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Tuesday 22 January 2019 – D’Ukes rehearsal

After running through some of the tunes we are playing at a private party on Saturday we did some more work on Livin’ Thing to the point where we thought we might as well play it on Saturday, otherwise it won’t get aired for a few weeks. It’s sounding good!

Monday 21 January 2019 – Monday Guitar Group

We started the evening with a warm up strum around four chords (Am C G Em) which, when looking at the circle of fifths, form a neat little circular pattern at the top. This meant it was easy, using the circle, to change the key to, for example, Em – which we did. Then, in tribute to Ray Thomas of the Moody Blues who died last year, I showed the group the chords to the song, Go Now, which featured several slash chords and a D augmented chord (XX0332). The rest of the evening was spent working on the guitar harmony line in Brown Eyed Girl.

Earlier that day: Graham, Mick and I got together to have a chat about last night’s jam session and then we started playing some possibilities for inclusion in the next one on 17th March. Tunes we played today included Desafinado, Bags’ Groove, All The Things You Are and Cantaloupe Island.

Sunday 20 January 2019 – Jazz Jam Session, Black Bull, Chelmsford

After dashing back home (within the speed limits) from my gig with the Ron Spack Trio in Southend I had three things to do: change into more suitable clothes; load the car with even more gear; and cook myself a dinner in the space of ten minutes even though it was about 4pm. I arrived at the pub to find Mick already setting up his drum kit. I set my own gear up plus the PA system by which time jammers for the jam session were starting to arrive. It was a three hour session and I really enjoyed my role of counting in tunes, signalling soloists, making announcements and occasionally playing guitar when required. To cut a long story short, in the end we had about nine sax players, two guitarists, a bass player, two drummers and a harmonica player, in addition to members of DWJQ.

I positioned myself at the front with my microphone, for stage announcements and for corralling the musicians. I had the flip chart ready to write down names of whoever wanted to jam on whatever song; and my guitar for playing on the occasional tune. After DWJQ started off proceedings with a quick version of Tenor Madness, Hugh played Midnight Creeper and My Little Suede Shoes and then it was Nicole’s turn to sing three songs including Wave. The rest of the first set was taken up by Graham’s three tunes which included one I played on: The Days Of Wine And Roses. Most tunes had two or three additional soloists and we managed to get to the break by about 7:15pm.

Pretty soon I was getting everyone on stage to start the second set with Moondance, sung by Angie. It also featured Mike on sax and Reniaro on drums. Angie did a couple more songs, including Summertime featuring Michael on harmonica, and then Gil did three tunes including Cherokee which I counted in at quite a high tempo; about 220 BPM. Richard and Jan played the final set of three tunes, plus assorted soloists, before we finished the evening with almost everyone playing on Blue Bossa and, finally, Watermelon Man with me conducting the band through the final few bars. It was a very successful jam session – the best so far – and we managed to get through twenty tunes while only overrunning by about 15 minutes.

Earlier that day: before the busy jazz jam session that was to follow in the evening, I had a gig in Southend at the British Legion with the Ron Spack Trio. Unfortunately, there was no car park so I had to drive around to find a space. The club was a very old fashioned looking place with fruit machines and a long bar. Malcolm was on sax today and also sang a few songs; and Ron was on bass as always. We played a number of standards to a small number of people but it was very relaxed and I enjoyed it. We finished at 3:15pm and I then had to quickly pack up, find my car which was in another street, and head back home to get ready for the jam session. 

Saturday 19 January 2019 – D’Ukes, The Norton Pub, Cold Norton

I think this must be our seventh visit here and it means we always start our year with a bang. Within a few moments of arriving the pub was starting to get very busy with people who had come to see us. As pub gigs go it was very straight forward and throughout the evening we built up the excitement to the point where almost everyone was singing along or dancing at the end. Just for a change I did a solo on The One I Love using distortion which I think worked well though I was getting quite a bit of feedback – a combination of the effects pedal’s compression and the acoustic nature of my tenor uke. That reminds me – I did my ukulele joke after my solo in You Do Something To Me: “it’s a cheap one; just a tenor!”

Friday 18 January 2018 – Interplay rehearsal

No John today so we ran through the current set of tunes we are working on including Nica’s Dream, Crisis, On Green Dolphin Street, Love For Sale, Serenade To A Cuckoo and East Of The Village. We also started on a new tune, Workout by Hank Mobley. I’ve probably said before that the reason I enjoy John’s absence is solely because it gives me a chance to play the heads (normally he does) and practise my sight reading too.

Thursday 17 January 2019 – D’Ukes rehearsal

We went through some songs in readiness for Saturday’s gig at the Norton and spent a bit of time working on our arrangement of Livin’ Thing.

