snapshot of score of Return of the Son of the Bebop Variations

Return of the Son of the Bebop Variations for chamber orchestra with drumkit

Good morning! Welcome to my web site, where you can find out about my music, and listen to some of it, as well as my various other ventures over the years.

19 October 2023

Oh dear - it’s been six months since I wrote anything here! For most of that time not a lot happened, apart from steady preparations for the recording of Perfect Stranger’s debut album at AIR Studios, no less, on 9 and 10 October 2023. One aspect of the preparations was the creation of a ‘shadow band’ of deps in case anyone had to drop out of the sessions at short notice. Mercifully, no-one did and the two days of sessions went brilliantly, but we now have a full set of deps for the future. But you can catch up on the gory details here.

Previously on Latest News... (April 2023)

Perfect Stranger finally has its own web site! I made the decision to abandon my old habits of hand-coding sites such as the one you’re looking at now, and use an online site builder. I chose Bandzoogle, which is aimed at, yes, bands, and I have to say I have no regrets whatsoever. It all felt a bit awkward and restrictive at first, but that was just the unfamiliar working environment. Once I got the hang of it I found I could do most things, bending it to my will as needed. Above all, their support team is superb - so helpful and friendly without being patronising. Highly recommended.

Perfect Stranger played its sixth gig in February, a hastily arranged addition to the monthly Jazz In The Round series at The Cockpit in Marylebone, London. The show was opened for us by a wonderful short solo sax set from the great Chris Biscoe, one of the original members of Perfect Stranger. We played to an audience over twice the size of any previous ones, and they were most appreciative. Before that, at Trevor Taylor’s kind invitation, we returned to Southend on 11 February, to play our fifth gig at the Jazz Centre UK. This followed on from Karamel in March 2022, Colchester Arts Centre in July, Southend’s Jazz 825 series in October and our EFG London Jazz Festival debut in November back at Karamel, who must have thought we were OK the first time.

I’ll keep the Perfect Stranger page here for the time being, where there’s just a little more historical detail than on the band’s new About page, but I may not be updating it quite as consistently as the new site!

There are Perfect Stranger videos up and published on YouTube and Facebook. The first lot are four short films: one is a ‘taster’ with just extracts of the band playing, and the other three make up a mini-documentary including some of me talking about the project. Since then we’ve added some from that EFG London Jazz Festival gig. Full details and links here.

The band now consists of these excellent people: Adam Bishop and Mick Foster (saxes, clarinets, flutes), Shanti Jayasinha (trumpet and flugelhorn), Tom Green (trombone), Alcyona Mick (keyboards), Rob Millett (vibes and percussion), Eddy White (guitar), Paul Michael (bass guitar), Jonas Golland (drums) — along with various deps who have done sterling work for us at gigs — with me conducting (mostly, with the odd bit of fretless bass) — and they’re fantastic! There’s still the challenge of finding times when suitable combinations of these good people are available to rehearse, but I’m less concerned about that as we’re actively seeking further gigs and try to rehearse as close as possible to each one. We’re now pretty comfortable with the music, so plans are afoot to make an album titled Unfinished Business, because that’s exactly what it is. Watch this space! Or more appropriately, this space!

PsychoYogi News

(For newcomers to this site, along with the activities described here, I also play fretless bass guitar in PsychoYogi — see my Biography.)

We played two gigs in June: Intox Extravaganza’s summer all-dayer at AMP Studios in New Cross, and at the Birds Nest. We’ve since been back to Biddle Bros., and the next gig on the slate is at the Brunswick in Hove.

The ‘live’ videos of four of our songs have been well received and appreciated. These were not in front of an audience, hence my scare-quotes, but we did play and record in real time — it was all done in our sometime drummer Jonas Golland’s bedroom! It was good fun, if a little tricky to negotiate the stands for three mics, three cameras and three lights in a very confined space — but we managed. They’re all on YouTube: Therapy Session, The Magic Tellingbone, Happy Family and Evening Call.

We seem to be pretty much settled on the splendid Arnold Lane as our drummer these days — it’s good to have this stability, and he’s a great player.

The album Shrine is still available to download and/or listen to on Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify and Amazon (among others?).

Older News

Apart from all that, naturally, this web site: explore my works, find out about Perfect Stranger, read my biography, keep track of your harp pedal settings, and see what’s on the various other pages. You can also get in touch with me via the Contact form. And for those with a taste for historical technical curiosities, there’s even a page about my NotaFile document — and the document itself.

As well as listening to my MIDI recordings on this site, you can visit my channels on YouTube and SoundCloud to hear the same MIDI realizations of a number of my works, and see the same YouTube videos as you can see here, to get a glimpse of the scores (in most cases). These pieces are available:

Also on the Listen page is my standard disclaimer about MIDI recordings, and a note about browser compatibility with the players for YouTube, SoundCloud and plain MP3s embedded in these pages.

And in case anyone’s wondering, what I’m actually looking at in that photo is not the score of Return of the Son of the Bebop Variations, but a large owl perched on my wrist.