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Posts Tagged ‘Sydney Jazz’

Meet the Casey Golden Trio.
I’ve known all these guys for years and grew up playing music with the drummer, Rob Turner. Last night they played a smokin’ gig at 505 and I’ve uploaded two tracks that you can check out. There’ll be a debut record coming out later this year which is being recorded as I type and if you can, you should definitely give these guys a listen. A few weeks ago I spoke to Casey about doing a feature on his band and so here it is, in his own words.

When we first started playing together I wasn’t really thinking about forming a band too much. I met both Brendan and Rob on non-jazz gigs so we decided to get together and have a play on some jazz stuff one day. I remember thinking at the time how easy it was to play with these guys. It felt really good from the beginning. Around that time (mid 2008) I’d started writing a lot more than I had been before and it just seemed like a natural choice to use Brendan and Rob on some of my original tunes. We all have pretty eclectic tastes in music but there is a lot of crossover between the three of us in favourite bands/records/musicians and this is part of why I like playing with these guys. I’ll often bring tunes to rehearsal that are unfinished or vague and it never takes these guys long to come up with the sound I’m after.

From a compositional point of view, my main influence comes from a lot of the younger guys living in New York at the moment. Guys like Aaron Parks, Robert Glasper, Lage Lund, John Ellis, Gerald Clayton, the list goes on. I think all the guys mentioned above are great composers and they all have a really clear concept of how they want their bands to sound. I have a pretty clear idea of how I want the trio to sound and that sound is very much influenced by these people. Alister Spence is another important influence. I used to learn from Alister and he was one of the first people I saw who really impressed me as both a composer and player. He’s got a great trio and I think he’s very thoughtful in both composition and in his concept of the type of music his trio plays. All this being said, as far as inspiration goes, these days I seem to be inspired to compose by music other than jazz.

The hardest thing leading a group is really doing enough gigs so your band has some sort of a presence on the scene. There aren’t a huge amount of well-established places to play original jazz in Sydney so it can be difficult to get regular work. I try and continually write new stuff, so if I don’t have any trio gigs for a month or two then it’s still very much on my mind. Having a lot of new material all the time also motivates me to go out and book gigs to see what works and what doesn’t.

The main thing I’m focused on at the moment is getting everything sorted for recording our album. We’re recording in February and hope to have it out a bit later in the year. We’ve got a couple of gigs booked over the next month or two then we’ll do a bunch more when the record comes out. Buy our record.

Casey:

Favourite YouTube Video:
Best live gig seen: Aaron Goldberg Trio at the Sound Lounge, mid 2008
Seamus Blake Quintet w/ Kikoski, Lage, Matt Clohesy and Bill Stewart at Smalls, Feb 2009

Favourite album: Too hard to say, but for what I’ve been listening to over the last few months it’d be between:
Matt Penman – Catch of the Day,
Gerald Clayton – Two Shade and
David Binney and Edward Simon – Oceanos.

Rob:

Favourite YouTube Video:
Best live gig seen: Too hard to decide on one! Short List –
Ed Simon Trio (w/ John Patitucci & Brian Blade) @ The Village Vanguard, NYC
Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra @ North Sea Jazz Festival, The Hague
Chris “Daddy” Dave & Friends, Revive Da Live @ Crash Mansion, NYC
Favourite Album: Oscar Peterson Trio – Night Train
(Favourite album of 2009 – Robert Glasper Trio, Double Booked)

Brendan:
Favourite YouTube Video:
Best live gig seen: The Necks at the Riverside Theatre. I couldn’t even manage to stay for the second set, it was that intense!
Favourite Album: Too many to count, but I’ll say Sam Rivers – Violet Violets

Later,
Eamon

P.S. Check out this great track from last night:

Also make sure you check out Casey’s Myspace for updates about gigs and the new album.

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Tune into ABCJazz on Digital radio on Thursday, 9pm (channel 201 on digital TV) to hear a live one hour recording of ‘The Dilworths’ recorded for ABCJazz in January 2010.

Here is the link: http://abcjazz.net.au/features/abc-jazz-recording-the-dilworths

We went in for a few hours and recorded a live set of new tunes previously unrecorded. You can also download one track – “Black and White” for free to get a taste of what to expect on Thursday.

