Tag: jazz workshop

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.

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
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
The year’s first performance from the Guildhall’s award-winning big band.

Sunday 19th October, 3.00pm
Vortex Jazz Club, 11 Gillett Square, London
The Guildhall Jazz Band join top pro big band the London Jazz Orchestra for an afternoon of big band music.

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

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.

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.

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.

Cambridge Jazz Co-op Session this Saturday

Following last year’s successful session at the Cambridge Jazz Co-op, I’ll be running another this Saturday, 17th May.  We’ll look at various strategies, melodic and harmonic, for improvising over vamps and other harmonically static settings.  There’ll be two tunes we use for this:

Dolores in a Shoestand (Esbjorn Svensson Trio):
Wights Waits for Weights (Steve Coleman):

The session starts at 11:00 and runs to 13:30, at the Blue Moon Pub, Cambridge, and costs £10 for members (non-members must purchase annual membership for an additional £10).  Full details can be found at the Co-op website.

I’ll endeavor to post some info about what we covered after the session.

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.