In a previous life, I was not an academic, but a professional musician. After leaving Uni, like many of my Geordie peers, I moved to London in the hope to make a living as a musician. After working freelance for a number of years in countless bands and situations (some of which were not particularly glamorous) – I landed the gig in the James Taylor Quartet. At the time ‘Acid Jazz’ was just starting out – and I found it amazing that this ‘young peoples’ music resonated so strongly with much of the music my Dad actually listened to – Jimmy Smith and Jack McDuff in particular. At that time the band was in transition, moving to a more ‘polished’ sound – if that’s the right word. I had (and still do) so much respect for Jamie (James Taylor) as a musician. At the time, he was in his early 20s – but boy could he play. The band also featured Steve White on drums – who again was (and is) such a good player. During the later part of the 80s – this band done a lot of touring, and it was always a bit of a disappointment to me that we were not recorded live. The studio recordings capture the band to a certain extent – but not completely. Well – out of the blue – someone forwarded me a bootleg concert that we recorded in Milan in 1989 – the last date of a European Tour (the first of several that year) – that ended with a week in Milan. Although the quality of this recording is very poor – it does capture something that the professional quality recordings don’t – ENERGY. Oddly enough, I am actually writing a book chapter on the creative processes this band employed when composing in particular (something I started a few years back) – so this recording is actually really good data. Enjoy the first 9 tracks!
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Posted in Academic, tagged cardiff university, emic, etic, guitar, iaspm, james taylor quartet, jtq, paul carr, phenomonology on December 17, 2010 |
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Here are the details of a paper on Phenomonology I presented at Cardiff University in September. It is a paper in development – so be gentle with me!! I have also attached the associated powerpoint slide – to make it easier to understand.
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I came across this rare JTQ track on You Tube this week which was recorded as part of a BBC session in either 1988 or 1989 (I can’t remember). Four of the tracks from those sessions were released as part of the’ BBC Sessions’ album, but this one and several others disappeared. I originally did not recognise my own guitar playing, but am assured it was recorded during that time period – so it must be me. If anyone has access to those recordings from those sessions I would appreciate it. They both went out live on Radio 1.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Foundation degrees, fusion, guitar, Guthrie Govan, higher education, james taylor quartet, jazz, jtq, paul carr, university of glamorgan on November 15, 2008 |
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The transition from full time musician to full time academic is a path that many music lecturers have undertaken. Where as 15 years ago I would have considered myself to be a musician – academic, these days I am firmly an academic – musician. However I do feel that past professional experience can give you both credibility with students (hopefully) and more importantly a wealth of knowledge that you can impart. Indeed industrial knowledge is becoming an important factor in modern education, as the government encourages universities to engage with industry via Foundation Degrees, and this is something I am currently researching in relationship with Roland UK (more of this later). It is interesting how the UK government can encourage growth in student numbers and at the same inform the university sector that they will not support this growth next year. Additionally, it concerns me that thanks to the recent Further Education Act ((2007)2007colleges now have the powers to award and potentially franchise Foundation Degrees. My simple question is this: how will the FE sector symbiotically work with HE if we are direct competitors? Again this is something I will return to in future posts. To conclude, one of the most difficult things I find time to do is to keep track of the massive range of new artists that are coming through. Although I have been aware of this for a number of years, it become really apparent recently when I arranged a music industry conference at the ATRiuM in Cardiff (where I work). The seminars were arranged as part of this years SWN music festival in the city and featured around 200 bands. Alongside more established bands, the festival featured many unsigned up and coming artists, and it made me realise the need to improve my contemporary knowledge of popular music. Hence, I intend to focus some of these posts on my discoveries. To kick things off, I discovered an amazing new guitarist this week on Last FM. His name is Guthrie Govan, and he is an unusual talent. Here is a video of him playing a track off his solo album Exotic Cakes.
It is called ‘Fives’, and it is an interesting exercise in how to compose a melodic theme in a compound signature. I thought it was particularly interesting how he mixes the jazz/rock influences of guitarists such as Scott Henderson (in particular), Allan Holdsworth and Mike Stern with the two handed techniques associated with players such as Steve Via. Also note how he has assimilated the outside playing normally more associated with jazz – check out this. In short, this guy as a major talent who deserves far more credit – I am buying the album now!
Anyway, to finally conclude this post, and as a snapshot of the previous life I referred to earlier, here is a live performance of me playing with the James Taylor Quartet circa 1989 – before the grey hairs.
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