Have been selling copies of Lightflight since it arrived a couple of weeks ago. These have mainly been through mu personal networks to pupils, friends etc but today I made my first international sale: to Japan. I’m pretty sure it is to the same chap in Tokyo who snapped up copies of So Far and Ununbium, my previous albums, more or less the moment they became available. Since then postage to Japan has gone up considerably so I won’t be making much profit on that one particularly as it was sold through Jazz CDs UK who have a fixed postage charge and also take a commision themselves. Still it’s nice to think that there is a collection of my recordings on the other side of the world. Hope he enjoys it.
Anyway the best way for you to get your hands on a copy is direct from me on gigs at £10 or by post at £11 in the UK. There are now some clips up on my website at www.petecanter.com
Also you can now follow me on Twitter @PeteCanter
I did a very enjoyable gig with experimental improvised music group Get Rich Quick last Friday night at Exeter Phoenix. We were in the Black Box a smaller room than the Voodoo Lounge where we played in the Vibraphonic Festival. I was unsure how the sound was going to be considering that between the four of us we play trumpet, flugelhorn, guitar, double bass, tenor and soprano saxes, drum kit, percussion and electronics with some occasional singing thrown in. I had also decided to take the full drum kit instead of the lightweight kit I played in the Vibraphonic. I’m so glad I did. As well as the moody atmosphere of the bare room, the simple but very effective stage lighting and the blue canvas backdrop, the acoustics of the room were perfect for us. The intimacy created between us and our very select audience created a sense of expectation which was just right for the spontaneous way in which we make music.
I played drums at least as much as saxophone. The fact that it’s one or the other contributes to the space in the music. Marcus Vergette sometimes plays the kit but then of course the double bass, his usual instrument, falls silent. I would say that overall we were more reserved than on previous gigs; we were listening to each other closely and interacting well, something fostered by the clarity of the acoustics in the Black Box. Tim Sayer’s trumpet playing was particularly spectacular at times and Jesse Molins was a constant source of ideas on guitar.
Tomorrow I’m going to see another possible venue for a Get Rich Quick gig but hopefully it won’t be too long before we are back in the Black Box.
Finally, my new quartet album LIGHTFLIGHT is available for sale. It was recorded in January at Fieldgate Studios in Penarth with the wonderful Jim Blomfield on Fazioli grand piano, Sol Ahmed on double bass and Mark Whitlam on drums. It had taken us quite a while to find dates when we could all get together to rehearse and record the new material and I began writing the original tunes more than two years before it was recorded. In fact, a couple of the tunes on the album are adaptations of pieces which were first performed in my suite Sketches back in the 2010 Exeter Vibraphonic Festival. There are nine original tunes on the album and one of these gets a reprise so ten tracks in all. The tracks are quite varied and include straightforward, largely modal, latin grooves such as the soprano saxophone pieces Pairs and Lightflight, the eccentric altered blues Lurch, dramatic ballad Bicycle and the epic One For Eddie, dedicated to the famous jazz educator Eddie Harvey who died recently. I attended Eddie’s jazz workshops in London in the 1980s. There is also the 5/8 groove Pendulum, Conversation which moves between 3/4 and 7/8 and which gets two very different treatments on the album and the swing to latin piece Chimes. The recording quality is excellent and everyone plays really well on the album. Do get in touch if you would like to buy a copy. Lightflight will be on sale at gigs for £10 or can be posted at £10 + £1 p&p (UK mainland only)
Another cracking evening at the Bridge Jazz Club at Exeter Phoenix last night. The house rhythm section were Matt Johns (piano) Chris Jones (bass) and Keith Michael (drums) who had all made the trip up from Cornwall to do the first set with me and then host the jam session. I was playing tenor and had chosen stuff from the more post-bop end of things: Witch Hunt, Dolphin Dance, The End of a Love Affair, Blue in Green, Four on Six and my own strangely entitled Ununbium from my last quartet album. This material suited the Cornwall guys perfectly and they brought a great contemporary sound to the set and were a total pleasure to play with. The jam session which followed was graced by no less than two trumpet/flugelhorn players in the form of Stan all the way from Oklahoma who seems to be holidaying in the UK and going from jam session to jam session, videoing as he goes, and also Rob from Exeter who gave us great renditions of Stella and Little Sunflower. Regulars Duncan on tenor sax and Chrissie singing gave us Almost Like Being in Love as well as Duncan’s In a Sentimental Mood. Ronnie and Gary sat in on drums. Al and Jim played bass and new face at the club, Adam played Blue Bossa on tenor. As is often the way this meant that one member of the house rhythm section was overworked: on this occasion it was Matt on piano who played superbly all evening on everything.
