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piano_royalty_free_music_iconOccasionally a gig comes along which makes all the hard work over the years, worth it- and for me, I was lucky enough to experience exactly that on Sunday. I had a gig with the great, British saxophonist Stan Sulzmann  along with Nick Smart (trp), Buster Birch (drms), Pete Ringrose (bass) with myself  (Jim Treweek) on piano. For me, it was one of those rare nights where everything comes together and playing is just a sheer joy. The prospect of playing with such fine musicians is rather daunting but I’ve found over the years that when great musicians have nothing to prove, then they’re the nicest people you could hope to meet. It was also a real pleasure to meet Helen Mayhew,  who was in the audience, and is certainly one of the UK’s top Jazz broadcasters and has interviewed Jazz giants such as McCoy Tyner, Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Abdullah Ibrahim, Geri Allen, Michael Brecker, Eddie Harris, Dianne Reeves, Chick Corea, Stanley Turrentine, Quincy Jones and Shirley Horn.In my opinion Stan Sulzmann really is the best of British Jazz, with a wonderful tone and a never ending stream of thoughtful, inventive  ideas. stan-sulzmannStan Sulzmann is constantly in demand as a guest soloist and has appeared with bands across Europe, including the Hilversum Radio Orchestra, NDR Big Band (alongside Chet Baker), Hanover Radio Symphony Orchestra and the New York Composers Orchestra. His career stretches back to the 60’s, where he drew critical acclaim playing alongside Graham Collier, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Gordon Beck, as well as leading many groups of his own. Since that time Stan has been at the forefront of European contemporary jazz, and has been in demand by musicians such as  Gil Evans, Mike Gibbs, Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland and Michael Brecker.  nick-smart1Nick Smart (trp)  is another musician who constructs intelligent, swinging solos with a beautiful tone. Nick has performed with numerous groups including the Stan Sulzmann Big Band, London Jazz Orchestra, Michael Garrick Big Band, BBC Big Band and is the regular soloist with the James Taylor Quartet.  Nick has been increasingly sought after in jazz education.  Currently Jazz Co-ordinator and  Bmus Tutor at the Royal Academy, he teaches the Jazz LRAM pedagogical diploma and directs the Big Band. Under Nick’s direction recent Big Band projects have included performances with Peter Erskine, John Taylor, Stan Sulzmann and Kenny Wheeler. Nick is also currently on the faculty at the Guildhall School of Music and Middlesex University, as well as a regular tutor on various Jazz summer schools including Glamorgan, Wavendon, Burnley and Trinity.If you get a chance to see either (or both) of these great British Jazz musicians you really won’t be disappointed.

I had a great night out on Wednesday with a Jazz gig at The Woodman, in Sevenoaks, Kent. They put on regular evenings of Jazz with top name players and on this occasion we had the great Roger Beaujolais on vibes (a much neglected, wonderful instrument),  Jo Fooks on sax, Bobby Worth on drums, Pete Ringrose on bass and myself (Jim Treweek) on piano. A personal thanks to everybody involved in setting up these gigs, including the audience who  really support the venue and the musicians.

It’s been a hectic weekend of gigs, starting Friday night in central London at the Cafe De Paris. This is a great venue and the gig was fun, playing keys in a band for a  party for Sony. I didn’t get to bed until 3am and at 38 this takes it’s toll a little more than when I was 21. Saturday’s gig was a swing band and again I didn’t get to bed until 3am. Sunday morning, and I’m beginning to feel the effects a bit.. the trouble is that I have two gigs to play today. The afternoon gig was a simple Jazz duo for a birthday party but it turned out to be a great gig. It was with Tim Robertson on bass. He’s a great player and it made playing really easy. The difficulty was that after my lack of sleep I’d developed the biggest headache I’ve had in years which was making me sweat, turn pale, then green and want to throw up over the piano. Having said that, I’ve rarely enjoying playing the piano quite as much as on this occasion! By the end of this gig I really was feeling like death so I tried to get a half an hours sleep in the car and set off for the evening’s gig. I arrived at the evening venue, after a quick detour in order to throw up :-( I didn’t look or feel too good and really didn’t think I’d be able to sit through a concert style gig-where it does tend to look obvious if you run off stage or indeed, throw up on the piano. After a couple of cups of black tea the gig was under way. The rhythm section was myself (James (Jim) Treweek) on piano, Buster Birch on drums and Pete Ringrose on Bass and the guests artists were Joe Fooks and the great Jim Mullen. Jim is one of the UK’s greatest guitarists and is a total joy to play with and to listen to. He’s a great guy and a wonderful guitarist with a faultless ear but overall he has a real uplifting, joyous way of playing. If you get the chance to hear him, please do.Again, I’ve rarely enjoyed a gig quite as much and by the end I’d even managed a small beer :-)Must be feeling better.

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