Marek Dorcik’s debut album About Time has now been released. I had a great time with Marek, George Crowley (tenor sax), Tom Hewson (piano) and Mick Coady (double bass) recording this last year and I know Marek is working hard to try and get us some gigs in London and perhaps further afield. Have a listen to the title track here.

I do have some confirmed gigs with the Alex Merritt / Miguel Gorodi Quartet (with Oli Hayhurst and Tim Giles) coming up which I’m really excited for. See Gigs for more details. 

I was very sad to learn that Jazz at the Con Cellar Bar has stopped because of the sale and new ownership of the pub. This Con was one of the most important ‘grass roots’ jazz venues in London because it provided an intimate space that encouraged audiences to be receptive and musicians to try out new ideas and have fun. There was a really warm and inviting community feel in that cellar with questionable tiki-bar décor, where the music college jazz scene would make a monthly pilgrimage to hear their friends, peers, teachers and elders play their new stuff, and the loyal group of jazz fans would support and enjoy the new music that larger venues can’t always afford to risk putting on. It’s an amazing achievement to have kept it going for almost fifteen years and the London jazz community owes a lot to George Crowley, Alice Leggett, Sam Jesson and especially Richard Turner. 

Here’s a video of the Alex Merritt / Miguel Gorodi Quartet from our gig at the Con a few months ago. It’s a great tune of Alex’ called Blues For McCoy

Coming up this month 

8thMarch – London Jazz Orchestra @ The Vortex, London

11thMarch – Alex Merritt / Miguel Gorodi Quartet @ Kansas Smitty’s, London

22ndMarch – Yazz Ahmed’s Polyhymnia @ The Sage, Gateshead 

25th– 27thMarch – SEED Ensemble w/ BalletBoyz @ Sadler’s Wells, London

Things I’ve been checking out

Alex Merritt is a huge fan of Joe Henderson and in preparation for our gig at Kansas Smittys I’ve been reacquainting myself with some Henderson’s Inner Urge and Power To The People (both albums coincidentally feature one of my favourite blues heads in Isotope which is a tribute to Thelonious Monk). I love the compositions on these albums, plus they have two powerhouse rhythm sections (McCoy Tyner, Bob Cranshaw and Elvin Jones on the former, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette on the latter). 

On the subject of powerhouse rhythm sections, I’ve loved getting stuck into Eric Dolphy’s Far Cry which, along with Booker Little, features Roy Haynes, Jaki Byard and one of the earliest appearances of Ron Carter who will have been about twenty-three when this was recorded in 1960. Booker Little was a year younger, and it just amazes me how developed their playing was at such a young age. Plagued by illness for much of his life, he died less than a year after this recording (before it was even released). He was really taking the trumpet to new places. Kenny Wheeler is quoted as being inspired by Little’s attitude to doing his own thing with bebop (Kenny very humbly claimed he himself couldn’t play bebop). In terms of content, Kenny didn’t play much like Booker, except perhaps for the gestural scales that you also hear Freddie Hubbard doing, however I do hear a very similar, glassy quality in the sound to their trumpet playing.

I was also amazed to find out that Dolphy recorded on Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz on the very same day, before making the journey from A&R Studios in New York City to the Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey. Out of curiosity, I did a bit of Google mapping to see what his route may have been on December 21st 1960 from the original A&R Studio in Manhattan (112 West 48thStreet) to Van Gelder’s new Studio (he moved from recording at his parents’ house in Hackensack the year before… Also, imagine recording the Miles Davis Quintet in your parents’ living room!!!!) in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. It’s about 11miles: a 2 hour walk with a ferry, or a 50 minute drive. However, according to New York weather archives, there was a nor’easter (apparently a macro-scale extratropical cyclone) earlier that month that caked New York in snow, and temperatures averaged around freezing point. This session could so easily have not happened. Not a bad days work for Dolphy on the shortest day of the year!    

February 2020


A very belated but Happy New Year! It’s been a busy start for me, mostly with teaching at Guildhall. I’m taking a jazz combo this term and I’m really enjoying working with the students. I’ve also been working on some music for a new band Alex Merritt has started with Tim Giles, Oli Hayhurst and myself. We’ll be announcing some London dates very soon I hope. 

