Category Archives: travel

Rehearsing brass for Souvenir – London

Sounding good from the off. Here’s Yusuf and Jamie playing Chant #souvenir



24 hours in Languedoc Roussillon

With all this new music for Ideas of Flight and only one possible window to rehearse with Trio Zéphyr, there was nothing for it other than to make a whistlestop trip across to see them for a rehearsal where they live in south-eastern France. The only way we could make it work with choir rehearsals was by flying into Montpellier and returning from Marseille all made slightly stressful with strikes by French airport security and SNCF. Well, we made it in the end and arrived back in Norwich from Stansted at 7.28 ready for our 7.30pm choir practice. It was all worth it though: the rehearsal was good and of course, spring in that part of the world is a good two weeks further forward than here.


(L-R) Marion, Sian, Delphine and Claire

Salasc near(ish) Montpellier where Delphine Chomel from Trio Zéphyr lives

Salasc near(ish) Montpellier where Delphine Chomel from Trio Zéphyr lives


Queen Elizabeth Hall

To the QEH on London’s South Bank to see a great gig as part of the London Jazz Festival. hard to believe that we were here just two years ago. Actually, Gwilym Simcock was performing here again with his band The Impossible Gentlemen – an amazing line-up also featuring Mancunian guitarist Mike Walker who is a revelation: an extraordinary fusion of Scofield, Stern, Metheny and Jeff Beck and a rhythm section of Steve Rodby (ex-Pat Metheny sideman) on bass and pugilist-powerhouse Adam Nussbaum on drums. The best numbers were the ballads. An off-kilter 7/4 bossa with Gwilym on melodica really stood out as did a beautiful pianissimo unison between bass and guitar.

But we were there to see Steve Swallow’s band, the headliners of the show. There was Carla Bley playing spooky Hammond and a great fat-toned tenor player, Chris Cheek. Very lovely 60s-inflected tunes. Here they are looning about backstage afterwards…

Gwilym far left; Carla laughing in the middle; Steve Swallow stooping right

Destination London – then Newcastle/Gateshead – phew!

Train to London to meet up with John and Martel from Serious – great to grab an hour with them seeing as the wonderful London Jazz Festival is starting. Some very interesting future collaborations were mooted. Watch this space…

Walked to King’s Cross for Newcastle-bound train for evening Wintersongs Human Music rehearsal at the Sage Gateshead. Bleary morning – more meetings, more exciting future musical possibilities… quickest squint at the Turner prize nominees at the Baltic– back on the train to sunny Norwich

Central Station - Newcastle