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So today I had a great rehearsal for a gig I'm doing with Gabriel Garrick on Saturday at Berkhamsted Jazz Club.

The lineup is a little different to the one that played at TW12 last month. In comes Dave Jones on bass and we are augmented by Dominic Ashworth on guitar. It's the first time I've met and played with Dominic and I'm really looking forward to performing with him on Saturday. The band sounds so much more assured now and the set we're going to play has some great textures and a good mix of material. The guitar really brings something to the music soundscape. There's also a nice little New Orleans vibe on a couple of tunes inspired by Gabriel's recent trip there.

Enjoyed teaching this afternoon. I've a really talented teenage student who's a great improviser and a drummer. We were talking about voicings and I was demonstrating chords built on intervals of thirds, fourths, fifths as well as the 'So What' chords. We ended up listening to McCoy Tyner's 'Contemplation'. What a great tune!

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Had a gig with the lovely Lydia Garrow yesterday (Sunday) at the legendary Bulls Head in Barnes. 

It's been almost a year since the refurbishment with the music room and restaurant swapping places. Although I like the more intimate new room and it does have a better atmosphere, I do really miss the grand piano and the much better on-stage sound. The upright piano they have now doesn't really cut it without being mic'd up, and just sticking one SM58 on it (as they did yesterday) doesn't really work. The sound on stage for me was really 'boxy' and the monitor sound just seemed to highlight which notes and overtones were out of tune on the piano, especially with the amount of excessive reverb added during the first set! It was though very nice to play with Lydia, Richard Sadler and Chris Nickolls. The sound out front was good by all accounts though. The audience seemed to like it and Lydia always has a great following. Lydia really does have a lovely voice and she'd added a few new songs to her repertory last night. I'm really looking forward to recording an album with her this autumn. We hopefully want to have it finished ready for the next Bulls Head gig on December 14. 

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Last night was the first of a new monthly gig at Jazz Cafe Posk in Hammersmith that I run with Janet McCunn. We had a good turn out for our first one with it being a Friday as opposed to the normal Saturday night jazz gig they have there. 


Our guest saxophonist was Allison Neale. It's always a pleasure to play with and listen to Allison, she is such a lyrical player and has such a beautiful tone on the alto saxophone. She also played flute on a few tunes. The trio sounded great too. I'm getting to play quite a lot with Richard Sadler and Chris Nickolls these days and they were on bass and drums respectively, and it was made even more enjoyable as I was on an acoustic grand piano. 


Two great vocal sets from Janet and Mark Nesbitt plus the jam session which featured a couple of singers including Dawn Cooper who I've got a gig with in November. We were also joined by some horn players. Beccs from Southampton on tenor sax. It was lovely to see her and then play with her for the first time. She is a big supporter of Prison Break and comes to all our gigs at the Southampton Modern Jazz Club. She had a great tone and did well playing a lot of songs she didn't know by ear. There also was a guy playing an electronic sax. Very unusual to say the least!


I've played at this venue on several occasions and last night the sound was the best! Thanks to the sound guys for doing this. It makes all the difference, especially with improvised music.


Looking forward to next month with Brandon Allen and Tracey O'Connor. 

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This afternoon I had a jam with Jules Faife and a drummer called Vancho. It was at Vancho's little studio in Perivale in West London. Jules has this idea of having a trio where he can swap between guitar and bass, sometimes mid-tune and I can play bass on the keys when he's on guitar. We had some interesting grooves. We will wait and see if this turns into a project with some compositions, recording and live gigs. We were all agreed that this would have to be a unique 'sound' and have something to say for us to do this. It's always good fun to have a play though, we finished off with a funk version of 'Giant Steps'.

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So I'm going to try and write this blog on a regular basis. Let's see how long it lasts!


So my last gig: Really enjoyed being in Birmingham this weekend doing a funk gig with Lenny Henry. Great band and singers and Broad Street is so buzzing on a Saturday night!
The venue was the Birmingham Repertory Theatre situated next to Birmingham Symphony Hall. Lenny was doing a play in the main theatre so we were in the "Studio" theatre. The audience seemed to really enjoy it and was a great vibe!
Birmingham city centre is a cool place. Lots of cultural things going on and also lots of crazy young weekend clubbers and drinkers!

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