Leader of the Ronnie Scott's Wednesday upstairs jam trumpeter Andy Davies on his new Lockdown life.
''I am writing this from my one bed flat in Greenwich on a Thursday afternoon at 4pm. Normally at this time my good liver and I would be recovering from the Ronnie Scott's Upstairs Jazz Jam, which I host every Wednesday til 3am. I miss running the jam greatly. I have tried to recreate the same environment in my living room every Wednesday with dolls, some garden gnomes, my two cats and my wife. Alas, it’s just not the same, and if i continue this I am fairly sure my wife will leave me.
Lockdown has been up and down for me. I have been able to do a lot of trumpet practice focusing on learning tunes and transcribing solos. So far I have transcribed several Tom Harrell solos from his time with Phil Woods’ band. I’ve also been transcribing a lot of Dizzy Gillespie solos from his time with Charlie Parker.
It’s been nice learning new jazz standards and putting them in 12 keys – you can never know too many tunes. I have been trying to learn a couple of new tunes a week and it has been nice discovering new music. There have been some really cool releases from British artists like James Copus and Jo Harrop that I have really enjoyed during Lockdown. Plus American trumpeter Dave Douglas released a brilliant new album called Dizzy Atmosphere.
I really miss performing on stage. Fortunately playing jazz isn’t my only job. I work in television and radio in different capacities so I’ve been able to keep things ticking along there, doing a lot of voice over and script writing work. Plus I work on several podcasts and audiobooks so I’ve been able to keep the creative juices flowing.
The thing I miss the most is live sport on the television. Oh god how I miss the football. The bundesliga (German football) started back this week so I was able to get my fix there, however it is strange watching football without any fans in the stadium. Fortunately jazz clubs will be used to no fans in venues.
I am an ice hockey addict and annoyingly the NHL season in North America finished just before the playoffs started, so I have pathetically watched old ice hockey playoff games to keep my sanity.
I had a lot of tours booked in the diary during this Lockdown period, I was particularly looking forward to touring with the Tony Kofi ‘Portrait of Cannonball’ Project with Alex Webb, Andy Cleyndert and Alphonso Vitale. Our new album Another Kind of Soul was released during lockdown so hopefully we can tour that when things get back to the ‘new’ normal.
Not playing gigs has made me appreciate the wonderful musicians and drummers I work with so much more. I really miss playing with them but also all the banter and chit chat that goes. Just the little things like the ‘pre-gig pint’ and going for a drink somewhere else after the gig.
I really hope my favourite places to play like Ronnie Scott's and The Piano Bar in Soho can get back to normal soon. The world will be a bleaker place without jazz venues. I really don’t know how things can get back to normal with social distancing at venues. I guess nobody knows what is going to happen. We just have to keep practising and be ready for when gigs return in whatever way they do.
Anyway I really need to go now as I have an appointment with Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson and three bottles of Lidl’s cheapest red vino.''
Tags: Guest posts