News

News

Rodgers and Hart

I have recently been listening to and reading about the work of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, one of the great writing partnerships of the American Songbook. This is largely in preparation for a gig I have coming with Will Arnold-Forster and Calum Gourlay on 17th November as part of Bopfest (Alison Neale and Nat Steele’s mini festival within the EFG London Jazz Festival. Our gig is a double bill with Freddie Gavita’s tribute to Clifford Brown). But it also feeds into a general desire, on my part, to learn more about…

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Celia

Bud Powell’s solo on Celia, the pianist’s own composition named for his daughter, is one of the great bebop performances. A real one-chorus-wonder, it appears on the album Jazz Giant, which comprises two trio sessions: one recorded in 1949 with Ray Brown and Max Roach, and one from 1950 with Roach and Curley Russell. Celia is from the earlier session, which heavily features Powell’s compositions, with five of the seven tracks written by the pianist, whereas the tunes from the 1950 session are all American Songbook standards. Along with Celia, Cherokee (Ray Noble)…

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John Warren Nonet @ the Vortex 24/10

On 24th October, the John Warren Nonet is playing at the Vortex in Dalston. The evening is being presented by Jazz Nursery, which is a monthly night that I help run. JN normally puts on gigs on the last Thursday of the month in the Southbank area, but this is our first collaboration with the Vortex, one of London’s best jazz clubs. John Warren is a great composer and arranger who has worked extensively with John Surman and many other greats of British jazz. His Tales of the Algonquin is a classic British…

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AMO on BBC Radio 3

I played live on BBC Radio 3 a few weeks ago with Alex Mendham & His Orchestra, which plays authentic 1920s/30s jazz and dance music and is resident at the Savoy Hotel in London. You can see footage from one of the tunes we played here, or listen to the audio from the whole show (In Tune, presented by Sean Lafferty) here.  

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Re-post: Early Bird

I wrote this on my old website a while ago, but thought I would repost here. I’ve been learning this Charlie Parker solo recently (transcription here). It was recorded in 1943, towards the start of Bird’s career and, although his style is plainly not yet fully formed, it is one of my favourite examples of his playing. The early years of bebop are not especially well documented due to the American Federation of Musicians’ recording ban between 1942 and ’43, and so this bootleg feels like a particularly important glimpse at both the…

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Way Down Yonder in New Orleans

One of the songs I picked for my recent duo recording with Michael Kanan was Way Down Yonder in New Orleans. Written in 1922 by Turner Layton and Henry Creamer, the African-American songwriting team also responsible for the more well-known After You’ve Gone, Way Down Yonder seems to only really be played by more trad/Dixieland bands now. It’s a fun sequence to improvise over though, with an unusual 28 bar form and a couple of interesting harmonic corners. Here’s a video of Layton himself performing it. On our recording, Michael and I…

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