Archive for Music

Holst : The Planets

I enjoy classical music but it doesn’t form the bulk of my music collection. One collection of classical music I am particularly fond of however is Gustav Holst’s “The Planets”. The music takes you on a magical journey of war, peace, mystery and serenity all wrapped up in a package we are all familiar with – our solar system. I first heard The Planets as a child on vinyl and have enjoyed it ever since.

It was therefore with great pleasure that I was able to see my first ever live performance of The Planets at the town hall in Leeds, performed by the Leeds University Music Society orchestra. Heather and I got tickets at the last minute but I’m so glad we did as the performance was breathtaking. I knew the music practically note for note but even so I was still amazed by the sound. It filled the hall and the orchestra really used the building to the best possible advantage. Jupiter is my favorite piece and was played to absolute perfection. You could have heard a pin drop when it ended – everyone was so caught up in it.

My favorite part of the whole concert however had to be Neptune, right at the end, where a choir sing a set of notes that fade out that are really rather desolate and haunting. They made use of the concert hall however in this performance by the choir filing out while still singing and then walking along the corridors at the top so although getting fainter by the second it seemed to be filling the room more. Magic just doesn’t do this performance justice.

I must praise the Music Society orchestra for their superb level of skill and commitment. This was quite simply the best charity concert I have ever been to and I will most certainly be supporting them in their classical music efforts next year.

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Golden Heart

From time to time I hear a song that I like so much that not only do I mention it here but I blog the lyrics. The other week I was round at Heathers and we were listening to some of her music collection and she played me the title track from Mark Knopfler’s album Golden Heart. The music and lyrics combined are simply beautiful, and every time I’ve listened to it since it reminds me of the night I first heard it and puts a smile on my face.

She was swinging by the bangles in a main street store
A while before we met
The most dangerous angels that you ever saw
She spied her amulet

And she took a loop of leather for around her neck
And that was then the start
The most dangerous lady on her quarter deck
She found her Golden Heart
You found your Golden Heart

Then we swirled around each other and the thread was spun
to some Arcadian band
I would stop it from swinging like a pendulum
Just to hold time in my hand

And you shot me with a cannonball of history
And long forgotten art
I’d be turning it over as our words ran free
I’d hold your Golden Heart
I’d hold your Golden Heart

Nothing in the world prepared me for you, your heart, your heart
Nothing in the world that I love more your heart, your heart
Your Golden Heart

And every time I’m thinking of you from a distant shore
And all the time I sleep
I will have a reminder that my baby wore
A part of you to keep

And I’ll send you all my promises across the sea
And while we are apart
I will carry the wonder that you gave to me
I’ll wear your Golden Heart
I’ll wear your Golden Heart

Nothing in the world prepared me for you, your heart, your heart
Nothing in the world that I love more your heart, your heart
Your Golden Heart

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Loads of signups

Jazz and Blues society are going to be huge is the word from the committee! Basically we took close to 100 sign-ups over the course of the last two days at the re-freshers fair and by normal freshers fair standards the turnouts were rather poor. This means that come September when we will have a massive turnout at the fair we may well have a big society by LUU standards.

We are all looking forward to our first social which will be at Hi-Fi club on Sunday for lunch. Considering the number of people who might go I’m going to have to make sure I call up the club and let them know we are coming!

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Jazz and Blues society a step closer

Yesterday myself, Simeon and Andy had a meeting with Megan at LUU to finalise some bits and pieces for the Jazz and Blues society here in Leeds and I’m pleased to say it all went very well and things are looking up for us. We have a stall at freshers fair on Monday & Tuesday so we should be able to get a fair few members signed up. I’m in the process of frantically getting the website finished so that we can proudly display the URL and pop it on our fliers, and in addition trying to get some events organised so we can do well from the off. If we can make this work Jazz and Blues in Leeds University and indeed around Leeds in general is going to get a lot better.

On Monday night a group of us are going the be seeing Capri play live at a students union funk night which should be really good fun. If you want to join us, get in touch :)

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Sunday joint at Hi-Fi

On Sunday night I took a trip down to hi-fi club for their Sunday Joint – a jazz based club night. It was for me the last true night of freedom before the new term began after exams and marked both the beginning of one and the end of another period of hard work. Danny Gough’s band nu York State were playing and it was a fantastic night, the crowd was superb. I got a call from Danny the other night and he said it was one of the most amazing nights he had ever had and I’d definitely agree. You literally had to be there to believe how much the crowd loved the music.

Gaz is now a nu York State convert and really loves their funky style – I think they can count on his support whenever he can get to the gig! I’m meeting up with Danny next week for a drink hopefully so I shall be passing on all compliments I’ve gotten wind of. it certainly looks like they are doing well and thats a great thing.

