London Jazz Collector’s blog is brilliant. His work has encouraged me to try to follow in his footsteps. We don’t see eye to eye on some things- the mighty B3 Hammond Organ for instance- but then again, unlike Mr LJC I’ve never had to manipulate a Hammond Organ up and down the narrow stairs of Upstairs at Ronnie Scotts- so he’s entitled to a modicum of leeway on that. Go and take a look- You can find his site at http://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.com but don’t forget to come back here… …often!
Nile Rodgers, a great artist and producer who is responsible for so much fantastic music is also an inspiration. For his work, for what seems to be a genuine openness and not in the least for his fightback against cancer. His autobiography ‘Le Freak’ reveals a man with many facets, irrepressibility and great humanity. You can find Niles blog at:- http://www.nilerodgers.com/blogs/planet-c-in-english
Two teachers encouraged my love of music. As a schoolboy in a sleepy town in North West England, Tony Jordan loaned me a whole pile of Charlie Parker albums and Bitches Brew- neither of which I really got into at the time.
About 10 years later, I got the chance to play a tenor sax for the first time at the late and much lamented ‘Lewisham Academy of Music’ (spoof title for a superb music project which was centered around the old and decommissioned Deptford morgue in South London and which was open to all-comers). I breathed my first notes under the tutelage of the world class bass clarinet soloist and later Head of Woodwind, Brass and Percussion at Trinity College of Music, Ian Mitchell– who was certainly prepared to put a lot back into encouraging raw beginners (my own very limited talents on tenor soon became clear to me- but I can guarantee that my neighbours knew of my limitations first). The great Harry Beckett also taught trumpet there- but I never sat in on one of his classes.
While I was getting ready to write the first blog entry on Blue Mitchell’s ‘Down With It’ I read Phyl Garland‘s sleeve notes. More on Phyl here, but you can also find out about this inspirational black woman educator at http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/obituaries/obituary-phyllis-garland-journalism-professor-at-columbia-university-458744/
Finally, Joe Strummer and The Clash shone a light and showed a way forward- even though they are unlikely to be featuring much here.