Welcome to the 2009 archived blog of Harrison Wood
31.12.2009 ... Thanks to everyone who's helped me this year. I wish you all a Happy New Year and wish you much Joy, Happiness, Peace and Success for 2010 :)
30.12.2009 ... As the year draws to a close, I've just realised that this blog page is very long so I'm going to start a new page for 2010 and I'll keep this on the site as a 2009 Archived blog.
29.12.2009 ... I ended up going in to Lancaster last night with my mate Mike Butcher last night. He's studying jazz sax at the Royal Scottish Academy in Scotland with Tommy Smith and having a great time. We had a quartet together before we went to college which was great fun. We went to see Mark Townson (guitar) and his son Joel (bass) play in Lancaster and they were great. Mark invited us both up to play a couple of numbers and we had a fun night. I've been doing loads of practice today so I decided to take a trip down to see Gary in the bass department at Promenade Music. He's got some amazing basses in stock, it's like a bass players heaven down there!
28.12.09 ... Just picked up a week at the Lancaster Grand Theatre playing double bass for the Lionel Bart musical 'Oliver' from the 8th to the 13th of March. It'll be the second time I've played the musical and it's got to be one of the greatest musicals of all time with favourites like 'Food Glorious Food', 'Consider Yourself', 'Pick a Pocket' and 'As Long as He Needs Me'. The Grand Theatre in Lancaster is a beautiful little theatre, well actually it's not so little, it seats just over 450 but feels little. It's Britain third oldest theatre and has been in continuous use since 1782, apart from an interior rebuild after the theatre was badly damaged by fire in 1908. Whenever I play there, I always feel very privileged. The musical's been put on by Red Rose AODS .
27.12.09 ... I've been messing around with my new PreSonus Central Station , a Christmas present that's going to make my life a bit easier in the studio. It's a rack mounted control center for monitoring. I can now control three pairs of monitors, two pairs of headphones, talkback, headphone amp as well as ins. It'll be awesome!
26.12.09 ... I've joined the Twitter revolution so click on twitter.com/harrisonbassist and see what I'm up to. I think it'll be a lot less factual than here and quite possibly dribble but let's see. Anyway, as well as playing with twitter, the bass, piano (yes Mr Glenday, the piano! ;) and a few hours of table football (big brother duties), By the way, Happy brithday Steven Wren and Gina Thistlethwaite (Gary's wife), love to you both.
25.12.09 ... A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my family, friends, RNCM family and everyone who's supported me over the years. I wish you all much Joy, Happiness, Peace and Success for 2010 :)
24.12.09 ... I feel so proud! I've had my very first writing published. After Bass Day UK, Nick Wells (editor of the Bass Guitar Magazine) asked if I'd like to write a show report with him for the event. I told him that I'd love to but had never written anything before. He said have a go anyway and I was so pleased at how it's turned out. The result is a full three page show report feature on pages 14, 15 and 16 of the January 2010 issue, which is issue 50. It's out in the shops now, please support the mag (and buy one ;) and let me know what you think.
23.12.09 ... Had a great night at the Bowerham Hotel with Dizzy Hack & The Rhino Horns last night. I think it's the best the band's ever played and I was really touched then the band leader (Adrian Boardman) announced to the audience that he was going to do his best to keep me in the band as long as he can. Cheers Adrian :)
22.12.09 ... Just read exactly what Nick, the editor of Bass Guitar Magazine, said about me in the recent press releases. Here it is in full ... "Harrison is fast becoming one of the most talked about young bass players today. It's rare to find a young bassist who has equal facility on both the bass guitar and the upright bass and in that respect Harrison is among a select few. But aside from his technical ability, Harrison is equally well served by his level headed approach and genuine enthusiasm for what he does. His achievements at RNCM underline his enormous potential. I'm certainly looking forward to watching his career develop over the coming years." Thanks Nick :)
21.12.09 ... I played at the 'Chill' coffee bar tonight in Morecambe for their Christmas party. The line up was Steven Wren on vocals and Hammond, Sam Healy on Alto Sax, Eddie Waring on Guitar, Trevor Willgrass on drums and me on bass. Although tickets were £30 (Chill always put on a good buffet), there's was a great turn out although it snowed and snowed to the point where the roads were treturous and the six mile drive home, which normally takes fifteen minutes, took over an hour and my car didn't even manage to make it home! I ended up having to park up and swap all the gear in to my mums 4x4. Believe it or not, we very nearly didn't make it home in that either!
20.12.09 ... Just got my dates through for the 2010 Halle Youth Orchestra tour of Italy. I'm sure it's going to be a great laugh. Chris Fuller (Joni Fuller's dad) sent me a nice email telling me I've had a little mention in the RNCM winter newsletter.
19.12.09 ... Got down to Wigan for 1.30pm for an afternoon rehearsal with The Wigan Choral Society for their performance of Bach's 'Christmas Oratorio' tonight. The snow was quite deep and the roads were terrible so the society took a vote and decided to cancel the performance due to bad weather :( It's the right decision really. I think they're going to do it in January but I'm not really sure.
18.12.09 ... Having a full day of practice today so I'm ready for the 'Wigan Choral Society' tomorrow night ;-) I'm very honoured to have been invited to play with them, they're performing Bach’s 'Christmas Oratorio' at St. Michael's Church in Swinley (Wigan) at 7.30pm if you can make it. In Wigan, the sixty strong Choral Society has been part of the town's cultural scene for longer than most can remember as it started over three quarters of a century ago (1933 to be exact). It's great that it's still going strong today.
17.12.09 ... I've been a bit shocked (but delighted) today. I called in to our local newsagents in Halton and was amazed to see my face on the front page of 'The Westmorland Gazette'. Bethany Abbit has written a lovely piece on me (thanks Bethany) picking up on the kind words Nick Wells, the editor of the Bass Guitar Magazine, said about me. Please Click Here to read the online version ... or even better, take a read on page 32 of this weeks paper.
15.12.09 ... Jim Molyneux and Ben Watte came up to Lancaster today to do some mixing on a recording we did. As always, it was fun to work with them. It was a special day for Jim today because he collected his new Jalapeno kit that has been lovingly hand made by David Nuttall (he also lives in Lancaster ;). David owns Jalapeno Drums and makes every one himself. I'm sure David is delighted to have Jim on board as an Endorsee because Jim was a Grand Finalist after winning the Percussion Final for the 2008 BBC Young Musician of the Year.
14.12.09 ... We were supposed to be doing a jazz 'out reach project' for local schools today at the RNCM but it's been called off so I'm going to pack and get home for Christmas ;) I've still got a few gigs left but it's going to be great to spend time with my family and friends who'll also be back from their uni's etc.
13.12.09 ... I had an orchestral gig tonight helping out and playing with the 'Stockport Youth Orchestra'. I had the pleasure of sharing a stand with a fine young double bass player called Alex Jones who's only ten. He's an amazing little player for ten! Alex's dad is David Jones who's the deputy assistant director of Junior RNCM and an awesome accompanist. Keep up the good work Alex :)
12.12.09 ... I've had two gigs today so I've been busy :) I was invited to play with JRNCM String Orchestra and then I was off to play at a private house party in Lancaster for my mum and dads friends Martin & Maggie. Believe it or not, the car was full. Four of us with a digi piano, electric double bass, amps, trombone, stands and oh yes, Jims drum kit!
11.12.09 ... The ten piece function band that I play in, 'Groove Street West', are playing the Chethams Christmas Ball tonight. This is one gig that I'll have to make sure that I'm playing really well at because there'll be a room FULL of musicians. We'll be ok though, we have our secret weapon, 'Mathis, The Boy Genius!'
10.12.09 ... Big end of year exams on at the RNCM at the moment (theory, musicianship etc). Everything's going well at college so I'm feeling :) We've had some rehearsals at college today for the 'out reach' work we're doing on Monday. We have loads of children coming in to college from Manchester schools and we're doing jazz work shops and concerts for them. If I can inspire just one child to play the bass, it'll be job done.
9.12.09 ... I've just had a call from a friend up in Lancaster who's just got our local newspaper, The Visitor . He tells me that there's a 'big' pic of me with my double bass and a really nice write up on the next page. Big thanks to Michelle Blade and Greg Lambert who've been so supportive of me. I've found the edited online story Click Here but I'm told the paper version is really great. Hey, by the way, Chris Ketley, well done Sir! Ellie Goulding's won a Brit and Chris is in the band. Brill news for all concerned.
8.12.09 ... Got lots of rehearsals at college today for a string collective concert tonight. News away from college, I'm so pleased for Chris Ketley who's the son of my new friend Mike Ketley at Yamaha. I've heard on the grapevine that the new band he's joined are going to get a nice surprise in the next day or so.
7.12.09 ... I forgot to mention that in between playing in the Halle Youth Orchestra rehearsals and concert yesterday I was recording a few mates down at the RNCM. They've got a band together called 'So What'. I'm going back up to Lancaster tonight to teach. I was really sad to hear today that the guitarist Terry Kennaugh has passed away. Terry was good to me and was actually the first person to ever book me for a function gig when I was about fifteen. We did a really nice jazz gig together a few months ago, just double bass and jazz guitar, it was great, I'll miss him!
6.12.09 ... I'm playing in an important concert tonight. It's the first concert this season for the Halle Youth Orchestra and I hope we get off to a good start. It's looking like it's a sell out, which is nice. We're playing two fabulous pieces, Prokofiev's 'Romeo and Juliet Suite no. 2' and Berlioz's 'Symphonie Fantastique' which are both wonderful to play.
5.12.09 ... I was very honoured when Karen Humphreys invited me back back to play with the Junior RNCM Chamber Orchestra for performance day. It was great to play with my old friends and I must say, they all played brilliantly! Andy, my old double bass duet partner, had me turning pages for him ;) It was fun. I then jumped in the car and travelled sixty miles to a Joni Fuller gig. I've got to say, it's the coldest gig I've ever done, I was shaking. It was in an old church and the boiler had broken, they got it fixed about two hours before the gig but those old churches need two days (not two hours) to warm up. Poor Joni had to start the first set with her coat on. I've no idea how she managed to sing, she's a true pro! It was nine degrees outside and two degrees in. Happy days.
4.12.09 ... Well Done Jess! xx My little sister Jess, has found out today that she's got a place in the Main National Children's Orchestra of Great Britain which is one of the World's finest children's orchestras. She's played percussion since the age of seven (she's twelve now) and is studying both percussion and piano at the Junior RNCM where she plays in the Junior RNCM Percussion Ensemble with amongst others, Delia Stevens (a percussion finalists in the BBC Young Musician of The Year 2008 and an ex NCO member). Being a member of the NCO will stand Jess in good stead in the future because musicians like Nicola Benedetti and Daniel Harding are amongst their past members and the virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie is the orchestras Vice President. I hope Jess will get to meet her :)
3.12.09 ... Had my lessons today with Jiri. I've organised to go go over to Edge Hill Uni tomorrow to get the vocals and percussion parts for our Groove Street West demo.
2.12.09 ... I played in our RNCM string collective concert tonight. One of the pieces in the concert was Samuel Barber’s 'Adagio for Strings', a piece I woke up to for about a year as it was the first track on a CD I had in my clock radio/CD. It must be Barber's most well known piece and has been used in films and TV ads all over the World. It has a beautiful depth of texture and richness. We were conducted by Professor Malcolm Layfield who's both the 'Head of School of Strings' and the 'Dean of Performance Studies'. It was a really lovely evening. Please Click Here to read about Prof Layfield.
1.12.09 ... Doing tons of practice at the moment, I'm on a role ;) Got an email today from a friend to say that Thomas Martin had put the video of my master class lesson with him at the ESTA conference on his website. Have a read at my 28.11.09 blog. I got my new copy of Laurence Canty's new 'Electric Bass Guitar - The Complete Guide' today. It's the perfect 'everything you want to know' bass guitar book and in my opinion, the best bass tuition book on the market. The book's forwarded by Laurenc's ex-pupils Colin Greenwood of Radiohead and Yolanda Charles who's the bassist with Robbie Williams, Paul Weller, Gabrielle and others. Click Here and buy a copy, it's great.
29.11.09 ... Had a great day today. Before our Halle Youth Orchestra rehearsal, I spent some time going through the bass parts with the HYO's musical director, Ewa Strusinska, which was fun. We have a big concert next Sunday the 6th of Dec at the RNCM (7.30pm start if you can make it). Had a nice email from Doug Armitage at Elizabeth James Photography who took the pictures for my Press Gallery. They've made a slide show and put some of the pics up on their site.
28.11.09 ... Going to write a bit more of the article I'm doing (a show report) about Bass Day UK. I'm writing it for the Bass Guitar Magazine. I've got to email it in to Nick Wells (the editor) on Monday. Hope he can use a few sentances of the 1,000 ish words I'm writing. LOL. Talking of 1,000, I've just seen that my video of the masterclass I did with Thomas Martin has topped the 1,000 views on Youtube Click Here Please also have a look at his 'The Making of a Thomas Martin Bass' Click Here They're beautiful and I'm slowly saving up. If you've £10K kicking around, I'm a very good cause ;)
27.11.09 ... Just done a really great 'Seerauber Jenny' gig at the 'Boileroom' down in Guildford with Fran, Kat and Jim. We played really well and Fran was fantastic. It was a long drive down for Jim, about five hours. Neil's driving back to Manchester so we should be back for between 4am and 5am so it'll have been a long day (but great).
