Photo credit – Daniela Rothschuh
I hope that your festive period was a bonnie, warm one. Mine was fun. A pretty bitching gig in Linen with the Invitations on Christmas Eve – people were responsive to our music and very merry by the time we were done. 27th of December saw us in the Corinthian too which is always a fun time with people again in good spirits.
January brings some fresh challenges my way. For the first time I’m delivering a Jazz drumming workshop through Drummers Only. This is in conjunction with my trio of Jay Kilbride (Bass) and Scott Murphy (Sax). I wanted to include the guys as I think it’s what’s missing from a lot of ‘masterclass’ situations and also because, fundamentally, Jazz is better learned by playing the music. I’m aiming to cover the fundamentals such as time, comping, form, styles, melodic playing and brushes. The guys will be on hand to aid the students with examples and letting them experience how the music should feel/sound/work etc.
I was/am reluctant to think of it as a masterclass as I don’t consider myself a master of well…anything. But I’m confident in the information I have to impart as being important and correct. So far places are selling well and I’ll get some pics and hopefully video up of the day.
This also plays into what I have to practice. It’s been a while since I’ve played a full on jazz gig so it’s been nice to get behind this and really dig into this music again. The trio have some upcoming gigs in February so I’ve been writing music for that. I always find Sax trio a great ensemble to write for as it let’s you break away from static conventions and do things like put the bass line/vamp in the horn and have the bass play the melody and the role of the drums changes slightly from being just a support instrument to a textural instrument/device. I’ll put the gig dates up soon.
A December rehearsal took place with the Connected band where I took in new music to the band, who – minus a bass player for the occasion – played through it pretty confidently, bringing it to life. I have plans afoot for beginning a new record for after the debut is released. Booking gigs is the next step tho and this new music helps provide a strong second set. The music is pretty structured so there isn’t too much scope for massive solos but that’s ok.
The Hercules Mandarin record looks set to be out soon, as it’s in mastering right now. So hopefully once done, the gigs for that can begin. I’ll add a release date as soon as I know when it’ll be!
Lastly, the end of January sees me in the studio with another rock trio called Driven By Harness. The music is the brainchild of a good friend of mine, Andrew Burton. He cut his teeth with Mull Historical Society and Colin MacIntyre, and has been my bassist in crime on the Edinburgh Fringe Show, Baby Want’s Candy for the last 4 years. We recently took to the stage in Germany for a 90 minute set, at a Wedding of all things – the German’s clearly love their rock music. We have 2 days in Chamber Studios in Edinburgh and 7 tracks to cut. Plenty of rehearsals has ensured the music sounds magic and I’m excited to bring it to you all.
So January looks set to be a good, varied month. The best thing a musician can ask for!