You wait for a gig, then two come along at once…

Orphy phones. The gig on the 24th in Chelsea needs to be moved. Fine, when to. Oct 13th. Shit. What? I was going to book you for a gig on that day too.

We chat about whether or not we can do both gigs. Doesn’t look likely – it would involved far too late a start at Darbucka. And, if Orphy can’t move the other gig, it means I need to find another percussionist for Rise’s set at the |John Peel Day gig. Fortunately, London is awash with marvellous musicians, and I should be able to find someone suitably marvellous. Or, hopefully, the Chelsea gig will be moved again.

I’m really looking forward to the gig on the 13th, whoever the percussionist may be – Calamateur is fabulous – I’ve known Andrew (AKA Calamateur) for many many years, and we gigged together last summer. He’s a great songwriter, John Peel was a fan, and his album, ‘The Old Fox of ’45’ was recently voted one of the top 15 greatest Scottish albums of all time!

Rise, as founder, guitarist and latterly lead singer with the Bhundu Boys, is an African music legend – the Bhundu Boys were the first African band I was ever properly aware of, thanks to airplay on John Peel and Andy Kershaw‘s radio shows in the mid-80s.

Rise’s band for that gig will be him and his rhythm guitarist from scotland, Champion Doug Veitch (they recently did a session together for Andy Kershaw’s Radio 3 show), me on bass, the TBA percussionist, and Jez on keys – there was a marvellous moment at Greenbelt when Duncan Senyatso first heard Jez play piano. His eyes went wide and he said ‘wow’ lots of times, and asked me who he was. When I told him that Jez had grown up in East Africa he said ‘ahh, this is how we play piano’ – his delight was at having recognised the ‘African-ness’ of Jez’s playing, even in his jazz stuff. Guess you can take the boy out of East Africa, but you can’t squeeze East Africa out of his piano playing…

I’m not sure which set I’m going to do that night – whether to see if Andrea Hazell is free, and do the Greenbelt ‘Global Footprint’ improv thingie again, with Rise playing Duncan’s role, or to do my Edinburgh set (not having played that exact set in London, or done the audience participation bit), or to do a bit of both – shorter collaborative improv piece, and some solo tunes… hmmm, we’ll see. WWJPP? What Would John Peel Play?

Soundtrack – Rise Kagona (all the tracks that we might be playing on the gig).

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