It's been quite a while since the last update, and a great deal has happened in that time.
In addition to a considerably busier teaching schedule, my return to the routine after the Summer has also involved a great deal of planning for my November tour with the Mark Trounson Group featuring Bill McHenry and Jeff Williams. Thanks to the generous support of the Arts Council, we're doing a five night tour, starting with the Late Show at Ronnie Scott's on Monday 6th November, presented by Alex Garnett. On Tuesday 7th November, we'll be appearing at the legendary Spotted Dog pub in Digbeth, Birmingham. On Wednesday and Thursday, 8th and 9th of November, we'll be appearing in a double bill with Tim Berne's Snakeoil at the Vortex in London. Our final performance will be at Voicebox in Derby on Friday 10th November.
This tour has been a long time in the making, originating from the lessons I have had over Skype with Bill McHenry since 2013. I first saw Bill performing in New York with Ben Monder's band that same year, and was fascinated by his unique approach to improvisation on the saxophone. Since that time Bill has continued to mentor me via Skype. Last year, I travelled to Barcelona to work on playing standards with Bill and drummer Carlos Falanga (adding a nice holiday into the bargain!) During our Skype lessons, Bill suggested to me that I get in contact with drummer Jeff Williams, whose long heritage as a player has included touring with the likes of Stan Getz, Lee Konitz and Joe Lovano. Jeff has in more recent years been living in London so last summer I arranged to play with Jeff alongside my pals Tom Barford on tenor saxophone and Tom Ollendorff on guitar. Having the experience of playing with a drummer of Jeff's pedigree was an incredible experience. Knowing that Bill and Jeff have performed together on numerous occasions, including a couple of albums recorded live in New York, I thought it would be great to bring Bill over to perform alongside myself, Tom, Tom and Jeff. I'm not going to pretend I'm not nervous about performing with players of the magnitude of Bill and Jeff, but I'm looking forward to this massive opportunity to learn from this unique experience and to make some stunning music, with a particular focus on playing Bill's compositions. I have Arts Council England to thank for making this possible, as well as the support of Stuart Isaac of EMJazz in looking over my funding bid.
I hope you can make one of the gigs!