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 Else, This 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.