26.11.09 ... Although I'm feeling a bit better, I've stayed in bed at home in Lancaster with my cold :( but I'm going back to Manchester late afternoon. I'm going to do a practice tonight and fight my way through!
25.11.09 ... Arghh! In bed with a massive cold. I haven't been ill for ages. At least it will give me a chance to make a start on the Bass Day show report. I feel very honoured today because Mike Ketley who's a Senior Director at Yamaha (and sits on my colleges development board at the RNCM) has made it possible for me to have Nathan East's SLB200 Silent Series Double Bass. Mike's a bass player himself and it made me smile when I heard he uses Rotosound black nylon strings because they're what my dad likes. Mike uses an old Trace Elliot amp so when I see him I must try and get him on to a nice light little MarkBass rig LOL (thanks for your help Mike!).
24.11.09 ... Back up in Lancaster tonight for a Dizzy Hack gig. I'm full of cold and was supposed to be rehearsing in Manchester for our next 'Seerauber Jenny' gig. I called Neil and said I didn't want to give the rest of the Seerauber Jenny touring team the cold for our gig in Guilford on Friday night. I'm also going to have a go at doing a show report about Bass Day 2009 for Nick at the Bass Guitar Magazine. Let's see if I can put a few sentances together!?
23.11.09 ... David Griffiths from Yamaha came past today. He had Nathan East's SLB200 silent upright electric bass. What a beauty, It's set up and plays like a dream. I'm in love and expressed my interest in playing one! Dave's a really nice guy and plays bass himself. I've got a feeling my dad's going to buy Nathan's electric bass. I'm really looking forward to one of our Joni Fuller Band gigs that we've just got on the 21st of Feb 10 supporting the World famous drummer, Billy Cobham at his Manchester gig :)
22.11.09 ... What a great day I've had at Bass Day 2009. I don't know where to start really. I had a great meeting with Paolo Burocchi, who's the managing director of the company (Proel International) that distributes Mark Bass in the UK. Paolo has invited me to be an endorsee for Mark Bass, which I instantly accepted. I think this makes me one of their youngest ever endorsees, which is nice. I've used Mark Bass for a couple of years and it's quite simply the best in the World! Please visit www.markbass.it I met up with Nick Wells and Neil Golding from Bass Guitar Magazine. Nick's been so supportive of me and my playing and did a full page article on me in this months BGM (November, issue 48). Today he introduced me to one of my bass idols Nathan East and made sure his photographer got some pics of me with him for me. Thanks Nick! Visit www.bassguitarmagazine.com
21.11.09 ... Harry and I have started to mix down the demo tracks we recorded of my new ten piece function band Groove Street West. We're also going to get Jessica Wilkes (what an amazing musician she is) recording finished so she's got it to send off to places. It's always a pleasure working with her.
20.11.09 ... I'm going over to uncle Neils now for a Seerauber Jenny get together :) There's three gigs come in so we have to a well oiled machine by then! The gigs include one next week in Guilford, a Brighton gig in December and a London gig in January (check out my on-line diary for times etc). It's all very exciting. Right, off to a Groove Street West gig now which is going to be fun.
19.11.09 ... Had all my normal stuff at college and at 4pm, Groove Street West (our new ten piece funky function band :) all got together to record a few tracks in ine of the college performance rooms. It was a great laugh and we managed to get a few tracks down. Can't wait to start mixing them.
18.11.09 ... I've had another Jiggs Whigham session today, what a great guy! :-) We chatted a little too today about John Goldsby and Bill Ashton etc. He knows John Goldsby (my jazz double bass in Cologne) really well but I suppose as both of them are World class American musicians who have lived in Cologne, they will know one another. I'm going to try and get over to see John again soon, he's awesome!!! Jiggs knows Bill Ashton of course through NYJO. Jiggs did a guest concert with NYJO a few years ago. I'd love him to do one with us when I'm playing.
17.11.09 ... I've been very excited today because this afternoon, my mate Harry Brown and I recorded my good friend Jessica Wilkes. Jessica's an amazing flautist who's an ex-colleague at Junior RNCM and who plays with me in the Halle Youth Orchestra. She's now studying at Birmingham Conservatoire.
16.11.09 ... Another great day :) Today, I've been working with one of the RNCM's visiting international artists Jiggs Whigham. Jiggs is one of the World's greatest jazz trombonists and my goodness, what a great musician! My dad would have been in his element :) Please visit www.jiggswhigham.com and have a read about him.
15.11.09 ... I'm back in Manchester today for the 9th RNCM Saxophone Day. I feel so honoured because I've been asked to play in the rhythm section for, the Saxophone days artistic director, Andy Scott who will be taking a mass masterclass with lots of sax players playing. As well as being one of the UK's top saxophonist, Andy Scott is also a well known composer. Please take a look at his website at www.andyscott.org.uk
14.11.09 ... I've been sorting out loads of my gear today down at Promenade Music. I've got a new case for my boss bass pedals so they're all pre-wired for when I get to a gig. Off out with the family tonight for a meal.
13.11.09 ... I've just had a lovely evening. I played with the John Woodhouse Quartet at the Ripley St Thomas School Jazz Evening. The quartet included John Woodhouse on Sax and clarinet, Professor Mike Rynolds on piano, Andy Smith on drums and me on double bass. There was a packed audience of around three hundred. There was some very good school ensembles playing too. It was a nice night. Here's a little clip. Clip 1 / Clip 2
12.11.09 ... Got a busy day of lessons at college today and then I'm off to rehearse at Blueprint Studios from 8pm till 11pm. Really looking forward to it :) I've also been working on more of my plans for my Hville music portal.
11.11.09 ... Today's a big day in my future. I've set up a new business today called 'Hville'. More news to follow in the forthcoming weeks. Maybe in fifty years it will be a household name (and maybe it won't). Whatever happens, I'll be trying hard to make it a success. Had a gig tonight at Revolution in Manchester. Got a little mobile phone clip, Click Here to view. sorry it's bad lighting etc. It was fun.
10.11.09 ... I'm playing at St Ann's Church tonight in Manchester with the RNCM Jazz Collective. Done quite a bit on my site today and I'm delighted that one of my videos has managed to reach 1,000 views. It's Autumn by Glazunov.
9.11.09 ... Went home to Lancaster last night to teach. I had my first ever pupil (Diane) and a new pupil called Steve from Barrow. It was fun.
8.11.09 ... Had a gig tonight with the RNCM Jazz collective that was fun. We were playing with the jazz singer Tina May (Click Here fot Tina's website). I've just confirmed today with Jessica Wilkes, who's an awesome flautist, that I and Harry Brown will be recording her on Tuesday the 17th of November.
7.11.09 ... Well, it's the last two performances of 'The Railway Children' today at the Lancaster Grand Theatre. We have a matinee at 2.30pm and evening performance at 7.30pm. It's been a fun week with the band. Dave Tattersall (the MD) has been playing stage piano, Angela Pearson has played the keyboard parts (strings etc), Andy Smith (my Dizzy Hack mate :) has been on drums / percussion and we've had a gent on tuned percussion. It's been fun and I'll be working with Dave again next September (2010) when we do the musical 'The Full Monty' again.
6.11.09 ... I've been putting some of my little video clips up on youtube. There's quite a bit of different stuff so please take a look at my Harrison Wood Youtube Channel . Sorry about the poor quality of the vids, some are just off mobile phones. Hope you enjoy anyway.
5.11.09 ... Back up to Lancaster today for 'The Railway Children', I'm doing loads of practicing at the moment, it's great.
4.11.09 ... Had the opening night of the musical 'The Railway Children' last night at the Grand Theatre in Lancaster. It's great fun to be working with the MD, Dave Tattersall again!. I'm back in Manchester for a full day (9am till 8pm) of studies. Gigs are coming in nicely so more to report soon :)
3.11.09 ... Happy 25th Anniversary Mum & Dad xx
2.11.09 ... Had a fantastic gig last night with the 'National Youth Jazz Orchestra' in Grimsby. Everyone at the Grimsby Central Hall was so helpful and kind to us. I'm really looking forward to my double bass lesson today with Jiri, I've been working like mad so let's see what he says. I'm up to Lancaster tonight for a dress rehearsal for a musical.
1.11.09 ... I'm playing in Grimsby tonight with the 'National Youth Jazz Orchestra' (aka NYJO) so I'm leaving Manchester at lunchtime to get down to Grimsby for an afternoon rehearsal. I'm really looking forward to the gig, it'll be great to see the band.
31.10.09 ... I stayed in Liverpool last night at Jack Sowerby's place who's an old QES school mate and now doing a tech degree at LIPA (Jack's as clever as it gets!). It's my last day today playing for 'My Fair Lady' down here in Liverpool. Last night was awesome, the sound guys down here at the Floral Pavillion Theatre got me a great double bass sound (thanks guys). Today we have a 2.30pm matinee and 7.30pm evening performance.
30.10.09 ... I'm back in the theatre tonight, this time at The Floral Pavilion Theatre at New Brighton to play double bass for 'My Fair Lady'. It's the second time I've done this musical and it has a great story line and fabulous music.
29.10.09 ... Tonight, nine of us from the RNCM did a spotlight support gig for Gilad Atzmon (the BBC Jazz award winning saxophonist) at the RNCM. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Miles Davis studio album 'Birth of the Cool', we played from transcriptions of the twelve songs recorded by the Miles Davis nonet for Capitol Records. It features unusual instrumentation (trumpet, trombone, tuba, french horn, baritone sax, alto sax, piano, bass, drums) and arrangements strongly inspired by classical music which marked a major development in post bebop jazz. The twelve tracks were recorded at the WOR Studios in New York over three sessions in January and April 1949 and March 1950 by producers Walter Rivers and Pete Rugolo. The bassists were Joe Shulman (Jan, Tracks 1, 2, 5, 7) and Nelson Boyd (Apr, Tracks 4, 8, 10, 11) on the 1949 sessions and Al McKibbon (Tracks 3, 6, 9, 12) on the March 1950 session. It was a really great experience.
28.10.09 ... Since been around twelve, I've read 'Bass Guitar Magazine' every month and I'm so honoured to be featured in their new November 2009 issue (#48) that's just come out. They've done a full page feature on me for their 'Bass To The Future' feature. Click Here to visit their website and thanks to the editor of the mag, Nick Wells (if you ever read this) for your support.
27.10.09 ... Back up to Lancaster tonight for a Dizzy Hack & The Rhino Horns gig at theBowerham in Lancaster. Come along if you can.
26.10.09 ... Had a massive practice session today :)
25.10.09 ... Had a full rehearsal today for the musical 'My Fair Lady' that's on at the iconic 'Floral Pavilion Theatre' in New Brighton, near Liverpool. It's one of the Wirral’s best loved and oldest entertainment venues which was transformed it into a stunning, state of the art, eight hundred plus seat Theatre. Click Here for a look around.
24.10.09 ... Played for the wedding 'night do' of a close family friend tonight at the Whoop Hall at Kirkby Lonsdale. I played with Steve Wren (vocals and keys), Sam Healey (sax), Sam Tunstall (drums) and Eddie Waring (guitar) and we all had a really great night. I'll try and put a couple of clips up on YouTube.
23.10.09 ... Had a busy day at the RNCM today and I'm now heading back to Lancaster to do a gig with a function band tonight called Interactive at Morecambe golf club. The line up is Mike Bell on guitar, John Woodhouse on sax, Ray Evans on keys and Alan Fry on drums. A good laugh is promised with Ray I believe "Helooooo".
22.10.09 ... Going back up to Lancaster today after my lessons and practice time to see my family and have a rehearsal with Mint Royale singer Steve Wren. Me and Steve are playing at a wedding on Saturday night so we're having a little run through the pad with Sam Healy (sax) and Sam Tunstall (drums).
21.10.09 ... Over the last couple of days I've also been mixing the demo tracks we recorded last week of our new Day & Night Jazz Quartet. I'm going to put a track up on Youtube when it's done :) BTW, I hope justice is done today!
20.10.09 ... Spent the last couple of days working and practicing like mad. I've had a few double bass lesson with Jiri Hudec over the last couple of days which have gone really great.
18.10.09 ... What a day, long but brilliant! I had a fabulous lunch time concert playing with the 'National Youth Jazz Orchestra' down at Ruislip Manor in Middlesex at 12.30 and then got straight in the car and back up to Manchester to play at the new music event, In The City, with Neil Claxton's new project ' Seerauber Jenny' with singer songwriter Fran Barker. For a first gig, it went really well and Fran was brill.
17.10.09 ... Left at 5.30 this morning to get down to the Cockpit theatre in London for a 'National Youth Jazz Orchestra' (NYJO) rehearsal. We were directed today by Bill Ashton and Mark Armstrong who's a fellow northerner (Newcastle actually). Mark's a pro trumpeter (playing in the musical 'Chicago' at the mo) who as well as jazz, plays for classical and baroque concerts. He's an ex 'Ronnie Scott Jazz Awards' nominee and past winner of the BBC Big Band Competition arranging prize. He teaches at the RCM in London and examines for the ABRSM.
