This afternoon, Theo and I had a gig in the Royal Festival Hall Foyer – which, dispite being in ‘a foyer’ is actually a really really nice gig – big audience, lovely atmosphere, perfect for big spacious loveliness.
The setlist included a handful of tunes from For The Love Of Open Spaces – Flutter, Uncle Bernie, In A Place Like This and Lovely – one each of our solo tunes (I did Grace And Gratitude) one arrangement each of a tune we’ve written (Amo Amatis Amare with Theo on soprano sax, and then All I Know from Theo’s Heart Of The Sun album), and a couple of big spacey improvs.
All in all a top gig – the sound was great and we played very well indeed. Very positive reaction from the audience, and we’ve already been booked to play there again. Good stuff.
Theo’s one of the easiest musicians in the world to play with – an expert looper, and an amazing listener, he slots in around what I’m doing and directs the music in very subtle ways. It’s great being on stage with someone who is such a fine melodic improvisor and does textural ambient stuff as well. A real treat.
I’ve been listening to Theo’s new album, Earth To Ether, a lot over the last few days – it’s a hugely diverse representation of most of the things Theo’s been up to of late. There’s stuff with his quartet, a solo flute-loop thingie and a couple of songs with Richard Sinclair (70s prog-pop stalwart, out of Caravan/Hatfield And The North etc.) Richard’s voice is a little disarming at first – mainly because it’s so rare to hear jazz sung with an english accent. Richard avoids the trap of brit singer trying to sound like they grew up in New York, but he’s SOOO english that it takes a bit of getting used to it. But I’m used to it now, and really enjoy it.
There’s a strong pastoral, rural feel to the album – Theo seems to be inspired by open space a lot (hence the title of our CD), and it gives everything he does a very warm feeling. The other brit saxophonist I’ve been listening to a lot recently is Ben Castle – another superb musician, and every bit as eclectic as Theo. His is an urban eclecticism that provides a fantastic compliment to Theo’s broad sonic vista. Ben’s stuff also sounds like he’s playing whilst smirking a lot of the time – lots of very comedic stuff, but he always makes you feel like you’re in on the joke. Very clever stuff, hugely enjoyable. I strongly recommend both CDs – Ben’s is called ‘Blah Street’.by