fellow Soft Machine cohort Robert Wyatt to critical acclaim..
Hugh was a really funny guy always ready to help anyone in difficulties or just to have a kind word or a smile to reassure you that everything wood be ok!On a Clearframe tour of Austria he had us either in stiches by his observations or entralled with stories about his Soft Machine days and his own prolific projects after leaving the iconic band.
The last time I saw Hugh was with his lovely Wife at the benefit concert in Whitstable where many musicians from the Canterbury scene were performing.Hugh was in attendance and in good spirits in fact he ended up staying a lot longer than anyone had anticipated.A week later there was another benefit held in london at the 100 club featuring yet more musicians that Hugh had worked with in the past.
Hugh leaves behind a fantastic catalogue of work and I will always have fond memories of a humble and kind person plus a giant of the Bass guitar.
For a much more in depth look at his career click on this link::
Jazzwise magazine have written an obituary here:

Monday, June 01, 2009

NO NOW IS SO Alexander Hawkins REVIEWS

Reviews for Alexander Hawkins Ensemble's debut album are starting to come in..
To have a read of a couple Here are some links one from London:
and the next from the Downtown music Gallery in New York: