Swinging Magpies, Ion Paciu photos, Down for the Count band, Tomorrow's Warriors, lots of record

The last couple of weeks have been pretty busy but really fun - here's a quick overview. The Swinging Magpies played at the last of this season's swing dancing event, Salty Mondays, at the Far Rockaway in Shoreditch - this is an awesome venue where lots of really good swing dancers come out to play.. It was a fun and high energy event!

I had photos taken with the awesome London based photographer Ion Paciu - there are more to come but here's one for now. He's brilliant and does a range of photography including wildlife photography, check out some of his photos online!

I did a couple of notable function gigs: one at chef Raymond Le Blanc's beautiful countryside hotel in Oxford, Le Manoir with a great swing band called Down for the Count. The restaurant has two Michelin stars and I have to say the band food was pretty amazing! The other gig was at the private school Dulwich College.

I've got a couple of orchestra gigs coming up on timpani and am looking forward to using my new sticks by Southern Percussion - these are leather and flannel and should sound great on the Mahler. Coming up over the next couple of weeks is Mahler's 1st Symphony and Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Amati Orchestra, and Beethoven's 4th Symphony, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto and Ravel's beautiful music Pavane Pour Une Infant Defunte (although there's no timpani in this piece!) with the Barnet Symphony Orchestra.

I caught up with the next generation of Tomorrow's Warriors female jazz musicians for a jam at the Southbank Centre. I used to go to the weekly sessions there with Gary Crosby, and it was really nice to go back - they're sounding great!!

On Friday I dep'ed with the railway concert band at Paddington station, which was quite a fun sight reading roast.

Cygnus Flare have been continuing to rehearse and work on new material. The next gig is 25th August at Ronnie Scott's, then we're off to play some gigs in Armenia - I'm excited to say that plans are underway for us to record our first album. Up until that in August I'll be doing 3 shows a day at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival - more on that soon. The MO Jazz Orchestra are also looking to record, and have plans for a day of recording at the famous Air studios in London.

Last but not least, last night I saw Chick Corea's Elektric band, with their original line up, live at the Barbican. It was one of the best gigs I've ever seen - Dave Weckl's drumming is completely out of this world.. What a band!

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