Tag: contemporary jazz

Autumn Gig Dates Announced

Having started my Masters studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama this month, I have a raft of gig dates to announce in London and Cambridge. I’ll be performing alongside other post-graduate students in a pair of free concerts, as well as with the award-winning big band at the London Jazz Festival and the Vortex Jazz Club. I’ll also be appearing as a guest with EM and Vesperados will be returning to Hot Numbers in Cambridge for another evening of Latin Jazz.

Calendar
06/10/14, 6pm, FREE – Guildhall Small Band Jazz Evening
17/10/14, 7.30pm, FREE – Guildhall Jazz Band, Milton Court
19/10/14, 3.00pm, £8 – London Jazz Orchestra/Guildhall Jazz Band @ Vortex
07/11/14, 7.30pm, FREE – EM, Cambridge
08/11/14, 11am, £10 – Cambridge Jazz Co-op
17/11/14, 6pm, FREE – Guildhall Small Band Jazz Evening
19/11/14, 7.30pm, £15/10 – Guildhall Jazz Band at the London Jazz Festival
05/12/14, 7.30pm, FREE – Vesperados, Cambridge

Guildhall Small Band Jazz Evening
Monday 6th October, 6pm
Monday 17th November, 6pm
FREE
Lecture Recital Room, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Silk Street, London
Performances from groups of postgraduate and final-year jazz students from the Guildhall. Three bands a night for nothing!

Guildhall Jazz Band
Friday 17th October, 7.30pm
Silk Street Music Hall, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Silk Street, London
FREE
The year’s first performance from the Guildhall’s award-winning big band.
http://www.gsmd.ac.uk/about_the_school/home/view_all_events/?tx_julleevents_pi1%5BshowUid%5D=3855

Sunday 19th October, 3.00pm
Vortex Jazz Club, 11 Gillett Square, London
£8
The Guildhall Jazz Band join top pro big band the London Jazz Orchestra for an afternoon of big band music.
http://www.vortexjazz.co.uk/event/london-jazz-orchestra-8/

EM
Friday 7th November, 7.30pm
Hot Numbers Coffee, Gwydir Street, Cambridge
FREE
Led by pianist/accordionist/composer Dan Ecclestone, this Cambridge-based group plays original music bringing together rock and jazz in a groovy, infectious blend.
http://hotnumberscoffee.co.uk/gigs-and-events/

Cambridge Jazz Co-operative
Saturday 8th November, 11am-1.30pm
Meadows Community Centre, Cambridge
I will be returning for my third session with the co-op, leading a workshop for amateur jazz musicians exploring ideas and strategies for improvisation.
£10 (members); non members must pay an additional £10 for annual membership.
http://www.cambridgejazzcoop.org.uk/wordpress/

Guildhall Jazz Band at the London Jazz Festival
Wednesday 19th November, 7.30pm
Milton Court, Silk Street, London
The Guildhall’s big band performs as part of the world-class London Jazz Festival.
http://www.gsmd.ac.uk/about_the_school/home/view_all_events/?tx_julleevents_pi1%5BshowUid%5D=3867

Vesperados at Hot Numbers
Friday 5th December, 7.30pm
Hot Numbers Coffee, Gwydir Street, Cambridge
My band Vesperados return to Hot Numbers in a new format for an evening of Latin-influenced music.
http://hotnumberscoffee.co.uk/gigs-and-events/
www.vesperados.co.uk

Vesperados Recording

Last Saturday, Vesperados headed down to the Performing Arts Technology Studios in Guildford to finally spend some time in the studio recording properly, nearly 18 months since we started playing together!  With plenty of recent gigs in the bag, the tunes we were sounding pretty tight and ready to put some of our original tunes on record.

I’d been to the studios before, to record Churchill Jazz Band in 2011, and had been really pleased with the results.  Click here to jump back and hear them again, including my arrangement of Chameleon.

Our engineer for the session was Joachim Fainberg, assisted ably by Will Gray.  Arriving on a sodden morning after battling through bank holiday M25 traffic, our lives were immediately made easier by their preparedness and smiling welcome.  With the mics already set up, we just needed to get our instruments in place and set a few levels before we could start cutting tracks.  Since Derek and George were a little behind Alex and myself in arriving, we managed to put a take of my duo arrangement of Billy Strayhorn’s beautiful ballad Lush Life in the can before they arrived – an added bonus.