16.10.09 ... Wow, long day today! I started rehearsals at BluePrint studios on Neil Claxton's new project, Seerauber Jenny, at 10am and we finished at 7pm. Neil's 'Seerauber Jenny' partner is Fran Barker who sings and plays acoustic. There's a great guitarist from London and Jim Molyneux is on drums with me on bass. We're playing at 'In The City' (AKA ITC) on Sunday (the 18th) to showcase the new project. It will be awesome. After the rehearsal, I went up to play with Joni Fuller at a festival in Preston. Like I said, a long day.
15.10.09 ... Tonight I'm recording a new demo of one of the quartets I'm playing in. We're going to give it out to a few hotels and restaurants in Manchester. The quartet has Sam Healy on alto sax, Dave on piano, Jim Molyneux on drums and me on bass. When it's finished I'll put a little demo on my Youtube.
14.10.09 ... We had our first RNCM Jazz collective rehearsal today with Mike Hall who's the head of jazz studies. Mike's a really lovely guy and I feel a real affinity with him because he was also playing both classical and jazz gigs at my age. In fact we've both played in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra but about twenty five years apart. I think he was playing with them around the same time dad was.
13.10.09 ... Had a great gig tonight with the Kyran Matthews Quartet at the Sandbar's Jazz night in Manchester. It was our first gig together and it went really well. The line up was Kyran on Tenor and Soprano sax, Ben Watte on piano, Dave Smyth (from York) on drums and me on double bass. We played a few of Ben's original compositions and one by our friend, Mark Francis (a brill bass trombonist and composer), who's also studying at the RNCM.
12.10.09 ... Going back home tonight. I'm calling in to see Gary at Promenade Music to pick up a new bass. Gary's picked me a 4 string Fender worn series precision in vintage sunburst to try. I'll let you know how I go. While I'm up in Lancaster, I've arranged to see two of my double bass pupils, Diane and Mike. It will be great to see everyone.
11.10.09 ... Today's been a full day of rehearsals. I started off this morning by going to the inaugural rehearsal for the brand new Halle Youth Big Band. I hope in twenty years when the bands going strong that I can say I was one of its founding members and first bassist. It was really great fun and I hope it's the start of great things for the young jazz and big band players of the north. I then moved on to the Halle Youth Orchestra, then to Groove Street West and finally on to a rehearsal for my gig this Tuesday night (the 13th) at Sandbar in Manchester with the Kyran Matthews Quartet. A long, but great day.
10.10.09 ... Very exciting news! Neil Claxton has ask me to play bass (and Jim Molyneux to play drums) for him at 'In The City' (AKA ITC) a week tomorrow (the 18th) to showcase his new project 'Seerauber Jenny' that he's doing with the very talented Fran Barker. We're on at 10pm at a venue called Studio in Manchester. ITC is the largest new music industry event in the World and I'm so honoured to be asked by Neil to play. Please visit www.myspace.com/seerauberjennyuk and the ITC website for more info about them.
9.10.09 ... I played for the BBC Wales TV programme 'Songs of Praise' today. It was a long drive from Manchester to Penrohs in Wales, about 120 plus miles and round Snowdonia (put LL53 7HN in to google map and have a look). I was very excited to be able to work with Alwyn Humphreys who is a legend in Wales. As well as working all over the World as an eminent conductor, arranger and musical director, Alwyn is also an accomplished writer and broadcaster.
8.10.09 ... I had my very first concert today with the RNCM Concert Orchestra. We played Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe (Suite No 2) which was awesome. Our brilliant guest conductor, En Shao, received a 'Fellowship' award (FRNCM) in recognition of his international standing as a conductor. He's conducted all over the World. My dad met our principal (Jonty Stockdale) who used to teach uncle Neil [Claxton] at Salford Uni. Mr Stockdale immediately remembered Neil and even remembered that Neil was working on the remixes for Gabrielle's 'Dreams' whilst still at Salford as a student. What a memory!
7.10.09 ... I'm hoping to be asked to do some playing for Welsh Television on Friday. Fingers crossed. My good friend John Woodhouse,who I've done a few gigs with recently, has given me a nice gig up in Lancaster with his John Woodhouse Jazz Quartet on the 13th of November at Ripley school (7.30pm if you can make it). John has taught sax at my old school (QES) for a few years and taught my mate Mike Butcher who's just gone up to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama to study Jazz with the great Tommy Smith.
6.10.09 ... Karen Humphreys who runs Junior RNCM (where I studied for three years) has asked me to help out on the performance days in December. I'll be helping with the JRNCM Chamber Orchestra on the 5th and the JRNCM String Orchestra on the 12th. I feel so honoured! If you have a young musician who wants the very best musical education, get them to the Junior RNCM, it's the best!
5.10.09 ... Had a call today from Uncle Neil (via dad) to ask if I'll tech for him at 'In The City' on the 18th of this month. Uncle Neil, who's aka Mint Royale, is showcasing a new project that he's doing with a girl called Fran Barker at ITC. I was lucky enough in the summer to be asked, by Neil, to go down to Blueprint Studios in Manchester to help out in the studio by moving stuff around and tapping and playing on stuff so George (the engineer) could get the right levels. The name of the new project is 'Seerauber Jenny' and it's brilliant! Click Here to check it out on Myspace.
4.10.09 ... Been to a Halle Youth Orchestra rehearsal today. We're working on some great stuff at the moment including the Berlioz 'Symphonie Fantastique' which you'll never guess is the Fantastic Symphony or 'An Episode in the Life of an Artist' Opus 14 if you prefer the long title. Some boffins think it's one of the most important works of the early romantic period. We're also working on the fabulous ballet music of Sergei Prokofiev. 'Montagues and Capulets' (aka Dance of the Knights) is the music from Act 1 scene 2 of 'Romeo and Juliet' Op64 (suite No.2). It's brilliant and if you're not sure of it, it's the piece for the BBC programme The Apprentice. To me, it is the soundtrack to the Soviet era. It's brilliant! (Great bass trombone part dad ;)
3.10.09 ... Had another rehearsal with Joni Fuller this afternoon. I've introduced my very good mate Jim Molyneux to her and he's going to be playing drums with us in the future. Jim's both a fabulous drummer and percussionist and is studying with me down at the RNCM. Jim was one of the grand finalists in the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2008 after winning the percussion final. Click Here to see a BBC interview with him, Here for his percussion final performance and Here to watch his grand final concerto performance where he plays 'Rapture' by Michael Torke. I must also mention the wonderful Delia Stevens who was a colleague and now plays with my little sis Jess in the Junior RNCM percussion ensemble. Delia also got through to the Percussion final. Click Here to watch her.
2.10.09 ... I've was going to be playing for Howard Rogerson's 'Promenade Concert Orchestra' on Sunday the 15th of November (3pm) at The Platform, Morecambe. but due to my Halle Youth commitments can no longer do it. The concert, entitled 'Your Hundred Best Tunes', will feature popular music by the World's best light classical composers. The leader of the orchestra is the very talented Julian Cann who's an old school friend of my Dad's and who I worked with when we played Handel's 'Messiah' one very cold night in Carlisle Cathedral (and in Sedbergh) last January. Brian Lancaster, a baritone from the area will also join the orchestra for a few songs. Click Here to visit the Platforms website. If you're up in Morecambe, please support the concert.
1.10.09 ... Practicing hard at the moment for all my forthcoming gigs and concerts. I have my first full RNCM Concert Orchestra concert next Thursday afternoon (Oct 8th) where we're playing the Maurice Ravel work Daphnis et Chloe (Suite No 2). This ballet score was Ravel's largest work and it's amazing to think that exactly one hundred years ago he was actually writing it (he wrote it between 1909 and 1912). My dad thinks it's one of the greatest ballet scores of the 20th century so I know he'll be there. We will be so lucky to be under the direction and baton of En Shao who will be conducting the massive orchestra so if you're around Manchester on the 8th, the concert starts at 1.15pm at the RNCM. Click Here to read about En Shao.
30.09.09 ... I've just been asked to play for the musical 'My Fair Lady' at the new Floral Pavilion at New Brighton (near Liverpool). Although it's on for longer, I'm only playing on the Friday 30th Oct (7.30pm) and Saturday 31st Oct (2.00pm and 7.30pm) performances. Click Here for more info. Started to get used to my new bow. My new double bass teacher at RNCM, Jiri Hudec, wants me to move on to a German bow (instead of French). The way you old the bow is totally different and it's going to take some getting used to.
29.09.09 ... Picked up a weeks gig in the Grand Theatre in Lancaster with my good mate David Tattersall who's MD'ing for the new musical 'The Railway Children'. It's always a good laugh working with Dave and I'm really looking forward to it. The musical runs from the 3rd to the 7th of November. Click Here for more details.
28.09.09 ... Going back home to Lancaster tonight to play with 'Dizzy Hack & The Rhino Horns' at the Bowerham Hotel. It will be good to see everyone. It's always a laugh!
26.09.09 ... Even though it's Sunday, I've got loads on including a Halle Youth Orchestra rehearsal and some serios practice to get through. College is going great and I love being so busy.
25.09.09 ... I'm tired today! Although the gig I had (that started at 1am) this morning was great, it's a weird time to start a gig lol. I had to get up to start rehearsals in the afternoon with Joni Fuller. Tonight is our Freshers (black tie) drinks party at the Hilton in Manchester :) and tomorrow the really hard work starts! ;)
24.09.09 ... Wow, I can't believe that I've had over 5,000 people watch my little videos on my youtube channel. Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to watch them. If you want to have a look, Click Here . Right, even though it's Friday night, I'm setting off to a gig that starts at 1am (yes, AM).
23.09.09 ... It looks like I may be getting a bit of money in compensation from when I was attacked on a gig. I've decided that however much it is, I'm giving it all to this years QES Charity. I hope the courts give thousands! I really wish I was at school (for Jess) at the moment! Anyway, after auditioning for a part in the next QES production of The Sound of Music, Jess has just found out that she's going to be playing the part of Marta Von Trapp. I can't wait, well done Jess :)
22.09.09 ... Mum, Dad and Jess came down to see me tonight and we all went out for dinner to San Carlo's. It was great to see them all. Dad can't go anywhere, the lead singer of a band called the Heartbreaks came over to say hello. Just picked up a gig for Friday night, well Saturday morning actually. The gigs at The Palace in Manchester and starts at 1.00am (Yep, 1.00 AM). Nice.
21.09.09 ... Just spent ages putting all my forthcoming gigs on to the site. There's loads coming up :) I've just been offered a nice recording job for a choir who need to do a demo for Classic fm. I'm still wanting to do as much recording as I can manage. I got a really nice email from the film maker I worked with on the poet project saying that the client was really pleased with the work I did with Harry. By the way, I won £25 in a pub crawl quiz and didn't even have a drink, now that's what I call a night out lol.
20.09.09 ... Brilliant to be back at the Halle Youth Orchestra after the summer tour and holidays. Today I had my re-audition and it all went well and the conductor and musical director, Ewa Strusinska, has welcomed back me to be principal again. We had a good rehearsal and I'm looking forward to our next concert.
19.09.09 ... It was great to see Mum, Jess and all the old gang down at Junior RNCM today. I couldn't stop all day because I had to practice for my re-audition tomorrow for the Halle Youth Orchestra.
18.09.09 ... Our 'Groove Street West' gig at the The Attic was ace. Right, I'm off to practice and going to get my time table.
17.09.09 ... College is going well. Started to get back in to the heavy practice routine after the weekend move. Had a five hour rehearsal tonight that was amazing with a college functin band (need the money lol) we've started called 'Groove Street West'. We've managed to pick up a gig for tomorrow night at 'The Attic' which is just of Oxford road in Manchester.
16.09.09 ... I've just arranged to go down to London for a NYJO gig on Sunday the 18th October at the Ruislip Manor Sport & Social Club in Middlesex ( HA4 6JQ to be exact). The gig will kick off at 12.30pm.
15.09.09 ... I was really pleased to hear that the QES Charity Team (I was Chairman last year) raised over £15,000.00 (which was the biggest ever at QES) has won a national award. It just goes to show how much effort was put in by us all and how by making the events bigger and better worked out for all our chosen charities which included NSPCC, A Breath for Life, Children with AIDS, Terence Higgins Trust, MacMillan Cancer Trust, North West Air Ambulance, Breast Cancer Care, Meningitis Trust, LRI Baby unit plus many more. There was more than fifty of us involved and we had a great team. Well done everyone!
14.09.09 ... Just had news from the Bass Magazine that they're doing an interview with me for the November issue (issue 48). There's also features about Richard Bona (the Cameroonian bassist extraordinaire), Chris Wolstenholme (of Muse) and Horace Panter (The Specials). Should be a great issue.
13.09.09 ... Great gig last night, until we started packing up and then I had the worst thirty seconds of my life! Anyway, I'm leaving for Manchester today and the car's packed.
12.09.09 ... Got a busy day ahead. I'm doing my first run down to RNCM with some clothes and pots 'n' pans. Then I have to be back for 3pm for a sound check at The Gregson, Lancaster where I'm playing tonight (8pm if you can make it) with Joni Fuller. I'm looking forward to the gig because a few friends are coming along like Neil Claxton, Eddie Waring, Keith Harris and Rossi.
11.09.09 ... I can't believe how much stuff I've packed for college. At this rate I'm going to have to do a few runs down to RNCM.
