So here we are in May... and, as ever, the diary is filling up with some lovely gigs and exciting projects to look forward to. Here are a few highlights...
On Tuesday 08.04.12, we had the Diáspora (www.diasporamusic.co.uk) gig at St Mary's Church Prestwich, which was a great opportunity for us to try out some of the new material with the full eleven-piece band, featuring Alyss Rose and James Vielma on vocals.
On Monday 14.05.12, I was fortunate enough to play sax with Sarabanda, a brand new salsa band set up by pianist Sara McGuinness (www.myspace.com/soneando) for their monthly residency at the Hideaway in Streatham. The group also features vocalists Nana-Clara Aldrin-Quaye and Yuri Moreno and Elpidio Alegria (bass) and Emeris Solis (congas).
On Thursday 17.05.12, I joined jazz vocalist Claire Benjamin (www.clairebenjamin.com) for an evening of music and comedy. It was the first outing with my new keyboard, and we had a full house, which was a great atmosphere. Corks and Forks is a friendly bohemian wine bar / organic restaurant in Kentish Town, where Claire will be hosting her jazz cabaret every month on a Thursday. We are recording later in June, and a possible monthly residency in Camberwell is also on the cards... Watch this space!
This weekend, on Saturday 26.05.12, I am delighted to have been invited to play with actress Kathryn O'Reilly (www.kathrynoreilly.co.uk) a.k.a., Dame K (www.damek.co.uk) for a special evening of music, poetry and spoken word.
The evening will take place at The Tea House Theatre, Vauxhall and it will feature Dame K and a host of actors, musicians and poets (see below poster). On sax, I will be doing a free improvisation with Dame K adding some collaborative MC poetry. On piano, I will be playing some incidental music as a couple of actresses fall off a ferry boat (as you do). For my solo piece, I will be performing a jazz standard (tune will be decided on the day). There will be lots of other things to see and it will be a really special evening. The evening is the first of a brand new regular / semi-regular showcase with a creative community featuring special guests.
Amongst all of this, I have been busy arranging twenty or so 'rat pack' charts for a private event that we are doing on Monday 04.06.12, in Surrey. The ensemble will feature myself on alto saxophone, Jacob Shaw (tenor saxophone), George Wrench (trombone), Nick Mead (trumpet), John Cervantes (piano), Will McGee (bass) and Jon Desbruslais (drums). There is talk and further plans for this to be the beginning of a new venture - more details TBC.
On Wednesday 06.06.12 and Thursday 07.06.12, come and catch us Reading, playing with Italian guitarist Giovanni Capiocco from Dalston Gypsy Jazz Trio (www.myspace.com/dalstontrio) with whom I have been working on some acoustic Latin and Bossa Nova material, as well as some of my own songs. We will be playing in the Oracle Shopping Centre between 12-6 on both days.
On Saturday 09.06.12, I'm heading up to Warrington to play with the SpeakEasy jazz trio featuring Ed Norris on vocals (http://www.ednorris.co.uk/). The gig at Oaklands Hotel will include a nice range of easy swing and jazz classics.
On Friday 22.06.12, I will be taking the Diáspora to an event at the beautiful setting of Cranage Hall near Crewe, Cheshire. The gig will feature Alyss Rose and James Vielma on vocals, Andrzej Baranek (piano), Demetris Kanaris (bass), Rick Farrow (drums) and Gavin Hibberd (trumpet) - a truly talented and knock-out lineup!
Finally, on Thursday 28.06.12, catch La Tinto Bros (www.latintobros.com) at Matt & Phred's Jazz Club in Manchester. The gig will feature James Vielma on vocals/percussion and Daniel Alvarado on vocals/guitar. There are salsa dancing classes from 19:00, and the band come on at 22:00; it is FREE entry and we always manage to get a good crowd in, so it will be a great vibe. Come on down for some salsa music/dancing, tasty cocktails and arguably the finest pizzas in the North West!
Apart from gigs, I have been very excited to be commissioned to write music for the feature film 'Central Point' with Spanish film producer Andrea Chaos (http://becomingproducer.blogspot.co.uk/) who is currently working on the Discovery Channel, amongst other things. For more information on this developing project, please see the Facebook group - Central Point.
As ever, I am working on new songs for Diáspora / solo projects. A night out with Diáspora in Clapham is on the cards, with vocalists Zee Filho and Roberta de Francia, with whom we are performing in Worcester in September. Amongst this, I have been busy writing rat pack arrangements faster than I can say 'Michael Buble' at any spare moment that I can get, so life is very interesting at this point! You never know what experiences the next phone call might bring!
RED & BLACK MUSIC