Had an absolutely beautiful few days working with Arun Ghosh's Arkestra Makara. He'd enlisted the forces of fantastic musicians from Bhutan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Japan, China, The Maldives, South Korea and The Philippines to make music together, and also added a school into the mix. It was a huge undertaking and the work he and Chrys from Camoci put in to realising the project really paid great dividends.
In addition, the people in the group were a joy to be around, never mind work with. Who knows if it'll happen again? I'm almost certain I'll see at least a few of them though. An excellent gig.
Of course I had no time to savour this as immediately afterwards I had to pack up, get myself to Kings Cross and go to Newcastle which was looking doubtful at the time, but the driver managed with fifteen minutes to spare.
When I got into Newcastle Paul Bream [one of the great saviours of this music] was there to pick me up and allowed me to rant about the rank foolishness of Arts Council England North East's decision to cut Schmazz's and Jazz North–East's funding and replace it with a consortium with far too wide a geographical spread to be properly effective.
Every part of the UK should have a promoter like Paul Bream: purely supportive of the music and always thinking of what's ahead and up-coming, more about substance of the music than style of clothes. Which is why he'd made the excellent choice of having the awe-inspiring Ntshuks Bonga [who was in Heralds, remember?] do a gig, with Andy Champion similarly bringing the beauty on the bass.
Ntshuks Bonga is a master of the saxophone.
After three days of playing quite structured music, I was totally up for just using my ears and hearing where to go, and Ntshuks and Andy went all sorts of places. Such a great time. We all hung out afterwards and I crashed at Andy and Zoe's place, talking music in the early morning before heading back to the Middle Lands for a short rest.
But today—to Crewe, recording with Adam Fairhall. Which I think will be a lot of fun...