9.09.09 ... Very excited now about starting at RNCM next week. As well as practicing, I'm spending my time packing. What do you do with this thing that gets hot called an iron?
8.09.09 ... Just been given a nice gig by Mike Bell at the Morecambe Golf Club next month. I know Mike through both my dad and Dizzy Hack (he helped the big band out a couple of times. Mike will be on guitar, John Woodhouse on sax and a couple of others (not sure who or what).
6.09.09 ... Had a brilliant gig at Montrose Town Hall with Joni Fuller (she was great!). The gig was a fund raiser for the Montrose Music Festival and we were headlining the gig. The town hall was packed and we all had a great night. Long drive (5 hours) back though.
4.09.09 ... I had a gig tonight with 'TJ Sounds' at Chill. It was for a Golden wedding. Steve Wren, as always, was on form with his witty comments and we were joined by John Woodhouse on sax. Got to go to bed as I have to leave for Montrose at 6am.
3.09.09 ... Had a three hour rehearsal today with Joni Fuller and the band ready for our gig at the Montrose Town Hall on Saturday.
1.09.09 ... Last nights gig at the Parr Street Studio venue in Liverpool with Joni Fuller was really great. The venue's actually in the old recording study that was once owned by Genesis. The drum and guitar recording rooms are now little booths to sit and chill in, it's great!. As always, Joni went down a storm and because we were playing in Liverpool, we did a couple of Beatles numbers in the set for good measure.
31.08.09 ... Got a gig in Liverpool tonight at the Parr Street Studio venue in Liverpool with Joni Fuller.
30.08.09 ... Congratulations Joni! Joni Fuller's song 'Change Girl' has won the 17-19 year old category of the 2009 national song writing competition 'Make It Break It'. It's an unbelievable achievement for Joni as she also won the competition last year in the 14-16 category. On a personal note, I'm extra delighted because as well as playing with Joni live, I played on the track that was submitted for the competition. The judges were Coldplay's Chris Martin (winner of the competition in the 90's), record producer Steve Levine, EMI Music Publishing MD Guy Moot, Radio DJ Mark Radcliffe, senior HMV manager Melanie Armstrong and Singer Songwriter Dawn Joseph. So what now? I'm not sure.
29.08.09 ... I've got a nice jazz gig tonight with local guitarist, Terry Kennaugh. It's a private gig at the Great John Street Hotel in Manchester and it's just double bass and jazz guitar, it'll be great, Terry's a great player.
26.08.09 ... The 'Dizzy Hack & The Rhino Horns' big band gig was great last night at the Bowerham Hotel. It's the best turn out we've had, the place was crammed full.
25.08.09 ... Had a great rehearsal with Joni today. We've got some great gigs coming up like Parr Street Liverpool next Monday, Montrose Town Hall the following Saturday and The Gregson in Lancaster on the 12th of September. I've got a Dizzy Hack big band gig tonight at the Bowerham Hotel.
24.08.09 ... V festival was awesome. Back to the practice.
22.08.09 ... I'm going to V festival for the weekend in Staffs today. We're staying in a hotel and travelling in.
20.08.09 ... A Level results day and it's good news.
19.08.09 ... Had a great gig tonight with the John Woodhouse Quartet at the Robert Gillow. I've never played with John before but I know him from QES (my old school) where he teaches sax. He's an awesome player and I loved the gig. John played Sax and Clarinet and was joined by Mike Reynolds on piano, Andy Smith (who I play with in Dizzy Hack) on drums and me on double bass.
15.08.09 ... Playing tonight in Manchester at Taurus Bar with Joni Fuller. We're supporing Sheila Nicholls who now lives in L.A. She's an acclaimed singer songwriter who's toured supporting KD Lang and headlined gigs internationally.
12.08.09 ... After last weeks seven hours a day, I'm going to have a couple of days off :-)
11.08.09 ... Rehearsing all day with my quartet up at Mike Butchers. We're going to try and record something soon.
10.08.09 ... Just got from studying Double Basee with Leon Bosch at the Lake District Summer Music. I don't think I've ever practiced as much in my life. I've been trying to get three hours practice in over the last few months but this week I've been doing about seven hours each day. I only managed to get a couple of private lessons with him but every day we had a group lessons which was cool.
3.08.09 ... Up in the Lakes for a week at the Lake District Summer Music or LDSM for short. I'm going to be studying double bass with Leon Bosch.
2.08.09 ... Getting all my stuff ready for a residential course I'm doing tomorrow in the Lakes. I ned to get used to this ironing thing, it will do me good in September when I'm at RNCM.
1.08.09 ... Going down to Joni Fuller's today to rehearse ready for a few gigs we have coming up including the Taurus bar (Manchester), Parr Street Venue (Liverpool), The Gregson (Lancaster) and we're headlining a fund raising gig at the Montrose town hall for the Montrose Music Festival. It's great rehearsing with Joni because she's so focussed and a three hour rehearsal 'is' a three hour rehearsal. Check out my online diary for dates.
31.07.09 ... Done some more work today on my poet recording project.
30.07.09 ... Got a call today from Howard Rogerson who conducts the 'Promenade Concert Orchestra' which is a palm court sized orchestra made up of local professional and semi-professional musicians. They play four concerts a year and I'm really honored Howard's asked me to help out as their usual bassist can't make it. The concert's on Sunday the 15th of November at the Platform Morecambe.
29.07.09 ... I'm shattered tonight! Me and Harry Brown (who I do a lot of recording with) have spent the whole day mixing the project I mentioned we'd done on the 6th of July. We worked with a wonderful film maker called Janine on a project she's been working of an amazing American poet called Carol. I mentioned on 6.7.09 that her writing and performance is very dynamic and listening back has reminded us both of her power. In a few days we're going to start the final mastering stage.
28.07.09 ... Jess' operation went well :-) I had a lovely letter from someone who I respect greatly wishing me well in the future. It was so nice to receive and I'm truly honored. It's amazing how many people have gone to my youtube and watched someting. Over 3,500 in all which is amazing to me. Thanks if you're one of them. I'm now off to play with Dizzy Hack & The Rhino Horns up at the Bowerham hotel in Lancaster. Come up if you can.
27.07.09 ... Big day for my little sister Jess. She's having surgery on her hip and knee and although it's been planned for ages, you can't help worry. Good luck Jess.
26.07.09 ... Well, the 2009 Halle Youth Tour's over and it's been great fun. I've just got home and it feels great to be back. I don't know if I mentioned but the rest of the family went down to London last week. Mum had to go down to an awards ceremony at Wigmore hall to receive her CT ABRSM. Dad said it was "a posh do" with ABRSM bosses there like Lord Sutherland of Houndwood (ABRSM Chairman), Richard Morris (ABRSM Chief Exec), Richard Crozier (ABRSM professional development director) and dad's mate Peter Noke (one of the ABRSM's top mentors). Sounded like it was a great day :-)
25.07.09 ... Tonight we're playing at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff. We were told that they started building the Cathedral in 1120 and it wasn't finished till 1290. Now that's what I call a slow bunch of builders. The place's beautiful though.
24.07.09 ... We're playing (are you ready for it) Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon in Powys in Wales (lots on in's there) tonight. The theatre looks to seat about 500 and is situated next to a canal. It's really nice. I'm sure there's a jazz festival on here sometimes.
23.07.09 ... Wow! I went in to a newsagents today to grab the new August issue of Bass Guitar Magazine and flicked through and came across a really nice write up on page 13 about me been awarded the Junior RNCM 'Directors Prize' and 'The Yorke Trust Prize For Double Bass' . For anyone who doesn't know about the Bass Guitar Magazine, it's the UK's number one mag for bassists. In the same issue, it's got a feature on Paul Everson's basses. Paul only lives a few miles away from me and is a really lovely guy. Promenade Music has some Everson Basses in stock if you want to try one.
22.07.09 ... Have you ever watched that programme on telly called 'Coach Trip'? Well that's what it's like for me at the moment. Although it's been a good laugh, travelling's so tiring!
21.07.09 ... Played a concert tonight at the Martin Harris Centre in Manchester. It's the first concert of our little Halle Youth Orchestra tour and it went well. We leave for Wales in the morning so for the next few days I'm not sure if I'll be able to get on to a computer to blog so you might not see any thing for a few days.
20.07.09 ... Another long, but last, day of rehearsals today before tomorrows concert in Manchester.
19.07.09 ... Longest day of rehearsals today, about seven hours in all! This is how the days gone ... 9.30-10.00 warm up ... 10.00-11.10 tutti rehearsal ... 11.30-12.30 large sectional ... 2.00-3.30 large sectional ... 4.30-6.00 tutti rehearsal ... 7.30-8.30 chamber groups ... 8.30-9.00 chamber group performances ... Long hey? It's starting to sound great though.
18.07.09 ... Long day today. We started at 9.30am and at 10.00 went straight in to sectionals till 12.45pm. We had a great guy to help me with the sectional called Ronan Dunne who's one of the double bass players with the BBC Philharmonic (what a great fella!). Rehearsals today finished at 9pm ish.
17.07.09 ... Travelled up to the residential course for The Halle Youth tour this morning. We're rehearsing over the weekend and our first concert's on Tuesday. We had a tutti rehearsals from 2 - 3.30 and then sectionals from 3.45pm till 9.00pm with a break fro tea for an hour or so. As principal, I took the reahearsal and I'm going to have us playing it brilliantly (well, the best we can :-)
16.07.09 ... Last day of practice today before I go on the Halle Youth Tour. I'm preparing quite a few new pieces I haven't played before including Tschaikowsky's Romeo And Juliet, Dvorak's 8th Symphony, Bartok's Hungarian Pictures, Arnold's Welsh Dances (we're not daft, we're playing three concerts in Wales) and Saint-Saens' Dance Macabre. They're all really nice pieces.
15.07.09 ... I'm going to record a cd with my jazz quartet soon and I've been going through some music with Mike Butcher today. We're not sure where or how we're going to record it yet but a set list is a good start. Got the first look at the pics that Doug and Steve have taken of me. I think I'm going to start a little press section on the site so people can download pics etc for things like programmes and if there's ever any news articles. I think there maybe one coming up in a mag soon.
14.07.09 ... Back to it today. I'm going through all my Halle Youth Orchestra tour music. There's a lot of new pieces so it's been a day looking through it all. Bill Ashton from the National Youth Orchestra (NYJO) has put a bit about me and dad in the NYJO magazine. He's even put a picture of us both together. Dad's helping Bill as a favour to get NYJO tracks on to the telly. I'm going to help dad do the showreel for it.
13.07.09 ... After last week, I've decided to have a day off everything today.
12.07.09 ... Last performance of 'The Producers' at the Grand Theatre Blackpool this afternoon. I'm really sad it's over. I've had a wonderful time and my colleagues in the pit have all played really well. Kelvin, the MD, has been brilliant and there's been a real sense of team spirit. I'd love to work with them all again next time.
11.07.09 ... Had another matinee and evening show. I don't know if you've ever played for shows but concentrating for two, three hour shows is really demanding. It was nice between the shows today because most of the band all went out for tea together. It was nice to see my grandparents there tonight and it was also nice to see Simon and Debbie Menzies there (Debbie taught me to drive last year, she was great!).
10.07.09 ... Just one show evening show today and my girlfriend Polly and our friend Amy's coming down to see it which will be nice. I'm loving working with the whole production team and Kelvin Futers, the shows MD's been so supportive and encouraging. It's a great atmosphere!
9.07.09 ... I've had a very different but enjoyable day today. If you've followed my blog recently you'll know there's been a few interesting things happening (RNCM's Director's prize, Yorke Bass Prize, Paul McGuigan stuff etc) and I've realised that I haven't got professional photos (apart form one by Ian Paterson of Montrose) so I've had some pics done today by two local photographers called Doug and Steve for mags and paper people. It was great fun.
8.07.09 ... Last nights opening night of 'The Producers' was fabulous. It was a VIP night and Christopher Biggins, Gemma Craven and Keith Harris (of Orville fame not the Promenade Music one) were amongst the stars for the fully sold out show. There was a real sense of excitement from both the audience and cast. For me personally, it was lovely to have my parents, sister and Karen (from Junior RNCM) there. I'm back off down to Blackpool now because we have two shows today, a matinee at 2pm and an evening performance at 7.30pm so I'll be shattered by the time we finish the second show at 10.30pm.
7.07.09 ... Wow, 'The Producers' final rehearsal was long last night and I didn't get home till 1am but it's going to be a great show and our opening night's tonight. It's great to be working with Kelvin the MD and the cast are brill! The show's so funny and I'm really looking forward to the week. Our last Friday of the month residency at the Sparling's now finished and I'd just like to thank all the staff and management for their hospitality whilst we've played there (they're all great!). I'd also like to thank everyone who's turned up to eat and support the night and a very special thanks to Messers Paget, Adams, Butcher, Cearns, Thompson and Walton and (oh yes) the policeman who does the Oxford road beat in Manchester (who I'm sure I'll see in September when I'm living there :-).
6.07.09 ... Today's been a brill but very long day. I was up at 6am and had the car packed with my recording rig to set off at 8am to work with a wonderful film maker called Janine. Me and my co engineer (Harry) was booked o record the audio for a project Janine's working on. It involved recording an American poet called Carol. Her writing and performance is very dynamic and quite amazing. I had to leave at 4pm to get down to the final full dress rehearsal for 'The Producers' that opens tomorrow night in Blackpools Grand Theatre. Please come along if you can.
