What a great year 2012 has been.
Highlights for me have included my music residency at Notes Covent Garden which has allowed me to develop a new playing opportunity with Maciek Pysz and Demi Garcia Sabat as well as appearances from Mike Outram, Alam Nathoo and Simon Roth.
The gigs with Delicatessen have all been tremendous, these guys are a joy to play with too: Jeremy, Mutsumi, Duygu, Paressa, Patricia, Patrick and Vasilis! What a unique and exciting group to be part of. The highlight was the St Ethelburgas gig in January where I also got to guest with Pakaw! Great sound, great venue, great crowd! The Green Note and Jamboree have, as always, been a delight to play at and it was something special when Giovanni from Naples was in town on a day we played.
The Green Note was also the venue for Shirley Smart’s fabulous world music jam, I only made it there once but had an amazing time and formed a new partnership with Tahir Burhan (Cherchen Man) that has resulted so far in a couple of fun duets, a great collaboration with Mandingo/Uyghur sounds and a gig in Colchester.
All Souls Langham Place has proved a great place for us as a family, spiritually; and musically it has given me so much this year as I have finally developed my reading skills. Playing for worship has provided of the musical highlights as well as leading, directly and indirectly to Ceilidh gigs, jazz carol gigs, jazz performances at the BBC for the Jubilee and later for the Olympics (with Michael Andrews, Dave Hatch, Ian Cape and Craig Hudson, a pop recording session with the highly talented Claire Robinson and a wonderful Anglo-Nigerian wedding where we got to put down some gospel sounds and the bass was mixed high!
Coffeewise, my posts related to coffee were some of the ones most viewed. I slowly developed my tasting abilities though I’m still a baby in that regard. It was a year where new coffeeshops popped up all over London, often in unlikely places but a year where the average standard of London indie coffee went down (in my opinion partly due to difficulties with staff retention and the sheer number of places. A small number of places, committed to excellence continued to strive for excellence however and I am very glad of them. It was also a year where a large number of roasters’ coffees were available as a number of places had guest coffee often…there were some excellent coffees from Scandinavian roasters available more widely and Rapha’s Cafe provided a taste of the new in the form of excellent beans from JB Kaffee in Germany and benefited hugely from the input of Paul Bonna.
It was a year of cycling for me. I got a bike in July and was rarely off it, except while playing, working or watching the Olympics. A trip to Leuven in Belgium really excited me about the possibilities of making cycling in London safer and more enjoyable. But though people stress the dangers, most people are kind and courteous even in London whether driving, walking or cycling. The freedom of zipping around London through your own leg power is very liberating – much as I still love walking!
In terms of listening to music, Nneka was an excellent discovery for me. I did less reviewing so I had to search out more music for myself rather than being sent it to review. Other highlights included albums Donny McCaslin, Marcus Miller and Kurt Rosenwinkel. My top ten.
Playingwise, 2012 was the year I rediscovered fretted bass and fell in love with it all over again. My friend Davo had been kind enough to give me an MIJ Squier Jazz and by the end of the year I was using it on most gigs, leaving the Wal fretless mostly for Delicatessen and then using the Crafter ABG at work.
Workwise, 2012 was also neat, I finished my Dyslexia studies and qualified (w00t!) and was succesful in bidding for a major philosophy project for my school in collaboration with a research project from Birmingham University. My school got a ‘good’ grade from the dreaded Ofsted to boot!
So I’m looking forward to 2013 immensely and thank God for a great 2012 for myself and my family!