Sunday, July 22, 2012

a little night music

Last night saw Calverley Church packed to the walls with people eagerly anticipating the launch gig of Jonny Walker's EP CD, This Is Not Me.

Jonny is a terrific singer/songwriter, with influences ranging from Leonard Cohen to the Beatles, visiting Bob Dylan and Don Francisco on the way. His lyrics are evocative, and his wistful style endlessly melodic in a way that belies his roots in and love of busking and live street music.

Jonny asked me to provide a support act set to start the evening off, and to play piano alongside him during his set. It was a pleasure to take part in the event - and a challenge to think of material that would work alongside someone so different to my usual work!

I opted for half a dozen love songs.

A psalm, a song I wrote for a wedding (in the year John my bass player was born), a song of loss, a Welsh hymn of love (in Welsh), and two songs loving life in different ways - If I ruled the world (melted down into a gentle jazz waltz and allowed to be the prettiest of tunes), and Charlie Chaplin's Smile, all jazz solos before exploding into melody.

Free, expansive, fun, relaxed. I had the most response on the night to the song of loss, when I confessed that this apparent love song was about my dog. I almost couldn't sing it, actually, but once I started, it was alright.

I was really grateful for the chance to perform like that - and I was grateful to Jonny for asking me. Steve on trombone & John on bass who played with me were immense, and great fun. We may do something similar again; there is a suggestion in the air that we find an excuse to bring more simple jazz to the venue...

Then we headed into Jonny territory. The crowd loved it. Quite right. He is a great performer, even if a gig like this (as opposed to the informality of the streets) isn't quite his familiar territory. It should be, the material is certainly up to it, as is his terrific voice. In rehearsal, bass-player John's amazing ear rescued me more than once, and I guess Jonny is so used to working alone, and I so used to providing people with charts & chords that our very different working styles meant working together was at times a challenge for me. A challenge I'm glad I had, because it was a total pleasure to play on the evening, to listen, to watch and to be a part of what Jonny was doing.

Again - lots of thanks to Steve & John for being wonderful musicians to work with. And a shout out to Aled for help with the Welsh in Dyma Gariad. And thanks to Jonny for asking me to take part - and congrats on a great gig and a great CD. Click the link & have a listen!


mmp said...

Just clicked that link...crumbs, he's GOOD

Think there may be some downloads going on tomorrow~ when the (just)teenager returns

Thank you, lovely. Glad you had a great time as well

Rolf Mason said...


I've Tweeted you, but thought I'd comment on this blog as it's relevant.

It's been suggested to me that you might be the writer of a version Isaiah 40:28-31 that was popular at St Aldates back in the late 1990s. I'm wondering because as a student in Oxford 1997-2000 I was introduced to the song and I brought it with me to Bradford when I moved here after my degree.

I'm staggered to note that you're so close by - Calverley - and that you know Jonnie Walker (who's a friend of mine).

Without wanting to sound stalkery, I also noted from the only stuff I could find on Spotify with you featured also includes Carolyn Turnidge who with Martin, and Prod Pritchard endured my drumming while in Oxford. I owe them a lot!

Marcus Green said...

Rolf - guilty as charged. If you look back on this blog, you'll find me singing that song on 3rd Nov 2010.

Martin, Carolyn & Prod were all members of the Groove Heroes, the worship band I ran at Aldate's, and which recorded Do You Not Know back in, ooh, 92. 20 years ago. They remain heroes of mine.

I'll tweet you back...