5.07.09 ... Going to have a mad busy day today. I'm now off to Blackpool for a 2pm final rehearsal for 'The Producers' before we move in to the Blackpool grand theatre tomorrow. I think the rehearsal will finish at 5.45pm and I've got to get back for 7pm to play in 'Dizzy Hack & The Rhino Horns' at Morecambe Jazz Festival.
4.07.09 ... Had my final day at Junior RNCM today :-( It was the leavers presentation and if I wasn't going to the main RNCM in September, I'd have been gutted. I've so many happy memories oh JRNCM and I'm just so proud to have been involved with it. I'm off now to play at a gig near Kirkby Lonsdale with Dark Con Of Man.
3.07.09 ... Today I received my bass parts for the forthcoming 'Halle Youth Orchestra' tour that starts in a couple of weeks. We're doing a residential course for a few days to play through the pieces and then we're off to Wales to do a series of concerts. We're playing some great music including works by Tschaikowsky, Dvorak, Bartok, Arnold and Saint-Saens. Better get practicing!
2.07.09 ... Following on from the Oasis bass story yesterday, the story's been featured in a few papers and on some websites now like The Visitor, Oasisteria, Montrose Review and I had a really nice email from a guy called Paul, who runs OasisNewsroom.Com in the US, who sent me his congratulations which was really nice of him. I now, kind of, wish that Mr McGuigan had come over and said hello.
1.07.09 ... Congratulations to everyone at Promenade Music on the shops 20th birthday. Today, I've had a lovely write up by Greg Lambert in my local newspaper, 'The Visitor'. It's about the original Oasis bassist (Paul McGuigan) who saw me and Joni Fuller playing at the Montrose Music Festival.
30.06.09 ... Had a great 'Dizzy Hack & The Rhino Horns' gig tonight at the Bowerham hotel. I'd say the audience was twice as big as our first gig there which is fab. The band had a new guitarist for the night called Mark Townson who's awesome. It's really been interesting to play with so many dep guitarists (Ed, Mike, Hunter, Mark etc) because they all have their own style of playing.
29.06.09 ... Doing loads of practicing at the moment, about four hours today :-) because I've got lods of playing coming up and won't get much time to practice when I'm in the theatre next week or on tour with the Halle Youth Orchestra week after next. The summer's going to go so quickly :-( Dad's fired a few emails off about my Director's Prize and I've been able to speak to a couple of journalists about it who I think might print something.
28.06.09 ... Another good rehearsal for 'The Producers' today. The show satarts a week on Tuesday and it was the first rehearsal with some of the cast.
27.06.09 ... Had a busy day at Junior RNCM because it was performance day. As well as my usual lessons, I played in the Junior RNCM Jazz Band set and was asked to help out in the wind band. It was extra cute for me because my little sister Jess was playing percussion in it. Loads of people congratulated me on the Director's prize, it was a nice day.
26.06.09 ... After a few days chilling, I'm back playing tonight at the Sparling in Barton with my band. I was really torn a couple of days ago because Bill Ashton from NYJO asked if I could do the Grassington festival but I had already taken the Sparling gig.
23.06.09 ... It's my birthday! I'm not doing anything for a few day.
22.06.09 ... I was supposed to be going down to see Thomas Martin today but I'm not feeling too well. I'm gutted!
21.06.09 ... Had a five hour rehearsal today for 'The Producers'. It's the first time the seventeen piece band's been together. It will sound great when we're in the Grand Theatre in Blackpool next month.
20.06.09 ... Today's the proudest day of my musical life! It's been the Junior RNCM Annual Award Ceromony and I was awarded the college's most highly prestigious award, 'The Director's Prize' by Karen Humphreys. I'm so pleased and honoured that Karen chose me, it was all very emotional and the award means the World to me. I was also awarded 'The Yorke Trust Prize For Double Bass' which is supported by Rodney Slatford OBE who's a wonderful double bassist and the ex head of school of strings at the RNCM. I'm so pleased for the other JRNCM students who also won awards (Joni Fuller, Michael Cearns, Joe Donmall etc). Finally, a little message to all my brilliant teachers (Yi Xin, Rachel, Duncan, Eileen and gang) at the JRNCM. Thanks for putting up with me for the last three years. And Karen, thanks for your pure inspiration, you changed my life. Love you all loads! Hxx ;-)
19.06.09 ... I've got a gig tonight at the Sparling at Barton with my Aeolian jazz quartet. Really busy weekend coming up with the concert at the RNCM and The Producers rehearsal on Sunday, not to mention the Junior RNCM Annual Awards Ceremony.
18.06.09 ... Today I've been practicing Bottesini's 'Elegie' (some people spell it Elegy) which I'm playing in an informal concert at the RNCM this Saturday. If you can make it, the concert starts at 12.30pm. If you've followed the blog, Elegie's the piece I played for Thomas Martin at the ESTA conference a few weeks ago. I'm giving it a go without music so any thing could happen ;-)
17.06.09 ... Spent today working on my Sedbergh School choir recording and practicing for the musical 'The Producers' which I have my first full orchestra rehearsal on Sunday. The music's great.
16.06.09 ... I'm free! Exams over and I can now get stuck in to the music for the rest of the summer. You'll never guess what my business studies A level exam was about?!? EMI. Happy days.
15.06.09 ... I've spent the day revising for my business studies A level tomorrow but I've still managed to get some practice in and teach my pupils.
14.06.09 ... Last nights concert recording of Kendal K Shoes Male Voice Choir was excellent. I've never heard a massed choir and a hundred and sixty fellas singing in harmony is quite amazing. It was fun.
13.06.09 ... Been at Junior RNCM today. I found out that I've been chosen to play a bass solo in the informal concert that's coming up and me and Andy (my double bass partner) are going to play a double bass arrangement of a Telemann piece which will be good fun. Right, I'm off to help dad and Neil G on a recording up at Kendal Leisure centre.
12.06.09 ... I had my A level written music exam today. No more Stavinsky Firebird for me :-)
11.06.09 ... Following on from playing at the Montrose Music Festival, Joni Fuller's had a really nice editorial done on her in their local paper the Montrose Review (Click Here). She deserves it, she's great! I even get a little mention which is nice of the reporter (Thanks). Over the last couple of weeks, Joni (and even my dad) has had mentions on the Montrose Music Festival Guestbook. (Click Here).
10.06.09 ... Revision, Revision, Revision today but I had a big break and spent the afternoon doing the edits on the Sedbergh school tracks with Eddie which was great fun.
9.06.09 ... The Focal Twin 6 BE's have arrived. They're three way active near / mid field monitors and the souns ace. I've had to do some major listening to Stravinsky's Firebird today, heavy going!
8.06.09 ... I got my bass part yesterday for 'The Producers'. The shows MD, Kelvin Futers, came up from Blackpool with it last night and I've had a good look through it today. When Kelvin booked me, he didn't realise who my dad was so last night when he came up, they were chatting about old times etc. I'm really looking forward to working with Kelvin and the seventeen piece orchestra. We open at the Grand Theatre Blackpool on the 7th of July and run through till the 12th of July. Call the box office on 01253 290190 for tickets. I (well, dad and I) should be getting our new Focal Twin 6 BE studio monitors in the next few days. I'll let you know more about them when they're here.
7.06.09 ... I've had a wonderful day today recording the Sedbergh School Choirs. I played the double bass for the school's performance of Handel's Messiah in Carlisle Cathedral (one very cold night at the end of January), and was asked if I'd like to record the choirs. Sedbergh Schools music department is excellent. They have three very talented full time music teachers (and about twenty part time) running three choirs, two orchestras, a combined cadet force (CCF) band and drums, swing band and several ensembles including chamber, saxophone, brass quintet, string quartet etc. The students singing today ranged from about eight to seventeen (ish) and the standard of singing is incredibly high. Watch out on my YouTube in the future because I hope to put a little show reel of the recording up. I'll blog here when it's done.
6.06.09 ... I'm out playing at a wedding gig tonight. I've booked Dad, Eddie Waring and my mate Hector. It's always eventful when Dad and Eddie are together. Back to the Junior RNCM today. It was great to see everyone after the holidays. Some one mentioned what's being happening on the Montrose Music Festival Guestbook website Click Here. Joni (and even me) have had lots of nice comments and it feels so nice that people have taken the time to comment on the gigs we did there. Thanks to everyone in Montrose who's supported us.
5.06.09 ... I've just put a couple of videos up of me and Joni playing Sapphire and Take A Step Away at the Links Hotel in Montrose last Saturday as part of the Montrose Music Festival. The people who organise the festival were really nice to us and asked us to do an interview for the festival DVD. I hope we get on it. Yesterday was fantastic working with Uncle Neil. I'd love a Digidesign D command.
4.06.09 ... I'm so excited today. Uncle Neil's working down in Blueprint Studios which has got to be 'The' Manchester recording studio nowadays (take a look at their website, it's ace! Click Here). He recently recorded the new Twang album there and is now working on some of his own stuff with a young lady. He's asked me if I'd take a couple of acoustic guitars down for him that he's borrowed off dad and said that I can help him set up the studio for the session. This might not sound much to some people but it means so much to me. I'm going to give him a copy of Joni's cd that I'm playing on and ask his opinion. He gives me so much feedback on my recording projects and has helped me out when I've had problems (more than once or twice). I think it will be one year this Sunday since we all sat in his lounge and listened to Radio 1 waiting to hear if he and dad had had their first number 1 in the charts (they had). It was great!
3.06.09 ... I've been dashing around like a mad man today doing things like taking all my recording gear down to Eric at the Promenade Music warehouse to get it PAT tested (PAT = Portable Appliance Testing), I called up to see Mick at Mayoh Press (the printers) to collect my new letterheads that Ian's designed for me, I went to see dad at the shop to collect a couple of guitars which I'm taking to uncle Neil tomorrow and went to help dad and Neil G set up for a piano recording. I'm tired out! How did I ever fit school in ;-) My friend Simon from the UK D'Addario distributor Summerfield sent me a beautiful book about D'Addario's 100th anniversary in the USA.
2.06.09 ... When Joni and I were playing up in Montrose at weekend we met a guy called Ian Paterson who's a Montrose based photographer. Last night he sent us a few pics through that he'd taken at the gig. Wow! they're so good! The lighting in the room wasn't too good and my dad took some pics on his 10 mil camera that are rubbish. I showed Ian's pics to dad and he couldn't believe they were taken at the same gig. If I lived in Scotland, I'd use Ian all the time. I'm gutted that he's a ten hour round trip away. Take a look at his Ian Paterson Photography website. If you've followed my blog at all, you'll know about my excitement a couple of weeks ago (19.06.09) at finding the perfect jazz double bass strings for me (D'Addario Helicore Pizzicato's). Well things have moved on a bit and I've done a few gigs with them now and they're settling in beautifully. If you play string bass and have used the same brand for years, please give them a go. Take a look at the D'Addario Bowed Website or Click Here and buy them at a discount from my dad.
1.06.09 ... I've been out tonight with Chris Duffy trying out some new mics on a choir. We asked Rachel Lee (who's family are friends with my dad and runs the 'Rushley Singers') if we could go down to one of her choir rehearsals to check the mics out and she very kindly (without any hesitation) said we could record them (Thanks Rachel). I felt very much at home because Denise Clarke (from Promenade Music) and Debbie Pilkington (my old primary school music teacher) both sing in the choir. It was a really nice evening and the mics are awesome.
31.05.09 ... I've just got back from the Montrose Music Festival (MMF). It was a fabulous little festival with a great feeling which took over the whole town. We were made very welcome by the MMF officials and Joni and I were put forward to do a filmed interview which was exciting and a first for me. We were there to promote Joni Fuller's new six track CD called 'Run For Cover'. Joni plays piano, violin, acoustic guitar as well as all the lead and backing vocals. I'm playing bass and the CD's been produced by the very taleneted young producer, Harry Brown (who I do location sound recording work with) who also plays electric guitar on the CD. All the drum tracks were put down by Dario Darnell.
To buy Joni Fuller's new six track CD 'Run For Cover' (that I'm playing bass on) for just £5, Please Click Here
30.05.09 ... Got to be up for 5.30am because I've got to be in Montrose, Scotland (about five hours away) by noon as I'm playing Montrose Music Festival at 2.30pm. We're playing the festival and promoting Joni Fuller's new CD which I'm playing bass on. It sounds great and I'm really proud to be involved with it. Jess (my little sister) is coming with me and dad but mum can't come because she's working down at the RNCM :-(
29.05.09 ... My quartet's playing at the 'Sparling' in Barton tonight. Joining me is Mike Butcher on alto and tenor, Michael Cearns on piano and Johnny Beavers on drums. It's always a good night but as soon as we're finished I'm straight home to bed (early start tomorrow).
