One Day Soon

SammyThis was especially written on 25th December 2015 for my Granddaughter Sammie who popped round to show me her new clarinet! I usually write music on Christmas day out of boredom and to escape from the Tele. As one of the isolated few scroogie Christmas non-celebrants, all friends and family avoid me like the plague.

This piece could have probably travelled much further but ‘er’ indoors had a (justified) wobbly about about me locking myself away for hours on end when more important events like ‘Strictly Come Downton Midwives was on…

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Sheep in Woolly Jumpers

Woolly_Sheep

As one of the few who tries his best to avoid as much as possible the frenzied ‘temple money-changing’ 4 month long Xmas event (I can’t bring myself to call it ‘Christ’mas as the ‘X’ replaced Christ long ago). Actually Jesus was never ‘in’ Christmas, he was more interested in his followers remembering his death and what that meant for us and so he never allowed us to know the exact date of his birth. In fact the early Christians didn’t even celebrate their own birthdays. Most of my friends do not share my isolated stance at this time of year and send me non-festive cards of winter scenes and robins etc. Sheep farmer Paul sent a lovely card (pictured) with sheep dressed in jumpers and scarves and that gave me the excuse to stop scrooging and whingeing and write this novelty piano piece.

(23rd December 2015)

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Rosy Buckle’s Honey

The title betrays the slight plagiarism drawn from Fats Waller’s ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ (one of my favourite pianists). The style is not intended to mimic ‘Fats’ but is simply meant as a charming novelty piece. When I was 14 I came 3rd in the 1963 National Association of Boys Clubs Music Competition (finals were held in Birmingham) playing my boogie-woogie piano arrangement of ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ and Winifred Atwells ‘Five Finger Boogie’. Honeysuckle Rose was the probably the first serious jazz arrangement I ever put together (with lots of help from my jazz teacher at the time Derek Hill).

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Pop Music

kitty_xfactorI have never been a big fan of very much popular music. Shows like the ‘X Factor’ I find unwatchable mainly because of the plethora of over-emotional screaming banshee’s that the show seems to attract by the bus load. I don’t deny that some may be very talented but I simply cannot enjoy the idea of a every kind of vocal pyrotechnical nonsense desperately competing in a singing olympic games. Ella Fitzgerald could sing every jazz-lick there was but also knew how to sing pure notes melodically without sliding to infinity and back. It must be possible though to perform a song (soulfully) from the heart without destroying the beauty of the original. When I used to teach singing, it was the tone (timbre), pitch and breath control that was crucial. Learn to sing every scale, arpeggio and interval perfectly (coupled with ear & rhythm training) and your style will develop naturally. All this BEFORE enrolling for the You-Tube karaoke academy. Instrumentalists learn to produce perfectly pure notes of different lengths (in tune) without vibratos, slides, trills and modulations before attempting to play like Miles Davis or Stefan Grappelli. Vocalists should start in a similar fashion.