I’d probably have to say Stick Man. With two small children, Julia Donaldson’s work forms the lion’s share of my book reading.
ESKA’s album launch gig at RichMix in London. It was always going to be a special night, but there was something magical about witnessing a friend finally, officially, release her musical baby live to a home crowd.
All sorts of formats, but I’m largely old-school, in terms of CDs and even vinyl now and then. I do like the physical.
I’m not sure I could pick one, but I played a concert recently at the QEH at Southbank Centre with the London Sinfonietta, curated by Matthew Herbert. Several composers from various backgrounds (including Matthew, Colin Matthews, Shabaka Hutchings, Gwyneth Herbert, Emma-Ruth Richards and myself) were asked to write ‘Notes To A New Government’. Various topics were covered and it amounted to a most beautiful and varied body of work, and debate, about the state of play in the UK right now.
It’s an ever-expanding list, but I’d have to say Duke Ellington, Wayne Shorter and Quincy Jones.
‘Oh Geno’, by Dexy’s Midnight Runners! It was certainly the first single I remember buying.
The Pat Metheny Group at the Royal Albert Hall. It was the 2002 ‘Speaking of Now’ tour. Of course, the group is always great, but, on this occasion, the fantastic Cameroonian bassist, Richard Bona, was singing and playing percussion. He picked up the electric bass to play the classic Metheny composition ‘Bright Size Life’ and then, come the encore(s), they played half of my favourite Metheny album, Still Life Taking, with all the hardcore fans now down at the front singing along to all this instrumental music! Fantastic!
It’s very patchy, to be honest, a bit of BBC radio, usually online via the app. Anything form 1Xtra to 2,3,4 and 6, JazzFM online now and then.
A break right now, for me, is hopping on a plane to Cork and meeting and playing with everyone involved in Bold as Brass. Thankfully, although it’s work, it’s great fun and everyone is up for the crack.
I’m not usually starstruck, but that would have to be Sir Quincy Jones! I meet him post the now-defunct BBC Jazz Awards. I was nominated for Jazz Innovation and he was receiving a ‘lifetime achievement’. I knew I wasn’t going to win and only really went with the intention of meeting him. We sat for hours in the bar, post the awards, as people came and went and he recounted stories and charmed all around him. I even met [Jones’s keyboardist of choice] Rod Temperton, too — I was in heaven!
Probably my wedding suit. I just wanted a nice blue suit that I knew I could wear again. After hunting around, it was still under £200.
I’m seldom without my laptop. Besides the really useful general apps and social media, there is Setlist and iRealbook and 4Track that are great musicians tools, and Dub Siren.
Teachers. I only teach occasionally and I’m pretty much able to dip in and out, but the folks doing it day in, day out, teaching, then marking, then teaching again, dealing with constantly changing goal posts... hats off!
If it’s just a day, I guess we’d have to have a feast and party... a holiday! I’d make sure everyone in the land eats well that day and, hopefully, put in place stronger measures to reduce (if not eradicate) food waste.