Fusion/The Bays/Flat Tires – all in one weekend!

So from blog-time on Friday, I picked up my car (it was indeed £205…), and headed off to Kent for a jam with guitarist Mano Ventura and drummer Keith Le Blanc. Word of advice – check if you’re going to be playing in an attic accessible only by step ladder before turning up with your entire rig!

Managed to get most of my gear up stairs (left one cab downstairs), and had a play through some of Mano’s tunes – woah! lots of 7/8 stuff, polyrhythmic happenings and general trickiness – it’s a lot of years since I last experimented with odd time stuff, so it took me a while to get any handle on the groove at all, but it was a lot of fun, and it’s nice to be stretched once in a while. Keith is, indeed, a monster drummer, and both Mano and Keith are top blokes, so the whole thing was a lot of fun.

Saturday – lots of teaching. All good. A quick trip to the Gallery in the afternoon to meet up with Wulf and MKS was a welcome break, then more teaching.

The evening started with Grace – alt.worship thingie in Ealing. Hadn’t been able to go for ages, due to gig commitments and general laziness, so ’twas very nice to catch up with everyone. They too were doing Stations Of The Cross, like Up a couple of weeks ago (and St Luke’s this week, I think…) – seems to be the year for stations…

Well, after Grace, Jez and I had arranged to meet up and head off to the 606 Club in Chelsea – a very fine jazz club that Dave O’Higgins was playign at. So Jez arrives, we get almost out of Ealing and discover that he has a flat tyre! Change the tyre in about two minutes, but find that the spare has no air in it… grrr. roll the car round to the airline, which doesn’t work. Walk back to my car, buy a foot pump at a nearby garage (the garage we were in didn’t sell them), drive back, pump up the tire, by this time it’s midnight, and drive home. No jazz, but a fun time with Jez…

Sunday – get up too late for church. In the evening, Jez and I reprise our gig intentions and go to see The Bays – no offense at all to Dave O’Higgins (very fine sax player) but I’m SOOOO glad we went to this instead. The lineup is bass, drums, keys and samples/fx. All live, no triggering loops, or programming. All improv – no rehearsing, no written tunes. Just mind-bendingly brilliant drum ‘n’ bass/trance/IDM/Warp-type stuff, Daft Punk-esque grooves, and completely original sounding sound-clash stuff that mixes elements of everything that’s happened in dance music from the last 20 years. Utterly compelling and inspiring. The drummer, Andy Gangadeen, was breath-taking. Chris Taylor on bass had some of the coolest bass sounds I’ve heard in ages, and played live D ‘n’ B as well as anyone I’ve ever heard. You HAVE to see them if they play near you.

Talking of Things you MUST SEE – The Madness OF George Dubya has transfered to the west-end! This is a play, written by my friend Justin Butcher, based on Dr Stranglove (loosely), but set in the context of an impending nuclear attack on the middle east. It’s being rewritten on a DAILY basis to keep it topical, and is just brilliant. You really ought to see it. Go on, click on the link and get them there tickets!

Soundtrack – spent a lot of time in the last three days mixing the tracks that Theo and I recorded, so done a lot of listening to those. Also been listening to The Best Of Alison Moyet, Kristen Hersch – ‘Strange Angels’, The Minutemen – ‘Double Nickels On The Dime’, Ron Miles – ‘Heaven’, and the MP3 of Michael Manring and I playing in Anaheim in January (can be found on the MP3 page). In the car, I’m still listening to Paul Simon’s greatest hits – I can sense a Paul Simon CD-buying sesh coming on soon, seeing as how I’ve never heard a bad track by him, I’ll have to fill in the gaps in the back catalogue. Right now, I’m listening to Lucy Kaplansky – ‘Ten Year Night’, yet another awesome american singer/songwriter, in a similar camp to Pierce Pettis, John Gorka, Patti Larkin, Bill Malonee etc. etc…

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