In other news, I’ve put up a new video of my quartet with Sam Braysher from a gig last year. We’re also working on some more London dates for this year.

Coming up this month 

9thFebruary – Liam Dunachie Quartet @ Market Harborough Jazz Club

26thFebruary – London City Big Band @ The Spice of Life, London

28thFebruary – Yazz Ahmed’s Polyhymnia @ Church of Sound, London 

Things I’ve been checking out

Ornette Coleman! Until last month the only two albums I had in my collection were Change of the Centuryand The Shape of Jazz to Comebut it had been a while since I’d listened to them. After catching the Steve Buckley / Julian Siegel Quartet (with Dave Whitford and Gene Calderazzo) at Hackney Empire Bar in December I was inspired to check out some more Ornette. As well as the aforementioned albums, I’ve been really enjoying Something ElseThis Is Our Musicand especially Complete Live at the Hillcrest Club(from a gig in 1958) with Paul Bley on piano. I wasn’t aware of this last recording until reading Ethan Iverson’s fantastic essays on Ornette Coleman. It’s fascinating to hear Ornette developing his compositional language from slightly abstracted bebop into something more impressionistic and gestural. 

I’m still slowly making my way through Graham Lock’s fantastic book on Anthony Braxton (Forces in Motion) but I’m really enjoying it. I love the juxtaposition between passages on Braxton’s mystical and methodical approach to understanding music and then the mundane reality of a rushed service station lunch on the way to a gig. The more I read of his ideas the less I feel I know about anything at all, but it’s enlightening to read the ideas of this musical innovator. There’s a chapter where Lock interviews Braxton about his musical influences and I have made a Spotify playlist of recordings he makes specific references to, in the order in which they come up in the conversation.

December 2019


After a hectic November finishing my Nonet tour, embarking on a tour with Yazz Ahmed’s Polyhymniathen playing in the Cambridge, Hull and London jazz festivals with various bands, I’m looking forward to focusing on some practice and writing during a quiet December. It was a real pleasure to be a part of Yazz’s tour, not least because of the amazing musicians involved including a few I had long admired from afar but hadn’t met before. 

I was very sad to hear the news that singer, banjo player and robotics engineer Nick Singer passed away a couple of weeks ago. I met Nick over a decade ago playing in London’s trad scene (in which he had been an evergreen presence for about half a century). He was a real sweetheart who was always very kind to me. A highly intelligent yet open hearted man, I doubt there are many who knew so many old jazz songs (including the lyrics and the verses) AND how to design robots. I cherish the conversations we had in between sets over (probably a couple too many) pints. He once told me the thing he was most proud of in his life was caring for a dying loved one, and that one of his greatest regrets was that some of his early work in engineering was used for military purposes. He balanced all this with a childlike sense of humour, with plenty a rude song and double entendres in his extensive repertoire. I was always very pleased to see him and now I’ll miss him very much. Here is a touching tribute from the Shadow Robot Company (of which he was the Director) which offers some more insight into his warm personality and includes a little snippet of him singing. 

Coming up this month 

7thDecember – Andrew Linham Jazz Orchestra @ Vortex, London

14thDecember – Joy Ellis Album Launch @ Vortex, London  

Things I’ve been checking out

One of my favourite things about my job is getting to work with so many musicians who are extremely passionate about the music and who always have suggestions of albums to check out. A car journey to Folkstone may not have been the most obvious of learning opportunities, but when the driver is Leon Greening there’s a very good chance you’re going to discover a few incredible albums from the bebop and hardbop idioms. For those unfamiliar with Leon, he’s a fantastic piano player obsessed with Bud Powell, Wynton Kelly and Bobby Timmons (amongst many others I’m sure). I asked Leon for some recommended listening and I got a brilliant list of albums by Art Blakey and Cannonball Adderley. There are too many to check out in one month, but two albums I’ve really enjoyed are Blakey’s Free For All (Freddie Hubbard, Curtis Fuller, Wayne Shorter, Cedar Walton & Reginald Workman) recorded in 1964, and Paul Chamber’s 1959 album Go (Cannonball Adderley, Wynton Kelly, Philly Joe Jones/Jimmy Cobb and Freddie Hubbard). It’s interesting comparing Freddie’s playing on these two. On the Chambers album I hear Clifford Brown’s influence and Freddie is sort of halfway between Clifford and what we know Freddie sounds like in the sixties, which is in full evidence on the Blakey album. Besides the playing, there are some really fun compositions on these albums that I’ll be pinching!

