Hi there good people, bringing news about my new soundscape/cinematic piano album from the jazz drummer.
I know I haven’t written a blog for quite some time now, so I thought it was high time that I got back on the horse (no pun intended) and started writing again.
Recently, my music blogs have been put on the back burner so that I could concentrate on my non-musical business, which is making novelty parking ticket holders for cars and also doing a bit of acting work on the side. Continue reading
It’s the the jazz drummer again.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year. I have managed to see in the new year with quite an eventful run of performances in its’ lead up; most notably this being with the chamber-pop (not a term the band members themselves would care to use, but nevertheless, a term associated with their unique style of music) group, ‘The Miserable Rich’. Continue reading
Here is another occasional missive from the jazz drummer/ drummer singer.
In my last blog, I talked about my summer gig in the Baltic country of Estonia, with the psychedelic/electronica group ‘Oddfellows Casino’. This time around I would like to tell you about my other summer Baltic gigs, in Lithuania, with the ‘London Bridge Ensemble’.
This is a five piece ensemble led by the Anglo-Russian pianist and composer Vladimir Miller.
A frequent visitor and performer in the Baltic countries; this is about the fifth appearance in Lithuania over the years, for the ensemble. Fronted by Anglo-African singer and performer Helen McDonald; the London Bridge Ensemble has a modern jazz approach to its music, with a very strong African undercurrent. Continue reading
It’s about that time of the month again, when I like to indulge in a bit of blogging, with regards to my own musical path and career, jazz drumming, or drummer / singers, or anything for that matter which happens to bear relevance to music and conversation.
This time round, I would like to spend a bit of time talking about the latest projects which I have been involved in, and where they have taken me.
Firstly, I would like to tell you what great fun and a privilege it has been for me this summer to perform with such fantastic and creative musicians. I really did have a fabulous time. Continue reading
I thought it was about time that I gave you an update as to what I have been doing over the last few months, with regards to my jazz drumming and beyond.
Over the past 8 weeks or so, I have been heavily involved with the reformed 1970’s prog –rock band ‘Marsupilami’. The reason behind the reforming of this group was purely to perform on the ‘Spirit of ‘71’ stage, at Glastonbury festival this year. I must say that the gig was a resounding success, and the whole build up to the festival, which involved many rehearsals, and an unbelievable amount of laughter, made the whole experience of Glastonbury one of the highlights of my musical career so far. A jazz drummer playing prog rock? I hear you say. Yes, I am not the first and I certainly won’t be the last.
However, there is a whole lot of jazz inherent in the music from this group, and prog rock itself has many close associations with jazz and free form expression. What aspiring jazz or rock musician would ever turn down the chance to play with someone like Frank Zappa for example? Marsupilami front man Fred Hasson happens to be one of his biggest fans. Feel free to check it out here… Continue reading
It is time again for one of the final instalments on my latest article, which focuses on music and the mind, from a jazz drummer/singer’s point of view.
6 – Fear.
“The Only Thing We Have To Fear is Fear Itself” Frankiln D. Roosevelt
Fear comes from nowhere, it pertains to nothing, and it does an individual no good whatsoever, other that cause undue anxiety and stress. Although we associate fear with memory and experience, fear itself will not necessarily prevent the outcome of a situation; it will only succeed in causing harm to an individual and perpetuate the already underlying problems which they have.
So why does the mind allow such a chemical reaction to take place? I believe, it is the fear of the outcome -which we are in some situations powerless to prevent – which we are somehow trying to avoid or change. This outcome may very well mean a step into the unknown, and many many people do not like that. Fear in my mind, is very closely associated with control. When a person is not in control of a situation, the mind starts to run riot. This is – I can well imagine- what a dictator thrives on when they are in power. And, why they are so reluctant to give up that power when they are forced to leave because of their actions; thus creating another fearful situation for those guilty parties.
It has often been said that we are creators of our own world. Continue reading
It is now time for the third part in my series of topical looks at jazz drumming and the mind, and the psychological affects which a cluttered mind can have, with regards to inhibiting the flow of a performer’s musical river.
“Clutter creates chaos. It drains your energy. When we clear our clutter, we allow the space for more wonderful things to come into our lives. Go through every drawer, closet, the garage and even the freezer and ask yourself, “Do I love it, do I need it, does it serve me well, would I take it with me if I move? If you can’t honestly say YES, then give it away, sell it or throw it away. This will open up a whole new lively experience, which is the next “rule.” Christina Jantzen
5 – Ego
“To know yet to think that one does not know is best; Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty.” Lao Tzu
The ego in jazz and music is a very interesting subject, because it is one which affects all of us to a certain extent at some point in our lives. It possesses the power to make enemies of musicians who would otherwise be friends and friends of musicians who would otherwise be enemies. The ego itself is not necessarily a negative force, although, if misused, it is quite possibly the most destructive power within all mankind. Continue reading
It is now time for the second instalment of my latest article, which focuses on the relationship between jazz drumming and or music, and the affected mind; with its’ potentially detrimental influence over a professional jazz musicians’ performance.
3 – Language.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela
Language in jazz is to me as important as talking or breathing. By language what I mean is: the vast array of musical styles which exist around the world, and which can be incorporated into the genre.
One could argue that jazz is all about self expression, and that there is no need to learn this myriad of global musical forms in such great depth; all the musician needs to do is just plug in (or not) and play whatever sound comes into their heads or hearts and that is it – which is a fair enough thing to say, because it is all about self expression. However, that style of play does have its limitations. It could also be well argued – and very often is – that jazz is all about one particular style of play, for example – bebop or dixieland. But, one does run the risk of coming under fierce criticism if they are to adopt this attitude, especially in European countries – jazz being fundamentally an American art form. Continue reading
Hello there again friends.
I thought in this blog I would write a different kind of article for jazz drummers.This is a new type of article for me, because not only does it approach my own concept of jazz drumming and music on the whole, but it also discusses several reasons why in today’s world, many jazz musicians and perhaps many people on the whole, feel the need to be free of all inhibiting factors, which are a result and reflection of life, and which are predominantly created in the mind, in order to express themselves fully on their instrument and in general society, in order to live a fulfilled and fear free existence. Continue reading
I thought it was time I shared my thoughts on another selection of my favourite Jazz Drummers. This time numbers 6 to 10.
As with my previous blog which was my favourite jazz drummers’ numbers 1 to 5, I will again attempt to share my own personal thoughts and insights into the influence and affect these particular jazz drummers had on me and why, and not some random jargon which can be obtained from Wikipedia or any other source. These are the guys who definitely give me the feeling of a jazz drummer wanted primarily for their skills as a musician but also for their maturity and or humanistic qualities too.
So here it is:
6 – Brian Blade
Personally speaking, no serious jazz drummer in the modern era can make a list of influential musicians or jazz drummers if you must without mentioning Brian Blade. A pioneer in the younger generation of jazz drumming greats Brian plays with such subtlety, panache and energy one can only liken his prowess over the drum-kit to that of a crouched panther ready to attack. I have heard Brian play with various ensembles; Joshua Redman, Joni Mitchell and his own ensemble ‘The Fellowship Band’ (did I mention that Brian is also a great drummer singer and has released a fantastic album called Mama Rose) but none of the above groups for me has managed to create the rush of adrenalin I receive when I hear him perform with the Wayne Shorter Quartet. Continue reading