28.05.09 ... I had a call from Uncle Neil (Claxton) today to ask if I'd like to go down to the studio in Manchester where he's recording next Thursday. I think I can only be there to help while he sets up but I'd have said yes if he'd have said you can only stay for five minutes. I'm really excited. I went up to Kendal with dad today to the Westmorland Hall. He's involved in the recording of a live massed male voice choir concert on the 13th of June and he's said I can tag along to watch (or should I say, lift all the gear in to the van at the end ;-)
27.05.09 ... The poet who Harry (my co-recording engineer) and I were supposed to be recording today for the film maker, who I've mentioned recently, was sadly too ill to film so the job's been postponed. I hope she's better soon. Because the recording was going to be an all day job, I had nothing planned so I've spent a bit of time doing a some research in to a few 'recordingy things' (surely that's not a term) that I want to talk to dad about.
26.05.09 ... Got a really busy day today. I'm just about to head off up to North Yorkshire to collect a shotgun mic for the recording I'm doing tomorrow. I'm using a multi mic set up but need to get good seperation between a voice and hand drum. I'm the going down to rehearse with Joni Fuller because we're playing at a festival in Scotland this weekend and then I've got a gig with Dizzy Hack and the Rhino horns.
25.05.09 ... Had a great day today with Harry Brown sorting out all my recording gear. He came up from Liverpool and I'm so excited about doing work with him. I'm also doing some recording work with Chris Duffy (from down at PM) and Eddie Waring. I really feel we're all on the same wavelength. I've got to have a look at the Dizzy Hack pad tonight. The big band's playing at the Bowerham Hotel in Lancaster tomorrow night (8.30pm) if you can make it.
24.05.09 ... Wow, I've just been going through My YouTube Videos and I've had more than 1,500 people click and watch them in the last two months or so. Compared to Uncle Neil's YouTube Videos , who's had nearly one and a half MILLION hits for just one video, it's nothing but I'm so please that 'one' person has watched. Thanks to everyone who's clicked through.
23.05.09 ... Over the next month I have about nine full recording days out on location and I'll probably have at least the same again to do the editing and mixing. I'm doing some really interesting recordings around the Lancaster and Kendal area including recording work with a film maker, two school choirs, a school orchestra and an adult choir and oh yes, I've said I'll help my dad and Neil G out on another job. I'm going to be a busy boy. To find out more about my recording work, Click Here.
22.05.09 ... Well, it's my very last day at Queen Elizabeth School (QES) today and it's our leavers ball tonight. I've got to say, QES, under the leadership of our great headteacher (Chris Clarke) has been a totally brilliant school for me! Over the years it's given me so many great opportunities, great teachers and the greatest friends. I really feel apart of the 'QES family' and it will always have a place in my heart. By the time my teachers (many of whom have become friends) read this, we'll have all left to go our separate ways but I'd like to thank everyone on the QES staff personally for giving me such a wonderful education (the best I could have ever hoped for) but more importantly, a set of values that will stay with me through life. Our QES motto is "Scholarship and Care" and you can all rest assured, you've all surpassed yourselves in my eyes. Best wishes to you all in the future. Harrison Wood xx
21.05.09 ... I've had a really busy day sorting out loads of stuff like my new flight cases for my recording gear, new business cards and some extra ram for my Mac Pro. With the new RAM, I'll have a total of 20 Gigs of RAM in the baby which basically means she'll fly. I had one of my A level exams today too. It went fine.
20.05.09 ... I'm really proud of my little sister Jess today. She's been awarded one of the QES Year 7 'Form Best Effort Grade' awards as well as two 'Academic Achievement' awards in Biology and Music at todays Year 7 annual awards ceremony. She was also asked by Mrs Kay her year head to play piano and sing as the 'musical interlude' in the middle of the ceremony. Mum and Dad went and I know how proud they are of her, they're nearly as proud of her as her big brother is! (that's me;-). Well done Jess xx.
19.05.09 ... I love my new D'Addario Helicore Pizzicato Bass Strings! I really don't want to bore anyone who doesn't play double bass (so maybe skip this blog if you don't) but if you do, read on because I've just got my jazz double bass back from Paul Guppy with my new D'Addario Helicore Pizzicato double bass strings on. They're ace! They feel and sound absolutely great and to be honest, they're far better than I'd ever expected. I've been lucky enough over the years to try loads of basses with different strings but never the Helicore Pizzicato's but I've missed out because they feel really smooth and silky and are easy to play under both hands. Because D'Addario have used less damping mateial round the core (a multi stranded steel) they're giving me that lovely clear bright sound when playing softly and a fabulous growly 'boiing' sound that every jazz bass player's looking for when I dig in harder. Because of the reduced dampening, the icing on the cake is the sustain I'm getting (it's to die for). It's the longest I've ever had and what a great feeling it is! Helicore pizz sets are available in three tensions (high, medium and low) and I've gone for the D'Addario Helicore Pizzicato HP610 Medium Set for 3/4 size basses (106cm playing length) which (at pitch) has 62lbs of tension on the G, (66lbs on D, 67lbs on A) and 'only' 68lbs on the E (a good 2lbs less than the equivalent orchestral E sting), which is ideal for jazz pizz players. The tension is really important to me because it has a major effect on the tone I get. Although a light tension string's easier to play and vibrates more (because of a lower mass), unfortunately the energy transmitted to the double bass (via the bridge) is less so it's a weaker softer sound. On the other hand, a heavey set has a stronger louder sound but doesn't vibrate as much and is often more hard work to play. So 'voila', it was the medium tension for me. Dad's starting to stock them down at Promenade Music (Click Here To Buy A Set). Did you know? The D'Addario family have made strings for over 300 years. They started in Italy in 1687 and moved to America (where they are now) just over 100 years ago so there's an awful lot of experience in the D'Addario company which is now "the largest musical string company in the world". Wow, this must by my longest blog :-)
18.05.09 ... One week left at school and I've finished :-) or is it :-( I'm not too sure. I forgot to mention yesterday about last Saturday night with the Westmorland Orchestra. It was real fun and there were loads of faces in the orchestra who I knew which was nice. In fact I've put a couple of clips up of a bit of the 'Symphony No.1' by Schumann (click here) and 'Autumn' by Glazunov (click here). Hope you enjoy.
17.05.09 ... I put a little clip up on youtube a couple of days ago of a tune called 'Gigida' (click here to see it) which was written by a dear friend of us all playing in the clip called Paul Pfeuti who sadly passed away in the Christmas holiday. He was a fine pianist, musician and the most lovely man you could have met. We wanted to play 'Gigida' as a tribute to him at the QES Guitar Festival. Playing in the clip is me on bass, Dave Kellet on lead guitar, Christophe Lheureux on rhythm guitar (not in view) and Ian Hunter on percussion. It was a very emotional moment for us all.
16.05.09 ... I'm looking forward to tonight. I'm playing with the seventy strong plus Westmorland Orchestra in the Westmorland Hall (that's the Kendal Leisure Centre to you and me). We're playing "a concert for all seasons" featuring some beautiful music by Schumann, Butterworth, Alfven, Glazunov and Waldteufel. Tonight's conductor is Bob Chasey who's the Principal 2nd violinist with the BBC Phil and conducts several other ameatur orchestras.
15.05.09 ... I've just got a really interesting recording job for the 27th of May. I'll be recording music for a film maker who's filming a project in Cumbria. It's an all day job and I'll be working with a wonderful young (well, he's a good few years old than me actually) sound engineer called Harry Brown who I've been working with recently and I'm sure we'll be doing loads more recording work together in the future. Harry's so easy and nice to work with and he's such a great guy both technically and personally. He's fabulous at recording in sensitive enviroments and his recording of the Tchaikovsky 'Piano Trio in A Minor' that he did at the Royal Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool is beautiful. It makes me feel like I'm sat in the middle of trio and it doesn't come better than that for me.
14.05.09 ... Tonight, guitarist Dave Kellet and I are playing at the QES guitar festival that's on at in Kirkby Lonsdale. Dave's a wonderful player and I'm so looking forward to playing. On the school front, I've now handed everything in including my composition and analysis. It's now a waiting game to see if the examineer likes it ;-)
13.05.09 ... I went to the final rehearsal tonight before the Westmorland Orchestra concert this Saturday at the Kendal lesiure centre. The evening was great fun and I'm looking forward to playing the programme on Saturday night. I was sat next to a really nice guy called Stuart Lewthwaite who I first met when I was much younger. My dad's always said that Stuart's a good musician (as well as bass, he plays accordion and sax) and he sure is! Actually, I was quite glad that Stuart was there tonight because there was a really strange fella there who didn't like my bass, my stool or my shoes (honestly, no joke). I'm just glad he seemed to like my playing.
12.05.09 ... I've been putting loads of new pictures and video clips up on the site. Have a look round for the pics and click here to go to my you tube channel . There's quite alot up now.
11.05.09 ... All day yesterday I finished by double bass composition. I'm so pleased with that I've finished it and to be honest, I'm really proud of it. Maybe one day I'll get it recorded.
10.05.09 ... Wow, what a night Joni Fuller and I had last night when we played the Bollington Festival. To be honest, when I saw the size of the festival marquee where we were playing and the size of the stage, amount of crew (for the P.A and lighting etc), I must say, I was slightly worrid that we'd only get maybe a hundred or so people in at £8.00 a ticket. Oh, how wrong was I. The marquee was absolutely packed and from side of the stage, I could only see a few spare seats right out in the wings. The atmosphere was electric and I was so very proud of Joni! She was a star!!! (and received a standing ovation). It was brill. In the first set, there was string accompaniment by the 'festival strings' and one extra nice thing for me was that I met one of the Halle's double bassists, Daniel Storer, who was playing.
9.05.09 ... I''m playing with Joni Fuller tonight at the Bollington Festival where she's top of the bill. We have to be down there quite early for sound checks etc so I think it'll be a nice gig. I've finally managed to get a wheel for my double bass. No more carrying, I'm now just wheeling :-)
8.05.09 ... When I was playing at the ESTA Conference a couple of weeks ago, I met a really nice guy called Simon who represents (in the UK) an American string company called D'Addario. He was really keen for me to try out some of their strings out and today I recieved a set of D'Addario Helicore pizzicato strings. I've chosen the HP610 set which are 3/4 Scale and medium tension. I'll get them on my 50's Aria jazz double bass this week and let you know what I think. Do you know, D'Addario make 350,000 strings a day! Wow.
7.05.09 ... Following on from the masterclass that I played for with Tom Martin for the European String Teachers Association (ESTA) conference at the RNCM a couple of weeks ago, I've just had a really nice email from Anne Inglis who's the Editor of 'ARCO' (the ESTA magazine) asking if they can put a link in their magazine and possibly even a quote. Isn't that lovely! Going down to Joni Fuller's tonight because we're playing a festival this weekend.
6.05.09 ... Me, Mike Butcher (Sax) and Pete Major (Piano) played for the drinks reception at the 'Cumbria Tourism Awards' which was held at the Castle Green Hotel, Kendal tonight. Although it was a formal 'do', everyone was really friendly and we went down really well. Mike and Pete played really well and I hope we can get some more gigs together. Ian Harrison, my website guy has put some of my pics on the home page :-) Thanks Ian.
5.05.09 ... I had my 'A' level music practical today. I really enjoyed playing for the examiner and I don't think I could have played the pieces any better so I feel it's gone as good as it could have. I'm really pleased to have it out of the way and now I've just to finish my double bass composition. There's only about a month to go now at school and I'm really excited about doing some recordings in the summer. I can't wait to get started! I'm going to record my mate Joe Donmall (principal cello with the HYO) and I'm going to ask Jessica Wilkes (principal flute). I heard her recital on Saturday and it was brilliant (I hope she says yes).
4.05.09 ... Got my A level performance tomorrow so I'm spending the day practicing my bass pieces. After lots of thought, I've chosen to play too electric bass pieces rather than double bass. I've done so much double bass playing recently that I fancy a change. I'm also playing in the QES guitar festival in Kirkbly Lonsdale. I'm playing with the guitarist Dave Kellet and I'm looking forward to it. I got a really nice text from Joni Fuller's dad (Chris) last night thanking me for yesterday and telling me I did a good job which made me feel great.
3.05.09 ... I've had a recording session at LIPA (the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) all day today putting the bass down on Joni Fuller's new mini album which will be finished and ready for the end of May (this month) when we do the Montrose festival. I know I've said this before but as well as Joni been a lovely lady, she's just so talented! In fact I think she's the most versatile talented young musician I've ever played with. Please don't get me wrong, I play with some really fine young players who are awesome on their instruments but Joni's a true 'all rounder' with a great command of all her instruments (piano, violin, guitar, voice) and let's not forget, she's an award winning songwriter who's writing all the stuff too. When I heard all the stuff she's put down on these recordings, it just made me realise what an honour it is to be playing bass for her! We recorded with a fabulous young producer called Harry Brown down at LIPA in their 'George Martin Studio' which a massive AMEK desk and some brilliant monitoring. Harry's great to work with and I'd love to do more recording stuff with him in the future because he really knows his stuff, knows what sound he wants and is so easy to work with. So all in all, a really great day.
2.05.09 ... Had a great day today at JRNCM. I played in two concerts. The first was with Joni Fuller. We played two numbers with a string section where Joni played piano and sang and then two numbers as a four piece with Joni on violin and vocals, Chris Fuller on guitar, Sam Tunstall on drums and me on bass. It went down great. It was a bit strange at the end because for the first time in my life I was asked for my autograph. It felt strange. I then played with the JRNCM big band. It's been a fun day.
