Site Update

Now, the clever ones amongst you may have noticed something a little different about the site as of today. A new haircut? Different tie? Nope, I just decided to give it a bit of an overhaul, with a new theme and some pictures and that just to brighten the place up a bit.

I’ve also updated a number of the pages, like the Associates and Bands sections. Go check ’em out!

Oh, and anyone wondering what the deuce ‘The Two Rules Big Band’ is…well, that’s a secret.

Advertisements

Autumn Samba

I never thought I’d have occasion to say this, but I almost feel as though this summer has been too long. Not in terms of weather or anything – we’ve only had about four real days of summer this year if that were the indicator – but rather just the time between everything winding down at the end of one academic year and starting up again at the beginning of the next. I’ve found myself wishing I had something to do rather more often than I’m used to, and the musical scene has been unusually arid.

So with this in mind I must confess I’m rather looking forward to returning to UCL for my final year at the end of this month. Things have started being set in motion for the coming year and I’m already feeling more invigorated than I have in quite some time. I’ve been doing all those little organisational things that give you a small but beguiling sense of productivity: re-enrolling, sorting out student finance, picking modules, looking up course books. The latter has admittedly been a bit of a dead end – if Amazon or AbeBooks (normally full of such good bargains) were to have its way I could end up paying more than my rent for reading material. The cunning swines.

I’ve been looking a bit into various styles of big band lead trumpeting. The one with which I’ve become most familiar over the last few years has probably been the Wayne Bergeron: powerful, with much screamingly high playing when necessary to cut across the band and say ‘I am trumpet, hear me roar.’ He’s a great player, with a fantastic tone and range and (as I just discovered) an extensive resumé. I was recently introduced to the works of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, and was astonished at the professionalism and sound of their brass section (obviously the rest of the ensemble is fantastic too but it’s the trumpets that piqued my interest). Even at the higher end of the stave there was an incredible blend of the tone and texture, like it was one super-brasser with several instruments. It was wonderful.

I finished the final book of the Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, just now, and have to say that I thoroughly approved. As I mentioned before, the translation could be slightly clunky from time to time, and the story does begin to test the limits of suspended disbelief from about three-quarters of the way through the second book, but overall I thought it was extremely well-written. What I particularly liked was the ending – fear not, I won’t spoil anything – because it is, in my experience, the most difficult bit of a book to get right. It’s much easier in standalone books, where there isn’t so much to deal with, but if the author wishes to give a satisfactory ending to a whole series, there is always the risk of it coming across as unnecessarily twee and corny, à la Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I feel Stieg Larsson struck just the right chord.

Finally, with term starting up again in a couple of weeks, I feel compelled to remind you all that several of the bands with whom I’m involved will be commencing rehearsals again – if you would like to hire them or me, head over to the Contact page.

Things Going Down

Just a quick update on the progress of the site (for those of who can’t actually see what’s changed):

  • Changed the theme. I’ll probably be mucking around with this a bit more in the future, so don’t be too surprised if you come by and it looks COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from the last time you were here.
  • Added a few new pages: About Max, The Musician, The Bands, and Contact. The Musician and The Bands give you a basic run down of what you’d be getting if you were to hire me or a band. If there’s any more information you’d like to see there let me know. Contact will look a bit prettier in the future when I can figure out how to get one of those snazzy contact boxes.
  • Pictures have…not happened much yet but that will change soon. Ditto things like recordings of music I’ve done so you can have a listen if you so wish.
  • Ideas for a few more pages include Upcoming Gigs and Associates, where I’ll link to other sites like Max Holloway’s, the UCLU Jazz Society’s, etc.

That’s about all from me. Catch you soon.

M