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A very merry festive greeting to you from South-West Germany, where it is neither snowing nor frosty. In fact, it feels rather similar to London. IN FACT, the last couple of times that I had the fortune of visiting Paris, it rained and rained and rained. There is a weather conspiracy going on. I suggest that we wipe from global consciousness the idea that the UK is a miserable place with miserable weather. We are not alone with our slate skies and soggy socks. But this is a subject for a different blog, a different blogger and another time. Back to business.

The run up to Christmas has reigned upon me one of the busiest times of my life, proving both immensely satisfying and tear-provokingly stressful. However, I have survived and am here to tell the tale to you, faithful reader.

Firstly, it should be noted that new pages now exist on this very website, notably, those of groups The Guastalla Quartet and Emanata. I am very excited to finally be getting these groups out into the public eye. The Guastalla Quartet takes the place of The Park Quartet as my active string quartet, with a fresh line-up and renewed enthusiasm. We are slowly working through our to-do list on the path to global domination: coming soon to a billboard, TV screen, airport advertisement or milk carton near you. Emanata is an entirely different kettle of fish. With a sound fusing jazz, hip-hop, electronica, world music and other things, we are based in the recording studio, capturing the group improvisation and discovery. I am very excited to releasing our first EP on Love Buzz Recordings in a few weeks. We’ve even got superhero alter-egos to go with the music (Emanata is a comic-book term… Google it!). Head over to the dedicated pages in the ‘groups‘ section to find out more.

Emanata in the studioThe Guastalla Quartet

Another new project that is just about to hit the shelves of your local internet supermarket is ‘Project Avartan’. I’ve teamed up with Indian musicians Rekesh Chauhan and Alok Verma, both powerhouse musicians of impressive repute, to create an unusual new group fusing classical, Indian, jazz and electronic music. We’ve been into the recording studio twice already to record a few demo tunes, which will be released soon. Look out for the soaring vocals of Andri Antoniou featured on one track. Check out our trailer below:

To sum up some smaller bits of exciting news… In November I went into the studio with Greek composer Othon Mataragas to record the solo violin for a track from his forthcoming album ‘Pineal’; keep an eye out for this – it’s going to be worth a listen. We good folks at Polaroid 85 are very pleased to be working not only with record label Reel Me Records, but also with agency Wormfood; 2014 is going to see a massive shake-up in the Polaroid 85 world – watch this space. Good friends of mine, AZEDIA, have just released a new album. If you like electronic music, this is a must – check it out here. Lastly, my jazz quartet were delighted to be invited to play at the Swing Unlimited Jazz Club in Bournemouth recently. We had a great time, quartet and audience alike. We were also very chuffed to see our poster sitting just above another one featuring the Alec Dankworth Trio – jazz royalty! We shall hopefully be back at the SUJC in 2014.

John Garner Quartet at SUJCP85 live in Hackney

And so, all that is left for me to say is fröhliche weihnachten. Have a wonderful Christmas holiday, and a smashing New Year. Thanks to everyone who has been a part of my life this year; it has been a great one. Bring on 2014!

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