More generally though its made me want to go back to hi-fi for the Sunday Joint. Its a vibrant atmosphere for anyone in need of some good jazz and a last blast before the start of the week. I’d recommend it to anyone.

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Soweto Kinch Podcast

I was sent an e-mail today about a podcast featuring Soweto Kinch, presumably in response to my review on his gig at the wardrobe. It is very insteresting to listen to and provides even more of an insight into his music and how passionate he feels about the area in which he lives. I think there is a little inspiration for us all to be gained by hearing this. I feel his music is also superb, and while unconventional in many ways, is highly enjoyable. I thoroughly recommend buying his album.

Download the podcast here

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Wardrobe to close

I could hradly believe it but its true. My favorite jazz club in Leeds, the Wardrobe, is closing down with the new years event highly likely to have been the last gig in the venue. I’d just like to post a message of thanks to all the staff who have worked at the venue and musicians who have played in it to make it one of the best jazz clubs I have ever been to.

I attended regularly, usually once a week on average, and saw some superb live music there not to mention experienced a great atmosphere. It will be very greatly missed by myself and the many others who attended gigs there with me.

By way of dedication to such a great venue I’m linking to all the reviews I have written about events I have been to in the Wardrobe in this post

Polar Bear
Soweto Kinch
Troy Andrews & Dennis Rollins
Capri
Marlena Shaw
Roy Ayers
The Lightnin Rods & Bourbon Y Tequila
Dada

And many more, including the great DJs and regular groups that have played at the Wardrobe on the countless nights that I’ve just been there for a few drinks or when I haven’t had the time to write a review

Please leave your messages of appreciation for the Wardrobe in comments and if you have written any reviews of your own from events you have been to at the Wardrobe I’d love to add links to them in this post as well as any links to photos and photo albums from events, contact me

UPDATE

And here they come, links to Wardrobe gig reviews from other people. I’ll add any links sent to me to the following list with a credit.

Lara Rose (Gary Williams)
Soul Vaccination (James Goodhead)

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Santana on Vinyl

Home means many things but in my case the presence of a superb record player (A Rega Planar 3 for those in the know) is a great bonus. The other night saw me working my way through my Dad’s collection of vinyl and enjoying every second of it. There is something about the sound of a track on vinyl that you just can’t replicate, adding to that actually seeing it revolve as the sound fills the room is something very special.

An album that really caught my ear was Santana’s very first album. I must confess to never having heard it and to get the chance to listen to it at volume on vinyl was something really rather enjoyable. As the sound washed over me it increased my resolve to purchase a decent hi-fi system complete with turntable as soon as funds would allow it.

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Boogaloo at Hi-Fi

On Saturday night I headed out with Matt, Sarann, Si, Michelle and Phil to go to the Hi-Fi club Boogaloo night. While I knew what kind of music to expect I hadn’t been to one of these nights before so it was a new experience. Matt and I necked a fair few gins to start the evening off and then hit the dance floor.

Its amazing how good funky Latin influenced music is to dance to and how quickly you lose yourself in it all. The DJ wasn’t superb and he crashed a few records, but all in all it was great fun and I’d certainly go again. Others in the group seemed to enjoy it too.

At the end of the night we decided to walk home and we had the amusement that is Matt slightly drunk. I have to say that he’s a brilliant laugh in this state, especially with other folk on the street etc. The walk back was one of the most entertaining I’ve had after a club night and Sarann and Si seemed sufficiently amused as well. His impressions of Andy Bulpit (our AI22 lecturer) will without doubt go down in group history!

When we got back home we didn’t feel like just going to bed so we whipped out a bottle of Plymouth gin and proceeded to cook steak and chips and make a fair dent in the bottle. You can always tell you’re living the student life when you actually think that cooking steak and chips at 3am is an entirely logical thing to do. We ended up staying up till about 6am just chatting about random stuff which was really cool. Certainly this is something that should happen much more regularly, it really adds the icing on an already excellent night out.

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Mr Scruff

Last night I went with Matt and Kat to see Mr Scruff at Stylus in Leeds union. It was an amazing night of loud funky beats and much dancing. Its a long time since the bassline has actually physically moved me across the dance floor but it certainly did so at Mr Scruff.

The venue was completely packed; Mr Scruff seems to have a cult following these days it must be said. Its not just the funky music on the decks but also the style associated with Mr Scruff – the drawings and projection screens with a unique type of artwork. After all, what other event would have big slogans like “Hold onto your trousers” before some heavy bass was on the way being projected next to the stage, not to mention big signs coming up saying “Drink tea!” and instructions on how to make the perfect cup.

The music isn’t for everyone it must be said and although there are certainly jazz influences in it all, most jazz folk wouldn’t enjoy it. Thats not to say its not worth going along, and if you want to get funky and dance the night away then it’s certainly for you. Top marks for Mr Scruff, I’ll certainly be going again!

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