Observations from the Gateshead International Jazz Festival

Last weekend was the seventh annual Gateshead International Jazz Festival at the Sage, and I made the trip up on Saturday for some high-quality gigs – Stian Westerhus, FOOD with special guest Eivind Aarset, Joe Lovano’s ‘Us Five’ and Mike Stern.

FOOD was the highlight, immediately re-creating the distinctive blend between electronic and acoustic sounds that defines their recordings. The band is now a duo between Iain Ballamy (saxophones) and Thomas Stronen (drums/percussion), with special guest Eivind Aarset adding sometimes heavily-layered guitar textures and effects, and they freely improvised a 70-minute set so well structured that it often sounded composed and rehearsed.

Tomorrow evening we are going back into the studio for a final session of mastering, and then we will have a short CD’s-worth of properly produced, original tracks to distribute for free as a promotional tool. Hopefully, by the weekend they should be available on this site to listen to.

Happy to be featured on Martin Powell’s ‘JazzScene’ broadcast on BCB Radio this Tuesday – the broadcast can be heard at http://jazzscene.podomatic.com/.

Taking shape.

After a heavy week I’ve now resumed work on this site, and I think it’s starting to take a bit more of a shape – all the pages are published now, some audio has been embedded and I’ve added a couple of new pages as well. Still to come: RSS feed, photo gallery and videos.

Plus, soon I’ll be uploading some new Matt Anderson Quartet recordings which we just completed on Friday. These were done at Savile and Chrome studios in Leeds as part of the Jazz Yorkshire ‘Futures’ scheme, and we’re back in the studio again next Friday to mix and master the results. We recorded six original tunes in total: Skye, The Crunch, Ralph’s Cross, Cold Spell, LS7 by me, and Free into Edinburgh by Aubin. It seemed to go very well on the day, and we’re all pretty excited to hear the tracks again next week.

Here is a pic from the very enjoyable Charlie Wright’s gig I did last week with Sam Leak, James Opstad and Chris Draper.









New website!

The new website is starting to take shape, albeit slowly with all my other commitments I have to fulfill this week. It’s been a real learning curve getting to grips with WordPress, web hosting, plugins etc., but I feel like I’m starting to get comfortable with it all now. Maybe it will all be ready to unveil in a few days?!

In other news, this week I’m playing in York with my quartet straight after our weekly rehearsal (this gig will hopefully be filmed and part-posted on this site), as well as heading down to London to play at Charlie Wright’s with Sam Leak, Chris Draper and James Opstad in a new project called Tesseract. The last time I was at Charlie’s I was watching Chris Cheek perform in Rudder, so I’m quite excited about playing there! (And sampling some of the venue’s amazing Thai food…)

Some other cool gigs I’m doing this week are with the Kate Peters Septet in York and the Alec Robinson Quartet in Hull – both bands have just been in the studio recording and mixing so I hope we’ll have to tracks to put up soon as well.