Just updating you with my latest news...
Diáspora (www.diasporamusic.co.uk) remains my main concentration, as ever. Since Christmas, we have been joined by 2 fabulous new vocalists, Roberta Ana De Francia from Italy and Zee Filho from Brazil. I have been working with them on some new material which we will be performing at venues in London soon!
March 29 will mark the band's 3rd year, and what better way to celebrate than with a long awaited return to Matt & Phred's Jazz Club in Manchester, where we will be premiering 4 new songs ('Conundrum', 'Lullaby', 'Superstarlight' and 'Sign of Love') as well as our funkyfied new arrangement of the jazz classic 'Moondance' with the 6-piece band. This gig will feature the imitable Alyss Rose on vocals, with keys master Andy Stamatakis-Brown, our very own Latin American import Will McGee on bass, and 2 new percussionists Jack McCarthy (kit, timbales) and Venezuelan conguero Arturo Aranguen (congas) - all musicians who I have had the pleasure of playing with in the past, and look forward to playing with at Matt & Phred's.
As always, I'm still working on some writing, whenever I get the time and space (usually during the weekends!)... There are three new salsa compositions in the pipeline, one of them will be entitled 'Reggae-Reggae-Reggaeton'. The other two ('Follow Me' and 'Creeping') are both timba style compositions in 3-2 clave, which will be great fun to play!
In May, the Diáspora 11-piece band will be playing at St Mary's Church, Prestwich (still awaiting confirmation - sign up to the mailing list at www.diasporamusic.co.uk). This gig will feature Alyss Rose and James Vielma on vocals, Misha Gray on piano, Will McGee on bass, Jack McCarthy, Frank Mata and Rosemary Toll on percussion, Olly Syrus on tenor saxophone, Mark Harrison on trumpet and myself on alto saxophone, flute and backing vocals. For advanced, cheaper tickets (£7.50 I think) EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org or PHONE 07980092311. For this price, you get 2 sets of wonderful salsa, samba, jazz, funk, pop, reggaeton and dancing brought to you by an 11-PIECE Latin funk salsa orquesta!
With Alyss Rose from Diáspora, I have been playing flute with the newly expanded Beleza (www.myspace.com/belezamanchester) Brazilian with a tinge of Manchester Bossa Nova band, with Julian Harris on guitar, Justin Shearn on piano, Holly Prest on cajon and Nicki Dupuy on bass. We have been working on some original material written by Alyss and Julian. My favourites have to be the uplifting 'Miracles' and the beautiful 'Bless the Moment'. Our first gig will be on Saturday March 31 at Chorlton Green Arts Festival. Make sure that you sign up to Alyss' website (www.alyssrose.co.uk) for more information on this developing project.
With smaller ensembles, I have been working with Italian guitarist Giovanni Capiocco, who you are probably familiar with from the Dalston Gypsy Jazz trio (www.facebook.com/DalstonTrio), on some Bossa Nova, acoustic Latin and jazz repertoire which we will be taking to some London venues very soon!
In London, I have also been playing piano with the absolutely fabulous charismatic jazz/cabaret vocalist Claire Benjamin, with whom I have also been recording some demo material, and we will be working on some arrangements of jazz classics and theatrical original material in due course!
As ever, I have also been busy with private bookings for the jazz quartet and Latin trio. The quintet gig at Cloud 23 Bar, Hilton Hotel, with KLM Airways and Air France, went down a treat! So there you have it, a roundup of my latest happenings. And there will be more dates to get into your diaries, so stay tuned...
RED & BLACK MUSIC