Bach, followed by Jazz at the Garrick academy

It’s been quite a week musically for me. Last week started with going to the Dunedin Consort performing Bach’s St Matthew Passion, in the City Halls in Glasgow (a lovely venue!): a full three hours of one of Bach’s magnum opus’s (magna opera?), which was stunningly performed. Though sung in a secular environment, it retained its religious content, and clapping seemed a strange thing to do (would one clap in a Cathedral?):  but it was a wonderful performance, with solos, choir and orchestra all acting in unity.

And then on Monday, I went to the three-day jazz course run by Gabriel Garrick at the Yehudi Menuhin School, near Cobham, in Surrey. This was the first time I’d been to a residential Jazz course, (as opposed to some  Sunday afternoon sessions near here, years and years ago). I was quite nervous about this. Although I have played in a jazz band locally, it was a few years ago, and though I do try to play every day, it’s often not for long, and sometimes the work simply stops me from getting near the piano. But I was keen to find out what such a course would be like, and whether I could learn from it what I felt I needed to – particularly more about comping (accompanying jazz solos), and how to practise for playing jazz. I was not disappointed. In fact I was totally blown away by the tuition (particularly the piano tuition by William Bartlett, who is not only a very fine player, but a really good teacher as well). But here I must mention Kate Mullins, the singing tutor. I was backing one of the singers, with a clarinet, and a bass, and we had got the song together, and it sounded reasonable. But 20 minutes of Kate’s time, and we had a really good arrangement, that really blew me away! That’s an amazing skill.

Many, many thanks to Gabriel Garrick for putting this course on: I’ll be back if I can: I’d recommend it to anyone who is serious about playing jazz (and willing to work bloody hard for three days at it as well!)

So: back home now. Time to try to consolidate what I’ve learned, and time to get a new band together!

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