New unreleased tunes!

Thanks to the wonders of ReverbNation, I’ve uploaded a bunch of new tunes that you can have a listen to… The tracks in the player, embedded below, are a previously unheard live version of Scott Peck, a live version of Uncle Bernie from a forthcoming live album with Theo Travis and ‘Endo’ from the brand new ‘Calamateur vs Steve Lawson’ album that will be appearing in my online shop at some point in this week.

Enjoy – just click on the picture!


Steve Lawson

new look blog… well, new look to me anyway…

OK, this affects precisely none of you, but the lovely Sarda has just upgraded the blog software used here to the newest version of Moveable Type, so the blogging process looks completely different for me…

The biggest difference for you is that I’ve just switched comments back on, so feel free to trawl back through all the nonsense I’ve been typing over the last wee while and comment away… We’ll see how long it lasts before the spammers get round whatever security is in place…

have at it…

[edit – ah, I’ve just remembered that I’ve deleted the comment-related stuff from the index template… must replace that before you can comment… Doh!]

Spoke too soon…

While tidying up today (more on that in a later blog) I found a load of copies of Grace and Gratitude! Yay!!

So it’s back being orderable from the shop, if you want a copy. Or, let’s make this easy, you can just click the ordering button here and get it for just £9 inc. worldwide P+P!





One thing to improve your life…

I occasionally get asked by students what the most important skill I’ve learned since I left college and went professional as a musician is. The answer often surprises them – learning to touch-type. I can’t even begin to imagine how long it would take me to do all my admin/web/email/etc. stuff if I couldn’t touch-type. Even keeping a blog would be unfeasible given the length of time it was take to get any thoughts down on the page.

The method I used was Mavis Beacon’s typing course – it’s only $20, and will save you that much in work-hours in the first three days after you’ve finished the course.

Go on, learn to type properly!

Soundtrack – listening through a load of the old duet sessions that inspired the idea for the Recycle Collective – earlier on it was stuff with BJ Cole, now it’s stuff with Andrew Booker.

Now this is the kind of review we all live for…

There were loads of shows that I really wanted to see at Edinburgh this year, but didn’t get to see. One of them was Rob Newman – a standup comic, who used to be in the Mary Whitehouse experience, and was the funny one in Newman And Baddiel.

These days he’s a very political standup and author, and I’ve heard wonderful things about his show. None, however, quite as wonderful as this five star review of his show in The Scotsman – any review that finishes with the line “If this world could be saved by a superhero whose superpower was comedy, that hero would be Robert Newman.” has to be good! It’s the kind of review that will be quoted on his press material for the rest of his career.

And what’s more, it makes me desperate to see his show – let’s hope he brings it to London after the festival… a quick glance at his website shows that he’s on tour for the rest of the year with fellow political comedy genius, Mark Thomas – now THAT’S an unmissable double bill!

Tshirt details –

Here’s a webcam pic of me in one of the t-shirts –

nice, eh?

And they can be yours for a measly £12 if you live in the UK, or £13 round the world, in advance of the festival!

The sizes available are

Small
Medium
Large
X-Large
XX-Large
and a ladies’ skinny t

All lovely top quality ethical threads marvellousness.



– Click here for UK delivery (£12)


– and click here for the rest of the world (£13)

So make sure you put what size you want in with the paypal order!

[EDIT] – OK, so there’s nowhere on the paypal page to do that (doh!) – instead, just email me, or I’ll email you back when I get the order and find out what size you want! Sorry ’bout that.

The Solo Summit

So last night was The Solo Summit a mini festival-within-a-festival as part of Hackney’s Spice Festival.

The idea was to have lots of performers on different instruments and across myriad styles all playing solo. As it was, it was that and a whole lot more – the solo performances spawned some really interesting collaborations as the mini-sets overlapped.

Due to the current mess of bomb-scares and transport disasters in England, a few of the performers were either late or didn’t appear at all, so the set was being re-jigged all evening, and as a result even more time was freed up for new combinations of players. The initial three long sets became four slightly shorter sets, and each set seemed to take on a character of its own.

The first set began with Tunde Jegede on Kora, who was then joined by Cleveland Watkiss, who was using my loop set-up to great effect, layering vocals on top of Tunde’s gorgeous Kora.

The rest of the set was three of Orphy’s students, Renel, Yao and Michael, two spoken word artists and guitar/bazouki, respectively, who played some marvellous music. My set dove-tailed into the end of Michael’s, as I took a short solo over the end of his last piece. I then played Grace And Gratitude, and went into The Kindness Of Strangers, which Orphy joined me on, with my loop gradually fading after I’d left the stage and Orphy took over for his solo spot. End of set 1.