We spent the period before lunch getting original swing tunes Dotty One [these links are to older live recordings] and Champion of the World down, followed after the break by the Latin- and Eastern-influenced Ave de Paso, Everywhere is East, and Mi Querido.  Mixing and mastering is taking place in June, so keep an eye out on the band’s Facebook page or Twitter feed for news and the release!

Vesperados at the Cambridge Modern Jazz Club 8th May 2014

Vesperados’ next outing will be at the Cambridge Modern Jazz Club @ The Hidden Rooms, Jesus Lane, Cambridge, on Thursday 8th May at 20:00.  We’re delighted to have the opportunity to play for the Club, which has been putting on concerts since 1972, and honoured to join the roster of musicians who have performed there, which covers top UK and international artists.  Tickets are £10, available via www.cambridgejazz.org.  Here’s something to whet your appetite:

Later in the month, we’re heading down to the Performing Arts Technology Studios in Guildford for our first studio recording sessions, for material to be released later in the year!  Keep an eye out here for more info later in the summer.

 

Vesperados March Gigs

 

VesperadosYou’ve got not one, not two but three chances to see my band Vesperados perform in Cambridge this month, all for next to nothing!  Here are the details:

Sun 2nd March, 13:15-14:00, Fitzwilliam Museum – free, but limited spaces so arrive early
http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/whatson/music/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1375013082745500/

Saturday 8th March, c.21:00-22:30, Clare Cellars (Clare Jazz) – £3 before 21:30; £4 thereafter (music likely to actually start c.21:30)

Friday 21st March, 19:30-22:00, Hot Numbers, Gwydir Street – pay what you want, but limited spaces so arrive early
http://hotnumberscoffee.co.uk/gigs/
https://www.facebook.com/events/555737981187631/

Vesperados is an acoustic jazz quartet fusing inspirations from the sophisticated Cool jazz of the 1950s, classical chamber music and a strong Latin American vibe.  All our material is composed or arranged by members of the group, with the majority coming from me.  We’re not your average jazz quartet playing standards!  If you haven’t heard the group already, why not check out the samples on our Soundcloud page?  Keep up to date with all Vesperados performances at our Reverbnation page too!

Vesperados performing tonight and tomorrow

Just a quick note to say that my Latin/chamber jazz quartet Vesperados is performing tonight (6/11/13) at St Philip’s Church, Mill Road, Cambridge in the launch of Off Centre Collective, a new platform for creative and original jazz music in Cambridge.  Doors open at 7pm and we’re playing from 7:30pm.  £5 and BYOB.  Here’s the event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/650629961624738/?fref=ts

We’re also performing in the second-ever Ely Jazz Night at The King’s Arms, St Mary’s Street, Ely tomorrow (7/11/13) from 9pm.  Here’s the event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/625216887517075/

We’ll be debuting quite a bit of original material over the two gigs.  Hope to see a good crowd in for both!  Here’s a bit of a teaser:

Off Centre Collective: a new night for creative jazz in Cambridge

OCC PosterSome months back my friend Dan Ecclestone, frustrated by the lack of opportunities for local jazz musicians to play original music (as opposed to standards and old repertoire) outside of a couple of good but infrequent student-led nights, came up with the concept of the Off Centre Collective, a group of local creative jazz-based bands who could perform on a semi-regular basis in Cambridge.  Fast forward to today and we’re eagerly anticipating the first OCC event which is taking place next Wednesday 6 November with my quartet Vesperados and Dan’s band EM.

The event will be at St Philip’s Church on Mill Road, which has recently been completely refurbished with a quality PA system, video projection and more put in.  As a result, it looks like being a cracking medium-sized music venue (i.e. not a drafty pew-filled church).Doors are at 19:00 with the Vesperados kicking off at 19:30, followed by a short break then EM to close the night, finishing at about 22:00.  Entry is £5 on the door and we’re having a BYOB policy.  There’s a lovely cafe area in which to have a drink and a nibble in the break and we’re happy for people to sip through the music too.

Both our groups will be showcasing our original material.  For Vesperados that means a heady mix of Latin American rhythms, cool, sophisticated dialogue between trumpet and sax and plaintive melodies.  EM will be bringing their brand of film soundtrack-influenced prog-jazz and are packing a string section to boot.

For the Facebook-types among you, see here for the event page.  Hope to see a good crowd in as the future of the night depends on this being a success!

Guildhall Advanced Jazz Summer School

GSMD Jazz Summer School
Proud ownership!