George Crowley is a musician I’ll always lend an ear to whether he’s playing or talking about music. His tastes are wide ranging and he has a serious appreciation for the tradition. Whilst we were on tour with Yazz Ahmed’s project he introduced me to some live recordings of Sonny Rollins from a 1959 European tour. Henry Grimes is on bass for all, but the drum chair is shared between Pete La Roca, Joe Harris and Kenny Clarke. I love these recordings! Rollins sounds so strong and it’s interesting to compare the three drummers especially in this trio context, given how rhythmically playful Rollins is. I’d never heard of Harris and I was only vaguely familiar with La Roca, whose playing I particularly enjoy here.  



Last month I had a lot of fun with my nonet. The guys always sound incredible and having a run of gigs together like we’ve had has meant we can be a little more flexible with the pieces, leading to some extra surprises! I’ll be sad to finish the tour after tomorrow’s gig at The Verdict in Brighton but I’ve been working on some new music for the band that I definitely want to gig sometime next year. I’ve also been playing around with ideas for a smaller band which may well get off the ground in the new year. Until then, I’ve got another fun month of creative music ahead.  

Coming up this month 

1stNovember – Alex Merrit Quartet @ Con Cellar Bar, London

2ndNovember – Miguel Gorodi Nonet @ The Verdict, Brighton  

14thNovember – Yazz Ahmed Polyhymna @ Hull Jazz Festival

15thNovember – Yazz Ahmed Polyhymnia @ The Crescent, York

17thNovember – SEED Ensemble @ Cambridge Junction 

19thNovember – Yazz Ahmed Polyhymna @ Cambridge Jazz Festival

24thNovember – Lauren Bush + Lorne Lofsky @ Pizza Express, London Jazz Fest

24thNovember – SEED Ensemble @ Jazz Café, London Jazz Fest 

26thNovember – Andrew Linham Jazz Orchestra @ Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch

Things I’ve been checking out

I’ve been revisiting this great master-class given by alto saxophonist Dick Oatts which has inspired me to try a few different ways of practicing (generally speaking I’m very rigid with my practice but I really think it’s worth experimenting with different approaches from time to time). I thought it would be of some interest to jazz students to see how I’ve applied some of Dick Oatts’ ideas to some phrases from Freddie Hubbard’s famous solo on Birdlike. I’d be very interested to hear if and how others have used similar approaches. (I’m also writing a study solo putting this phrase into harmonic context, get in touch if you want to see it).

I’ve been listening to a lot of Dutilleux these last few weeks. There’s a fantastic album of his complete orchestral works played by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. My favourites so far are his Symphonies 1 and 2, and Métaboles. I’ve also been checking out the Don Byas and Slam Stewart duet recordings (Town Hall Concert, 1945) which are pretty special! 

I’ve already recommended the Blindboy Podcast but I’m doing so again because I really enjoyed his latest episode on Heavy Metal music. I love how he creates these narratives that draw from the history of ideas, culture and society. He talks about art in such a way that makes it a very relevant part of society. You definitely don’t need to be a fan of metal to find it interesting.



I’m absolutely thrilled to be back at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama teaching the Jazz Rhythm class alongside Will Glaser (one of London’s favourite young jazz drummers) and British jazz legend Trevor Tomkins. It’s a privilege to work with such esteemed musicians as well as talented and enthusiastic students. There’s little I love more than studying the greats and sharing ideas about practicing and learning. Last year I did some rhythmic analysis of an extract from the Miles Davis Quintet’s recording of Stella by Starlight from the famous 64’ concert. We looked specifically at the rhythm section comping behind George Coleman’s solo, and how they used rhythmic devices to organically develop intricate textures. It’s an example of what I consider to be musical genius in the form of spontaneous composition from Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams. I hope this visual score helps any interested party to hear how much these musicians are listening and immediately reacting to each other, making beautiful choices on how to influence the music. 