Later

Eamon

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The Latest top 5 list comes from one of the more prominent musicians in Sydney – Simon Barker. Not only a great drummer, Simon also runs Kimnara Records which puts out consistently high quality CDs from Australian artists such as ‘Band of Five Names’, Scott Tinkler, Phil Slater, Matt McMahon and Carl Dewhurst. Two of my favourite Australian records are Phil Slater’s “The Thousands” and Matt McMahon’s “Paths and Streams” which both feature Simon and are released under the Kimnara flag. Simon has provided a lot of guidance in helping release ‘The Dilworths” debut album.

Also, if you are free on Monday the 1st March be sure to get down to the Australian Film Festival screening of “Intangible Asset No. 82” – a documentary following Simon’s search for a shaman and grandmaster musician in South Korea. Click here for more details.

Here are his top 5:

Jack Dejohnette

It’s hard to describe how much joy I’ve experienced while listening to Jack Dejohnette play the drums. I first heard him on Keith Jarrett “Standards Volume 2” when I was a teenager and have been a huge fan ever since. Jack’s way of creating streams of unresolved conversational rhythms had a huge impact on me, and his willingness to consistently develop new approaches to his instrument (conceptually and physically) is really inspiring… a wonderful musician.

Elvin Jones

What can you say? I’ve been listening to Elvin Jones since I started and am still completely mystified by the depth of his pulse and ability to create such a profoundly personal style. I love so many records that he’s on but my favorite is “Crescent” by John Coltrane, featuring the track “Wise One”… one of the most lyrical grooves I’ve ever heard. There are so many facets to Elvin’s playing… the powerful ritualistic playing, the incredibly swinging accompanist, the amazing ballad playing… genius!

Kim Seok Chul

In 2000, I was working in Korea and heard a recording of ritual music from Korea’s East Coast performed by a group of shamans led by Kim Seok Chul. The drumming had a profound effect on me and has changed the direction of my life. Since hearing this music I’ve spent many years traveling to Korea to study, perform, and engage with Korea’s extraordinary musical heritage. The style of drumming performed by members of Kim Seok Chul’s family is characterised by dense streams of conversational rhythms that are mesmerising. I was very fortunate to meet Kim Seok Chul in the final days of his life… a once in a lifetime experience!

Jim Black

In 1997, while touring Europe with Scott Tinkler, I was very fortunate to hear Jim Black perform with Ellery Eskelin. At the time I was unsure of what I was trying to do musically and feeling pretty confused (while also having a blast with Scott and Adam). With that in mind I went to Jim’s gig and was completely blown away. He played in a way that included everything from trad to ‘Blondie’… heavy metal, jazz, ‘The Bangles’… it was an incredible experience that was refreshing and inspiring and so exciting to listen to. Jim and the community of musicians he’s involved with have had such a positive impact on so many young musicians… a very inspiring guy.

Lately I’ve been really getting into ‘Questlove’, Ed Blackwell, Joey Baron, Rick Marotta, Hamish Stuart, Tony Williams, Mitch Mitchell, Ritchie Haywood, Paul Motian, Vernel Fournier, Steve Jordan, Tony Buck, Katsuya Yokoyama, Watazumi, Feldman, as well as the various drummers who played with Curtis Mayfield and James Taylor.

Also, I have to say that perhaps the most influential musicians in my life have been people who I’ve played with who want to try things that may not have been played by other drummers. Mark Simmonds had some killing drum beats that were fully formed in his head which were unique, while Phil Slater and Scott Tinkler have some really inspiring ideas about drumming, pulse, phrasing and ensemble playing.

Later,

Eamon

P.S. Check out http://www.kimnara.com.au

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This week we have a bit of a drummer’s feature with an interview with ex-pat Adam Pache and a top 5 list with Simon Barker. The first time I met and played with Adam was when I was 16 in about 2003 when I used to sit in with Matt Baker’s trio when Adam was playing with him and Ashley Turner. I remember being awestruck by those guys and always looked forward to getting a chance to play with them. Since then we’ve had a few jams and always at least a year apart and its always how things have changed and developed with time and experience. Adam has spent 4 of the last 5 years living in New York and currently resides in Italy and has been playing with saxophonist Steve Grossman. He’s currently out here on tour leading a quartet with James Muller, Gerard Masters, Steve Newcombe and Jonathan Zwartz. I thought I’d take the opportunity to ask him a few questions about the experiences of leaving Australia and making music in other parts of the world.