Wednesday 16 January 2019 – DWJQ rehearsal

With Tony back in action the five of us went through the set list for next Wednesday’s gig at The Three Elms, including three new tunes: Afro Blue, My Favourite Things and My Foolish Heart

Tuesday 15 January 2019 – rehearsal with Angie

Angie and Dave have a gig at the Mighty Oak Tap Room in Maldon on 17th February at 3pm so we got together tonight to rehearse some new songs as well as sharing a beer. The new songs are Reward, Opportunities, Back In The USSR, Give Me One Reason, Look Of Love and Living On Ceiling. The final task was to look at the last set list and take out some songs so we can insert the new ones. Once we had done this we spent a short while just strumming through some songs and ended up playing Minnie The Moocher which worked so well that we decided to include it in the set list as well. 

Monday 14 January 2019 – rehearsal for jam session

DWJQ are hosting a jam session at the Black Bull on Sunday at 6pm so today we had a bit of a marathon session running through some of the tunes we’ll be playing on as a rhythm section. We started with three tunes that are being led by Graham, namely The Days Of Wine and Roses, Song for my Father and Fungii Mama and then, after a lunch break of bread and varieties of cheese kindly provided by Mick, we continued with the tunes John is playing bass on. These included Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, Cherokee (in which gradually edged the speed up to 200 bpm), Ornithology, West Coast Blues, Good Morning Heartache, Black Orpheus, Blue Bossa, Fly Me To The Moon, Midnight Creeper and finally the bossa nova standard, Wave, which we are doing in the key of F for Nicole the singer. That was the longest rehearsal I have had in a while and it was nice afterwards to walk through the park into town and have a pot of tea and some cake at a cafe in the local bookshop.

Later that day: It was the second session of the year and we warmed up by playing a two octave A major scale, and then Bb, B, C, C#, D and finally D# major scale. To warm up our strumming faculties I gave them the chords to Key To The Highway (Derek and the Dominos) and I showed them some typical blues voicings of 7th chords. The basic chords are A E D D A E A E. Before the break, we strummed the chords to Killing Me Softly (With His Song) in deference to the lyricist, Norman Gimbel, who died recently. After the break we discussed the circle of fifths (looking at my new clock) noticing how many songs follow it in an anti-clockwise direction. Finally (for fun!) we strummed Brown Eyed Girl and I started to show them the harmony guitar line played by Eric Gale on the original which we will finish next week.

Sunday 13 January 2019 – Blues Experience rehearsal

We’ve got a gig coming up soon at the Three Elms as part of their Winter Blues Festival so we spent the morning running through the first set and deciding which ones to drop. We also need to learn some more commercial tunes, maybe from the Blues Brothers films, so had a think about what would be good to include. These will be performed at a gig in Basildon next April.

Friday 11 January 2019 – D’Ukes, Colchester Mencap Gateway Club

We set off extra early and sure enough the Friday evening traffic ensured we spent nearly an hour and a half on the A12. Despite that it was a good evening playing to about seventy people in the canteen of the adult learning centre. I did my best to encourage people to sing along to tunes such as What’s Up and Delilah, and during Sit Down, as always, I selected a couple of people to sit next to as the song reached the chorus. Good fun and I daresay we might go back one day.

Thursday 10 January 2019 – D’Ukes rehearsal

Dep bassist, Colin, is playing with us at tomorrow’s gig so he came over instead of John to rehearse the set which was essentially the same as the last one he played with us in France in September. It was useful for the rest of us too as we haven’t played since before Christmas and tomorrow is our first gig of 2019. 

Wednesday 9 January 2019 – gigs for 2019

I’ve just sorted out and uploaded my gig list for the year. Click here to have a look. There are so far  45 booked gigs plus some private ones not listed.

Monday 7 January 2019 – Monday Guitar Group

This was the first session of the new year but the 436rd of all time. Everyone turned up and we started by warming up on the chromatic scale followed by practising the A major scale. The chords we strummed as part of the strummy warm up were taken from the current number one record by Max Ava called Sweet But Psycho – F C G Am G. I showed them some 1st inversion triad voicings on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings that we haven’t used before. After the tea break we played Have I The Right by the Honeycombs in tribute to drummer Honey Lantree who recently died.

Earlier that day: Mick, Graham and I got together to rehearse the tunes we are playing at the jazz jam session namely: Song For My Father, The Days Of Wine And Roses and Fungii Mama. They went well considering we haven’t played together for a few weeks. We also played through a few of the other tunes that will be at the jam session including Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.

Friday 4 January 2019 – Practice with Gil

We went through the tunes Gil is performing at the jam session on 20th January at the Black Bull, namely: Cherokee, West Coast Blues and Ornithology, aand then we played a few other tunes suchas Beautiful Love, Scrapple From The Apple and Lyresto.

Later that day: Richard, Mark and I got together to work on Interplay tunes; Crisis, Nica’s Dream, Groovey Samba, Well You Needn’t, Love For Sale, On Green Dolphn Street and Blues In The Closet.


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