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(Pals and band members and myself after the gig.)

It took some time to recover after the massive undertaking that was The Pheasantry,  23rd Oct 2013. A long summer of preparation, a massive 2 hour set and a personnel line-up that went through a few hair-raising changes. 8 hour rehearsals, a publicity campaign of almost military proportions…and in the end, a damn near perfect evening. Old and new friends and family, long missed fellow jazz colleagues from across continents and a sweet and funky gourmet serving of original music, sharp shirts and haircuts. Also, some blisteringly tight yet superbly relaxed  moments of both solo prowess and ensemble sensitivity. Wow. Not to mention flowers and presents. What a gathering – I must do it again!

Speaking artistically, felt I had a lot resting on this concert. Material from 2 previous albums and the pending semi-recorded project, plus randomly generated, unbidden new material had to be somehow combined. Old stuff made fresh, new stuff made secure. Despite having more than enough material for evermore, I had been unable to resist several persistent ‘bus-stop’ songs composed on my late night journeys back from my Soho Theatre gigs. (When songs start coming like that, one has to just surrender – seriously, what is writer’s block? And is there any such thing as the opposite problem?)

It all came together with magic willingness and enthusiasm. I have been blessed with a long-standing 10 year connection with my 2 core band members and they recommended a close colleague of theirs as new bass player. The chemistry was a combination of fresh and vintage, contemporary and classic, like a spanking new designer suit woven in retro textures. Drummer Ian-Newton Grant, Guitarist Ryan Barquilla, Bassist Luke Capon. Also sax player Tony Kofi, who guested on about 6 tracks at short notice. Instant vibe, telepathic teamwork. I hope I am lucky enough to know these people forever.

For your enjoyment in reliving the night, here are some excellent and atmospheric shots, taken both by DJ Jazzy Ron and audience members. Soon there will be a video link to my *BRAND NEW  YouTube channel containing nearly 90 mins of footage, of which I am very proud. Camera work and editing by Mel Jones. Live sound engineering by Alex Merola at The Pheasantry.

About that YouTube channel:  On Wednesday 19th Feb at 12pm I shall click ‘public’ on my first 2 live tracks from the Pheasantry gig,  just as a teaser – thereafter, it will be a gradual buzz and release with 2 tracks a week.  Expect a full packaged DVD, available to purchase in the near future.

I would appreciate your virtual presence for the launch. I would love if it if people come along in ‘real time’, on Twitter and Facebook and leave a comment/greeting. Also please watch and share the links widely. I hope that you enjoy the songs as much as we enjoyed playing them. You may recognise yourself in the audience, or onstage!

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