The bad news came when co-host Mack told me that our sponsors Glanville Robinson are withdrawing their financial support for the club. As a firm of solicitors they are being hit by the cuts being imposed on the legal aid budget by the public schoolboys currently in government. Glanville Robinson have seen the club right through from its inception two years ago as a handful of people in the cellar bar of the City Gate pub, through our time in Bombay Bills and since December in our current residency at Exeter Phoenix where audiences frequently have been hitting 50 or more people. We have always tried to keep door prices reasonable and the sponsorship in recent months has been in the form of a crucial topping up of any shortfall required to pay the house band and pay for the room hire, which itself is, thanks to Exeter Phoenix, at a considerably reduced rate. In the light of this news, we have taken the decision to do three things: the first is to KEEP GOING!; the second is to increase the door price from next month to the still very modest level of £5 (entry for jammers will stay at £3); and thirdly to assemble a small group of jazz lovers who would like to become “Friends of the Bridge Jazz Club” and who can each pledge a modest sum each month to sponsor us. We have already had someone come forward who will help in this way and Mack will continue to contribute on a personal basis. We really only need something like 4-5 people who can offer £10-20 each month to keep everything afloat so if you are interested in helping in this way, do get in touch. There will be the option of having any support acknowledged in club advertising or remaining anonymous, entirely your choice.
Next Bridge Jazz Club night is Wednesday 5th June, house band to be announced.
Two more pieces of news:
GET RICH QUICK, experimental improvised music group play the Black Box at Exeter Phoenix this Friday 3rd May (8.30pm £5 on the door). According to the promotional material (and it’s all true; I wrote it!) Get Rich Quick are Tim Sayer (trumpet, flugelhorn, electronics), Marcus Vergette (double bass), Jesse Molins (guitar) and Pete Canter (saxophones, drums). The group also uses percussion, cymbals and other instruments or objects at hand to produce spontaneous and unpredictable music which moves between the melodic, the atonal, and the percussive. Reflecting the diverse experience of the musicians the music can at one moment be reflective and exploratory, the next crystalise into a charging jazz groove, funk or the blues and then erupt into a wild and raucous explosion of sound. The instrumental music is augmented by loops, samples and transformations carried out by Tim Sayer on laptop. www.getrichquickmusic.wordpress.com Anything could happen and probably will so do come along.
And … finally ….at last …… LIGHTFLIGHT my new quartet album is all finished and replicated. I am collecting the boxes of CDs tomorrow and they will go on sale immediately. The album features the superb Bristol-based rhythm section of Jim Blomfield (piano), Sol Ahmed (bass) and Mark Whitlam (drums). I am playing soprano and tenor saxophone on nine of my original tunes plus a reprise of one of them. The album has been expertly recorded and mixed by Andrew Lawson at Fieldgate Studios in Penarth. Jim is playing the studio’s £75,000 Fazioli grand piano and it has come out really well. I will be selling Lightflight on gigs at £10 or if you want one by post add £1 for P&P (UK mainland only).
