So I did rehearsals with the "Burn out Mama" band before heading out to Melbourne for the start of the Nigel Kennedy Australian Tour. The Burn out Mama Rehearsals where pretty intense as we hadn't played any of the music since recording the album in May last year.
The main thing that had us working extra hard was to recreate some of the digital editing and fx laden sound that we have on the album in a live context,not an easy task as we used Protools to the max on there! However Geoff Gascoigne,Mika and Ed Jones had all put in some good pre rehearsal work and it did payoff with getting that stuff together intelligently. Everyone played their asses off and we managed to quickly get ahead of our schedule and give ourselves every chance to do some kicking shows at the festivals in Finland at Turku and Helsinki in mid March!
Really looking forward to those.Reija has put in a serious amount of work getting the band in to those festivals! Congrats to Reija!
Now to the Nigel Kennedy Duke Ellington/Bach/Hendrix tour, starting with the usual long haul flights that take it out of you and leave you trying to deal with the Jetlag for days if not weeks throwing out your internal clock like crazy.I mean I am writing this at 4am when I should really be sleeping! Anyway we got here on Friday having travelled for 20 hours on the flights and fortunately we have had 3 days off to recover,which has helped a lot,When I was last in Australia in 1987 with Courtney Pine we flew in and immediately had a show not the best prep for the full on Coltrane blowouts we used to do on that gig,we also on the return to london flew in to Heathrow and were driven straight to Camden to do a Dingwalls Sunday lunchtime gig,with us all barely able to stand let alone play. The other thing I remember about that episode was that Tokyo had an earth tremor just as we checked in at the Airport that delayed the flights and scared the hell out of us at the same time,we couldn't wait to get out of there. We were able to finally leave there were people saying useful things like "look the ground is still moving" and"it might all start up again as soon as we move along the Runway, so we might not make it out of here!" Very Bloody Helpful!! This time round coming to Australia has meant a more carefully thought out schedule with Steve Cox working in time for us to recover,Although this also meant leaving the brilliant Polish Musicians Adam,Tomas,Christof and Piotr the sound engineer with a lot of time to sample the liquid delights of the Mini bars in their rooms,Happily emptying those each day and I really mean EMPTYING the mini bar!In fact it probably started from them with their first flight from Krakow off to Frankfurt followed by a Frankfurt to Dubai flight which was where they met up with Doug Boyle,Gary Falkenthal and myself. They were all quite merry by this time with Tomas in particular good spirits! They had 30 hours all together in the air so you can't blame them for doing something with the time!!!
It's been hilarious watching them come down to breakfast each morning,That is if they have made it to breakfast! Sometimes wearing the darkest sunglasses I have ever seen.
However when it comes to the business of playing they are seriously on the ball! Yesterday was the first rehearsal with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra who were swinging their asses off on the Duke Ellington scores! We started with probably one of the most intricate numbers "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" which they nailed immediately eating up the dots like a game of Pacman. The whole Ellington set features some great arranging by Nigel K that just brings out the richness in the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn writing.The day continued in the same vein with the Orchestra slaying all the dragons.Talking about Dragons the Crown Towers where we are staying in Melbourne has a Huge Chinese Dragon presentation in one of its many foyers that starts up every hour for 15 minutes and is the loudest thing you can imagine with lights flashing and smoke billowing out of the Dragon,quite a sight first thing in the morning or at any time really..
The orchestra finished up with playing through the Bach pieces with Nigel K,ready for today when we step in and work with the arrangements that Nigel has in store for us!
Let you know how that goes hopefully later today!