Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Zig-zag Path

Rosemary, Kate's godmother (I use the term loosely as she describes herself as a 'heathen') bought a lovely Bechstein grand as a retirement present to herself. 'Retirement' is also a term I use loosely, as she continued her practice as a psychoanalyst until comparatively recently and is very active as an amateur pianist, an organiser of music events and general 'animatrice' of village life. Having bought the piano, in order to do it justice, she had her living room remodelled to three times it's original size, creating a wonderful music salon with space to seat about forty guests. It's always a huge pleasure to play for Rosemary's music circle. I often think that this type of house concert, which must have been the mainstay of live music in the past, will be so again in the future. I took an early morning walk up my favourite zig-zag path made by the naturalist Gilbert White and his brother in 1753, up to Selborne Common an ancient woodland and wood-pasture, a most magical place with views over the  landscape, early morning mist slowly lifting, and a heightened sense of being on the earth.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Folle Journée, Nantes

Ensemble 0 (zero) played 4 concerts in the old biscuit factory LU in downtown Nantes (now recreated as a fantastic arts centre) as part of the Folle Journée. This famous festival, actually five days, is indeed a mad undertaking... 350 concerts, all ticketed, impeccably organised, from 9am to 10 pm and every one packed out. What a huge privilege to participate and to play with such brilliant musicians : Stéphane Garin, Didier Ashcour, Tomoko Katsura, Manu Kurt, Julien Pontvianne, Joel Merah, Sylvain Chauveau and Vincent Planes. As part of these programmes of contemporary music we played traditional pieces from the gamelan salunding repertoire...

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Happy Birthday Ezra!

When Ezra was born on a freezing January day in Birmingham I wrote Ezra's Waltz and recorded for my solo album "Hollowed Ground". Yesterday the same boy celebrated his 18th in Carcassonne, and so ...another waltz. Somewhere along the way there was an Ezra's Waltz II (2012) which was part of the Winter Leaves cycle of piano pieces which were written one a day throughout the hivernal months.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Talking books

More music for wonderful Cracked Eye online literary magazine

Monday, 7 September 2015

Take the A train

I've always liked listening to learners. There's something quite touching in the striving for improvement, the effort to reach another level. It's somehow more interesting than hearing someone who has already got there. At the end of year jazz exams we were treated to numerous solo interpretations of the aforementioned Ellington/Strayhorn tune. Here's my re-interpretation of the vocalists.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Phrygian Gates

Last Friday I played John Adams's Phrygian Gates at La Fabrique des Arts, Carcassonne, along with Palais de Mari, the last of Morton Feldman's vast late piano pieces. I'm still using the score that the composer gave me when I met him in San Francisco in 1979 and we discussed the idea of amplified piano, with speakers surrounding the public. I first played the piece in London in 1980 and this was, apparently, its European première, then as last Friday, with amplified piano. The technicians did a great job on the sound, and superb lighting penetrating the swirling mists of banana-scented smoke.

In 1980 I also presented the piece for a Park Lane Group audition, an organisation set up to help the careers of young musicians who wanted to play contemporary music, by promoting concert opportunities. Minimalism was not taken seriously by the 'establishment' back then. Five minutes into the piece one of the jury raised his hand.."Stop! Does it GO ON like that?!"

The original poster...

Friday, 23 May 2014

Space is the Place

To honour Sun Ra on his 100th birthday. We miss you!
ML - organ/piano
Trevor Lines - bass/composition
Wilfried Chevalier - drums