Coming up this month 

3rdOctober – Miguel Gorodi Nonet @ SoundCellar, Poole  

10thOctober – Miguel Gorodi Nonet @ Future Inn, Bristol

12thOctober – Miguel Gorodi Nonet @ Jazz at HEART, Leeds

13thOctober – SEED Ensemble @ Marsden Jazz Festival

15thOctober – Miguel Gorodi Nonet @ Hauser & Wirth Recital Hall, Bruton 

19thOctober – Barry Green Sextet @ The Vortex, London

21stOctober – Calum Gourlay Big Band @ Vortex, London

30thOctober – London City Big Band @ The Spice of Life

Things I’ve been checking out

I’ve been waiting with great excitement for the release of Steve Lehman’s new album The People I Loveand I haven’t listened to much else since it’s been out. Lehman is probably my greatest influence as far as contemporary music is concerned, and the fact that his trio (completed by Matt Brewer and Damion Reid) is joined by Craig Taborn meant I was prepared to have my mind blown. There’s a few different contributing composers on this one, but interestingly it still all has that incredibly powerful Lehman aesthetic. I love it! I’ve also been re-reading Lehman’s essays available on his website. Anyone interested in learning about fusing Afrological and contemporary classical music will find this paper fascinating. 

I’ve also recently seen that there’s a new season of a podcast I’ve enjoyed. The Classical Music Pod is hosted by musicians Timmy Fisher and Sam Poppleton, the latter of whom I met last year when he put together and conducted an interesting program of genre crossing music including  Montiverdi, a new contemporary classical piece and Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool’ (and I very much hope my Baroque trumpet playing didn’t completely ruin the concerts!). It’s a fun listen that includes relevant news, reviews, interviews and some musical analysis (I think Sam does a great job of being insightful whilst keeping it accessible, something for everyone!).



The next leg of my Nonet tour is fast approaching with tickets now on sale for our gigs at Soundcellar (Poole) and Jazz at HEART (Leeds). All other venues will be releasing tickets soon. 

I had a great time recording with Marek Dorcik’s Quintet in Cardiff, and Josh Jaswon’s Oktet in Berlin last month. I’m looking forward to hearing the results and will of course post updates up here.

Coming up this month 

19thSeptember – SEED Ensemble @ Mercury Prize * I won’t be performing for this anymore but do check the band out on TV.

22ndSeptember – London Dance Orchestra @ The Ned

25thSeptember – London City Big Band @ Spice of Life

Things I’ve been checking out

I absolutely love Eric Dolphy’s solo on Clarence’s Place off last months Freddie Hubbard album The Body and the Soul. It inspired me to check out some of Dolphy’s own work as I’ve only heard him as a sideman. Out to Lunch!is awesome. It gave me loads to think about compositionally and conceptually, plus there’s some great playing from Dolphy, Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Richard Davis and the amazing Tony Williams (who had only just turned 18 when this was recorded in 1964).

Other albums I’ve really been enjoying are Ellington’s Second Sacred Concert(I think I love this even more than the first), Tristano’s Intuitionand Bodas de Latãoby Hermeto Pascoal and Aline Morena.  



I had a great time in Berlin last month rehearsing, hanging and gigging with the musicians in the Josh Jaswon Octet. I’ll be going back out in a few weeks to record the material. 

I’ll also be in the studio with drummer Marek Dorcik’s new project in a couple of weeks. It’s a great band with George Crowley (tenor), Tom Hewson (keys) and Mick Coady (double bass). Rehearsals have been good fun and I’m really hoping we get to gig the music after recording. 

Driftglass by Cassie Kinoshi’s SEED Ensemble has been shortlisted for the 2019 Mercury Prize on which I’m a soloist on the track Afronaut. It’s been a pleasure being involved in this project.

Coming up this month 

5thAugust – Gorodi/Braysher Quartet @ Jazz at the Oxford (The Oxford Tavern)

11thAugust – Marek Dorcik Quintet @ Jazz at The Empire (The Empire Bar) *Unfortunately I can’t make this gig but do check out this new music, not least because Robbie Robson will be there in my stead!

