Good morning! Welcome to my web site, where you can find out about my music, and listen to some of it, as well as my various other ventures over the years.
26 December 2021
I’ve finally got round to putting our so far one and only photo of the whole band on the Perfect Stranger page! (It’s a bit clunky, but it’s only a stopgap until we get a proper site for the band together.)
Our Perfect Stranger videos are now, after the long haul of coordinating all the material — audio and video — from five cameras, all up and published on YouTube and Facebook. There are four short films: one is a ‘taster’ with just extracts of the band playing, and the other three make up a mini-documentary including some of me talking about the project. Full details and links here.
The band consists of these excellent people: Adam Bishop and Mick Foster (saxes, clarinets, flutes), Shanti Jayasinha (trumpet and flugelhorn), Tom Green (trombone), Alcyona Mick (piano), Rob Millett (vibes and percussion), Eddy White (guitar), Paul Michael (bass) and Gary Willcox (drums) with me conducting (mostly, with the odd bit of fretless bass) — and they’re fantastic! There’s still the challenge of finding times when suitable combinations of these good people are available to rehearse, but I’m less concerned about that as we’re actively seeking gigs and will try and rehearse as close to any gigs as possible. Once we’re really comfortable with the music — a few gigs in, I anticipate — we should be ready to make an album titled Unfinished Business, because that’s exactly what it is. Watch this space!
In Other News, I was delighted to report that, having first discovered that the recording of my Concerto for Trumpet and Brass Band (Richard Marshall, Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Elgar Howarth) was still available after all, then found it no longer was... now it is again... or it was... Amazon says, ‘Currently unavailable. We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.’ Bugger it!
Things have been grinding back into motion lately. We played at the apostrophically challenged Birds Nest in Deptford in July, then made our debut appearance (well, for me it was) at the famous Dublin Castle pub in Camden Town in October. We’re about to return to Biddle Bros. in Hackney on 20 November, and then we’re at the Birds Nest yet again in early January. I can barely keep up!
The ‘live’ videos of four of our songs have been well received and appreciated. These were not in front of an audience, hence my scare-quotes, but we did play and record in real time — it was all done in our sometime drummer Jonas Golland’s bedroom! It was good fun, if a little tricky to negotiate the stands for three mics, three cameras and three lights in a very confined space — but we managed. They’re all on YouTube: Therapy Session, The Magic Tellingbone, Happy Family and Evening Call.
We’re still chopping and changing between drummers. Ravi Low-Beer is very busy with other projects, not least MFC Chicken, so at the moment we’re alternating between the excellent Arnold Lane and the aforementioned Jonas Golland.
- I added a couple of little solo guitar pieces to the site. One is a rediscovered ditty called Face. The other, perhaps my oddest piece, is Lullaby.
- What I now regard as my definitive Trumpet Concerto (originally for trumpet and brass band) is complete and here for you to read about and enjoy. As a slightly unusual feature, I treated myself to a bass guitar and drumkit in the orchestra. I’ve had some favourable comments about it, especially about the slow movement, which is a sort of lament for Duke Ellington.
- Someone downloaded my ancient After Dark modules! (click on ‘Antediluvian Screen Savers’) I emailed him to ask if he'd send me a couple of screeen videos of them in action — or at least static screenshots — but have had no answer so far.
- My new(ish) MIDI recording of Cog-Dance is now complete and live on the usual platforms. I’ve updated the blurb on the page for good measure.
- My MIDI mix of Double Entendre, using the much better brass and piano sounds now at my disposal, is done. Although these sounds are far superior to those I used before, I had to make a few compromises due to the lack of some of the proper brass band instruments, mainly the horns in the middle (tenor, baritone, euphonium), but it seems to have worked out well — it’s certainly a vast improvement on the previous recording, so I’ve added it to YouTube and SoundCloud. Full technical details are available on the Double Entendre page.
- I’ve revisited 60 Minims and made a new realisation of it (the original audio being lost).
- The final movement (but first to be composed) of my new chamber orchestra work Hall of Mirrors is now complete, along with my usual MIDI recording.
- I redid my page on The Europeans, complete with some of the music (by no means all of the pieces) for your listening and dining pleasure. Apart from Psychoyogi it was my main musical activity for a while, until I got back down to Hall of Mirrors (see above).
- There’s a new(ish) page on the site, for the benefit of composers struggling to keep track of their harp pedal settings. Very niche, I know, but it could well be handy for some folks. And yes, I’m well aware that it doesn’t work too well on various types of touch-screen and mobile device, but I’m afraid I can’t dedicate the rest of my life to catering for whatever kind of hybrid device the industry thinks up next! I found this page immensely useful while working on the harp part of Hall of Mirrors.
- Original The Bebop Variations for brass trio recorded with MIDI — listen here.
- New scores of the original Trumpet Concerto and — possibly my strangest work — in heaven... to replace old handwritten versions. PDF extracts available to download.
- Original 1974 recording of Formative Years now available for listening to here, on YouTube and on SoundCloud. Real human musicians! Some of them now jazz luminaries.
Apart from all that, naturally, this web site: explore my works, find out about Perfect Stranger, read my biography, keep track of your harp pedal settings, and see what’s on the various other pages. You can also get in touch with me via the Contact form. And for those with a taste for historical technical curiosities, there’s even a page about my NotaFile document — and the document itself.
- Concerto for trumpet and orchestra
- Face for solo guitar
- Cog-Dance for divided orchestra
- Hall of Mirrors V
- Double entendre for piano and stereophonic brass band
- The Bossa Nova Variations
- Return of the Son of the Bebop Variations
- Variations on a Theme of George Harrison
- Music for an Imaginary Ballet
- Formative Years (from Life & Times) — this one with Real Live Musicians!
- Five Pieces for Saxophone Quartet
- ...and a little musical joke called Porterstraum
Also on the Listen page is my standard disclaimer about MIDI recordings, and a note about browser compatibility with the players for YouTube, SoundCloud and plain MP3s embedded in these pages.
And in case anyone’s wondering, what I’m actually looking at in that photo is not the score of The Bossa Nova Variations, but a large owl perched on my wrist.