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. 

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