Invited to join Almost Blue

One of the best things about playing in a top level band is the assortment of interesting, skilled and friendly musicians you meet.

One of the spin offs from this is the chance to try other ensembles and even a totally new genre. I have always loved jazz; in my 20s it was trad jazz including visits to 100 Oxford Street, the London club for trad. Gradually I widened my intereest and, whilst I am intrigued by modern jazz my preference is for big band and blues. Bands and singers like Billie Holioday, of course, Ella Fitzgerald goes without saying, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Glenn Miller for such a smooth style, Count Basie must be included, Artie Shaw, and so many more.

clarinetvertBut, being a clarinetist, top of the list must be Benny Goodman and, of all his recordings, the 1937 Carnegie Hall concert is often played  in my car, especially Sing, Sing, Sing.   Now, having been a ‘drummer’ in my early 20s with a rock band, that recording also shines for having Gene Krupa on drums.

Having said all that, I was an ardent follower of Dave Brubeck for his less conventional time signatures and Django Reinhart for an incredible guitar. The problem is the choice is so great and once you have a list you realise it needs re-writing or re-ordering or extending.

I guess, from a playing point of view Big Band Jazz would be my ambition. I suspect that Almost Blue will get me as close to that as I could wish for and that it will be my path to better skills and understanding jazz.

Exciting times.
My first session is to be next Tuesday evening in Alcester. Watch this space.


Jay Riley Music

Almost Blue


Contact me if you want to know more . . .
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