Apologies and updates

First of all, let me apologise for the lack of posts and newsletters. After my trip to New York I came down with pneumonia which knocked me out a bit – in fact I’m still getting over it almost 3 months later. Anyway, that’s no excuse. In fact, you might ask, if I wasn’t doing much why didn’t I use the time to write? Well, to be perfectly honest I couldn’t get into it! I was far more concerned with recuperating than blogging. Luckily I didn’t have to blow out too many gigs, but I have another tour with Judy Carmichael coming up (check out the dates on the website) and I needed to get ready for that. I’ve been back at the gym and riding a bike or running almost everyday for the past few weeks. Even so, I can only manage about 30 minutes of exercise before collapsing in a wheezing heap! Not much fun. However, my playing time is up to around 45 minutes straight now – just enough for one set. If ever there was a deterrent to smoking, it’s this!

Talking of New York, I had a ball! Dan Levinson, who very kindly invited me up for the gigs, is just a great guy – both to play with and hang out with. It was a pleasure to collaborate on these gigs with him and I hope this is just the start of many! Also, getting to play with one of my childhood heroes, Dick Hyman, was amazing. I made a lot of new friends on that trip, both musicians and listeners. The audiences for both the New Jersey Jazz Society and the Sidney Bechet Society show were superb – attentive, knowledgeable and responsive. We all had a lot of fun. There is a great review of the Bechet Society show on Michael Steinman’s superb blog. He is a New York writer and reviewer who, in the words of my friend Jon-Erik Kellso, “just gets it'”. Please go over to his blog and have a read. The review is here.

Anyway, before I went to England I asked you to send any questions or topics that you’d like to hear about. I had a good assortment of replies and a great list of topics to write about, so thank you to everyone who emailed me. Please, keep the feedback coming! I’ll start posting on these topics over the next few days. Also, a few people asked me to recommend some recordings, books etc., so I’ll start posting some reviews/ recommendations as well.

For now, keep swinging!