Set 2 was very different – mainly guys from the London Improvisors Orchestra, it started with harpist Rhodri Davis (playing music a fair bit removed from his work with Charlotte Church!), Bass Saxist, Tony Bevan, flugal horn from Claude Deppa and electronic bleeps ‘n’ squawks loveliness from Steve Beresford. An interesting set with moments of magic, a very long way from the opening set! This stuff is really a stretch for the audience – they seemed to stay with it though, which was great.

Set 3 was back to many of the performers from set 1, with the addition of Pat Thomas on piano (an insanely gifted musician) and Steve Williamson on Sax. I played another duet with Cleveland, and a trio with Cleveland and Tunde on a track that they’d be playing as a duo, which worked beautifully. I had it set up that I was able to loop Cleveland in the usual way, so that gave us a lot of scope to loop ‘n’ layer and have some fun, and it came out superbly well.

By Set 4, we were about an hour ahead of schedule (whoever heard of a gig running ahead of time???), but my ears were getting a little fatigued after such a long time of intense listening. I listened to BJ’s set from just outside the main auditorium, where the processed ambient pedal steel wafted beautifully around. The set grew with the addition of more and more musicians, til most of the LIO guys were back on stage making a glorious racket. Cleveland then joined them, and once I’d turned up his mic, was able to add a vocal percussion loop to it, and start to inject a key centre into the melee. I joined in on bass, and the whole thing gradually mutated from free soundscape to twisted funk/swing groove thang, providing a space for the rappers/spoken word guys to rejoin the party. As the musicians peeled off one by one, the loop faded, and it ended with just bass, acoustic guitar and the two voices. One heck of a journey from the free to the funky. I look forward to hearing the recording of that one too!

All in, a fine evening’s music. A smallish crowd (hey, that’s brit-jazz for you), but an enthusiastic one with a fair amount of stamina!

Bono and Bob on the G8…

here it is.

What on earth are they thinking???

” ‘We’ve pulled this off,’ said U2 frontman Bono.

He and Geldof praised the Group of Eight summit for pledging to double aid to Africa to $50 billion, saying the move will save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who would have died of poverty, malaria or
AIDS.

‘The world spoke and the politicians listened,’ Bono said.”

and

“Geldof, creator of the Live 8 concerts, said: ‘The summit in Gleneagles is a qualified triumph.’ Appearing alongside Bono at a news conference held at the close of the summit, he said: ‘A great justice has been done.’ “

Oh shit, why do these people conspire to make me look like a miserable whinging git? Everyone has come out and said the G8 produced very little of note. The 50 billion is fine – it’s 50 billion, not to be sneezed at – but it’s way too little and it won’t be protected by trade reform and debt cancellation.

Before the summit Bono and Bob were both calling for the three points of the MPH campaign – trade reform, debt relief and aid. Only the aid element has been touched with any effectiveness.

Maybe I’ll just go back to writing about my solo gigs, it’s less depressing than all this stuff.

The MPH campaign goes on, more pressure is needed. What isn’t needed is Bono and Bob telling the G8 what superstars they are. ‘A great justice has been done.’ – no it hasn’t!!!

I really really hope I’m misjudging this, that they know something I don’t about making things happen. I’ve no problem with pragmatic compromise to get a result, and if they honestly can get the bastards to move faster and further by chumming up to them, then great, I’ll sit here and whinge to my few hundred readers while they change the world, but right now, it’s looking like they’ve got too close and can’t tell it like it is.

Online articles from The New Statesman

I’m a big big fan of The New Statesman – it’s the only magazine I subscribe to, and read it avidly every week.

They don’t tend to put much of the content on their website, prefering to tease people and get them to buy the mag, or pay for online access.

Anyway, I was just reading some stuff on Mark Thomas’ website, and he’s a got a fairly big archive of a lot of the things he’s written for them on there – click here to read some – he’s a very good columnist, and his site is a great resource for political action links.

SoundtrackCharlie Haden, ‘Nocturne’.

Thank God it's not 'goodbye'

On his BBC London breakfast show, Danny Baker has been making reference to this being his last week on the show for a while. The thought of him leaving was too horrid to comtemplate, so I’ve been hoping against hope that this was just another weird Baker joke.

So I was delighted to find this article on the BBC London Website – apparently he’s taking the summer off, and will be back in the Autumn. While I’d rather have him there for the summer as well, I can see the need for some time off after getting up at 4am for years on end. Here’s hoping he has a marvellous break and is back fully of mind boggling weirdness on our airwaves before too long…