Here it is:

1.Tell us about the music on this latest tour.

We are playing songs I chose, largely based on the personnel. I was extremely glad that James Muller and Jonathan Zwartz could do all of the gigs, and the piano chair is split between Gerard Masters in Sydney and Steve Newcomb in Brisbane. I tried to imagine what the music might sound like as a group, and I ended up thinking of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane… tunes that have an in-built vibe but are still open, such as “Pinocchio” and “The Sorcerer”. With that as a base I added some other tunes, old and new (from Billy Strayhorn to an original by a Norwegian friend of mine) that I thought would fit that mould and make sense together.

2. You’ve lived in Sydney, New York and Rome making music. What have been some of the experiences of making a transition into a new city and new scene?

For me, the move from Sydney to New York was much harder than New York to Rome, despite having to learn Italian. New York’s jazz scene is so immense and so competitive to try to break into. In Sydney and Rome I feel like there is a sense of a “jazz community”… everyone knows each other and is supportive, whereas in New York I feel there are many, many different cliques, so it takes some time to work out where one fits in, and while there is a mutual respect for each other, as everyone is battling to survive there, it can be very cut-throat. I had a few close musician friends there, but I think due to the enormity of the scene and how busy everyone is with making ends meet, it can be hard to build relationships that go deeper than just knowing the person’s phone number, where they live, what they sound like and who they play with, even after more than 4 years there. By comparison, I found the musicians in Italy to be extremely warm and welcoming and I made friends instantly the night I arrived. After only 8 months there I have some friends that are truly like family… People I know I could trust with anything and I could always call on for help. That really makes a difference.
I also think in New York you have to play the game to work. You have to hustle. I haven’t felt that in Italy. It’s more like you hang out, go to jams, make friends with people and you end up playing. It’s more natural and based on genuine relationships. Hustling on a New York level there would seem really crass and out of place. It makes it easier to concentrate on music, not having to deal with playing games in order to work. Of course politics exist in any music scene, but so far that has been my experience there.
I have realised that as a musician, the ease or difficulty in moving to a new city/country/scene is actually less to do with music and more to do with people. If you like a city and a music scene enough to move there, the people are what can make it or break it for you.

3. What do you notice about audiences around the world and their responses to jazz and improvised music?

It varies so much, and I think it largely depends on how the music is presented. One thing that I think can really be detrimental to jazz is when somebody gives a speech at the beginning of a gig about how important the music is and how everyone should be quiet and respect the artists etc. It can strangle the music and make the audience feel like they are in a classroom. I would much rather play to a room full of people enjoying themselves, even with a bit of chatter, than a room full of people feeling like they have to wait for the song to end before they can cough. I think it’s one of the big turn offs for young would-be jazz listeners and helps to perpetuate this notion that jazz is for elitists. It’s hard to relax and have a good time at a gig after you’ve been told all of the things you can and can’t do. I think no matter what country you are in, if the music is presented in an honest, down to earth manner, played with conviction and passion, people respond in a positive way. Not every playing situation is perfect, and not everyone will like what you do, but I think if you can play with enough spirit, you command attention, and conversely if the audience is restless and chatty, maybe it’s a sign you are not putting out enough (or maybe the music is lame!)
Having said that, I think people in Europe generally have more respect for musicians. They seem to appreciate people playing music for them without being told to appreciate it.

4. Who are some of the European musicians worth checking out that we may not know about?


There are many!! The first that jumps to mind is Roberto Tarenzi (from Milan). He is one of the most exciting and original piano young players that I know of. He is influenced by McCoy Tyner and Ahmad Jamal but is really going for something else… something very contemporary. I would love to see his trio tour Australia… the members are all on an extremely high level. He has a few CD’s out and I would highly recommend his latest, “Dig Deep”.
There are some great young drummers in Rome worth checking out too: Roberto Pistolesi, Nicola Angelucci and Marco Valeri are my three favourites. All have incredible dexterity on the drums and an individual approach.

