There’s a new collaboration on the horizon between The Guastalla Quartet and The Kate Williams Trio. Kate’s been busy arranging and writing charts for the concert season in 2016. Featuring Williams originals alongside the music of artists including Bill Evans, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Cole Porter, we are delighted to be joining the titanic trio of Kate, Oli Hayhurst and David Ingamells. To whet your appetite, click here for some demo tracks recorded in July at Konk Studios. For this project, Marie Schreer and I are joined by Sergio Serra (cello) and Miguel Rodriguez (viola).
I had a great time at the Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall, in late July, performing a Prom Extra Lates gig with The John Garner Quartet. We played four original numbers interspersed with poetry by Jon Stone and presented by Georgia Mann. The shortened broadcast will be available online for another 19 days. Listen whilst you still can!
On a non-violinistic note, here’s the first Meraki Mix, Keep On Digging, compiled and mixed by myself and drummer/DJ Flo Rosset. Recorded entirely from our vinyl collections, this one is for fans of smoky jazz, guitar duels and cowboy ska.
This has been a good month. Kicking off with a recording session for the music of the official boxing yoga instructional DVD really set the tone for the following few weeks. Can’t wait to see the final cut with music from my new group The Future Ancients (alongside my talented pals Nikola Kovacevic, Giovanni Cacioppo and Alok Verma – big names!).
The following weekend I was back in the studio (missing the sun again, curse you fortune!!!) with The Guastalla Quartet. We’re going to release the resulting album in a couple of days. Very excited for this one! Gotta love a bit of Beethoven and Shostakovich. We messed around a little at the end of the day and came up with this fun Super Mario cover…
After an appearance with Kate Simko and The London Electronic Orchestra (featuring Mainly Two’s début performance whoo yeah!), it was back into the rehearsal room before a full-on recording session with The John Garner Quartet. Can’t wait to get these tracks mixed and out there (will be funny to see people’s reaction to jazzed up versions of Pearl Jam tunes and such).
The last week of March was mental. Three jazz gigs in one week? Too many note choices to make… It was a great start to the Guildhall Jazz Festival for me with The Interplay Series, spearheaded by Kate Williams and William Goodchild. I had a great time leading the orchestra on stage with The Kate Williams Trio. The music of Bill Evans like you’ve never heard it before! Had a great time on the 26th with a small group performing some vintage jazz (nothing from 1940 onwards allowed). We scratched and scraped our way through some bawdy classics.
Finished off the month in a great way with a live video session with Polaroid 85 filmed by rising stars Flyotw Film. This is going to be a smashing video of a new track.
Next up BBC Symphony Orchestra recording with Sir Andrew Davis and a tour to Switzerland with Sakari Oramo!
… to bring you this mildly interesting (if you’re lucky) blog. I will throw one or two titbits of Garner-ian trivia your way: should they strike a chord, read on dear friend; should they fall on deaf ears, duck and avoid a fate worse than boredom.
The first such titbit is news of my recent return from the East, where I was touring with the truly smashing folks of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Zipping from one delightful audience to the next, we visited such mysterious territories as Qatar (sandy), Japan (tall), Korea (mountainous) and Taiwan (exotic). [do pay attention – there’ll be a pop quiz next blog] Particularly notable experiences included a white-knuckled desert dune trip in a super jeep, a perilous lone hike into the Bukhansan National Park, a face-to-face encounter with some NBA basketball players whilst dressed as Ali G, and veggie chicken nuggets in the backstreets of Taipei. What more could you want from life? Here are some very haphazardly selected pictures:
Back in England (rainy), I have recently released a new video with the talented Neeta Sarl, Sam Ryan and Steve Barnegren. This live cover of the song ‘Perfect Darkness’ written by Fink has already been watched over 3,000 times and shared by the artist online. It’s a wonderfully dark soulful tune by one of my favourite bands of all time. Here’s our version:
Whilst on the subject of new recordings, allow me to direct your attention towards my jazz quartet’s latest release. ‘Live at Mallord Street’ was recorded, as you may have surmised, live in Chelsea in front of a real-life genuinely 100% living audience (who seemed to have a pretty jolly evening – and indeed were still alive when they left). You can listen right here, right now, on this very page, or take a stroll over to the dedicated page to read a little more (and potentially give it a download with a donation… go on… just reach into that imaginary online purse and dig out some digital paper… keep us musicians posting irritatingly beseeching blogs… HOORAY thank you!)… Click here to head that way.
After well over a year of blood, sweat and tears, one of the groups I play with, Polaroid 85, is releasing its second EP. ‘Escapist’ is a sonic voyage through an intense world of melody, dance music rhythms and ambient sounds, bringing together a wealth of influences and instruments including strings, guitars, percussion, winds, all manner of voices and electronics. (it’s also really great to listen to!)
‘Escapist’ is available to download on iTunes on June 9th on Reel Me Records. In the meantime, there are previews you can check out here.
To celebrate this exciting release, Polaroid 85 will be playing a big gig at the Bussey Building on June 15th (click here for more event info and tickets). This promises to be a mahooooooooooooooosive set, featuring the band, string quartet, guest vocalists, new songs and more! Come along and help us partay like it’s 2999.
Whilst you’re counting down the seconds to the big day, you can listen to our first EP right here. It’s also available to download for free. Spread the word and help us share what we love doing!
I never want to see 5:20 on a frosty Saturday morning in London again. Having said that, I had a smashing time playing live on BBC London with the Lucy Claire Quartet. We were performing a couple of Lucy’s beautiful pieces for string quartet and electronics. Lucy writes deeply heartful music and is certainly a name to look out for in the cinematic future. You can catch our performance and Lucy’s interview for one week on BBC iPlayer. Click here to hear the broadcast.
Today I found out that I successfully auditioned for the BBC Symphony Orchestra Pathway Scheme, a project created thanks to the special relationship between the Royal College of Music and the orchestra, usually reserved for postgraduate students. I will have the chance this year to work with some amazing conductors including Oliver Knussen, Josep Pons, Andrew Litton and Thomas Dausgaard.
On a lighter note, some videos have emerged from a couple of Wailers tribute concerts last year in which I was lucky enough to be involved. Here’s Lloyd Brown and co. performing Zimbabwe: