Buena Vista Social Club

Following recent media interest in post-Castro Cuba, it’s worth revisiting Wim Wenders’ 1999 film:






Prepared Piano #1

It’s 70 years since John Cage completed his collection of Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano. 1948, the year that Mahatma Gandhi was murdered, the United Nations created the Jewish state of Israel in Palestine, as well as adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Treaty of Brussels was signed, which led to the EU; all of which have come back to haunt and taunt us.

I met John Cage in 1980. Got drunk with him and Merce Cunningham in Soho. I’ve used prepared piano samples in several compositions over the years, but waited until now to compose something for prepared piano performance. This and the following pieces represent fond remembrance filtered through the rejection of Modernism. My thanks to Marabi O’Hare for joining me in performing these recordings, at night in a small country church in the West Country. A quiet place that we shall keep secret.


More in this set to come …


Melodic ornamentation in jazz

Here are some useful resources for developing your extemporisation and improvisation skills …













La La Land, jazz and race

With Oscars 2017 in mind, here are some varied opinions about the subtext of La La Land.

Jazz, race and diversity

Jazz on Film 1

Jazz on Film 2

“But, you know, no music is my music. It’s everybody’s who can feel it. You’re here…well, if it’s music, you feel it…then it’s yours too. You’ve got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It’s that way with music too.” Sidney Bechet, Treat It Gentle