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.

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