13th-14thAugust – Recording with Marek Dorcik Quintet.

21stAugust – Recording with Josh Jaswon Octet 

Things I’ve been checking out

I’ve been binging on Freddie Hubbard these last few weeks. Some of my first solo transcriptions were of him on albums like Open Sesame and Hub-Tones, but it had been a while since I’ve given his albums a proper listen. In fact in recent years I’ve barely transcribed any trumpet players, so I thought it was about time I did. Freddie’s solo on the blues Birdlike (from the album Ready for Freddie) is heralded as one of the great jazz trumpet solos and I’ve loved getting into it. Freddie was just 23 when he recorded it which is unbelievable. I’ll share some transcription analysis of this solo soon.

I stumbled upon an album of Freddie’s that I hadn’t come across before called The Body and the Soul. It was recorded on three dates in 1963 with slightly different ensembles and line-ups on each day. As well as a small orchestra, the album features jazz heavyweights Eric Dolphy, Wayne Shorter, Cedar Walter, Reggie Workman, Louis Hayes/Philly Joe Jones and Curtis Fuller. Wayne Shorter did all the arranging for the large ensemble tracks which I found fascinating being a big fan of his later works for large(ish) ensembles. Freddie is joined by trumpet session legends Clark Terry (whose reputation speaks for itself) and Ernie Royal (who played on, amongst many others classic albums, Sketches of Spain, Porgy and Bess and Miles Ahead) which makes for a pretty awesome trumpet section!    

I’ve finally started reading Art Taylor’s Notes and Tones, a series of interviews the drummer conducts with many of his jazz contemporaries (including Blakey, Ornette, Miles, Roach, Rollins, Hubbard, Nina Simone, Elvin, Gillespie, and my favourite interviewee so far, Ron Carter). It’s an incredible insight into some of the thoughts and feelings of these innovators of jazz. I’ve not finished it yet, but recurring topics include thoughts and opinions on the new free jazz of the time, the nature of jazz, and the many levels of mistreatment of black musicians. On this last point, I’ve genuinely found it exhausting reading the musician’s honestly expressed anger and resentment, such is the strength and depth of their feelings. It couldn’t be more important for a white, middle-class music graduate such as myself to read about the conditions in which the music I love so much developed. It’s certainly adding more layers of appreciation for some of my musical heroes – I’m only embarrassed it’s taken me until the age of 29 to read these first hand accounts.



I had an amazing time with the nonet playing at NQ Jazz at the Whisky Jar in Manchester and Parr Jazz in Liverpool last month. It was our first time as a band gigging outside of London and it was amazing to have such a great reception and to see a few old friends. We’ll be taking few months break while I write some new material before we get back on it in October. 

I also had the pleasure of playing with the Alex Merritt / Gareth Fowler Quintet at the The Flute & Tankard in Cardiff (the venue has the best selection of gluten free beers I’ve ever seen). Alex had written some new music exploring Messiaen’s third mode of limited transpositions (and a variation of this by Hubert Nuss, discussed in this ‘Pablo Held Investigates’ video) which threw up some really interesting harmonic puzzles for each improviser to deal with.   

Coming up this month 

4thJuly – Dixie Ticklers @ Maison Assouline

7thJuly – SEED Ensemble @ Love Supreme Festival 

12thJuly – Josh Jaswon Octet @ Georg-Naumann-Saal Jazz-Institute, Berlin

23rdJuly – Gorodi/Braysher Quartet @ Ronnie Scotts Late Show

26thJuly – Gorodi/Braysher Quartet @ St Alphages Ruins, Play The Mile 

Things I’ve been checking out

After speaking with Alex Merritt about some of his ideas about the Messiaen mode (mentioned above) he sent me the Pablo Held Investigates video (also above), in which Pablo and Hubert Nuss discuss Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music Concerts. I’d heard these years ago when I was involved in a project of that music at Guildhall and I remember being pretty bemused and apathetic towards most of it. But I’ve spent the last month checking it out the first two concerts again, and they’re absolutely incredible.

