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!