Well…I was not a clarinet as a kid, nor did I play the clarinet as a kid! I was actually a violinist (I have quite a few strings to my bow – pun intended!…) I wanted to take up a new instrument when I went to secondary school, but my violin teacher said I was only allowed to take up an instrument that wasn’t in the orchestra, so that I would still play the violin at school. That plan back fired fairly badly as I no longer own a violin!
Why did you choose to study at the Academy? Did you find it different to Trinity?
I had always wanted to study at the Academy having done the Junior Academy course, but what with the way the auditions were back then and with me having a nightmare of an audition, I didn’t get in! So I went to Trinity – which may I say is where I have met all of my closest friends and I am so glad to have gone there. The two places are very different. At the time, I think I was best suited to Trinity anyway but after two years I felt that I wanted a change and to explore more writing/original music, which I feel is more what the Academy is about.
Has there been anyone you’ve learnt under/played with who has dramatically changed the way you play?
I wouldn’t say so really. I am a massive Stan Sulzmann fan and have listened to his music a lot as well as had some lessons from him. If only I could just play like him…
We learnt on a recent BF gig that you have amazing hair that repels hair spray. Any other Blue Flamingo gigs that also stick out?
May I just point out to your readers that the use of hairspray on said gig was compulsory and I was not just trying out a new look! Well I played a BF gig recently at the London Korean Film Festival and as I walked in I asked some people where we should set up. The response was as if I was some sort of Hollywood film star and they all sort of screamed/giggled/panicked in that star struck way. Perhaps I am huge in Korea…
What’s the most unusual/ridiculous gig you’ve ever been asked to do?
Saxophone on stilts. I learned to walk on stilts, then I joined a completely insane band of people on stilts, then I left that band. Now I can occasionally be found on stilts on some mental functions!
You’ve done great stuff with Jazz at the Green Man. Tell us about that, why have you decided to move on?
Time is really the main reason. I don’t have the time to put in to the venue and therefore the venue suffers. When I started at the Green Man it was with a group of people and slowly they have all moved on and left me holding the reigns. Since then I have much more on myself and have also moved further away…everything points in the same direction!
How was your London Jazz Festival Experience?
LJF was brilliant! We had great audiences down at the Green Man (which is where I spent pretty much all of my festival!) and when I played there myself the audience and atmosphere was absolutely amazing! (That’s some good alliteration!) What’s so great about the festival is that every gig I went to was packed out. There is definitely an audience out there for jazz…but I think they hibernate for 50 weeks of the year!
Here’s an open floor for you: vent about London Jazz, Cuts, beer, anything you like…
I’m not really good at venting about things…I like everything!
Anything else you’d like us to know?
I’m off to watch the tennis at the O2 now! I’m a massive tennis fan – I go to Wimbledon at least once every year! If anyone fancies a game, give me a shout!
First published Nov 23rd, 2011