A contemporary album I’ve loved this month is Liam Noble’s The Long Gamewith Tom Herbert and Seb Rochford. I’m a huge fan of Liam’s playing and how he gracefully intertwines his musical influences so that he always sounds like himself – not just an incredibly skilled multi-stylist! 

A podcast I’ve been enjoying is Ben Corrigan’s Excuse The Mess. Ben interviews a different composer for each episode, and then co-creates some music with the interviewee using only their instrument and his laptop and clever buttons (I’m afraid that’s about the extent of my tech knowledge). It’s insightful hearing how each composer deals with the composition challenge in real time. 



Last month we celebrated the launch of my debut album Apophenia,which is now available for purchase here. It’s the culmination of a few years of writing, and some incredible playing by everyone in the band, not to mention the hard work and wizardry of Jim Hart and Alex Bonney. The launch gig was a really special night for me, and I’m really looking forward to taking the band on tour and seeing how we develop the music. I was interviewed by Rob Cope for The Jazz Podcast, and by Sarah Chaplin for Jazz London Live. We’ve also had a lovely review of the album by Roger Farbey:

As well the album launch and preparing for the tour, I really enjoyed the Barry Green Sextet gig at the vortex – our first one in a while. Barry’s tunes are really challenging, often in less-common keys with sneaky tricks in the forms. They cover an eclectic range of styles within jazz and it’s a rare treat to get to play such varied material within a set. You can read a review here. 

Coming up this month 

2ndJune – Andrew Linham Orchestra @ Peterborough Jazz Club

3rdJune – Quartet gig @ Sharktown Jazz, Oxford

11thJune – Alex Merrit / Gareth Fowler Quintet @ Flute & Tankard, Cardiff

17thJune – Miguel Gorodi Nonet @ Whiskey Jar, Manchester 

18thJune – Miguel Gorodi Nonet @ Parr Jazz, Liverpool

Things I’ve been checking out

I’ve spent a lot of time at the Vortex Jazz Club in the last couple of months, both playing and watching gigs. My favourite gig was Michael Formanek’s Elusion Quartet featuring Tony Malaby, Kris Davis and Ches Smith. It was the first time I’ve heard Malaby live, and I’m a huge fan of Kris Davis. I also got to hear two other incredible pianists play a few days earlier; Matt Mitchell and Craig Taborn provided my highlites of Dan Weiss’ gig with Starebaby.

I seem to be going through a bit of a piano phase because I’ve also been listening to a lot of Bud Powell (Jazz Giant) recently, and have also listened to the audio book version of Herbie Hancock’s autobiography Possibilitiesnarrated by the man himself. I thoroughly enjoyed the sections about playing with Miles and the various band members during that time, plus an insightful section on working with a very young Wynton Marsalis in the band V.S.O.P. The book is also a bit of a history of synthesisers. 



I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be releasing my debut album Apophenia on Ubuntu Music. Although it’s not officially out until the 24thMay, we’ve got an album launch gig at the Vortex in London on Friday 10thMay where you’ll be able to buy an early copy! Tickets are now on sale here

We’ve then got a series of dates across the UK:

17thJune: NQ Jazz at the Whiskey Jar, Manchester

18thJune: Parr Jazz, Liverpool

 3rdOctober: Soundcellar, Poole

10thOctober: Future Inn, Bristol

12thOctober: HEART, Leeds

15thOctober: Hauser & Wirth Recital Hall, Bruton

2ndNovember: The Verdict, Brighton

The launch and tour are generously supported by Council England. 

Coming up this month 

I’ll be focusing on writing some new material for the nonet this month, but I’ve got a couple of gigs this month that will be really fun:

13thApril – I’m playing with Seed Ensemble at the Barbican

24thApril – I’m back at the Spice of Life for the London City Big Band’s monthly residency. 

Things I’ve been checking out

As I’ve been focusing on writing recently, I’ve been checking out loads of different music. Two albums I’ve really enjoyed have been Anna Webber’s Clockwise and Max Roach’s Drums Unlimited. They’re from different times (the latter was released in 1966 while the former only came out a couple of months ago) but both have a challenging, avant-garde approach that I like. 

Follow Me