Gig last night…

Despite being exhausted, the promise of a chance to play a set with Orphy and a couple of friends from the States last night at the Red Rose was too tempting, so I headed off out again.

I took a much scaled down rig with me, as I knew I was only going to be playing for about 10 minutes, and really couldn’t be arsed to take the whole lot out again after setting it up and packing it down 12 days in a row at Edinburgh!

the Americans in question are Jeff Kaiser and Andrew Pask playing trumpet (jeff), sax and clarinet (andrew) through lots of delicious electronic processing (Andrew works for Cycling 74, so has written some glorious loop algorythms for Max/MSP).

They did about 25 minutes, and then Orphy and I joined them for a 10 minute improv thingie, which sounded lovely from where I was sat.

The rest of the evening was fun too – a solo trombone set from Alan Tomlinson was a mindblowing mixture of virtuosic free improv and clowning. Very funny indeed.

Then Evan Parker and John Coxon did a lovely guitar/sax duet, which ran the gamut from outnoisemadness to a bluesy mellow jazz bit in the middle and back to freakoutland. Very fine stuff.

And finally a quintet of Tony Bevan (bass sax), Mark Saunders (drums), John Edwards (bass), Ashley Wales (electronics) and Orphy (percussion etc.) finished off the night with more craziness.

And what’s more there was a huge crowd in – by far the biggest I’ve ever seen at the Red Rose, which was great especially for Jeff and Andrew, coming all this way. It was lovely to catch up with Jeff – he came to one of my gigs a couple of years ago in Ventura County, California, and loved it and we’ve been in touch ever since, so it was great to finally get to see him play live.

The London Improv scene is fascinating – it’s got a pretty unique sound to it, and a fairly broad spread of contributors. There are elements to it that come across as over-zealous in their rejection of all things tonal, and other players who seem to embrace just about anything and everything. It’s not a scene I could inhabit all year round – I’d start to feel guilty about playing so much inside music, and that’s insane – but it’s one that I feel enriched and inspired by whenever I get a chance to see those guys play. The time and energy and focus that players like John Edwards and Tony Bevan have put into exploring the outer reaches of what’s possible with their instruments is awe inspiring.

And now I’m exhausted. Today I’m going to have to tidy up the mess from Edinburgh – my office looks like the stock room at a badly organised high-end bass shop, so I need to whip it into shape before teaching tonight.

SoundtrackAvishai Cohen, ‘Lyla’ (a pressie to educate me from JazzShark – and a fabulous album it is too!)

Back home in the 'hood.

We’re home!

We only just made it – loading up at the Rev G’s house yesterday, we had major major trouble getting everything in to the car, and ended up with TSP’s feet on the dashboard (good job she has feet that are detachable from her legs), and my rack back in the passenger footwell.

The weight of all the stuff had the car sitting pretty low on the back suspension, and I noticed that both of my front tires were pretty worn on the inside edge, suggesting that there’s a tracking issue that really needs sorting out. So, we drove all the way from Edinburgh to London at 60mph. Having a frontwheel blow out at 60 wouldn’t be funny at all, but would have been marginally less dangerous than at 70.

Still, we got here, in one piece (well, once I’d re-attached TSPs feet).

Looking back on the fest, it was a major success, lots of fun, exhausting in a good way, and a chance to meet up with lots of lovely people. I didn’t have a single off-night on the gig, all the audiences seemed to dig the show, even my one ‘bad’ review wasn’t really all that bad and said I was ‘top class’. And on top of that, I sold out an 80 seat venue on the last night, which is no mean feat at the Fringe.

So, we need to start planning for next year now.

Stuff to do now I’m home? Need to get the remaining t-shirts listed in the e-shop here, and send out the orders that are waiting to go. I really need to pay my parking ticket from Edinburgh (which I felt strangely less worried about when looking out at a packed house on Tuesday night.)

I have a gig tonight at the Red Rose in Finsbury Park – not sure quite what I’m going to take with me yet for that one – whether I take the whole set up or just a scaled down mini-rig.

And this afternoon I’m going shopping with Martin and Wes for a new bass for Wes, which is always fun.

Oh, and somewhere in there, I’ve got to sort out the carnage that is my office, so that I can teach in here tomorrow!

Soundtrack – Joni Mitchell, ‘Hejira’ (this is the first music I’ve listened to in two weeks that isn’t Duncan Senyatso – and for the next week, his will be just about everything I’m listening to, as soon as I get a tape deck rigged up so I can listen to it.)