Nearly a year ago now I posted on this blog with an identical title outlining how people could support the Bridge Jazz Club which meets so succesfully in Exeter Phoenix on the first Wednesday each month. At that time we we were announcing an increase in the ticket prices and calling for people to come forward as “Friends of the Bridge Jazz Club” and pledge a small monthly sum to keep us solvent. That call was in response to the loss of the corporate sponsorship from Glanville Robinson we had been enjoying ever since the inception of the club 2 years earlier. That corporate sponsorship was replaced by regular donations by a small group of Friends including my co-founder of the club Mack Robinson. This has enabled us to continue paying the house band each month, buy wine for raffle prizes and pay Exeter Phoenix for the room hire. Mack has now moved away from Exeter and with new work and family commitments has decided to hand over the running of the club to me. I am sure that everyone who has played at the club or come to listen will want to join me in thanking Mack for his work over the past three years in helping me to get the club up and running and as partner in Glanville Robinson for organising the sponsorship in the first place.
His departure does mean that the club has lost one of the Friends who continue to make their valuable regular donations that keep us afloat. If anyone is interested in becoming a Friend and making a small donation each month (£10 or £15), please do get in touch with me. Meanwhile, here are a number of other ways in which you can help your local jazz club, many reproduced from the earlier post:
1. Come to the club at Exeter Phoenix on the first Wednesday each month and enjoy an evening of great jazz in a friendly atmosphere. With good audiences, all the club’s financial problems will evaporate.
2. Tell your friends about the club and get them to come along too.
3. Donate a prize for the raffle: a bottle of wine or a jazz CD. CDs don’t have to be new. Previous raffle prizes have included books about jazz and a Christmas pudding.
4. Buy extra raffle tickets at £1 each.
5. Become a Friend of the Bridge Jazz Club. This is a small group, presently 3 people, who make regular small donations to help keep the club afloat. We are talking a very modest £10-15 here and the more people who become Friends the smaller this amount will be. You can donate as an individual or as a company, with or without public acknowledgement of your support. I now look after the club’s finances and occasional doorman Tony Kaye will be acting as an auditor. We can set up a standing order or take one-off donations. We will be making regular reports to the Friends on the state of the club finances.
6. Volunteer to help out with setting up and dismantling of chairs, tables, curtains and lighting. There is a lot of lugging around of furniture before and after the gig presently done by me and whoever I can talk into helping me.
7. Without Mack I am increasingly going to need help with covering the door.
Do get in touch if you would like to help in any of these ways.
Yet another great evening at the Bridge Jazz Club here in Exeter last night. The Voodoo Lounge in Exeter Phoenix was rammed for the third month in succession as listeners and jamming musicians assembled for the regular first Wednesday of the month club night. The house band were piano supremo Craig Milverton, excellent double bassist Kevin Sanders and young up and coming drummer Matt Evans along with myself on tenor sax. As usual the first set was from the house band and took in compositions by Wayne Shorter, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker, Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson as well as my own original Ununbium. This went down well with the audience and then in order get young double bassist and Trinity student to be Andrew on stage before he had to catch his bus back to Budleigh, we immediately got Neil Burns up on guitar along with Alex on drums while Craig and Kevin retired to the bar. The jam session built from there with sax players Tony and Marius perfoming several numbers together and separately. They were joined by Andy on trumpet and flugelhorn, who although he says he doesn’t really play jazz gave a good impression of sounding like he knew what he was doing! Tom and Ronnie had sessions at the kit and with Craig and Kevin back in the rhythm section and Ronnie on bongos, the jam session worked up to raucous, chaotic and very enjoyable ensemble renditions of several standards. Remember this is all for just £5 on the door or a mere £3 for musicians playing in the jam session. The next Bridge Jazz Club night is Wed 2nd April.
I’m really looking forward to tomorrow night’s gig with Eclipse at Hope Hall in Heavitree. Old buddy James Shipway comes in on guitar instead of Jesse Molins who unfortunately is experiencing an RSI problem. James Rintoul will be on double bass and we will be playing two sets of my originals and choice standards from 8pm. Hope Hall is in Hope Rd, Heavitree, Exeter, EX2 5JN and is an old chapel now used as an artist’s studio. The acoustics are fantastic and this will be an intimate gig in a very special atmosphere. Entry is £8 or £5 for concessions. Advance booking is advised through email@example.com. It is a bring your own booze evening though soft drinks and snacks will be on sale. Eclipse has played there twice before and it has been a really nice evening on both occasions. The fantastic photo comes from our last time there and also shows the migration themed installation created by our host for the evening, artist Naomi Hart. It is of course Jesse on guitar in the photo.
