I’ve spent the last couple of months writing some new arrangements for the Wandsworth Youth Jazz Orchestra. We decided to use this as an opportunity to introduce the students to the music of Miles Davis so I’ve been having a great time delving deeper into his work. I’ll be playing the arrangements with the band for their EFG London Jazz Festival gig on the 25thof November at the Southbank’s Clore Ballroom (more info to follow).
Whilst working on these big band arrangements, it was really informative to play some of Kenny Wheeler’s music with the London Jazz Orchestra at the Vortex a few weeks back (which featured Henry Lowther who sounded as beautiful as ever). Kenny’s music has been a huge influence on me, especially whilst I was studying at Guildhall, and it’s always a pleasure to play his charts. If you’ve never heard Kenny’s music, my favourite albums are ‘Gnu High’ and ‘Song for Someone’, and if you want more, check out ‘Windmill Tilter’, ‘Music For Large & Small Ensembles’ and ‘Flutter By, Butterfly’ for a healthy introduction to Kenny Wheeler (but don’t stop there!)
On the subject of art, I’m in the process finalising the artwork and cover design for my nonet’s album. Artist Richard Keys spent a few weeks listening and responding to the mixes, and has come up with an image that beautifully entangles the themes of the music. I’m really excited to share some more information on the release of the album very soon.
13thand 20thOctober – I’m playing two gigs with the Zeitgeist Chamber Orchestra at All Saint’s Fulham and Kings Place which will be really interesting. The project is called ‘Birth of the Cool – Improv from Monteverdi to Miles Davis’. Having spent so much time listening to the seminal Miles album over the last couple of months it will be really fun to actually play it, whilst also giving my (very well-rested) Baroque chops a run out! The program also features a premier of composer Effy Efthymiou’s new commission.
31stOctober – I’m seeing the month out by spending the whole day at The Spice of Life, playing an afternoon gig with Graham Hughes’ ‘Sunshine Kings’ followed by an evening gig with the London City Big Band.
I want to conclude these monthly posts by recommending a few things I’ve been checking out recently. I’m a bit of a podcast binger and one of my new favourites is The Blindboy Podcast. The episodes mostly consist of monologues rich in humor and integrity, covering topics such as mental health, history, art, music, psychology, sociology, and hilarious “hot takes”. Thanks to Alex Bonney who recommended this to me whilst we were mixing the album!