January, on paper, is supposed to be our quietest month, a time for relaxation and reflection – whatever! But there’s just too much to do; 2014 is shaping up to be a very busy year. Our regular quartet show is in the workshop, wheels off for a total overhaul which should be complete by the end of February, tons of songs milling through the air – some old, some new, some borrowed, some… you get the idea.
At the same time we are busy preparing our latest recording project with good friend and sax legend Pee Wee Ellis. This will be a retrospective of songs that have inspired the great man over his 72 years. It will be a very intimate, low- key session, recorded as-live in Grant Windsor’s beautiful studio in very high definition sound. With just Pee Wee’s tenor, Grant’s piano and my vocals, and by taking drums out of the equation, the idea is that you will be able to hear all round the individual sounds. There are already a few concert dates in the book for this new venture which we’re all very much looking forward to.
In April, Doris Day will celebrate her 90th birthday so to mark this milestone we are performing a few select dates throughout the year paying tribute to her fabulous music with a small Hollywood-style orchestra – that’s small, not Paul. Venues so far include Cadogan Hall and Wigan International Jazz Festival.
We start our touring schedule with a duo show in Settle Town Hall on Valentine’s Day. This will be our Settle debut! I’m sure there’ll be time for a spot of one-stop shopping at Car and Kitchen and maybe even time for a cuppa at The Naked Man.
Then it’s up the A64 to take part in this year’s Coastival, Scarborough’s marvellous bi-annual music fest. We’ll have our BBC Radio Leeds Community Big Band with us and it’s always a pleasure to work with those guys.
In addition to all this there are a couple of very exciting musical adventures that I’m not at liberty to discuss at present, so although we’re not haring round the country, except on Sundays, there’s very little putting up of feet going on. At this rate we’re never going to finish Breaking Bad! Ah well, happy to be busy we’ll just have to reschedule this January’s R&R to next January.