I have a cluster of gigs in the next week or so starting off with a Pete Canter Trio gig at The Plough Arts Centre in Torrington on Wed 24th April. The trio is myself on soprano, alto and tenor sax with Jesse Molins on guitar and Jim Rintoul on double and electric bass so there is going to be quite a bit of kit stuffed into one car for the gig! I am increasingly using more than one horn on jazz gigs as I develop a distinct repertoire for each one. I think it brings more contrasts to the performance and I’m convinced that playing the smaller horns improves my sound and technique on the tenor. One thing is for certain: practising scales and licks and the like is a darn sight less taxing sat in an armchair with the soprano than standing with a tenor sax slung around your neck. Jim, Jesse and myself have had a few rehearsals in recent weeks and have been practising a lot of my original tunes, stuff from Ununbium and from the new album out next week, Lightflight. Of course both of these albums were written for a quartet with drums and piano so we have had to adapt quite a few of the tunes to suit the instrumentation in the trio. For example, Jim has come up with a very funky bass line for Tynes, a 6/8 minor blues type thing, first performed in my suite Sketches and one of the tracks on Lightflight featuring a very distinctive piano and bass introduction. Jim’s groove is actually in 4/4 so I am stuffing the 6/8 melody which has lots of crotchet and triplet quavers into 4/4 time which makes life interesting. Conversation, which moves from waltz time to 7/8 on the new album has become a straight waltz with the trio. Finding our own way of playing these tunes is giving the trio a distinct voice and one which I think will continue to develop. We will be in the gallery at Plough Arts Centre playing from 8.15pm. Entry is £5.
The night after, Thursday 25th, I am guesting with the house trio at The Jazz Suite in Plymouth College. The trio are Steve Jenner on guitar, Bob Marks on bass and Keith Russell on drums. Again I will be playing all three horns and including a few of my originals as well as some choice standards. The evening happens in the OPM Suite in the college which is a really nice room with good acoustics. The music starts at 9pm and it’s £6 or £5 for members. Membership is £1 for life so great value.
Next week, Wed 1st May, is Bridge Jazz Club night at Exeter Phoenix when I will be joined by a completely new rhythm section who have never previously been part of the house band. These guys are Cornwall based and are Matt Johns on piano, Chris Jones on bass and Keith Michael on drums. I haven’t decided on a set yet but I’m thinking that more modal and contemporary stuff on tenor will be the ticket for these guys. As usual there will be a jam session in the second half and if previous months are anything to go by, this will be well attended with plenty of horn players, guitarists and singers plus a generous smattering of rhythm section players. Do come along to watch or to play. If you are playing, bring concert charts for the rhythm section. All are welcome. We are in the Voodoo Lounge on the first floor of Exeter Phoenix. Music starts at 8.30pm. Pay Mack on the door £4 or £3 for jammers including a free raffle ticket to win wine or CDs. The club is sponsored by Glanville Robinson Solicitors. www.bridgejazzclub.com
On Friday 3rd March, Get Rich Quick are back at Exeter Phoenix, this time in the Black Box, a smaller room than the Voodoo Lounge with a whole different vibe going on. For those that haven’t experienced Get Rich Quick yet, we are an experimental, improvised music group consisting of Tim Sayer on trumpet, flugelhorn and electronics, the effervescent Marcus Vergette on double bass, Jesse Molins on guitar and myself on saxes and drums. The music is entirely spontaneous and can go in any direction from spacey ambience, atonality, free jazz, or blues grooves all spiced up with Tim’s laptop jiggery pokery and it’s great fun. Our last gig at Exeter Phoenix went down really well with the audience so do come along and take a step on the wild side. Music starts at 8.30pm and it’s £5 on the door.
Last but not least, the new album Lightflight is finally in production and with a bit of luck, might even be on sale at The Bridge Jazz Club next week. It will sell for £10 on gigs. Add £1 for UK postage and packing. Do get in touch if you want to buy a copy.
I seem to be getting a lot of interest in saxophone lessons at the moment. I have taken on four or five new pupils in the last fortnight alone and have had to designate an extra day a week as a teaching day. It’s great that people are so excited by the prospect of learning the sax at all ages. I have had several pupils recently who have not played a note before. They are literally taking the sax out of the case and putting it together for the first time at their first lesson with me. It’s great to see the pleasure and relief on their faces the first time they produce a note. I generally aim to get them playing a scale as soon as possible: usually G major which sits in the middle of the horn and then move on to a simple blues riff. Then I go on to show them a blues scale and give a quick demonstration of how that can be used to improvise with a backing track. This always gets them excited: can it really be that easy? Well of course it isn’t that easy but it’s a good place to start! If my calculations are correct, by 2020 87% of the adult population will be sax players!!