30.04.09 ... I had a really nice email from Thomas Martin. He's told me about a double bass course and masterclass he's doing in Catalonia and given me the details about it. I can't go because I'm doing 'the Producers' at the Grand theatre in Blackpool on the same week but I'm sure there will be others in the future that I can go on. I'm going down to Banbury to visit Tom with my dad in June which I'm really excited about.
29.04.09 ... Dizzy Hack & The Rhino Horns was fun last night. We've got to move the venue in to Lancaster now so the 26th of May gig will be at the Bowerham Hotel (8.30pm start) if you can make it.
28.04.09 ... I'm really looking forward to playing with Dizzy Hack & The Rhino Horns big band tonight. Also, I've had a lovely reply from Tom Martin after I played for him at his masterclass. Tom Martin is a top player (ex London Symphony Orchestra), teacher (Professor at the Royal College of Music, London) and fine double bass maker. Please take a look at the Making of a Thomas Martin Double Bass video on YouTube Click Here . The video is set to Elegia by Bottesini which I played for Tom at the masterclass. Click Here to see a bit of Me and Tom Martin playing in the Masterclass.
27.04.09 ... I've just sent Tom Martin a little thank you for yesterdays masterclass. I really enjoyed it and I'm going to work like stink at what he's suggested. Anyway, after such a great day yesterday, I'm back to some kind of normality working on my A level double bass compostion and A level performance pieces.
26.04.09 ... Today's been brilliant! I've played my first masterclass at the ESTA (European String Teachers Association) conference in Manchester with the World famous double bassist, Thomas Martin. I've got to say, it was a real pleasure and privilege to be able to get Thomas' thoughts and comments on my playing, he's such a master of the bass. The masterclass started with him playing a few pieces (including the 'Carnival of Venice' which was awesome) and then four of us played for him. I was the last to go and by the time I played, I don't mind saying, I was a little nervous but it was reassuring to see some friendly supporters in the audience like Rachel Moore (my double bass duo teacher), Annabel Revell (Michael Cearns violin teacher) and my Dad. It was also great to meet and listen to Gemma Ashcroft play. Gemma's a third year double bass student at RNCM (who's going to look after me next year at RNCM :-). I'd like to say a special thanks to the ESTA team who were really lovely to me and couldn't have done anymore to make me feel welcome. They even introduced me to a string manufacturer who's going to send me some new strings to try (I'll tell you all about them if I like them).
25.04.09 ... After a late night gigging last night, I was up early to get to Junior RNCM for nine. I had a visiting teacher from the Birmingham area sitting in my on my double bass lesson with Yi Xin, she was really sweet. Tonight I've been playing at a joint concert with QES and Doncaster Youth Symphony Orchestra. I helped them out in the double bass department and it was great because my little sister Jess helped out on tuned percussion. It was dead cute to play with her.
24.04.09 ... My jazz quartet, 'Harrison & Friends' played at The Sparling, Barton tonight. I was joined by Mike Butcher on alto and tenor, Michael Cearns on piano and Johnny Beavers on drums. It was a really nice gig and it was great to see my old school friend, Hannah Paget down there.
23.04.09 ... I'm playing in Manchester tonight at the Academy 3 with DCOM. We're supporting a band from the Manchester area called KABOOM! so if you're around, come and have a look. Last night went well at the Westmorland Orchestra, they're a really nice bunch. It was good.
22.04.09 ... I've got a Westmorland orchestra rehearsal in Kendal tonight. I'm looking forward to playing with this seventy piece orchestra for the first time tonight. We're preparing for a concert on the 16th of May called 'A concert for all seasons' at the Kendal leisure centre. Tickets are £11.00 (half price for children) from the leisure centre (01539 729702).
21.04.09 ... I'm sure I've mentioned that I'm playing for a masterclass at the RNCM this Sunday with Thomas Martin. Well I'm practicing like mad but I've just found out that I've definitely done a bit of Homer Simpson "D'oh" on this one. I've only chosen to play the Giovanni Bottesini piece 'elegia' and guess what? As well as Thomas Martin being a Professor of double bass at the Royal College of Music, International chair of double bass at the Scottish Academy and a past London Symphony Orchestra principal double bassist; he's also a World authority on guess who? You've got it! Giovanni Bottesini. Talk about setting yourself up for a fall. Dad always says "when you get in a situation like this, fake a faint" :-)
20.04.09 ... After the excitement of the last week it's back to some really hard work again this week. I've got to get my double bass composition finished in the next two or three weeks so that's on the top of my 'academic' list (if there's such a thing). I've had some really nice emails and texts from people who were at the Bridgewater Hall yesterday. It's the best feeling in the World when people tell you they've enjoyed something you've played in. One wonderful lady who's supported me so much with my solo double bass playing is my accompanist Ellie Morwood. She's such a brilliantly talented pianist and she's worked so hard with me to help my playing. She came down to yesterday's concert and has given me a beautiful card with the kindest message ever. I'll keep it for life!
19.04.09 ... Had a wonderful concert today with the Halle Youth Orchestra and Choir at the Bridhewater Hall. It was wonderful for many reasons, some musical, some personal. On the musical side, I think we played really well as a unit and at certain points it felt quite magical for me. On the personal side, I was overwhelmed just how many friends came along. As well as everyone I mentioned yesterday (see below), there's too many to mention individually and I certainly don't want to miss anyone out, so a big thanks to you all. It was really nice to see Polly there, my lovely Godparents, Auntie Linda and family and Salif, Emilie and Milan. (Hey Milan, you're such a big boy now for six mate, I can't wait to come down and play footy with you). Thanks everyone for coming, it means so much to me xx.
18.04.09 ... Only had a few hours sleep last night as I didn't get home from Germany till well after midnight and I had to be back down in Manchester at the RNCM for 9.30. I only stayed at RNCM till lunchtime because we had a Halle Youth Orchestra and Choir rehearsal to prepare for tomorrow's concert at the Bridgewater Hall. There's lots of people coming to the concert who've helped me on my way as a young musician either as a teacher or who I play with like Eddie Waring, Karen Humphreys, Rachel Moore, Eileen Guppy, David Tattersall, Joanna Jeffreys, Dave Kellett, Adrian Boardman, Pete Major Mike Butcher, Jon Tibke as well as some of my QES teachers including Peter Hooper, Carole Falcus, David Beale and Ellie Moorwood my brilliant accompanist. Some of the Promenade Music gang are coming down to support me too like my mates Gary, Steven, Chris and Ian. I've also invited some friends of the family so let's see who can come. I'm really touched that people are making the effort to get all the way to Manchester for me. Thanks to you all, it means alot ;-) xx
17.04.09 ... Last night we went to a benefit gig at a venue called the Stadtgarden in Cologne for the American Jazz saxoponist Charlie Mariano. Charlie's lived in Cologne for many years and is now in his eighties and not too well I believe. He's worked with some of the great jazz musicians of the past like Stan Kenton and Charles Mingus and the gig was a real tribute to him. It was lead by a young guy called Matthias Schriefl who has a band called Shreefpunk. They were like nothing I've heard before, What a fabulous whacky trumpet player. Off to catch the plane home now.
16.04.09 ... Had a great day today. I've had two lessons with John Goldsby. We had about an hour and a half this morning, then we met dad and went for lunch and then had another hour or so this afternoon. It was great! He worked me hard on my right hand technique so I'm going to work like crazy on what he's advised for when I come back out here. We're going to a jazz concert tonight at a Cologne Jazz venue called Stadtgarden.
15.04.09 ... I'm off to Germany today and dad's coming with me. There's no doubt we'll be in the nearest Jazz club tonight as dad knows Cologne quite well because Popkomm (the music industry event) was based there before it moved to Berlin and he's attended it for years. I'm in Cologne to have lessons with my jazz double bass teacher, John Goldsby, who plays with the World famous WDR big band. There's even a chance he might take me along to a rehearsal. Now how awesome would that be!
14.04.09 ... I've had my first day off in ages ;-) It's been lovely! I went and had the day in the Lakes and just chilled.
13.04.09 ... I went down to Joni Fuller's house this morning. We've got quite a few gigs coming up this summer so we decided to do one massive practice and get all the material sorted out. I've got loads to practice now so I'll be busy. This evening I'm practicing some other stuff. I'm going to Cologne in Germany on Wednesday to have a lesson with my jazz bass teacher John Goldsby, I'm really lucking forward to it.
12.04.09 ... The guitarist Pat Martino was awesome last night at Ronnie Scott's! He was playing with Tony Monaco on Hammond who'd cut his finger and had a blood soaked towel on stage to mop up the blood (no joke!) and Louis Tsamous was on drums which was right up dad's street. When I said they were awesome, I mean awesome. At the end, me and dad just sat there and didn't speak to each other for a good five minutes. Pat Martino told a great story about how he'd do 7 x 40 minute sets, 7 nights a week in a club in New York when he was a young man and told us all how he and some of the other guitarists from the other clubs (Les Paul, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, etc) would meet for breakfast after they'd finished playing. When Pat comes over next year, I'd love to be in the support band and take him out for breakfast and listen to his stories.
11.04.09 ... I had a really early start this morning, 5.00am to be exact :-( I'm brought dad down to London with me because I've had a NYJO rehearsal at the Cockpit Theatre which started at 11.00am. The rehearsal was fab. I feel really honoured to have the chance of playing with such great young musicians. Bill Ashton MBE, who's been the bands MD for 44 years, has so much knowledge. Today he was explaining about how the bands sections have to play in the style of the great bands of the past (eg ... the wider vibrato of the sax section in the Basie band), it's just so great to listen and learn from Bill and Steve Titchener, NYJO's assistant MD. Happy days! Right, I'm taking dad to Ronnie Scott's to see the Pat Martino Band. We're like kids on Christmas eve :-)
10.04.09 ... Went back down to Manchester for an extra double bass lesson with Yi Xin today because I've loads of playing coming up like the Thomas Martin masterclass for the European String Teachers Association, the Halle Youth concert at the Bridgewater a week on Sunday (19th) and the Westmorland Orchestra concert in May. I'm looking forward to tonight, I'm going to see Stacey Kent's band.
9.04.09 ... I'm playing down at the Jabez Clegg Bar in Manchester tonight with the DCOM if you can make it, we'll be on around 10pm..
8.04.09 ... Spent today racking up my recording gear. I've managed to get a few nice recording jobs which I'm looking forward to. If you know any one who's interested in getting ensembles and choirs recorded, please give them my number.
7.04.09 ... Had a call today from a Blackpool based trumpet playing friend who I work with called Chris Andrews. He's booked me for the musical 'The Producers' that's on at the Grand Theatre Blackpool from the 7th to the 12th of July 09. The production's been put on by the 'Premier Theatre Company' which attracts the cream of north west talent with many of their previous performers being pros, semi-pros or the very best of theatre schools. Premier isn't an amateur society and I'm really excited to be playing in the 17 piece orchestra and working with their professional MD, Kelvin Futers, whose credits include been MD of UK productions, Stageworks and the BBC. For further information visit the Premier Theatre Company website or the Blackpool Grand Theatre website. Hope you can make it.
6.04.09 ... I've had a lovely mention on Joni Fuller's website. Thanks Joni ;-)
5.04.09 ... My gig last night with the HYO was great at the Middleton Arena. Wow, what a flashy place! It's not quite the Bridhewater Hall ;-) but it's only been open a few months and it's all still really clean and nice. We went down really well and the audience looked packed. Right, I'm off to another HYO reahersal. Today we're getting together with the Halle Youth Choir to practice for our joint concert which we're doing on Sunday the 19th of April at the Bridgewater Hall Manchester.
4.04.09 ... Really looking forward to tonight. I've got a Halle Youth Orchestra gig at the Middleton Arena in Rochdale and my nan and grandad are making the trip to see us. I have to be there for 2pm to start getting set up and then and we're going to rehearse for a couple of hours. It's really great to be conducted by Ewa Strusinska, she's brill. The concert starts at 7.30pm.
3.04.09 ... Last night at 'The Sparling' in Lytham was awesome. It was great to work with Dad and Eddie and see how they work and I could tell from the moment we started that they've done tons of these kind of gigs. The Sparling at Lytham is beautiful and it was packed for the fashion show.
2.04.09 ... It's going to be a bit of a strange night tonight because I've booked my dad and Eddie Waring (my electric bass teacher) to play with me at the Sparling in Lytham. We're playing for a fashion show and Dad and Eddie are so up for it! They've worked together for years in bands, shows, pantos, cabaret (you name it, they've done it). We're using dads pad (music) which will be great. Dad told me today that an old friend of his who worked with him and Eddie in bands years ago called Jim Nilson (who now lives in Marbella) has seen my site. Jim sang in the band when dad played for the golf open at Lytham when I was little. He's some great stories about Jim :-)
1.04.09 ... The Dizzy Hack gig last night was good but I felt really ill like I had flu coming on (feel a bit better this morning). The best part about last night for me was one of Steven Wren's songs that dad had sorted out the arrangement. It was great and I've put a bit of the video on my links page. Take a look at it, it's 'I Wish'. Remember it's the bands first ever play through of it. I've also put a couple of minutes up of Jess playing. It's so cute ;-)
31.03.09 ... Playing with Dizzy Hack & The Rhino Horns tonight. I'm quite excited about it. There's Peter Major on keys who helped me when I was first starting. Sadly neither Eddie or Keith can do the guitar so Adrian's got in Mike Bell who's an old friend of my dads. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.