I am out again on Monday evening (10th March) playing with my trio at the Clifford Arms in Shaldon. Matt Johns will be on keys and Jim Rintoul will be on bass. Music there starts at 8.30pm and there is a special jazz menu.
Preparations foror the Vibraphonic Festival gig with Get Rich Quick + Festival Scratch Orchestra are going well. The last time I counted we were up to 10 musicians recruited for this evening of free and guided improvisations at Exeter Phoenix. The first tickets have been sold and scores are coming in to guide the improvisations. Tickets are limited to 40 in number so talk to me if you want one in advance. They are just £5. More details at www.getrichquickmusic.wordpress.com
The Lightflight tour ended up being a great success despite the terrible weather and was marred only by pianist Matt Johns writing off his car after the gig at Peter Tavy on Valentines Day. This was one of the stormier nights and swerving to avoid a fallen tree coming off Dartmoor, he managed to put his car into a spin, ending up in the ditch. Fortunately Matt was fine but his keyboard and amp ended up in a garage for the next couple of days and we had to bring in James Clemas as a dep for the final night of the tour at Sampford Courtenay. Despite the weather we had good audiences at all three gigs and were well looked after with home cooked food before the gigs, complementary drinks and a great response from the audiences. Peter Tavy was a particularly memorable night. This was the smallest of the three village halls and we were literally a couple of feet from the people at the closest tables making for a very intimate atmosphere indeed. The band of Matt on keys, Jim Rintoul on bass and Ron Jones on drums and percussion played really well throughout and James Clemas did a great job filling Matt’s shoes on the last night in the spectacular old schoolhouse at Samford. Lightflight has subsequently been booked to play more latin jazz at the Double Locks Ciderfest in August.
I’ve just heard the bad news that guitarist Jesse Molins has had another flare up RSI and will be unable to play the trio gig with Eclipse at Hope Hall in Exeter on March 7th. Old friend James Shipway comes in on guitar to join Jim Rintoul on bass and myself on saxes and I’m sure it will be another great night in the very special atmosphere of Hope Hall in Heavitree. Advanced booking definitely advised for this one through our host Naomi Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other gigs coming up include my trio gig at the City Gate Hotel on Friday (28th Feb) when I will be playing with James Clemas on keys and Jim Rintoul on bass. Music starts at 7.30pm in the conservatory and we may be joined again by sitter in Tom Wright on the most minimal drum kit you’ve ever seen: a snare drum and two brushes! Next Wed 5th March is Bridge Jazz Club night at Exeter Phoenix when the house rhythm section will be the amazing Craig Milverton on keys, Kevin Sanders on bass and Matt Evans on drums. The jam session will follow the first set from me with the house band. Music from 8.30pm in the Voodoo Lounge. £5 on the door or just £3 for jammers including a free raffle. Bass players need to bring your own bass for this one though you will be able to go through Kevin’s amp. Following that I have two gigs with wonderful pianist Matt Johns: firstly a private function down on his patch in Falmouth on Sat 8th March and then a trio with Jim Rintoul on Monday 10th March at The Clifford Arms in Shaldon near Teignmouth. Music starts at 8.30pm at the Clifford and remember there’s a special jazz menu and good beer to be had.
I am also busy organising the Vibraphonic Festival gig on Wed 19th March at Exeter Phoenix. This is a development of the free improvisation gigs I have been doing with Get Rich Quick. On this occasion, GRQ will be joined by a specially recruited Festival Scratch Orchestra in a series of short improvisations, both free and guided by “scores” submitted by contemporary composers. Unfortunately Jesse will miss this one too. The line up so far is Marcus Vergette double bass, James Clemas keys, Tim Sayer trumpet & flugelhorn, Gill Baker Eb horn, Ruth Molins flute & alto flute, John Welton bass clarinet, Tom Wright minimal drum kit and myself on soprano sax. I’m still looking for improvising string players if anyone is interested in joining the orchestra. Also do consider submitting a score. More details at www.getrichquickmusic.wordpress.com
Meanwhile I’m persevering with learning the double bass and hanging in there at weekly EMG Symphony Orchestra rehearsals. We are preparing for a Vaughan Williams concert in Exeter Cathedral on 5th April. The programme consists of his Sea Symphony and Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. The concert will be spectacular even if one of the double bass players is struggling a bit!
