•January 26, 2009 • 1 Comment
Hello again. Apologies, apologies, apologies. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to keep this blog up to date, and before I’ve even had a chance to break it, I’ve broken it. Goodness me, it’s the end of January, for Chrissakes.
Anyway, I’ve not been idling. I’ve been busily beavering away at this and that; doing gigs, teaching, contracting viruses, visiting family members, driving around, acquiring new technology &c. Writing music, too. Songs, with and without words. This is really just to say hello and allay any fears that you may have had for my health or whereabouts.
Lots of nice things have been happening: I’ve just got back from Kendal where I was working with the National Youth Jazz Collective, teaching jazz to kids. Remarkably fulfilling stuff when it goes well, and it was great fun.
I took Joseph (my 5 year-old boy) to the Autosport Racing Car Show too, which was killing. Lots of cars, as you’d imagine, but check this. I met Nigel Roebuck! And gave him my album! Turns out the copy I sent to Motor Sport magazine hadn’t got through to him, which was a relief. He seemed quite surprised by the tribute, and fair enough; I could have been a lunatic. Maybe he did think that, actually. Maybe I am. Whichever, I still haven’t heard back from him…
Goodness me, how much does one put into in one’s blog? How much of one’s life can one assume is of interest to, I presume, a small handful of strangers? It’s difficult to call. Perhaps I will end, therefore, with some news that may be pertinent in some way to anyone who’s here because of an interest in jazz piano. Or even better, jazz piano as played by T. Cawley. My band, Curios, is off on a short UK tour later this week. Please come along. If by chance you live in Gateshead, Southampton, Oxford on London then we’re coming your way.
•November 10, 2008 • Leave a Comment
Is it London buses that come in twos, or is it deaths? Whatever, Curios’ Radio 3 appearances this week may also count among these phenomena, starting, as we did, with an appearance on Jazz Line-Up last Sunday evening, and continuing by opening the Jazz On 3 London Jazz Festival show this coming Friday. Woo, and to a certain extent, hoo.
The second of these will be our first ever live broadcast and I’m rather excited. We’ve to perform a 20 minute set and, gasp, play the opening theme tune. This is a Cannonball Adderley number in 7 which sounds suspiciously like acid-jazz and took rather a beating in our rehearsal today. I think we’ve managed to come up with something suitably rousing in the end, though.
The first was an interview with Brit jazz legend Julian Joseph in which I rattled on about – guess what – motorsport and football. I haven’t heard it yet, but I’m assured by J. Blackmore that the sports stuff survived the edit. I think we also spoke of music and, inevitably, of pianos. And they played some tunes, of course.
Anyway, enough Curios. I’ll be back with more anecdotal nonsense soon, I promise.
•October 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment
So I wrote a piece of music and dedicated it to Nigel Roebuck, the motor racing journalist. The man who illuminated, and illuminates, Formula 1 like no other. Much of my life is still given over to reading his words, and absolutely delightful they are. He’s warm, insightful, amusing, wry and passionate. It’s utterly wonderful stuff. So yeah, I wanted to write him a tune. And I did.
You can see my band playing the tune here:
Or you can listen to it here:
Roebuck, by Curios
The thing is, it doesn’t stop there. Unfortunately I sent a copy to him, via the office address given at MotorSport magazine. And, even though this was now many weeks ago, I have heard nothing back. With it I sent an incredibly gushing letter, explaining myself. I think it’s possibly here that I went wrong. I mean, why? What was I hoping for?
So I hope that maybe it’s not all as embarrassing as it looks at the moment. Maybe he doesn’t like jazz, full stop. I mean possibly he just hates the tune. Maybe he didn’t yet get the CD…
Anyway, so I’ve done something rather silly there. Has anyone else ever done anything like this? With more (or possibly less) luck?
•October 1, 2008 • 2 Comments
So, a huge gap between the last post and this. Not good blogging form, I know. But I’ve been doing lots of all-consuming stuff and haven’t had a chance, I’m afraid.
One of which was working with a huge youth voices project. Quite amazing in its sheer sonic might, and quite an eye-opener in how music can work when stretched out across the human voicebox. Literally, a single note sung by a choir sounds incredible. Throw in a few harmonies and a fantastically eccentric musical director and Bob was very much your uncle.
Another thing has been the arrival of my Boss RC-50. I’m still hoping that I’ll be able to use the box to dramatic pianistic effect, but at the moment I’m just staring, bewildered, at its flashing lights. It doesn’t yet do what I’d like it to do, to put it mildly. There’s what they call a steep learning curve. Still, one day. One day.
A third all-consuming thing has been being ill, then resolving to get fit, then being ill again. Really takes it out of you, does that. Not that you have to be particularly fit to live my life (play piano, drive up and down motorway, stare at computer screen), but I reckon a spot of jogging every morning can’t fail to be good for me. Even though joggers look miserable while they’re at it, I’m sure they have the last laugh.
Anyway, some proper stuff when I return to health, I promise.
•September 12, 2008 • Leave a Comment
I’ve put some new videos up on YouTube. They’re from our gig at Pizza Express earlier this week. It’s the first manifestation of an attempt I’m going to make to video our gigs and share bits of them. For starters, we have:
It’s an idealistic notion, and actually quite a complicated process; aligning video with audio, selecting compression settings and juggling file sizes causes much gnashing of teeth, in my small experience of it. Still, it’s good to get the stuff out there, I needn’t say. I’ll keep you informed of developments…
•September 9, 2008 • 4 Comments
Everyone I’ve told about it has already heard it, and my intuition tells me that there probably aren’t, as yet, all that many dear readers of this blog, but nonetheless let me say this: Chris Potter – bloody hell! I’ve been listening to Kurt Rosenwinkel recently quite a lot (the new album, with Mark Turner) and goodness crikey me, that’s some pretty scary playing. I saw him recently in London and he tore the shit out of it then, but on record it’s somehow even greater? Anyway, just when I thought I’d probably heard it all, I was driving back from a gig and a young saxophonist played me a bootleg of what sounded like a workshop given by Chris Potter, in which he played All The Things You Are on his own. With devastating results. It’s quite unbelievable, and you must hear it. You must seek it out. It’s ridiculous.
Lewis Hamilton was, of course, robbed. We await the verdict of the appeal courts, but not with much hope, I have to say. He even ducked back behind him and changed sides. I mean demonstrably behind him. I despair…