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Edinburgh: Roddy Bottum's Sasquatch, Movin Melvin, Pronto Jazz. Swinging Magpies promo, Cygnus g

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is coming up and it’s looking like a busy one - I’m looking forward to doing the following daily shows starting from 2nd August:

I’ve got my last gig in London on 29th July with the Central London Orchestra [7:30pm at St Katharine Cree Church, Aldgate, London, if anyone fancies coming!], and then am off up to Edinburgh early on the 30th to join the Sasquatch rehearsals that afternoon. Then pretty much every day for a month is planned out with gigs and rehearsals.. and hopefully my first drum clinic (yet to be confirmed)!

Tonight I’m playing drums at the Vortex jazz club with MO Jazz Orchestra, doors from 7:30pm. We're doing some pretty nice modern big band charts (e.g. Pat Metheny, Jeff Tain Watts, Chick Corea). On Wednesday Cygnus Flare are playing at the Junction jazz bar in Brixton. We’re also doing some recording next week. We're also planning a tour in Armenia in September, more on that soon.

Things I’ve been up to recently:

The Swinging Magpies did a fun vintage swing band promo video last weekend - check it out!

Then later that night I had a timpani concert with an orchestra at that church at the end of Denmark Street at Tottenham Court Road (you know the one?!) and because I already had a snare and cymbal with me ended up doubling and trying to jump between snare, cymbal and timpani parts. It was quite a roast, and the timpani were totally broken too so I had to gaffer tape bits together! I love little challenges like that, we got things working and sounding musical in the end with a few tools and screws and I received my first ever bonus payment for doubling (playing more than one part)!

I had a really fun gig last Friday with the Mississippi Swamp Dogs at the Bull’s Head jazz club in Barnes playing New Orleans kinda music - here’s a short clip that @annieupdates posted to Instagram. Paul Miller, the pianist, is such an amazing singer songwriter, he played and sang one song on his own and it genuinely brought tears to my eyes. The band are playing at Ronnie Scott's tomorrow night.

Last week there was also a ‘Caroline Scott Trio’ gig featuring Liam Stevens on piano and Amy Baldwin on double bass at the Junction jazz bar. It was a nice gig - we played mostly jazz standards and tried out 3 of my recently written original tunes.

The Amati Orchestra played our best concert yet at St John's Smith Square, which is a beautiful church and concert venue in Westminster. We did Mahler’s 1st Symphony - one of the most exciting pieces of music I’ve ever got to play - the 4th movement has two timpanists, here’s some video footage from the concert:

We also played Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2 with soloist: Yale based pianist Tom Hicks. Here’s the full concerto:

I also enjoyed playing timpani again recently with the Barnet symphony orchestra, doing Beethoven’s 4th Symphony and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.

Other than that, there has been just the usual stuff like the odd function gig and rehearsing with bands, sitting in with big bands, jam sessions etc. Ooh - I also saw John Scofield play with Dennis Chambers on drums! And saw Ronald Bruner Jnr sit in on the jam session at Ronnie Scott’s. That’s everything I can think of!

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