And finally the contemporary composers group which I co-founded with Anna Mattews nearly two years ago finally has a name, ”Echoes” and Anna is working on a new website. We will be welcoming new members who are interested in composing and playing contemporary music and will be organising performances so watch this space.
Last week’s gig with my Latin jazz quartet Lightflight at the Drewe Arms in Drewesteignton went really well. We had a good turnout for a wet Sunday evening in February and the music went down very well. There was a raised stage which presented a few problems in terms of fitting us all on it particularly as I was playing soprano, alto & tenor saxes as well as congas. Nevertheless the gig was a blast. We have three more Lightflight gigs this week supported by rural touring scheme Villages in Action.
We also had a really good turnout on Wednesday for the Bridge Jazz Club at Exeter Phoenix, again despite severe weather warnings here in the Southwest. There was a whole new batch of jammers who came along to play in the second half. These included two young guitarists sharing one guitar belonging to student Constantin, a promising young tenor player, also studying at the University and a sax and trumpet pairing from Crediton who are starting yet another jazz club along the lines of the Bridge JC out in their village. Along with Sidmouth Jazz Club rub by club regular Mike Sayers that will make three in the area following the model of house band then jam session forged by the Bridge. We also had tunes from Mike on alto sax and Charlie on guitar. Most unusually there were no singers and not one, but two trumpet players, both called Andy. The house band was John Cartwright on keys, Mike Thorn on bass and Tom Wright on kit. Other jammers were Alex on drums and Mike Sayers on bass. Next club night is Wed 5th March when the house band will be Matt Evans on drums, Kevin Sanders on bass and top pianist Craig Milverton on keys. Thanks to Steve Edwards for covering the door for this one.
I’m pretty excited about the Vibraphonic Festival gig with Get Rich Quick and the Festival Scratch Orchestra on 19th March at Exeter Phoenix which as well as free improv will involve improvisation guided by “scores” submitted by external composers. The plan is to have a total of about 10-12 people on stage from different musical backgrounds as well as the core improvising group GRQ. I have recruited bass clarinet player John Welton, old friend Gill Baker on Eb tenor horn and drummer Tom Wright to add to the GRQ quintet of Tim Sayer on trumpet and flugelhorn (maybe electronics), James Clemas on keys, Marcus Vergette on bass, Jesse Molins on guitar and myself on soprano sax. I’m relinquishing playing drums myself for this one because I think I will have enough to do organising the band and getting through the series of guided pieces some of which might involve sound tracks, distributing written scores or other paraphanalia. We are also up an extra flight of stairs in the Phoenix for this one! I know that there several people from the composers group I belong to who are working on scores and I will also have a few of my own ideas ready to go. I’m still looking for string players and a flautist or two to take part in the event. More details about this and the call for scores via the above link.
Experimental/ improvised music group Get Rich Quick will be performing in the Vibraphonic Festival on Wed 19th March at Exeter Phoenix along with a scratch orchestra assembled for the event. As well as spontaneous improvisations there will be a series of short controlled improvised pieces guided by scores submitted by composers interested in this area of music making. GRQ are also recruiting musicians for the scratch orchestra. Details of the Call for Scores and the call for musicians can be found at www.getrichquickmusic.wordpress.com
February sees my new latin jazz band Pete Canter’s Lightflight back on the road around Devon. The band plays accessible melodic music with strong latin grooves. The set is made up of my latin jazz originals drawn from my last two albums plus choice latin jazz standards from the likes of Horace Silver and Freddie Hubbard. Lightflight features superb pianist Matt Johns with Jim Rintoul on bass and Ronnie Jones on drums and percussion. I play soprano, alto and tenor saxes in the band as well as congas (when my hands are free). Here’s what the promoter of Lightflight’s November gig in Shobrooke said about us:
Hi Pete, I just wanted to send you a quick note following your gig in Shobrooke on Saturday to thank you so much for a truly outstanding performance. It took a long time to clear the pub on Saturday night (even longer than usual) as so many people wanted to reflect on your strikingly high quality performance. The virtuoso musicianship and the fine ensemble playing, your hugely accessible interpretation of both new and classic material and the really engaging interaction between the musicians were all a joy to experience. It left us in no doubt that we had shared in something very special. Thank you again. Kind regards, Leslie Hampson.
