In September this year I will play for Carlos Acosta, the world’s No.1 Ballet Dancer, for his brand new production of Don Quijote at The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.
Rehearsals start this month. More details to follow…
My arrangements of popular song for solo guitar are now available on my sheet music page. I have had a lot of requests for these scores and so have scores each song carefully with fingerings, hand positions and technique markings.
I have tried to make each arrangement as detailed as possible whilst maintaining a simple and easy to follow format. Here is a sample of one of my solo guitar arrangements.
The arrangements are available as manuscript only, manuscript and TAB and TAB only.
I hope you enjoy working on these arrangements and I welcome any suggestions for future songs that you would like to see arranged for solo guitar.
I have recently been working with Charley Bird, an excellent young talented singer from Basildon, Essex.
Charley recently found fame as a finalist on Simon Cowell’s talent show X Factor as part of the duo 2 Shoes. The duo play on the Essex theme and have been very successful, touring up and down the country playing at nightclubs.
Here is a song I recently recorded with Charley called Joy:
Also, check my video page to see a video clip with Charley Bird from 2 Shoes.
I will keep you posted on the project…
A friend of mine was in Ireland working on a Van Morrison album when the sax player did something minor that upset Morrison and Morrison hurled a torrent of verbal abuse at him. When the sax player tried to defend himself Morrison told him to shut up that he was sacked and that he would never work with him again.
The next morning it was time to record some sax parts and Morrison asked where the sax player was. My friend and the rest of the crew looked around sheepishly and wondered whether or not to remind him that he’d sacked him the previous day. “For Christ’s sake” said Morrison as he started dialing on his phone:
“John, where the bloody hell are you? We’re about to record the brass!”
“Er… you sacked me yesterday Van…”
“Oh don’t be such an over-sensitive big girl’s blouse! Get yourself to the studio in the next hour, I want to get this finished today!”
On Thursday my quartet played at Maida Vale Studios for BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber and the BBC Concert Orchestra.
My quartet were: Jonathan Preiss – guitar, Nick Cohen – bass and Nic France – percussion. All brilliant musicians and an absolute pleasure to play with. Nick has played with many great artists including the legendary Jack Bruce and Matt Bianco, Nic is one of the most in-demand drummers in town having played with Loose Tubes and Annie Lennox, and Jonathan is one of my favourite guitarists to listen to – especially when playing Brazilian music on seven-string guitar with his band Caratinga – check them out, they’re brilliant!
It was a fantastic gig – an honor to be sat directly in front of the 80-piece BBC Concert Orchestra as they played live (with my friend Sarah Freestone on violin) and of course to be on the same bill as Andrew Lloyd Webber. Also a great experience to play at Maida Vale Studios. This is one of those great places like Abbey Road or The Royal Albert Hall that every musician dreams of playing at.
I recently had a call from an agent about a couple of gigs he wanted me to do: the first was to play classical guitar in the drawing room at Syon House for the wedding of Mike Jatania, one of the UK’s richest men, and the second was to play a lunchtime recital for some of the inmates at Bedford Category C Prison. As you can see, this agent caters for all types of event!
I heard the prison gig was part of a Spanish themed day, so I put together a set list of Spanish songs and pieces from my solo album. I turned up with my guitar in one hand, passport in the other, and set about the journey through the seemingly endless labyrinth of double-locked doors and screening rooms to get into the prison.
Just before I began my first set, the prison officer said it would be very nice if I could have a chat with the inmates during the interval and answer any questions they had about the guitar etc. I was fine with this and so after my first set I went over to where they were having drinks and biscuits and started to make conversation. Of course the one thing you really want to ask is “So, what are you in here for?” but I assumed this wasn’t really the thing to say and that maybe there was an unwritten rule regarding it… so, instead…I assumed crimes for each one of them in my head!
I spoke to a big man called, funnily enough, “Big Al” – a friendly and chatty guy who introduced me to the other inmates and said, “they’re quite a nice bunch you know… which is surprising really ‘cos there ain’t ‘alf some nasty bastards out there”! And he was right, they really were a nice bunch who were genuinely enjoying escaping from the daily routine to lose themselves in some Spanish music and food.
The highlight of the day came when “Big Al” asked me where I had learnt to play flamenco. When I told him I lived and studied in Seville for a number of years he paused for a moment as he cast his mind back and then said “oh yeah….. Seville…. we did a job down there once.”