30.03.09 ... I've just been asked to play for the next concert of the Westmorland Orchestra. The concert is "A Concert For All Seasons" and features works by Schumann, Butterworth, Alfven, Glazunov and Waldteufel. There's going to be a eighty piece orchestra and I've been told there will be five basses. The concert's on the 16th of May at Kendal Leisure Centre and starts at 7.30pm. Visit, Westmorland Orchestra Website
28.03.09 ... I had a great gig last night at the Sparling at Barton. The restaurant was packed and the atmosphere was great. I really must get my mum and dad down there. It's a beautiful place and the food looked wonderful. It was a pleasure to play there and all the staff were so nice. I'm really pleased to be playing there. Please check my online diary and come and have a meal one night when we're playing there. You won't be disappointed. Jess pleayed her first concert at JNRCM today. She played ace! (well done Jess ;-)
27.03.09 ... Karen from the RNCM has recommended me to play in a masterclass with the World famous double bassist Thomas Martin for the European String Teachers Association (ESTA) national conference on the 26th of April 09. Mr Martin is currently both a professor at the Royal College of Music in Londaon and the International chair of double bass at the Royal Scotish Academy and has played with many of the World's leading orchestra's including the London Symphony. I feel greatly honoured that Karen's put her trust in me to represent the JRNCM at such a prestigious event. Right, I'm now off to practise!
26.03.09 ... Wow, I said yesterday that I hoped to do some more gigs with Joni Fuller and tonight she's asked me to do the Montrose Music Festival with her at the end of May (thanks Joni). Just to finish off about my pic troubles (see yesterday). When I got home, I told Dad about the phone call I'd had and he found it amuzing. He said that a picture used on the website of the person who called me telling me I'd have to be careful about putting pictures on my site has a picture on their site that my Dad and uncle Neil own and they've used it without permission. Just shows you doesn't it.
25.03.09 ... We had a party at home at tea time for Jess's birthday with her mates amd then I went off to my gig with Joni Fuller. It was ace. Her mum and dad are really nice to me and I think Joni liked what I did. I'm sure we're going to do lots more gigs together in the future, I hope so anyway. On a downer, I was in a bit of a panic yesterday because I had two pictures on my site that were taken at a gig and the people pictured wanted them taking down. I called dad to make sure that I wasn't going to get in to any big trouble for having them up. He told me to just take them down and remove any blub relating to them. One of them called me yesterday tea time about it, it was all a bit odd because she told me that they have to be careful about who they're assosiated with which made me feel :-(((
24.03.09 ... "Happy birthday Jess" ;-) Mum and Dad are taking Jess and a few of her mates out bowling tonight and I'm playing with Joni Fuller at the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster for 'Chill Out Tuesday' that starts at 6pm. If you can make it, please come along. Joni's great.
23.03.09 ... I was woken up this morning by my little sis who's practising like mad for her first informal solo concert on Saturday at Junior RNCM. She's doing great. I had a message today from one of the degree students at Kendal college saying that he thought the website was good and that one of the teachers there told them to look at it, to do some research on my dad because he's a guest speaker there tomorrow. Hope dad likes what I wrote about him.
22.03.09 ... Dad's out recording with Neil Gowland today so I drove myself down to Manchester for a HYO rehearsal. Ewa wasn't conducting us today and the stand in conductor, who I think was from the Manchester Camarata had quite a different style. It was interesting to see how the orchestra adapted. I felt really honoured too today because Joe, the principal cellist, asked me to play in a small chamber group with some of them. He's given me the part so I'll get it nailed before next time.
21.03.09 ... I had a busy day today at JRNCM. I received a really nice 'well done' note from a gentleman called Geoff who I think's the head of the centre of excellence for training and learning at the RNCM (sorry if that's not exactly worded correctly). Anyway, it was for my contribution and playing in the formal concert when I played with Michael and Johnny in the jazz trio. Talking of the jazz trio, we're playing at the Sparling at Barton this Friday (27/03/09). Why not book a table and have a night out, it'd be great to see you there.
20.03.09 ... I played with DCOM last night at the Sudio in Manchester last night. The gig went well and it was really special for me because uncle Neil came down and saw us for the first time. He gave me some great comments about how he thinks we can develop in the future. The singer songwriter Joni Fuller's asked me to play bass on Tuesday at a gig she's doing at the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster. If you can make it, please come along. We're playing for their 'Chill Out Tuesday' and it starts at 6pm.
19.03.09 ... Had a DCOM band rehearsal tonight which went well. Tonight I'm working on my double bass composition (all night!).
18.03.09 ... Played last night at a concert at QES. I played the Lennox Berkley on double bass and was really quite please how it went. I've worked hard on the piece and it was nice to hear that people enjoyed it. I have a bit of video so I'll put it up if you want to watch it. I also played an electric bass piece that I did a few years ago for my grade 8 so I'll put a bit of that up too.
17.03.09 ... I've decided to put a new links page to videos etc on the left hand side. I wasn't too sure whether I should but my friends who I play with thought it would be fun. I've also put some others up too of various things like F&H etc. I had a good night teaching last night. I feel great when my pupils have practiced and have improved. I'm going to practice as much as I can today ready for my concert tomorrow. I'm playing a Lennox Berkley double bass piece that's a monster!
16.03.09 ... After all my gigs and practice this week I slept till 12. This afternoon I'm going to get my double bass composition past finished. Then all I have to do is arrange it. As well as the double bass solo part, I'm thinking of 1st and 2nd violins, viola, cello, double bass, oboe and horn but this may change. I've composed it in Bb major with modulations in and out of of G minor and my reference points are Mozart and Peter Maxwell Davies so I'm using lots of quite traditional harmony but with little twists like different notes of the chord in the bass creating inversions, suspensions and lots of varied time signatures with dischords at the end of themes. I like it, I just hope the examiner gets it?
15.03.09 ... The gig with the Junior RNCM Jazz Orchestra was great last night. It was at the 'JCB Theatre' in Rocester (near Stoke) and we shared the stage with a JCB (no joke!). The gig was really fun and we were looked after well by the Conservative party who were the organisers. I think my dad nearly died when he found out the tickets were £22.50 but he still came down to watch and he said he had a good time and thought the band played well which made me :-)
14.03.09 ... Had a good gig last night at the Yorkshie House with DCOM. I'm off to Junior RNCM now. It's going to be another long day because we have our usual lessons this morning then a coach's coming as the Jazz orchestra's playing tonight some where in the Midlands.
13.03.09 ... It's going to be a long day of music today :-) for Me, Tom and Hector ('The Dark Con Of Man'). We're recording at SSR in Manchester in the day and we're playing at the Yorkshire House (in Lancaster) tonight. SSR is where my dad studied recording in 1985, the year it opened. Eddie, my bass teacher, also studied there a couple of years ago. I'd like to study there at some time in the future and I know my Dad's keen for me to do so.
12.03.09 ... Even though 42nd Street's on till Saturday, it wasmy last night tonight and my friend, Paul Guppy's doing the rest of the week. About a week ago, I mentioned that Dad and I were changing our phones. Well we went for the iPhones and they're brilliant. I've got mine sorted out and all my emails are coming through. It's great.
11.3.09 ... The opening night of '42nd Street' went well last night at the Grand. It was nice to see my nan and grandad there.
10.03.09 ... I had a rehearsal last Saturday with the singer songwriter Joni Fuller (who's a fellow student at Junior RNCM). My mate, Sam Tunstall (who's a great drummer) and I have been asked to play with Joni at the RNCM on the 2nd of May. Although I've seen her around college for the last few years, you just don't realise how good some of the musician are when you're not in the same groups. I was shocked at Joni's talent! She sings, plays piano, guitar and violin really well. I got talking to her Dad who plays guitar with her and clearly works hard with her. They've asked me if I can do a gig on the 24th of this month at the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster and possibly a recording session at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). I've checked out Joni's website and she's got an impressive track record doing the Montreux Jazz Festival at 12; Played to 60,000 opening for Phil Collins at 13; Released an album at 14 and last year won the 'Make It Break It' song writing competition at LIPA. I hope I can live up to her expectations, she's good alright.
9.03.09 ... Had the dress rehearsal today for the musical '42nd Street' that's on this week at the Grand Theatre in Lancaster. I've now done a few shows there and it was great to see the old gang like my old mucca Dave Tattersall, Liz Bateman (a fellow dizzy hacker), Angela Pearson and I better not forget our wonderful MD, Joanna.
8.03.09 ... Michael Cearns sent me a nice text today saying he's keen to do some more gigs (thanks mate), I am too. I've mentioned about doing some recording and he's up for that too. You must here this guy play Jazz! I suppose you can if you want when we've recorded. Anyway, I went down to Manchester for a Halle Youth rehearsal which was really good and extra good news!, The principal Celloist's (see 7.3.09) up for doing some recording in the holidays too. Right, I'm going to do a few hours on my composition for Mr David Foster Esquire, my superstar footballing composition teacher, at QES (he plays for Kendal) :-)
7.03.09 ... I had a great gig today. I played in the 'Formal Concert' in the main theatre at the RNCM in the 'Michael Cearns Trio'. Michael, as always, played brilliantly on piano (so did Johnny on drums). It went really well and great to play to such a very appreciative audience. We shared the concert with Joseph Donmall, the principal Celloist of the Halle Youth Orchestra. Joseph played the Shostakovich Cello Sonata in D Minor and the Andante movement of the Rachmaninov Cello Sonata in G minor. He was brilliant!. I'm seeing him tomorrow and I'm going to see if he'd like to record some stuff.
6.03.09 ... It's my dads birthday today :-) and he's having a day off with mum. I went down to Promenade Music last night to see him (and Gary my bass guru and buddy) to see if dad could do a gig with me for one of my 'Harrison & Friends' gigs, I told him that this is what I'd got him for his birthday, "A Gig" :-) Only joking, we're going mobile phone hunting today and the question is ... will it be the iphone or Blackberry Bold?.
5.03.09 ... Dad's got a few bits of 'home' video of me playing at various things that he's done on his mobile phone. I'd kind of like to start a new page on the site for video and audio etc but I'm just not sure!?! If I put mobile phone clips up and the stuff dad's recorded on his digital dictaphone, it may look really cheap and rubbish. Argh ... decisions, decisions.
4.03.09 ... My dad's given me some recording gear that he's not needing. It'll really make my system so much better. I've now got 16 channels of Focusrite OctoPre's. They're professional quality pre-amps and they sound really sweet. I'm looking for some really good local musicians to record around the Lancaster area. I'm really interested in choirs, brass groups, jazz groups etc. Basically any ensembles with good musicians.
3.03.09 ... I've had a great day today. Paul Satterthwaite, You're a genius! He's given me a great idea and I'm quite excited because I'm going to apply to do some work experience somewhere that Paul mentioned. If it comes off, I'll be well pleased, I'll fill you in if it comes off because the ideas a bit pie in the sky at the moment.
1.03.09 ... Had a rehearsal with the Halle Youth Orchestra today at the Martin Harris centre. I ended up having to carry my double bass from the uni rehearsal room to RNCM because my dad nearly got wheel clamped. There was real excitement today because there's lots of talk about the two forthcoming gigs and of course the tour in July. I've spent all evening doing my music tech work so it's been a good day.
28.02.09 ... Had a nice day today at Junior RNCM. My double bass teacher, Yi Xin's been away for the last two weeks and I've had a couple of stand in teachers who have been really good but I'm now really missing Yi Xin. The first week I had Mike Escreet who was the principal double bass of the BBC Philharmonic until he retired a couple of years ago and today I had Diane Gruber.
26.02.09 ... After I'd played for Handel's Messiah at Carlisle Cathedral on Saturday 31st January, my friends in the music department at Sedbergh have asked me to go up and record their Junior Choir. Chris, Eddie and I are really excited and are looking forward to doing the job on the 7th of June. I'm really keen to do more recordings so if you know anyone who's interested, get them to give me a call, Thanks.
25.02.09 ... Last nights gig with "Dizzy Hack & The Rhino Horns' big band went great. The whole band played great and Ian Gray on piano and Eddie Waring on guitar were amazing in the rhythm section and made the whole band play up a notch. The new songs and new girl vocalists (Nanette and Laura), were great and really varied the set. Can't wait to get down and groove again next month, it's awesome.
24.02.09 ... Looking forward to tonight. I have a 'Dizzy Hack & The Rhino Horns' big band gig tonight. Dad tells me that there's a couple of new players in the rhythm section. As well as Andy Smith on drums and me on bass, my partner in crime Eddie Waring's (my electric bass teacher) on Jazz guitar because Keith Ashcroft's ill and Ian Gray's on piano. I'm really looking forward to it.
23.02.09 ... Had three pupils tonight. I feel really sorry for my last pupil because he has a 130 mile round trip so a 3/4 of an hour lesson takes him about 3 hours.
22.02.09 ... Had a great day today at the Halle Youth Orchestra. We're playing Brahms, Beethoven, Bernstein and Vaughan Williams. It was great to see Ewa again. She conducted me in the Junior RNCM string orchestra and she really knows what she wants from us all. Can't wait till next Sunday :-)