We start with a gig on Sunday 2nd February with a slot at Marcus Vegette’s new jazz event at the Drewe Arms in Drewesteignton. For this one, Marcus himself will be on bass and the music starts at 7.00pm. Door entry is just £5 or you can buy a special 12x entrance ticket for the price of 10 which you use to bring friends and/or attend multiple gigs at the Drewe. As a bonus the tickets are a series of exclusive original lino prints, made and generously donated by Stephen Park, Peter Randall-Page, and Marcus Vergette which are yours to keep.
There are then three more gigs supported by rural touring schgeme Villages in Action:
Thur 13th Feb at East Portlemouth Village Hall near Salcombe 6.30pm For tickets call 01548 842185.
Fri 14th Feb at Peter Tavy Village Hall near Tavistock 7.30pm For tickets call 01822 810552.
Sat 15th Feb at Sampford Courtenay Village Hall near Okehampton 7.30pm. For tickets call 01837 82090.
Meanwhile, my trio will be at the City Gate Hotel in Exeter this Friday (7.30-10.30pm) where I will be joined by James Clemas on keys and Marcus Vergette on bass. The Bridge Jazz Club meets on Wed 5th Feb when the house band will be myself on sax with John Cartwright on keys, veteran Mike Thorn on double bass and the up and coming Tom Wright on drums so a wide age range from early 20s to 70s. There will be the usual jam session after the opening set and it all happens in the Voodoo Lounge at Exeter Phoenix. Any bass guitarists please note that you need to bring your own amp. The same goes for guitarists. Mike is happy to let upright bass players use his bass.
My own double bass playing is going well. I’ve now had the instrument for about 9 months and I’m attending weekly rehearsals with the EMG Symphony Orchestra who are preparing for a performance of Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony and Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis in Exeter Cathedral in April. I’m not finding it easy to deal with the bass, read the music accurately and keep an eye on the conductor all at the same time. I have been having lessons, along with a small group of other local bass players, with top soloist and bass educator David Heyes who travels down from Somerset about once a month. Anyone else local to Exeter who is interested in having one to ones with David should contact him. David is also planning an afternoon workshop on 1st March if we can find a cheap or free venue. Again get in touch if you know of somewhere or are interested in attending.
After a pleasant starter gig last Saturday with James Clemas on keys at the Real McCoy Cafe in Exeter, on Tuesday I was back into the swing of teaching with three of my regular pupils: two sax players and a trumpet player who is learning some jazz improvisation skills with me.
On Wednesday, which was also my birthday, we had the first Bridge Jazz Club of the year. I thought numbers might be low because we were out of our usual first Wednesday of the month slot, usually a formula for confusing the regulars, and also the weather was crap. But no, we had a good turnout with lots of new faces. There were fewer front line jammers than usual so I had to do a few tunes in the second half but thanks to Godfrey on tenor sax for bringing along an original tune and for letting me join him in going apeshit on a minor blues. We also had Hilda and Tansy singing, James on keys, Tom and Alec sitting in on drums and Jim and Mike taking turns on bass. The house band were great too: Matt Johns on keys sporting a Bill Evans like beard, Marcus Vergette on bass and new face on drums Keith Marshall who ‘s fours included a humorous dance around the kit! Thanks to Tony Kaye for covering the door.
Tonight I started rehearsals with the EMG Symphony Orchestra in the bass section. We were playing Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony which is no walk in the park but I could play chunks of it and managed to follow the score most of the time so hopefully I will be able to play enough of it by April to merit a place in the section for the performance in Exeter Cathedral. We are rehearsing again on Sunday with the choir. I’m really impressed by conductor Marion Wood.
My practising has been focusing on sax and bass for the last few weeks. I can’t leave the tenor alone since Gill Baker replaced some pads and gave it a tweak before Xmas. It’s playing superbly and I’ve been concentrating on practising sixteenth note routines with a metronome. The metronome is important not only in terms of locking onto the pulse but also because without it, it’s easy to start thinking in terms of eighth notes which are so ubiquitous in much jazz. The aim is to get comfortable in another gear. I think feeling it or imagining it are as important as the physical motor skills that’s why it helps just to listen to people like Tubby Hayes!
On the bass I’m working hard on learning all my scales up to the second octave and grappling with all the different bowing patterns as well as working on some pieces. In particular I have a very nice Phrygian piece I’m working on which is getting me playing right up the neck. So plenty if challenges to be going on with.