Working it all out.

Back to work at NSCD playing piano for ballet classes, back to work at CVYT (youth theatre in Leeds), singing songs about Dr Martens (my shockingly faulty vegan DMs, split within months) and ravenous dragons, back to work with intermittent teaching, and a gig with Trio Globo at a particularly mixed primary school in Leeds, students from many areas of the world but particularly Roumania apparently – at least they may have appreciated the accordion. And a week of completed maintenance tasks, on the car after a particularly costly few months, and on the No.1 accordion, safely returned by post today from Allodi in Lewisham – I bought it from him at least 15 years ago and he’s keeping it safely on the road. Wrapped in a cocoon of bubble wrap and masking tape and polystyrene in a very large cardboard box.

Jazz at Wakefield last Friday featured Jim Rattigan’s Pavillon, an unusual 12-tet led unusually by a French horn player. Jim was respectably bespectacled and austere in his publicity photo, but in real life, much more rough around the edges and ebullient, which sums up his music too. The arrangements were occasionally a little ragged, but the band featured a rare combination of contrasting styles, from Martin Speake’s dry intellectual alto sax to Andy Panayi’s more rumbustious tenor sax, a trio of brash trumpeters, Mark Nightingale’s virtuoso trombone solos and Hans Koller’s surprisingly angular and Monkish pianism. Jim maintained a cheery Luton-inflected good humour, despite wondering how his pro-EU compositions might be received this far up the M1. An excellent live experience.

And this Friday we welcome the unheard-of concept of a solo piano double bill, featuring Leeds’ own Laura Cole, and the world’s own Alexander Hawkins, who is not only a leading authority on all facets of contemporary improvised jazz, but also a bracing and inventive pianist. This is the one I’m particularly looking forward to.

Meanwhile we have a Wakefield Jazz AGM to look forward to, and a local Labour Party selection meeting – evenings are busy this week. I continue to read Nate Chinen’s book on 21st century jazz, though the last couple of chapters have been somewhat corporate blurb-heavy promotion, rather than criticism or insight. I’m hoping he has something more enlightening to say about Mary Halvorson. And I’m looking forward to comparing Matt Mitchell’s scores with his recordings on his Fiction cd. Study to keep young.