5. What are you working on right now?

I am getting back into studying harmony and playing the piano and trying to write some of my own music. I would really like to record an album of originals within the next year or so.
On the drums the list is long, but basically I am trying to refine my technique, so I can cleanly execute what I am hearing in my head, and I’m trying to focus more onstage and play with as much spirit as I can, every time I play. Playing with Steve Grossman has really been a big lesson in that. He plays with so much intensity… there is no room for auto-pilot… he demands 100% all of the time. I feel like anything less is an insult, not only to him but to the music, and I would like to carry that level of commitment through to every playing situation, no matter who it is with or where.

5 in 30 seconds:

Favourite YouTube Video:
Best Gig you’ve seen: Elvin Jones, 2002
Best gig you’ve played: with Steve Grossman in Ischia, Dec 2009.
Current favourite artist and album: Herbie Hancock – Speak Like A Child
Where can we see you next? at the new 505 venue for Jazzgroove this Tuesday the 16th at 8:30.

Later,
Eamon

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Last night was the album launch for the Kim Lawson Trio over at Jazzgroove. It was great to see 505 packed to hear Kim’s trio with Steve Hunter, James Hauptmann and on a couple of tunes James Ryan. I guess best term to describe the music is powerhouse jazz-rock. It’s a really great thing that these guys put out a record, as these days it seems more and more like the CD becomes your business/calling card and helps to firmly establish your band on the scene.

Check out Kimmo’s Myspace.

Later,

Eamon

P.S coming soon – Interview with Aussie saxophonist Mike Rivett who is currently studying at Manahttan School of Music plus footage of James Muller’s 4tet Live at The Basement

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Hey everyone,

Last night I got to film the great Dave Panichi’s Septet at the new 505 venue.
It was a great night featuring Phil Slater, Peter Farrar, Carl Morgan, Hugh Barrett, Brendan Clark and Evan Mannell.
Dave writes some great conceptual compositions and I hope to put up a few videos over the next week to show those who couldn’t make the gig.

For now here is Peter Farrar’s solo on the last tune for the night. Peter is one of the most interesting and exciting players in Sydney and it’s rare to see him perform. Hope you enjoy:

later,

Eamon

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1. Favourite/Most influential Jazz Musician?

It’s really difficult to put a stamp on my all time favourite musician in Jazz. I had a mantra throughout my time at the Con which was ‘DEXTRAHAR’. I still need to remind myself of what that means and how I’m representing this in my playing.

The ‘DEX’ is of course for Dexter Gordon the gentle giant. I really love the sense of humour in his playing and how he was such an influence to so many musicians but was open to what was being played by the younger guys around him.

‘TRA’ is for Coltrane and his discipline and dedication to making himself a better musician. Imagine what would have been created if he hadn’t died so young.

The ‘HAR’ is all about sound. Rory Brown introduced me to the incredible sound of Billy Harper in my first year at the Con. I still get goosebumps when I listen to ‘Preistess’. He has an enormous sound that cuts through you and then warms you up from the inside.

Seamus Blake is my modern favourite. I was fortunate to spend some time with him in New York in 2007. I really love Gary Smulyan’s baritone playing. He’s the bench mark for all modern bari players.

2. Favourite/Most Influential Australian Musician?

I know he’s from NZ but Roger Manins is my favourite Sax player. It’s a real shame that more of his music isn’t out there.

Judy Bailey was a great influence on me. She taught me to be less critical of my playing and accept that sometimes the best music happens when you are making ‘mistakes’.

3. All time favourite album?

My favourite album is ‘Standard Coltrane’ from 1958 with Red Garland, PC, Jimmy Cobb and Wilbur Haden on trumpet. There is a real looseness and a sense that it is just a bunch of guys playing over their favourite tunes and not some overly rehearsed masterpiece. When I’m at a loss I always come back to this period of Coltrane. It’s kind of like a reset button. There is a beautiful slow version of ‘Invitation’ on this record.

Other albums that I also love:

Chris Speed – Trio Iffy

Bill Frisell – Unspeakable

Anything with Seamus Blake.

