I’ve been digitising a number of reels by British progressive jazz legend Michael Gibbs recently and two concerts by his big band, both from 1969 and one featuring Gary Burton and his Quartet, will comprise a 3CD set on the Turtle imprint in September. Looks like I’m writing the notes as well.
Another project I’m excited about is recording, in the next few weeks, a punk protest song ‘Smash the System (Kick it In)’ with Belfast punk legend Petesy Burns and his regular drummer Donal, along with my regular bass maestro Ali MacKenzie. I’m apolitical but I found myself getting increasingly annoyed by Northern Ireland MLAs continuing to receive full salaries and expenses despite having gone off in a sulk in January 2017. That’s now more than 16 months of not turning up to work and over £16.7 million of public money as a reward, by my calculations. Obviously, my song is a futile gesture. We’ll be filming a no-budget video to go with it. Meanwhile, here’s the demo set to a montage of all 90 MLAs:
In less futile news, I’ve just ordered a further 40 copies of my book Echoes From Then from the printer. During the course of work on RPM/Turtle’s recent releases by Gordon Beck and Joy Marshall it became clear that I’d missed a line of enquiry on John McLaughlin’s BBC recordings with both during a brief but prolific period in spring 1968. Consequently, the next printing of Echoes From Then will feature a new 5,000-word section on this and on one or two other matters, including a rare 1970 interview with future Mahavishnu Orchestra member Rick Laird that I recently came across.
I’ve had a separate PDF created with this new section for anyone who already has a copy of the first edition of Echoes From Then and it’s available here.
I occasionally do interviews or write long-form pieces for The Afterword if I feel like it or want to help a pal get some publicity. Below are links to three very recent interviews: author Stuart Bailie on his new Trouble Songs book; jazz sensation Linley Hamilton on his new album Making Other Arrangements; and classic rock legend Andy Powell on the recent Wishbone Ash 30CD set The Vintage Years.
Finally, in between making a living, I continue to chip away at the Big Pete Deuchar story for a planned small book. Shortly after my feature on Big Pete for Record Collector earlier this year, I came across a reference in an obscure Canadian magazine from 1961 that led me to discover a hitherto unknown recording by the man, and an evocative piece of sheet music from the heyday of British trad jazz. As a bit of an insight into the process of researching music history, here’s the story: