Manc-[jazz]-fest - Ta!
there are no links in this article. I'm tired. I'll do it in a bit. For now just savour the pleasure of reading. Or something.
And yes, I know the title doesn't work. Patience. All will be fixed soon.
Agh, I'm back from Manchester.
There is an air of tiredness in the utterance—the travel was very wearing this time. It feels like I was there all week; but in fact I did get to nip back to Derby and spend a whole day doing nothing. But the other days...
Well, the other days were spent essentially mashing up my vibes and sticks and having lots of laughs with Arun, Idris Rahman, Mykey Wilson and Sylvan Richardson. We did the Jazzon3 broadcast, which I think went well—although I have to admit to not having heard it. I don't remember the cord for the lower rack of keys snapping somewhere in the middle of the first song; but I can assure you that when I realised, I made a face that was only fit for radio. Anyway, we were on fire that night! Arun always seems to draw extra strength from playing on his home turf, and the crowd really dug into it.
But we really turned it up for Thursday! With constraints of live recording gone [and personally, inspired by a fantastic set by Asaf Sirkis, Kit Downes and Yaron Stavi—a group people should book and hear] we were able to stretch out a lot more—and have a genuinely fun and easy time. The replacement cord snapped, and I broke a pair of sticks I'd just bought that morning
IDIOPHONIC GEEK CHAT: and one of the reasons why I broke them was that the mallet shafts were birch.
I have a very whippy wrist stroke—it's a triple action [wrist goes up, down, then up again]. With a rattan shaft, the mallet is more flexible and thus yields as I cynically flay the mallet head into the cold, cold metal surface.
Birch is stiffer, and I find that I can in some circumstances play slightly louder with birch for less effort; but when you're furiously whipping an end of a stick into thick metal plates to match the intensity and volume of a band, something's going to give. In short:
Metal: 14; birch: nil
and so spent most of the gig playing in the lower register. But still, a good time was had by all! And Band On The Wall had that rare thing, a nice stage. With any luck, I will be back...
And now, I must leave you and tend to the wounded.