Gary Smulyan – The Real Deal

4. Best live gig you’ve seen?

Kim Lawson, Danny Junor and I caught the Fung Wah bus up to Boston in 2007 to see George Garzone and the ‘Fringe’. After 5 hours of travel and the thought that we might not even make the gig, we crammed into a small room in a hostel which I think had been the scene of a horrible crime. We arrived at the gallery where the band was playing and George greeted us and suggested we visit the tavern next door for a taste of their homebrew beer the ‘Druid Fluid’.

We headed back to the gallery, took the front row seats and held on. The ‘Fringe’ is a trio with John Lockwood on Bass and Bob Gulotti on Drums that has been creating improvised music since the ‘70’s.

Garzone’s sound floored me! I had never seen anyone play so furiously yet sound so melodic and beautiful at the same time. At one climax in the music I found myself giggling uncontrollably because it made me feel so good (it might have also been the Druid Fluid).

5. What are you working on right now?

I’ve been doing most of my practise on Baritone and have been working hard to get comfortable over 3-4 octaves on both horns. I’m trying to get away from linear playing and am doing a lot of exercises on larger intervals and triad super-impositions. I am also concentrating on my posture and amount of tension in my body when I’m playing. I think it’s important to take time to go for a bike ride or a jog or anything to help with endurance. Playing a musical instrument can be pretty rough on your body!

I’m continuing to write for my Quartet with Jamie Cameron, Ben Waples and Aaron Flower.

We have a JG gig in March.

Tim Stocker
ph. 0402 043 293
timstocker
Visit Tim’s Myspace Site

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One of the things I’ve wanted to do with the blog is not only put up articles about my peers but also put up interviews with some of the people who have inspired us to make music.
I sat down with guitarist Carl Morgan a few weeks ago to come up with the following series of questions to ask Sydney based Guitarist James Muller.
Here’s what he said:

What motivates you to keep practicing/disciplining yourself to continue working on furthering your craft?

A lot of it is being inspired by other musicians, especially my contemporaries and the new-breed. I get jealous sometimes when I hear my friends sounding better than me. Ha. I don’t want to be left behind sounding old and lame! Also, I get bored playing the same old stuff.

What are some of the ways you’ve approached working on time/feel?

Mainly, it’s just something I’m always aware of rather than working on specific things. I’m more conscious of time than harmony or melody. It’s the most important component of jazz, I think. I play little rhythmic games when I practise – usually just picking a tempo and then subdividing the beat in different ways. I like going up and down through quavers, quaver triplets, semiquavers, semiquaver quintuplets and semiquaver sextuplets. Then I try and mix them all up randomly. Also, dividing regular quavers/semiquavers into odd groupings 3/5/6/7/9 etc… All of these things really help your basic 4/4 playing. Feel, is different. It’s harder to work on. I listen to players with great feels and try and analyse what it is that makes their feel great. Usually, it’s about the way they accent certain notes and where the lay on the beat, but it’s also the shape of the melodic line itself that makes it feel groovy or not. I don’t think you can play any old bunch of notes and make it swing, no matter how good your time feel is. The way the notes are arranged is really important (and the rests too!). It’s taken me a long time to figure that out…

What are some of the key aspects that you feel are most important for younger aspiring musicians to work on?

If you’re a pianist or guitarist – COMPING. I’ve only really just started to get into that. What a fool I’ve been. It’s so important to learn how to do well. Transcribe comping as well as solos…

Business skills! I’m not kidding. I still have no idea with that stuff and I really regret not learning more about it. Hopefully it’s not too late.

Are there any bands or musicians (of any genre) you’ve recently discovered that are challenging or inspiring you to think differently about music and improvisation? If so, what aspects and/or ideas have you drawn from them?

At the moment I’m on an Allan Holdsworth kick. He is a real genius. Listening to him has totally reinvigorated my practising. The way he constructs lines and chords is incredible and completely unique and I think everyone should be checking him out. He’s as heavy as Coltrane, I think. He has changed music. Sean Wayland is a constant source of inspiration. Simon Barker has some great views on music and life. I guess I haven’t “recently discovered” these guys technically speaking. All of these guys are really methodical about the way they practise and learn. I have always been really erratic and just noodled for practise which I guess works to a certain degree but it’s time for me to actually start thinking about precisely what I want.

