A return to the Blogosphere?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17, 2014 by alunvaughan

Hi all.

I was thinking earlier that I haven’t blogged in ages, and then had a quick Twitter conversation with Chris Picton and Trip Wamsley about reviving blogging as Chris has revamped his site. Trip also mentioned not using his blog for some time. So, I thought I’d log in and was more than a little shocked to see I haven’t blogged since last April!

So why is this? Partly time I guess, and partly (without getting too deep and personal) I don’t know that I thought I had anything that exciting to write about. Yes, I was playing many gigs and yes I released a few albums ( all available on Bandcamp for the curious), but for some reason I didn’t feel the urge to blog about them. There was plenty of tweeting going on but I seemed to lose the ability to promote anything in more than 140 characters!

So here I am , back in blog land and pondering what to write about. Here are a few things that have recently happened or are about to happen….

  • Steve Waterman/Alan Barnes Contemporary Big Band Course

Hard to believe that we have just completed our 9th annual course! Steve and Alan took the bulk of sessions, but I had fun debuting two new big band charts with the course members, a very uptempo Get Me To The Church On Time and a spacy version of People Wll Say We’re In Love which, interpreted by the drummer, sounded surprisingly like late 70s Zappa. Not my intention when I wrote it, but being a lifelong Zappa fan I was pleasantly surprised to hear his influence sneak in.

  • Rhondda Symphony Orchestra

Last week, I had the pleasure of playing bass guitar as part of the rhythm section for Rhondda Symphony Orchestra’s opening night performance at Porthcawl Jazz Festival, claimed to be the first time a symphony orchestra has played a UK jazz festival! It was a great experience to be sat in the middle of all that sound, especially in the sections where I wasn’t playing and could just sit and soak it all in. It was also a big learning experience for me as, coming from a jazz/rock/funk, etc background I am used to tempos being constant and well defined. I soon discovered that orchestras don’t work that way and you have to watch the conductor like a hawk as the tempo ebbs and flows with the music. Once I got used to the idea it was fascinating, and fun, but it confused the hell out of me when we did the first rehearsal!

  • Swansea International Jazz Festival

This June will see Swansea host its first jazz festival and promises to be an incredible three days. You can view the whole line up at the official site and I’m very pleased to be playing each day. On the Friday I will be with Alan Barnes and Bruce Adams, on Saturday with the great Dick Pearce and on Sunday trying to keep up with Simon Spillett, renowned for his love of fast bebop tempos (mental note: practice fast bebop tempos…a lot!)

  • Mike Harries Root Doctors

In August, I’ll be performing on the main Brecon Jazz Festival bill with the Root Doctors, especially exciting as Mike and/or the Doctors have appeared at every Brecon Jazz, which this year celebrates its 30th year. We will also be recording soon so expect a new CD too.

 

In solo bass land, I am currently working on a couple of new cover arrangements which will see the light of day soon (probably maybe).

 

So that’s about it I guess. Thank you if you’ve read this far and I’ll try to do this a little more regularly in future!

Take care

Alun

 

 

 

 

Good Friday in Cardiff

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2013 by alunvaughan

Hi all. Just before Easter I had the pleasure of guesting with my good friend Matt Stevens at The Globe in Cardiff.

As I walked on, I put my camera on the rack at the side of the stage to film it in case anything usable came from it. What I didn’t notice though was the guitar stand just in front of it so ended up with quite a “voyeur’s eye” view of the stage which isn’t what I intended but is actually quite cool. The battery died towards the end of our third and final track but here is the majority of our performance from that night:

There’s a nice review of the whole night from Tim Hall here – http://www.kalyr.com/weblog/music/live-reviews/also-eden-and-sankara-the-globe-cardiff/

Take care

Alun

 

 

And Now For Something Completely Different Part Two….

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2013 by alunvaughan

Happy Easter!

For those who didn’t think my previous iPad only EP was not left field enough, I present to you “Introducing…Clump Mittens”, a 5 song EP of punky proggy metal played by a fictious band of musos with backgrounds ranging from 70s prog to glam metal.

