Corey Mwamba


Derby Jazz Festival

Admittedly, it's still on, but I can't go today! Still have to pick up the instrument later though...

But this is a short one. It was all a bit mad, as befits a festival that [as Geoff Wright explained to the audience later] was put together at short notice: and the ticketing scheme seemed to have been devised by someone with no contact with the real world; but everyone was smiling and friendly.

I had a short workshop session with a young quintet [Go and see the next gig. Then we'll talk about what you heard.] then went in to listen to John Bailey's intelligently-written chamber piece. He'd put together a really nice band that complemented his music well, and there were gorgeous harmonies there!

Then—out to talk about the gig with the quintet; Tony Kofi arrives; and I'm now in a different workshop, with some younger players who showed great ability on their instruments. Tony and I took them through the processes of communication within the band, and we all had great fun. To see the change from each one not looking at all, to them watching each other as they played was a real joy for me.

Then Larry and Rod came in; a quick sound check; and then I was in another workshop situation, with the big boys! The others were totally on fire, of course: and I was allowed to use my language on the songs without feeling too much like a freak. Double win!

A sour point as every single techie vanished, so I had to lift my vibes off the stage unaided; but quality points of seeing lots of old friends and new ones. Jonny Gee and Roger Beaujolais were in the house too! I really should do more festivals... yes, that's right, festival promoters, I can see you and I'm talking to you.

If you're thinking of not heading down today, think again: I've no idea what the ticket situation is like but Polar Bear and Courtney Pine are playing today. Although Polar Bear's been up here before, Pine hasn't brought a band to Derby since the Eighties! So another once-in-a-century event could be taking place.

Also, it's good to support things like this: the way things are going, they could all be coinciding with the appearance of Halley's comet. Which I assure you would be a very bad thing.

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