How has living in Australia affected your development as a musician?

That’s hard. I could be nasty and say “adversely”. There is some incredible talent here and Australia it’s a wonderful place to live but I can’t help thinking we all (jazz musos) would be better off living in the US or Europe. We would be better players and might be a lot better off financially, certainly artistically. It’s not the musicians’ fault really. The more I think about it the darker I get about the way we are viewed by the general public over here. Still, there are many worse places to be.

You recently completed a tour with Sean Wayland’s band featuring Mark Guilliana. Can you tell us about your history with Sean and some of the highlights of the projects of his that you’ve been involved in?

Sean started booking me for gigs in 1997, a year or so after I moved to Sydney from Adelaide. Soon after I was in pretty well all of his subsequent groups right up until he left to live in NY. I’m not sure why he kept me on. I think initially he was impressed with my playing but later it became just as much about having a friend around that respected his music/vision. I think that’s a big part of why I played on his most recent US recordings. I think having another Aussie around experiencing these great rhythm sections and horn players is important to him. It’s great for me!! It’s been amazing to watch Sean develop so consistently over the years. He is one of the great thinkers and problem-solvers in music today, I think. As far as highlights go, the most exciting/fun gigs I did were when Sean brought out Jochen Rueckert and Matt Penman from NY in 2002. That was my first taste of a top-notch modern American rhythm section and I was in HEAVEN! I have recordings of those gigs. Really great experience. I did a couple of gigs at the 55 bar with Sean in 2007 with some great players – Will Vinson, Orlando La Fleming, Henry Cole, Rudy Royston. Matt Clohesy – they were awesome fun too. As soon as I get in the studio though, I can’t enjoy myself. Playing with Keith Carlock, Tim Lebvre and Adam Rogers on the Pistachio CD was great but I couldn’t relax. I wish we did a gig. There were Aussie highlights too – recording with Sean, Nick McBride and Brett Hirst in “the shed” – Sean’s old house in Jarrett St, Leichhardt. My amp was in Nick’s car in the driveway, turned up to 11, Brett was with the double bass in the bathroom and Nick in sean’s bedroom. The only way sean could communicate with the other guys was to speak “live” arrangement instructions into a microphone which came out on the recording! It actually sounded pretty good!!

What are you working on right now?

Chords. Trying to comp better. Trying to remove other people’s licks from my playing..it’s EMBARRASSING when I hear myself do it these days. It will stop!!

5 questions in 30 seconds

Favourite Youtube Video :
Best live gig you’ve seen: John Scofield with Larry Goldings, Dennis Irwin and Bill Stewart @ The Basement Jan 1995.
Best gig you’ve played: Hmm Sean Wayland, Matt Penman, Jochen Rueckert @ Coogee Beach Jan 2002
Current favourite album: Allan Holdsworth “The Sixteen Men Of Tain”
Where can we see you play next? Feb 6 @ the Walsh Bay Jazz Festival and Mar5/6 @ 505.

Later,
Eamon (and Carl)

P.S check out James Muller at www.jamesmuller.com

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Last night James Muller Quartet played a set at The Basement and it gave me a chance to get this great band on video. Below is one of Matt Keegan’s solos from the night on 327 East 32nd St by Lennie Tristano. Matt is one of my favourite Sydney musicians and also one of the nicest guys around – always got time for a chat. Muller’s Quartet is amazing and I hope to get some more videos to put up for those who can’t see them live. In the meantime here’s a snippet of Matt Keegan blowing:

Later,

Eamon

Pssssst……. Matt Keegan trio has a new album coming out in June

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Hey everyone,

Last night I went and checked out Jazzgroove at the new venue for 505. It is a really great room and the upcoming programme of music is outstanding. I recommend everyone to get down there soon!

I bought a video camera on the weekend and tried it out last night. I hope to get videos up every week.

This clip is of James Loughnan with The Doig Collective last night. I thought he played a wicked solo and wanted to share it with you.

Later

Eamon
P.S There’s some great gigs happening this week – James Muller’s Quartet tonight @ The Basement and Mike Nock Friday Night @ The Soundlounge

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