Cocaine Nights: Concert photos from the Dora Stoutzker Hall

Cocaine Nights Concert PhotoToo many people to capture in one shot!  Deej Williams, bass; Alex Corlett, guitar; Huw Evans, trombone; Michael Gibbs, horn; Matt Pauley, trumpet; Andrew Martin, flute; Will White, clarinets; Naomi Bailey, saxophones; James Golborn, drums & vibes; Matt Petrie, contrabassoon

James GolbornAlex Corlett Cocaine NightsMatt Petrie

Weston Gallery Concert/First Rehearsal for Cocaine Nights

I did end up conducting Distortions on Tuesday.  I was glad the performance went well because the brief rehearsal earlier in the day had been rather a shambles!  The whole concert turned out to be somewhat longer than I’d expected.  Almost a full two hours from start to finish.  It was nevertheless interesting to hear the eclectic range of music performed.  Charlie Jackson’s piece for string quartet entitled After IV, and guided to an extent by Bartók’s fourth string quartet was played with conviction by the Silverstone Quartet.  The talented Kina Miyamoto performed not only her own new work for piano and electronics, but premiered Lewis Furber’s bleak and moody Dead Preludes for solo piano.

Conducting Distortions

Conducting Distortions in the Weston Gallery at RWCMD

On Wednesday I had the first rehearsal for my Cocaine Nights piece.  I’d only finished the music a few days before, and was rather excited to see how it would come together.  It’s written for a ten piece ensemble consisting of mixed wind, brass, percussion, bass and myself on guitar, and in some respects is related to Gunther Schuller’s Third Stream movement which began in the latter half of the fifties.  My ensemble contains classical and jazz trained musicians side by side and some moments in the piece are ad libbed.  It ranges from moments of atmospheric slow music, with pungent chords to fast rhythmic sections, some of which have a downright groove.  No doubt those moments will be looked down upon by some listeners, but who cares, they’re not who I’ve written it for.

Recording of Distortions

Yesterday, with the help of Kina Miyamoto and an array of wires and microphones, we recorded Distortions.  The original group of players who’d first performed it were all present, but there was only one hour in which to get it done.  Time was tight, and there was no possibility of any extra time at the end.  Fortunately the group managed to do more than one take of most of the sections of the piece, and there weren’t too many difficulties, except perhaps for Harriet’s beads getting stuck at the wrong end of the rain stick!  Afterwards I listened back to the different takes with Kina in the studio, and made a few editing decisions.

Not long after that, I had to rehearse the same piece from scratch with a completely different group of players who are performing it in the Weston Gallery at RWCMD next Tues evening (24th 7.30pm).  It was necessary for me to conduct the piece, and I may well do so for the concert.  In the absence of a cellist at the rehearsal, Charlie Jackson, who’s organising the concert, found himself playing the cello part on the piano.  Thanks to that we were able to rehearse all the parts, and begin to get things together before the final run-throughs.