(Almost) Spring 2014

This time of year is always a bit of a hibernation period for me, as I recover from The UFQ November tour and everything that Christmas and new year entails, whilst working away quietly preparing for the rest of the year. It looks set to be quite a busy one, which is always reassuring(!) and as the spring just starts to hint at making an appearance I'm really starting look forward to what's ahead. 

We're kicking off the new lineup of UFQ, featuring exceptional banjoist, singer and guitarist Dan Walsh, with a spring tour in April and May that looks set to roll nicely into the festival period. It's great to have some of the more established British folk festivals in the mix this year, alongside our now-beloved stomping ground of the Chai Wallahs circuit and European visits. They're still coming in but check out the gigs page to see how it's looking. I'm also back in that old favourite guise of djembe player with The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble for this June's tour as well as some of the biggest festivals in the band's 16 year history - main stage at Shambala, closing (the 50th!) Towersey and a much-anticipated slot at Fairport's Cropredy Convention. I'm overjoyed to be returning to Cropredy so soon after UFQ's 2011 visit but In all honesty, I'm mostly excited to see the look on the students' faces as they walk on to that stage in front of maybe twenty thousand people or more.

In the meantime, admin aside, I'm getting stuck into some jazz with The Jim Wynn Trio. When Jim and I get together the repertoire and arrangements give a big nod to Ahmad Jamal, Bill Evans, Red Garland et al with an intended focus on quiet swing and economical interplay. It's a delight to have the trio back together with Hamish Livingstone on the bass and I'm hoping our visit to Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury is the first of some more frequent get togethers. 

Education-wise, I'm really looking forward to a return visit to Chester, to get together with the university's drummers for a couple of masterclasses, Birchfield Prep School's house music competition and I've a feeling there may be something brewing over at Music For Youth...

For now, in the words of Johnny Burke, keep an eye on spring, and I'll see you out there somewhere!

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