It’s available to stream/download for free or you can choose to pay any amount you wish.

Hope you enjoy this little diversion, the next planned release will be solo bass, but I’ll tell you more about that nearer the time.

 

Take care,

Alun

 

And Now For Something Completely Different…ColliderHope

Posted in Uncategorized on February 23, 2013 by alunvaughan

It’s that time of year again – RPM Challenge month! For those not familiar with the RPM Challenge, the idea is to record an album (defined as 10 tracks or 35 mins) during the month of February. I’ve taken part for several years and each year it’s fun and challenging to come up with something new and get it totally finished in the short timeframe.

This year I wanted to do something totally different and, having recently purchased an iPad Mini, was enjoying messing about with the Beatwave sequencer app. I decided it might be fun to do some pieces using Beatwave and maybe add some additional instruments.

So I sat down on Feb 2 to experiment and ,36 and a bit minutes later, ColliderHope was finished. This album consists of one long improvised piece, played entirely with the Beatwave app. I debated adding some extra instrumentation but liked it as it was so left it alone. The album has the piece edited into 8 sections and also has the entire piece as one 36m05sec track so you can either enjoy it in sections or sit back and listen to the whole thing as it was recorded (the only edit is a bar I had to chop out after my laptop had a funny turn recording it).

I know this album may well not appeal to a lot of people who listen to my solo bass music but you never know, you might just like it🙂

All being well, I hope to have another EP out around Easter time (which will be another “not what you expected” project) and then I’ll be starting work on my next solo bass album.

Take care

Alun

New EP now available

Posted in Uncategorized on December 14, 2012 by alunvaughan

Hi all, hope you’re all well and getting (at least slightly) ready for Christmas.

Every Christmas for the last few years I’ve recorded a Christmas song (if you haven’t heard them you can do so at http://alunvaughan.bandcamp.com) , but this year I decided, as I’ve just released the audio version of the Christmas Songs For Solo Bass transcription book (http://alunvaughan.bandcamp.com/album/christmas-songs-for-solo-bass-transcription-book ),  that people had probably had enough of hearing me play carols so thought my 2012 “Christmas single” should be something different.

I had several solo short pieces  that I’d written over the years and had been messing about with Brahms’ Lullaby so the idea began to form of recording a little EP of quiet reflective music. And here it is!

All the tunes are solo bass guitar, using my Yamaha TRB1006 six string bass, recorded direct and feature very minimal overdubs; the majority of what you hear is one take.

It’s available to download for free or if you want to pay any amount, you are more than welcome to do so but don’t have to.

Have a fantastic Christmas!

Take care

Alun

Christmas Songs For Solo Bass – now with audio!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 1, 2012 by alunvaughan

Hi everyone, hope you are well. It’s finally happened, the Christmas Songs For Solo Bass ebook is now available with audio examples of all the tracks!

Ever have that awkward moment where everyone is sitting round at Christmas and someone says “Play us something on that bass of yours”? Well, here’s the answer…

* 10 Christmas songs arranged for solo bass guitar in notation and tablature. All arrangements are playable on a 4 string 20 fret bass so can be played on 99% of the instruments out there.
* Transcriptions of just the melodies in easy to play keys, ideal for beginners
* Two mini lessons, one on playing natural harmonics and one on using the two handed tapping technique used in the arrangement of Jingle Bells

This book has been available via http://www.bassbook.co.uk for a few years but this is the first time that it has featured the audio tracks. So, for £3.50 you get 10 audio tracks (as MP3s, Wavs, or most other formats due to the wonders of Bandcamp) plus three PDFs – the arrangements, the melodies , and a third book of performance notes.

It’s available now over at http://alunvaughan.bandcamp.com/album/christmas-songs-for-solo-bass-transcription-book

Have fun!
Take care
Alun

Short Stories now available

Posted in Uncategorized on April 15, 2012 by alunvaughan

Hi folks. Just a very quick post to say that Short Stories, my album recorded for this year’s RPM Challenge during February, is now on Bandcamp! Enjoy🙂