Corey Mwamba


Entries for Feb 2012

What a jam-packed weekend! The gig with Nat Birchall at Pizza Express was great—Arun Ghosh played on a tune, and there were some really magical moments from all in the band. Lovely. My mood was slightly soured by the staff constantly switching off the lights as I tried to pack away: and then I topped it all off by an always eventful night at Ronnie Scott's, and losing my hat. The snow didn't impede my progress that much; it just made everything very much slower...

I'm still preparing things for One Note Sunday and of course the trio album; so no real rest. But I've also been adding things to cognizance which has kept me really busy—take a look!!

In Derby tonight at Deda! Come hear me play a Roy Ayers tune for the first time in my life, with George Grignon's excellent SoulDeep band. Finally recovered from the lovely soufulness of Nat Birchall's gig, and concentrating on writing out parts for the trio album... March is looming!!

Sad, sad news. Whitney's songs were always in the house as a kid: along with the SOS band, Rose Royce, Marvin Gaye, Aretha... sounds of growing up.

Here's Whitney first ever lead performance, on Paul Jabara's album "Paul Jabara and Friends".

And—because it failed once again—I'll try it again. Except this time I'll talk about something within the message. Feeling slightly unwell today—not sure if it's something I ate, as I had a quiet night in, but feeling very unsettled. After this relentless coding, I'm going to spend more time on the trio scripts—the scores are pretty much done, but creating parts from the full score is the tricky part.

I realise that I've been horribly remiss and not spoken about the great gig I had with Dave Kane and Alexander Hawkins. Alex played an absolute blinder, some really lovely stuff: and the audience [which was very healthy, and warm] really got into his playing! We all had a ball playing—here's a short clip of the proceedings... and there will be more!

Here are some great shots of the SoulDeep gig from last Friday—courtesy of Phil Richards!

I don't normally talk about home life: but I have just made a fantastic stew. In my slow cooker.

This piece of sweetness will be getting some use. I can't believe I've left it in the cupboard for so long.

Well, that was AMAZING stew. Totally knocked me out... I don't think I've slept that long for a while!

Following on from my epic rant the other day and aside from a conversation with the master Orphy Robinson about the woeful soul category in the Grammy's; Kathryn Rose [who I'm connected to on Twitter] sent me a link to a very interesting essay by Stefan Goldmann about quality in music: here's part one and this is part two. After that I noticed they were linked to a previous article entitled Why Everything Popular Is Wrong which is also worth a read, but is not what I want to talk about.

What I want to share is the awe-inspiring comment Goldmann gave in the deviant end of the Internet, i.e. the comments. It luckily requires almost no need to explain context as well. Something for musicians to read, remember and share. All the emphasised bits are my doing.

Amazingly few comments dwell on a view like this (I always assumed that was a mass phenomenon):

this article is valuable to anyone who values making money in music —and anyone who does that probably makes run-of-the-mill music anyway.

Making music should not be a job. MUSIC IS NOT ABOUT MAKING MONEY, IT IS ABOUT MAKING MUSIC. (well, in any case some ISP stocks make wonderful returns here)

Still, it is worth dealing with this kind of view (interestingly, it never comes from anyone actually DOING music on an above-"first steps" level—if it was of any value, it should have at least a minority support from just some renowned musicians?). It is obvious nonsense to link "music done as a profession" with a major's/pop star wealth/commercial interest perspective. Pop stars have always been a tiny fraction of the musicians' community.

There are millions of "professional" musicians on the globe that do what they love (or are capable of) in the first place and don't even know what a major is. I'm talking about music being the only perspective (besides sports) for gifted individuals to escape obscene poverty in 3rd world countries or class poverty in 2nd and 1st world countries. It is more accessible and realistic than becoming a doctor or engineer. And we increasingly see electronic music offering such possibilities, too (well, until recently). Think of Brazil or South Africa. Or of Detroit back in the day.

I bet anyone who voiced the "music is a hobby and shouldn't generate any income" opinion:

  1. is middle class & male
  2. owns a Mac
  3. never had to rely solely on his own work (whatsoever) to make a living (i.e. having parents with sufficient funds to support them through college or on whatever other leisure things they do in their sufficient leisure time before they take on one of these nice paying jobs in their respective societies)

We should take it for what it is: it is an ideology for people who have no clue what they are talking about. They have never invested any effort in learning anything in music beyond selecting the presets from the menu of some software they downloaded from a Russian server (go ahead—I support that since I found a Native Instruments ad on a website that offered a free download of my music). Of course, at this level of experience, it seems nonsense to them to make money from that —and I agree 100%.

Still, this view is uninformed (mildly put) since it is only applicable to one very narrow way of creating music. Other (actually: most) music takes time. A classical violinist HAS to practise 5–9 hours a day. There is no day job option. Arguably even in electronic music, millions of people have benefited culturally from the music developed by gifted musicians. Some tracks might have been created on a lazy afternoon (and the house classics have earned a lot of money), others took weeks or months to produce.

Go out and listen to some music other than the generic stuff you filled your hard-drive with. If someone didn't spend years to develop what your Internet friends emulate with their presets, you wouldn't even know electronic music exists. Rest assured that people like Carl Craig, Richie Hawtin, Ricardo Villalobos, Jeff Mills, Larry Heard and even Deadmau5 have invested years of their lives to develop what their fans love them for. And not one of them is on a major (except Deadmau5). If it was their hobby you would have never heard of any of them though. And I couldn't care less if someone releases on a major or an indie. Miles Davis was on a major. Bach was on the majors of his baroque era (money from the church & some feudal ruler—without these, people wouldn't have listened to his stuff for the last 300 years).

I'm fine, thanks, but you never know the background of people. Assuming that music should be something only middle class kids can afford to do (as their "hobby"), while everyone else is happily invited to stay wherever the social ladder put them... well, judge for yourself what such world-view is worth.

Some more fantastic of the Nat Birchall gig at the Vortex—from Helena Dornellas!

Nothing to say about this—just take the time to listen...

I'm using a new way of doing podcasts—using Bandcamp. They're still free: but if you want to tip, you can; and you can download it in any format you want!

I'll be adding the older songs as I find them and the collection will available to download for a pound or more. Let me know what you think!

Was actually reading another interview from this site—but what Braxton says about the New York scene from that time has curious parallels with now, over here.

I've done my fair share of ranting—here and here as examples—around the subject of jazz and race and how it is discussed.

Part of my issue with most commentaries is that they far too simplistic in their thinking. Racial politics is complex. It isn't something you can just say "my truth is the truth". But this is rarely reflected in any of the writing I have seen. So it's really refreshing to read this from journalist Nate Chinen. Have a look.

Frankly, Sunday was an amazing day. Some reading, wrote a lovely sequence of harmonies—for fun—and soaked up the sun!

How exciting—the composer Tunde Jegede and percussionist Lekan Babalola are in town, rehearsing with Viva. Had a quick hang out with them just... and hoping to get to the concert on Saturday at the Assembly Rooms. Tunde writes beautiful music. Head down if you can!