What made you decide to contribute to All About Jazz? I thought it might be a good way to blag the occasional free album. Once I started to contribute I realised that it could be much more, that I might actually be able to make a contribution to the music as well.
How do you contribute to All About Jazz? Mostly as an album reviewerI write in excess of 100 each year. I also write a few live reviews and interviews.
What is your musical background? I played second trombone in my school band many years ago. The experience was so awful that to this day I have no formal musical education, I don't understand theory, I can't read and I have no ability to remember melodies or chord sequences. So naturally I became a bass guitarist and a folk singer.
I played in semi-professional function bands for a few years, performing R&B, soul, rock&roll and even a bit of jazz in bars and clubs and at weddings and other celebrations. It's an odd life. I haven't done it for about 10 years but I listen to music every day and have done since I was around 11 years old.
What was the first record you bought that you would still listen to today? The first record I ever bought with my own money was Elvis Presley
's "Devil In Disguise." I'd still happily listen to that song today. I think I melted my copy.
What type of jazz do you enjoy listening to the most? It depends. Some days I want to hear big bands, sometimes it's bebop, sometimes I look for the really out there stuff that makes me scratch my head and wonder. I love vocalists, I love the alto sax. Never really got into Louis Armstrong
Aside from jazz, what styles of music do you enjoy? Blues, country, rock, soul, English folk, Scottish folk, Ivor Cutler's marvellous harmonium work and the songs of Lal Waterson.
What are you listening to right now? As I write these words, a bass solo from Larry Bartley. And very fine it is too.
Which five recent releases would you recommend to readers who share your musical taste?The Glimpse (Whirlwind Recordings) by Robert Mitchell Fanfares (Gondwana Records) by GoGo Penguin Lower East Side (Posi-tone) by Ehud Asherie and Harry Allen Number Stations (Cuneiform Records) by Curtis Hasselbring Don't Overthink It (Self Produced) by Corey Mwamba, Dave Kane and Joshua Blackmore
What inspired you to write about jazz? I thought it might be a good way to blag the occasional free album.
What do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies? Not much free time these days but when I get the chance I'm a music photographer. I also love contemporary artthe collection is slowly building.
What role does jazz music play in your life? A central one. It's my favorite music. Although when I invent my imaginary Desert Island Discs list there's very little jazz on ita Parker tune, a Monk numberCaptain Beefheart's always on the list and so is the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.
How does writing about jazz contribute to the music itself? Sometimes I wonder what jazz would sound like today if no-one had ever written about it. I think it would sound differentit might even sound better.
How does my writing about jazz contribute to the music? I'll let others be the judge.
What do you like most about All About Jazz? The sheer breadth of information it holds, the broad brush approach it takes to defining [or not] the word 'jazz,' the fact that I write for it...
What positives have come from your association with All About Jazz? Many. I have greatly extended my own knowledge of the music. I've met lots of fascinatingand almost without exception delightfulpeople. I've even had the chance to travel to Latvia and Spain on AAJ's behalf, two fantastic countries with great musical cultures.