Monday, 30 November 2009


Hmmm... Give your "staff" (i.e. Civil Servants) the day off because it's St Andy's Day... Try to encourage other employers to do the same..... End year of "celebration" and "Homecoming" with *cough* climactic concerts and events ... and happen to launch your proposals for Independence the very same day!!

Cynical? Me? Why not go the full hog and post a box of shortbread, a Broons annual and a copy of Braveheart on DVD to every home in the land... Prick.
Anyway. At least it's given yours truly a day off work.
Bit of a shame that yesterday I wasn't able to take part in a race I quite fancied (injury). But that also gave me a bit more time. More time that is to stand about in the freezing cold wind and rain waiting for everyone else. It also gave me a rare opportunity to take my MP3 player to a race (not that I ever run with one you understand).

Strange sometimes, when you've got a player on "random" that it seems to be anything but. It's often as though those tiny buds in your ears not only let the music in but somehow let your thoughts out, through the ears, down the flimsy wires and right into the microchip - influencing what it plays. I'm sure it often reads my mind.


As I watched a hundred or so poor souls spend their Sunday by trudging up a muddy windswept hill the player switched to Avashi Cohen Trio playing "Gently Disturbed". Disturbed? Yes. Gentle? No.

Thing is. I don't know if this unintentional irony applied to the runners... or to me for having nothing better to do on a Sunday than stand and watch them.

Friday, 27 November 2009


Bit of good news today (good news that is other than the fact that it's a long weekend).
Dan Berglund, bass player in the late Esbjörn Svensson Trio, is bringing his new band to the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh next March. Dan and drummer Magnus Öström took the sensible decision after 2008's tragic death of Svensson that it would be impossible to simply bring in another piano player and try to continue - so they are both pursuing separate musical paths (though with luck they will team up again along the way).
I always felt that both Berglund and Öström could easily have "settled" for very successful careers as session musicians for almost anyone - so it's good to see Berglund try to carve out his own niche.
I'm looking forward to it.

Today's normal Friday "coffee, cake and jazz" routine was brought to me by Alan Barnes and his album "Thirsty Work". Ten tracks on this 'un that are made up of various quartets, quintets and sextets all led admirably by Mr Barnes. No real surprises here, a couple of bop numbers, one by Ellington, one by Ben Webster and a few originals.

I really like Alan Barnes and enjoy the fact that he seldom strays beyond the comfort zone of mainstream jazz. That's not a criticism (I hope). I do enjoy listening to jazz that pushes the boundaries at times - but in the same breath it's handy to have certain players who you know will always deliver the goods but without being bland. A bit like Scott Hamilton as well I suppose.
New is good - but so is "safe". It might be nice every now and then, for example, and push the boat out and try one of those fancy new "themed" or "flavoured" whiskys that I see being advertised in an attempt to try and make it hip and groovy with "the young". Most of the time though your happy to sit back with a nice malt and know your going to get exactly what you got the time before - something that's been produced to the highest standards in time honoured fashion. That's what Alan Barnes and Scott Hamilton are - they're the jazz worlds fine malts ... eh.. for people who don't drink.. but you get the idea (told you my descriptive writing needs working on).

Anyway, I got this CD the other day from my favourite second hand CD shop in York - "Rebound Records". I picked up this and an Art Farmer album recorded live in Munich in 1970.

I love going into this shop and really need a good bit of time to browse.

Unfortunately, as is always the case, I left and immediately regretted not buying an album I had looked at, thought about, then put back.

Sadly the chap who runs Rebound doesn't have a web site! Luckily - he does at least have a phone! Double Enrico Rava album winging it's way to me already!


To begin at the beginning – (again!).
OK. Here we go. What’s all this about and what happened to all the usual crap on this site? Well. I felt like a change – and this is the start of it.
My previous blog had come a wee bit adrift and was floating aimlessly between three ports – “running”, “jazz” and “moaning”. The running side of it can be covered elsewhere (my running club’s site) and the “moaning” about the uselessness and futility of modern life I have decided to jealously keep to myself. Instead of sounding off about things over which I have no control I’ve decided that the best course is to sit quietly in a corner and have a good old “seethe” (could be the start of a new tradition on a Friday – “coffee, cake, jazz and a nice little seethe”).

So that leaves the jazz….. So, from now on what I will be trying to do is look at what jazz is important to me at any given time (“look at”? surely I mean “listen to”). Describe new jazz acquisitions and finds and, hopefully, make some recommendations.
The role of this exercise is also to help me. I want to hone my woefully inadequate writing skills. Especially my critical writing. I want to try and avoid the dreaded and stereotypical “hmm…nice!” when describing a tune/song/opus etc.

This isn’t to say though that running and moaning won’t make the odd appearance – but if they do it’ll hopefully be to a jazz beat.

So. Where to start?