Having a quiet week concentrating on practising and hussling gigs. Well it was quiet until yesterday: I was driving to get my haircut and noticed a live music sign outside a pub and decided to stop and try my luck at getting a gig. I pulled in at a lay-by just after the pub and reversed into the space only to hear and feel a horrible crunch: I hadn’t noticed that the wall curved out at one end of the lay-by so that was the passenger side rear lights smashed and the rear skirt badly dented and split. Fortunately they were all still working and I could carry on. A quick enquiry in an auto parts shop put a replacement at £80 which is probably about the value of the car. This is a 2001 Astra Estate with 130k on the clock with all the dents and scrapes accumulated in that time. Fortunately when I got home I managed to find a used one on fleabay for £20. Hopefully it will fit OK.
The practise has been on all three horns, soprano, alto and tenor. I am going over some tunes for a trio gig at the Plough Arts Centre on Wed 24th April with Jesse Molins on guitar and Jim Rintoul on bass. We will be in the gallery from 8.15pm so do come along if you are around Torrington way. It’s £5 to get in. We will be playing quite a few of my originals: stuff from my last album Ununbium and also tunes from Lightflight the new one out in the next few weeks. Playing through them I realise that I know many of the older ones from memory but hardly any of the new ones so have been trying to get those heads down. Fact is that if you keep reading them then they never go into the musical memory. We will also be playing a few choice standards including a few on alto.
I was hoping that Lightflight would be ready for the gig at Plough Arts and for my guest spot at The Jazz Lounge in Plymouth the night after but it’s getting a bit tight now. I’m still waiting for the final mastered CD to arrive in the post from the studio for a final check. Then there is a tweak to the artwork to accommodate slight changes in track lengths during mastering. That has to be uploaded to Dropbox for the people doing the replication and the studio has to send the final audio image to them to make the glassmaster. Once they have all that, the actual replication can be done and I will be whizzing down to Plymouth to collect a few boxes: not too many I hope as this time, unlike with previous CDs, I have gone with Lancing Packs. These will be much lighter and should take up much less space.
I’ve also been getting back into playing the drums after letting them fall down the practise agenda in recent months. This is inspired partly by the arrival of a new hi-hat stand that actually works; partly by having a snare drum that sounds good after a tuning a few weeks ago by Ronnie Jones; and partly by the upcoming Get Rich Quick gig at Exeter Phoenix on Fri 3rd May. We will be in the Black Box from 8.30pm and door entry is £5. GRQ is an experimental improvised music group with Jesse Molins on guitar, Marcus Vergette on double bass, Tim Sayer on trumpet, flugelhorn and electronics and myself on saxes and drums. The whole thing is completely improvised from start to finish, gets very exciting and the last one went down really well with our audience.
I’m managing to keep up my piano practise too, though have developed a tendency to veer off from the classical pieces I’ve been learning into playing jazz: exploring new chord sequences which eventually will become new compositions. I have a nice sequence I’m working on at the moment which will become a piece for alto sax moving from a Coltranish modal section into a more restful sequence of moving chords.
On Tuesday I met up in the Bike Shed Theatre bar with local composer/musician buddies Anna Matthews, Simon Belshaw and Emma Welton to make plans for a contemporary music project we can collaborate on. I have something in mind for soprano sax and voices but hopefully we can come up with three different pieces using partially the same instrumentation. Problem as usual is how to make it pay, pay musicians, get things rehearsed. We need a sponsor I think. Anyone out there? We are also struggling to find a name for the group which we are all comfortable with. If anyone is interested in joining us we get together about once every six weeks to make plans, share work in progress etc. People good at coming up with names particularly welcome!
Finally don’t forget that The Bridge Jazz Club meets again on Wed 1st May in the Voodoo Lounge at Exeter Phoenix: me with a house band followed by a jam session: always a good night. That reminds me: must get around to booking the rhythm section.