It’s been a couple of days since we finished the LOCUS tour and had some time to catch up on sleep, emails and reflect on the last 10 days and 6 gigs.
Leah and I first started talking about setting something up before Christmas last year. We first met 10 years ago, and since then we’ve lived on opposite sides of the Atlantic ocean, both leaving Scotland to study jazz degrees, both working professionally as musicians (for all that entails – writing, performing, leading projects, teaching…). We planned the tour between us over emails and calls and though that sounds like a recipe for stress, it was a very smooth operation as tour-building goes! I realised before the tour had started that I’d found another musician I really enjoyed working with as a co-leader, and that is a rare and lovely feeling.
We took a risk with LOCUS. We put together a band which worked on paper and hoped for the best. The rhythm section lives in London, two horns in Leeds and one in NYC – that renders rehearsal basically impossible. We decided to do completely original material written especially for the tour, meaning none of us knew the music. Then we set off on a 6 date tour which included gigs at jazz venues across the UK and two high-profile jazz festival dates. The lesson I learnt was this – trust your instincts and your creative vision; some risks pay off.
Working with LOCUS was one of the most creatively fulfilling projects of my career. Working with 5 musicians who are talented and hard-working pushes you to play at your best and the feeling you feel when each gig feels better than the last is very special. I’d always cautiously hoped that LOCUS would exist longer than this tour, and by our second gig (at Edinburgh Jazz Festival) I was sure that it would.
There are many people I’d like to thank and there isn’t always time at gigs, so I want to take this opportunity to do so.
To Andy at the Verdict, Bill Kyle and Assembly Direct at Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Jez Matthews at The Lescar, the team at Olivers, Lesley Jeffries at HEART and Steve Mead at Manchester Jazz Festival. – thanks to you all for hosting our gigs, promoting us and giving us a chance to play this music together.
To the audiences who came to our gigs and our family and friends who made the journey to watch us – THANK YOU. Seeing full audiences at our gigs was wonderful.
To Martin Powell – thank you for the airplay on your show in the lead-up to the tour, and for the unfaltering support you give to us!
To Riley, Sam, Jay and Tom – THANK YOU all most of all. You gave everything on each gig and I’m so pleased to share the stage with you. Aside from the gigs, you’re all great to spend time with – 6 people on 6 gigs over 10 days and who knows how many miles and I could’ve done all again many times over. And Jay – thank you so much for your driving. You drove so many miles and still played incredibly on the gigs. You’re a hero!
And to Leah – co-leading a group with you is an absolute pleasure. I cannot wait to work with you again – this is only the beginning. Your compositions are wonderful and you sound great.
We recorded every gig and some live recordings will be available soon. The plans are already in motion for the next LOCUS project – it’s all to be kept under wraps for now but stay tuned for some VERY exciting news soon…