The 'Nightingale and the Rose' tour is over, and I hugely appreciate the efforts of all involved. All those who read 'The Nightingale and the Rose' at each gig - Jack Trow, David Reid, Ian McMillan, Tony Gill, Fran Riley, Tom Butterworth, Andy Williamson, Mark Harondon, Adam Turns and Tony Horitz. But above all the three other musicians - Seb Pipe, Nick Pini and Marco Quarantotto; their belief, commitment and skill was incredible. It was without doubt the best playing experience of my life, and this was mainly due to these brilliant musicians.
Our next gig is November 12th with Gyles Brandreth in the London Jazz festival.
This coming Monday the 11th, is the album launch at the Pizza Express in Dean street London, and I am especially pleased to say that David Reid will be giving the reading of 'The Nightingale and the Rose' accompanied by our music. David is an incredible story teller who has made beautiful recordings of all of Oscar Wilde's children's stories and many other folk tales from around the world.
Guest Readers Update
On almost all of our gigs this autumn a different guest reader will read Oscar Wilde's 'The Nightingale and the Rose' accompanied by my quartet, and I'm very excited with the line up so far. I have just learned that Ian McMillan is to read with us at the Sheffield gig Jazz at the Lescar on 20th September. Ian is a legendary broadcaster, orator but above all poet. His poetry is magical and very moving. To me Ian seems a perfect fit with this project and I am very excited about this gig!
So the line up so far
29th Aug Spotted dog Birmingham.... Jack Trow
11th Sept Pizza express London... TBC
20th Sept Lescar Sheffield... Ian McMillan
22th Sept Verdict Brighton... Tony Gill, aka Gilli Bloodaxe
23th Sept Zeffirellis Ambleside... No reader just music!
24th Sept Ashburton live... TBC
25th Sept North Devon Jazz Appledore.. Peter Hames
26th Sept St Ives Jazz... TBC
27th Sept Flute and Tankard Cardiff... TBC
28th Sept Soundcellar Poole... Tony Horitz
12th Nov Zedels London.. Gyles Brandreth
30th June 2017
I'm very pleased to say that Gyles Brandreth will be reading 'The Nightingale and the Rose', at the LJF Zedels gig in London on the 12th November, with accompaniment from my quartet. Gyles is an authority on Wilde, the president of the Oscar Wilde society and has written six works of historical fiction called "the Oscar Wilde murder mysteries".
A couple of weeks we performed the suite with actor Adam Turns reading the text. Adam was great, and I think the whole thing worked well. I have uploaded an a live review of the gig by Ian Pattersen of All About Jazz to this page.
New quartet album and tour 2017
"The Nightingale and the Rose"
In September 2017, I'm launching my new quartet album released on Jellymould Jazz. The album is a suite of music inspired by Oscar Wilde's story 'The Nightingale and the Rose'. The music follows the story of the Nightingale until her last song is sung, it has 7 different movements that are used as starting points for improvisation. We've been playing this music for a few years and it has been a great pleasure to see how it has evolved, and i'm very pleased to finally release a recording of it.
I have always been interested in making an album that has a coherent narrative from beginning to end - the grumpy old git in me considers it a shame that nowadays we tend to consume music in small chunks, out of the context of an album or larger narrative. Jazz doesn't do much to buck this trend - so many albums seem to be a collection of unrelated tunes thrown together - and yet when an album does come along with an overall coherence the effect obvious and powerful.
This Nightingale and the Rose seemed like a perfect vehicle for me to have a crack at. Aside from my life long love of Wilde and in particular his children's stories, there are other reasons I thought it would work. Firstly, the role of music and sound is huge in the story - the Nightingale sings throughout, and notably three songs about love as she sacrifices herself to create a red rose. Secondly, the prose itself is almost poetic, the rhythm of the words, and description of colour and sound combine to create a vivid and evocative tone. Once I started writing the music it was a relatively easy process, it really just flowed in the space of a few weeks, and I put this down to having such a remarkable text to hang it on.
As with much great art the Nightingale and the Rose is completely relevant to today's issues. It has much to say about our relationship with the environment, about art, love, and altruism.
The suite takes just over an hour to play through, and gives the band the challenge of finding it's way from section to section. So far, this approach to playing has been met with a variety of responses from the audience. Some love it, and some find it a bit tricky. A gentleman came up to me at the end of a recent gig and said 'I wish there were gaps between the tunes - you want to have a sip of a beer and turn to your wife and have a quick chat'. Almost immediately after that a woman came up to me and said 'I loved it that you play without stopping - I got totally lost in the music'. I don't know if they were husband and wife but as Abraham Lincoln said “.. you can’t fool all of the people all of the time" or was it Bob Marley?
The album launch date is the 11th of September at the Pizza Express in Soho, and we are touring the UK throughout September.
Please have a look at 'gigs' for details.
On some of the gigs a reading of the story will take place during the evening, with different guest readers for each gig. I'll post details here once I get them.