Monday, January 25, 2010

January Escapades

Hey folks

It’s been a fast start to the new year, as soon as I got back from my camping adventure there were a number of shows waiting.

Firstly, with Belle Phoenix. She’s a singer songwriter from Sydney, now living in Germany. She was back for Christmas and decided to do some shows. I have played with her occasionally over the last 2 years and this time we played at the Landsdowne hotel in Broadway, Sydney and I had the chance afterwards to check out the Sydney festival opening night, which was massive. You can check out Belle at

The following Sunday I did the semi-regular Jazz gig at the Woolpack Hotel in Redfern. That’s with our alter ego Jazz group – Blue Velvet Jazz - with Sarah singing, myself on guitar and Peter Rundle on Piano. He’s our regular pianist, but we have also have Margaret Brandman join us on occasion. (

Then on Monday I was with Belle again at the famous Sandringham Hotel in Newtown. The bass player didn’t turn up, so Belle played a nylon string guitar and I played electric, and the drummer played only with brushes…. An unplanned change of arrangements but it sounded great – a fresh, sparse presentation of her music.

And finally for now, I just did another Blue Velvet Jazz gig last Sunday – the last of our current residency there. As we usually play corporate events and functions it was great to play public gigs again, and come back each time to familiar faces! At the gig in early January, one of the locals who has been there each week requested ACDC, and we played Back In Black as a swing/waltz feel, which actually sounds great, and is a heap of fun to do. Hopefully we’ll be back there soon.

So that’s January!


Friday, January 8, 2010

New Years Music Calendar

This is the first blog for 2010 so I thought rather than writing what happened last year, I will focus on what’s ahead.

Firstly the festival of Sydney will be having their opening night with numerous stages scattered around Hyde Park and The Domain (in central Sydney) with the Reverend Al Green headlining.

Last year Grace Jones was the headliner and Brian Wilson the year before that.

There are a lot of other acts coming for the Sydney festival, like Martin Medeski and Wood which are playing at the famous Spiegel tent and the Marcin Wasilewski Trio from Poland.

Also coming in March is the legendary Jeff Beck who was here only 18 months ago.

I imagine the Aussies demanded more as he hadn’t been out since the late ‘70s I believe. He is doing the Byron Bay Blues festival which will, no doubt, be the prized act. I had the good fortune of seeing him up close when he was in Sydney last year, and have good seats again for his show in March.

All I can say is that if you haven’t seen him then you don’t know what a person
can do with a guitar… he takes it to a new level of expression. Someone commenting on a YouTube video said that he is “A master of touch and tone” which is very accurate.

The other big show will be Ravi Shankar doing his farwell tour. I imagine he must be well into his ‘80s and what an ambassador for indian classical music.
I was first introduced to his music while watching footage of Montery Pop festival from the late ‘60s. All the musicians from the festival were there watching, including Hendrix. They were all totally in awe of this man.

The playing was so fast and full of fire,he got a standing ovation. That gave me the interest to investigate the world of Indian classical music and I have to say it is the most extraordinary music. The discipline and dedication involved is almost unreal as they start at a very early age and dedicate their whole life to the art form.

Also, Wayne Shorter will be playing at the Sydney Opera House. He was the sax player in the legendary quintet with Miles Davis in the ‘60s. The music sounds just as good today as it did over 40 years ago.

So much music and so little time but these are some of the acts I will be seeing, so hope you have a musical 2010 as well.