First Steps - New book release.

 

 

          First Steps Saxophone 
  


 

    I'm very excited to anounce the realease of my second tution book 'First Steps', which is co-written with the wonderful Paul Harvey. The tunes are simple and yet exciting, the backing tracks are supurb (performed and recorded by Paul Harvey and myself). The Sax book works for both Bb and Eb instruments and comes with 2 piano scores and a CD with fabolous backing tracks. There  are 2 more books for Clarinet and Flute.

 

 

 

First Steps Flute front cover

 

First Steps Clarinet

Coming up!

Pheasantry Poster 7th July

 

'I first heard Shamus Dark in the intimate late night setting that was the Map Café in Kentish Town. Shamus was accompanied by sympathetic, atmospheric, imaginative and consummate musicians in the shape of Rob Hughes (saxophones and flute), Rick Laughlin (piano and keyboards) and Paul Harvey (guitar). Shamus and his cohorts took me into a twilight world, a world of film noir, with a series of atmospheric songs, mainly, but by no means exclusively (for example, a notable exception was “Hey You” courtesy of late 70s Pink Floyd), from the forties and fifties. All the songs had a timeless quality that transcended genre, era and style. Notable examples of genre-busting included Country great Hank Williams’ “Weary Blues (From Waiting”), originally recorded by Shamus on his first album Songs for Suicidal Lovers and, from his second album Trouble in Paradise, “Trust in Me”, a song which first saw the light of day in the film of the late 60s The Jungle Book.

                         As well as purchasing the two albums with alacrity, I very quickly visited YouTube to re-visit my experience. (Tom Waites, take note on how Shamus touches your heights, without imitation and arguably more subtle humour, on that classic song “You’ve Changed”, originally performed by Dick Haymes with the Harry James Orchestra in 1941).

Go, preferably with a friend or three, to see these masterly musicians on Wednesday 15th June 2016 at The Café In The Crypt St Martin-In-The-Fields Trafalgar Square London WC2N 4JJ.

Review by Bryan Collins.

Crypt-St Martins- Rob and Shamus

 

 

Japan - 2016

      I had the pleasure of travelling to Osaka and Tokyo in Janaury this year playing at the Billboard clubs with ABC. I've never been to Japan before so I was really looking forward to it. It definitely did not dissapoint. It's a strange thing for me travelling. People obviously think it's glamourous but I'm not so sure. Flying is mostly like a job itself nowadays with all the security precautions at the airport plus unless you are a fan of sitting in a fragil tube at 30,000 feet it's not really what I would class as enjoyable. However it's a necessity to get to these places so on I go!

Big

    Many countries can seem way to familar to the UK, basically it's just another capitalist based country or city. However Japan is DIFFERENT! Yes it's still based on capatailism but the culture is very different to many others. People are very respectful to each other. Obvioulsy as a western vistor I don't get to experience the true Japan but I do like what I see. It certainly made London feel very agressive when I returned. Everything is done to perfection and it's not annoying. I will give you an example.

                  When I arrived at the Billboard club in Osaka the gear had been ordered in for the band by the managment passing on the Carne to the Japense. I had decided to try Flute on a tune as a last minute descion. A Flute stand had not been pre-ordered bythe UK so obviously there wasn't one at the club in Osaka. I made no fuss about this or mention it to ABC's managment. When I arrived at the club 2 days later in Tokyo a Flute stand was on stage. The point being that the people at the club just took it upon themselves to sort it. I didn't mention it. You get where I'm coming from, very efficient!

 

 

 

    As you can tell from the above video there are a lot of people in Tokyo. 35 million people! I can't get my head around the number. Also people in Japan still buy records! I spent over an hour in the Jazz department of Tower Records! Seriously it was heaven and make me realize how much we have lost with the downloads. I really worry about the future of the music industry.

 

 

 

 

Transcription time.

 

 

 

 

     One of the most important tools I need to sharpen are my ears! It sounds weird but alongside technique on the Sax, equally important are your listening skills. Taking down other peoples solos is a very good way of making yourself sharpen your use of listening. It's also very good for your technique because it's forcing you fingers into sequences that you may not try within your own soloing. The above is a solo by Bob Reynolds. It's not that the solo is incredilbly hard or harmonically reaching. The reason I took down the solo is I like the exploratory way Bob works over what are basically pop changes. His sound is superb and his phrasing is very interesting. I recorded this whilist playing my Holton Tenor Sax which is old (1950's) but has a great sound! The Holton is on the right hand side of the below picture. The difference between older horns and newer is, as you can see from the left hand Sax which is my Buffet Crampon, all the keywork is to the right hand side of the body of the Sax. Part of the reason for this is musicians felt the sound was being muffled when sat down with the sax againt your leg. With the keys facing away from you leg nothing could get in the way of the sound.

            Buffet Crampon S3 (Made in 1973)            Holton  241 (Made in 1950)

            Solid Copper                                Solid Brass

 IMG 4186

Happy New Year everyone!


 

 

It was a joy yet again to end last year with a couple of Sax Appeal gigs. The bands has been led and run by the fantastic Saxophonist Derek Nash for over 30 years! I watched this band when I was at Goldsmiths University. In fact Derek made a wonderful speech at the gig I watched on the day Princess Diana died. Britan went into it's ridiculous media led frenzy of mass mourning and Derek reminded the audience that many people had died that day and that we should think others not just the famous. Anyway listen to Derek 'roast me' and make me play an extra chorus at 2.50! Enjoy......

Shamus Dark

 

    I very much enjoyed this gig. Shamus Dark on vocals, Paul Harvey on Guitar and Rick Laughlin on Keyboards.

 

Rob Hughes Sextet.

Crypt Poster 22nd April

Fun in the Sun

 

This was cool, I flew out to Dubai to play for Heather Small. It's rare to be able to play outside without the threat of rain in the UK but here it's a different story. Above is a little clip from one of her tunes. 

Beverley Beirne

I have the great pleaure of guesting with Beverley Beirne & The Sam Watt’s Trio at Pizza Express, for more info on Beverly's musical performances click here.

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