I Am Happy When I Bask In Their Light (and some things I’ve been doing recently…)

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Karine Polwart’s song The Good Years contains this line –

I am happy when I bask in your light…

What an absolutely beautiful statement. (Karine is a true artist, a gorgeous soul. I strongly recommend listening to any and all of her work. It’s what my heart sounds like.)

If I had one piece of advice for how to lead a fulfilling life it would be this –

Surround yourself with brilliant people. Seek out people that magnify your spirit and bask in their light. 

You do this and good things will happen, I promise. I listened to Sofie Hagen’s Made of Human podcast recently and she spoke with her guest about definitions of introvert and extrovert. One explanation was that extroverts find energy and life-force by being around others and introverts generate that energy within themselves. I like this a lot. It’s far more pleasing than the old ‘extroverts are loud, introverts are quiet’ description. (Also, don’t worry – you can be an ambivert as well as an extro- or intro-; it’s a spectrum and everybody loves a spectrum.)

With this definition in mind, I’d class myself as an extrovert. I find good company so exhilarating, so life-affirming and it really does feed into my creativity. I love to listen and I love to talk.

These past four weeks have been busy and varied; I feel alive and brimming with creativity.

Visualising Music

I’m having a wonderful time creating graphic scores for the Visualising Music gig at London Jazz festival on November 10th. I’ve jumped down a brilliant rabbit-hole of Jasper johns, John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg and Merce Cunningham; listening to them discuss life and the creative process, experiencing their art both as collaborators and separately. The warmth and serenity that emanates from Cage and Cunningham when they speak is a complete joy.

I don’t want to reveal too much about the works before they premiere in November, but here are a few sketches I made while developing a piece entitled Heap and Fiddle.

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More information about the performance here – https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/event/visualising-music-the-art-of-the

EJN in Ljubljana

I was fortunate to spend a few days in Slovenia last month, attending the European Jazz Conference held by Europe Jazz Network, in my capacity as Chair of Jazz From Scotland. I’ve written a report which will be published on the Jazz From Scotland soon so I won’t go into detail here but the two main things I took from the experience were –

  • The joys of exploring a new city alone, as I spent a day by myself in the city before flying back to the UK. Ljubljana is beautiful and I’d like to return.
  • The utter glory of spending time in the company of so many extraordinary women involved in jazz. Amy Pearce, Jill Rodger, Martel Ollerenshaw, Emily Jones, Eve Risser, Kaja Draksler…I basked and I basked and I basked in their light like a little cat in the sunshine.

Here are a few shots from the trip…

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Last week, we took a trip up North and spent two days in Malham to fill up with space (another Polwart turn of phrase that I love). Walking, seeing a lot of brilliant dogs and soothing our souls with the views before spending some time in Leeds, spending time with more fantastic humans.

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(The feature image at the top of this piece was also taken while in Malham, at Janet’s Foss.)

Thank you to everyone who enriches my life, simply by being.

More soon.

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EFG London Jazz Festival: Visualising Music, November 10th

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This week, the full programme of the EFG London Jazz Festival was launched and I’m incredibly excited to be invited to take part in a collaboration between EFG LJF and the Royal Academy of Arts.

Something Resembling Truth is a major retrospective of the work of Jasper Johns which will feature over 150 paintings, drawings and sculptures that spans six decades.

Visualising Music is an event that will explore the graphic score, and the relationship Johns had with composer John Cage. I’m one of two improviser/composers taking part, the other being the gloriously talented Raymond MacDonald. We’ll be joined by a group of musicians from Club Inegales. There will be live music as well as discussion.

Next week is the private opening of the exhibition and it’s the first chance I’ll have to see all of the works. Then, I’ll start work on developing some new graphic scores in response to the works as well as footage, interviews and literature about Johns and Cage.

When something is new to us, we treat it as an experience. We feel that our senses are awake and clear. We are alive.

In addition to this, I’m also part of the 25 for 25 commissioning project, generating 25 new works in celebration of 25 years of the jazz festival.

I’ll be using this site to document the progress of the project so stay tuned…

EFG London Jazz Festival 2017

Something Resembling Truth: Jasper Johns at Royal Academy of Arts

 

 

See One, Do One, Teach One

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It feels great to hold in my hand a copy of the Deep Tide Quartet album, which was released worldwide on August 1st on Discus Music.

We recorded this double album over two days at Chairworks (I talked about one of my compositions which is included on the album here – Arundel) back in May so it’s been a very quick process from recording to release.

The music is a mixture of composed pieces and improvisations. The composed material includes traditionally notated music as well as some graphic scores and improvisations based on a series of photographs. We listened to the first disc in the car on Wednesday as we travelled through to Manchester and I’m very pleased with the way it’s been recorded. Laura, Walt and Martin sound extraordinary and there are some very special moments.

The art work is by Gonzalo Fuentes and is a painting called Headphone Calisthenics.

(If you’re wondering what the title refers to, See One Do One Teach One is a term used in medicine, nursing and midwifery that describes how practitioners acquire new skills…)

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

LINK DUMP

Discus Music – See One, Do One, Teach One (you can listen to some full tracks here as well as buy the album)

Laura Cole

Walt Shaw

Martin Archer

 

 

Family Band Public Service Announcement

Family Band Public Service Announcement from Kim Macari on Vimeo.

Tom and I took to the streets of central London to make this little video to spread the word of our next Family Band gig at Manchester Jazz Festival on August 2nd at Matt & Phreds and to give people a taste of what they can expect from one of our shows…

The music is the title track from our upcoming album, Board of Origin.