I’ve just attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s intensive two-day Advanced Jazz course .  Along with about 25 others, I benefited from tutoring with GSMD jazz professors Carlos Lopez-Real, Malcolm Edmonstone and Malcolm Miles, learning a great deal along the way.  At £195 it had the potential to be a rather expensive jam but I really felt like I got a lot of value from the experience and the feeling of the other musicians (who ranged from relatively green teenagers to fairly experienced adult amateurs and semi-pros) seemed to be the same and we all had a great time playing together.  Each day began at 10am and didn’t end until 10pm, so I really felt like I was getting my money’s worth!

After an initial blow over some blues as a whole group, we were split into 3 combos based on ability, and we then worked in these combos for the rest of the course.  My combo was tutored by Carlos Lopez-Real, an alto saxophonist and head of the Contemporary Jazz course at the Guildhall. Carlos introduced us to some great tunes which were mostly unknown to the group but likely to find their way into some set lists soon!  These were:

El Gaucho – Wayne Shorter

Falling Grace – Steve Swallow

Wights Waits for Weights – Steve Coleman

Song for Bilbao – Pat Metheney

Joy – Bheki Mseleku

Friday Night at the Cadillac Club – Bob Berg

Other groups looked at other tunes and after an informal jam on the first night (including a killing rendition of What is this thing called love? from Malcolm Edmonstone, Carlos and GSMD students Gili and David) we all performed our sets for one another and an audience of friends and guests on the final night in the music room of Sundial Court, which appears to be the main student bar of the GSMD.

Interspersed with the combo sessions were ‘skills sessions’, one with each tutor.  Carlos really stretched us with rhythmic challenges (something I had a lot of trouble with!), Malcolm Miles took us through about nine different ways to play over a one-chord vamp and Malcolm Edmonstone gave us an amazing insight into using pairs of triads as a basis for improvisation, laying it all out in by far the clearest way I’ve ever encountered.  I feel like in two days I’ve learned about enough things to practice for months or even years to come!  There were a couple of current or former GSMD students filling out gaps in rhythm sections (one per combo) and from talking to them it appeared that the content of our course was not that dissimilar from actual classes at the conservatoire.  I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this course to anyone who’s gained a basic grasp of jazz improvisation and harmony (especially that you’re confident in your major and minor modes, can read most changes and follow forms).  For those still relatively new to jazz the GSMD also do a week-long introductory course earlier in the summer.

Cambridge Jazz Co-op Workshop

I’m delighted to be leading a workshop with the Cambridge Jazz Co-op this coming Saturday.  As they put it themselves at www.cambridgejazzcoop.org.uk/wordpress/:

The Cambridge Jazz Co-op is an informal group of amateur jazz musicians that meet on Saturday mornings at the Man on the Moon pub in Cambridge, U.K. to play under the guidance and tuition of professional/prestigious jazz tutors/performers.

It’s a great privilege for me to be invited to share my skills and experience with the group, and I’ve planned what I hope will be a fun and interesting (and a little bit of a different) session:

As players we are immensely lucky to be able to choose from so many great standards, so it’s not surprising that some get called again and again, and sometimes we might get a bit tired of some of them.  To keep things sounding fresh, there are plenty of ways to make our solos interesting and new, but there are also lots of things we can do with the material we’ve been given, by interpreting melodies in new ways and by making our own arrangements.  These don’t have to be complex written affairs – sometimes a change of feel, adding or taking away a bar here or there or putting the melody somewhere unusual can be all it takes to bring an old warhorse back to life, and this can even sometimes be done on the bandstand or in a jam session!

This workshop won’t be about sitting down with pen and paper and writing things out (unless someone finds that useful).  We’ll look at everything through our instruments, and there’ll be plenty of chances to blow as well.  We’ll look at fresh approaches to a well-known standard or two, plus an adaptation of an original tune of mine, Night Owl – see an earlier post for a rehearsal video of this tune in quintet form.

See the Cambridge Jazz Co-op website for more information, especially if you’d like to join in!

P.S. if you would like to come be aware that East Road is completely closed so the Man in the Moon can only be accessed by vehicle from Newmarket Road, via Coldham’s Lane and New Street.  Pedestrian/cycle access should be ok but might take slightly longer than usual.

Cottle gig audio now up

In February the incredible bassist Laurence Cottle joined CUJO for a special gig.  In it, we played two of my arrangements, and here are the recordings!

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
Music by David Mann, in an arrangement by James Brady
Featuring Simon Warder (tenor sax) and Colin Danskin (trumpet)

Beauty and the Beast
Music by Wayne Shorter, in an arrangement by James Brady
Featuring Laurence Cottle (bass guitar) and Sarah Ling (soprano sax)