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RWCMD Big Band @ Swansea Int'l Jazz Fest

RWCMD Big Band @ Swansea Int'l Jazz Fest

RWCMD Big Band @ Swansea Int'l Jazz Fest

Great working with the students of Royal Welsh Collage of Music & Drama at the Swansea Jazz Festival in June. I wish them well on their way at end of their studies...

BBC Prom 28

BBC Prom 28

BBC Prom 28 - A night to remember with NYJOS

Concerto for Stan Getz

Concerto for Stan Getz

Richard Rodney Bennett's Concerto for Stan Getz.

Iain will be the soloist for Richard Rodney Bennett's 'Concerto for Stan Getz' with the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Keith Lockhart, on Sunday 22nd March, 2015, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Broadcast live from London's Southbank Centre, the 'Conflict and Healing' concert is part of the ongoing Changing Britain series. Listen live on BBC R3 at 19:30.

Bennett's 1990 Concerto was never performed by Stan Getz who sadly died shortly after it was completed.

Read Sebastian Scotney's interview with Iain, in London Jazz News, about the piece and when, as a lad, he met Stan Getz at Ronnie Scott's.

Ballamy celebrates 50th @ Kings Place with BBC R3

Ballamy celebrates 50th @ Kings Place with BBC R3

Iain celebrated his 50th birthday at Kings Place, London, with his acclaimed quartet 'Anorak' and the premiere performance of his new supersized septet 'Anorak XL'. Presented by Julian Joseph the event was recorded for BBC Radio 3's Jazz Line-Up and broadcast on 17th May listen here

The repertoire included Iain's latest original works and some recent arrangements of his past classics. Kings Place advised:

"Expect to hear imaginative re-workings of classic jazz standards, occasional folk and classical themes plus original compositions with a strongly English pastoral feel."

'Anorak XL' features three of the very brightest graduates of the Royal Academy of Music where Iain acts as a tutor and mentor - Nathanial Facey alto saxophone, Freddie Gavita trumpet and Kieran Mcleod trombone. For more info on Anorak click here.

Photo: Dave McKean

Photo: Dave McKean

Remembering Ulli Beier and Grenzüberschreitungen

Remembering Ulli Beier and Grenzüberschreitungen

I was reunited with Hungarian violinist, Zoltan Lantos, last week at The 606 Club's Anglo-Hungarian Festival. It brought back happy memories of Iwalewa-Haus in Bayreuth, where we met back the 90's at a meeting of musicians curated by the renowned anthropologist and scholar Ulli Beier

Ulli had lived and worked for many years in Nigeria, Australia and Papua New Guinea where he studied, documented and celebrated indiginous art. Later in life Ulli set up Iwalewa Haus as a gallery and work space for contemporary artists from Africa and beyond. It was in this space that Ulli initiated the 'Grenzüberschreitungen' (Border Crossings) Festivals in the 1990s bringing together musicians from all continents for a week's residency. On the last day we played to a full house at the magnificent, baroque Margravean Opera House. 

I attended six or seven of the festivals and they helped to expand my musical world. I forged great relationships many of which still continue today. The music was always a challenge, bringing together such diverse characters and disciplines, but the concerts were fantastically received.

Ulli's son Tunji studied percussion in India and Nigeria and we performed many concerts together. Each year we would visit the Staffelstein Therme Baths near the Czech border - I can still picture Randy Weston and John Parricelli sitting in the sauna receiving instructions from a spa matron with a clip board!


I still owe John Dankworth £1

I still owe John Dankworth £1

Opening the Quercus tour on Sunday at The Stables brought back some good memories of my Wavendon Summer Schools in the early 80s. There were some great teachers and some of the students are still friends such as Nikki Iles, Phil & Tom Bancroft, Mark Lockheart and Guy Chambers.

For the following 30 years, whenever we met, John Dankworth teased me about owing him £1. He had leant it to me so I could get the bus home after my pocket money ran out! I tried repay the pound with interest many times over the years but he always refused, so he could bring it up next time we met!

We dedicated a tune to John on Sunday night.

Thanks to the person who stole my wallet on Monday morning and thanks to the person who handed it in on Monday afternoon, minus the pound....

Chestnuts Roasting...

Chestnuts Roasting...

Last week I popped over to Jason Rebello's place for a play. After walking the dogs and some coffee we recorded a few Chrismas songs.

Here's some MP3 pressies from us, hope you like them. Thanks for following and Happy New Year 2012 to you!



Feeling glad to be in Naples in one piece as I nearly missed the plane yesterday.... icy English motorways.

I'm playing at a big Literary awards ceremony tonight with Maria Pia de Vito and Huw Warren

Last night we had wonderful Neapolitan cuisine and my hotel looks across the bay to Vesuvius and to the right I can see Pompei. It doesn't get better than this!

Dave McKean


Great to have a visit from Dave McKean - it's first time I've seen him since he was on his way from filming Michael Sheen's modern re-telling of the Passion of Christ in Port Talbot. Dave took some great portraits of me and also seemed to take rather a shine to our pet Giant African Land Snail (unlike Kit Downes who said it gave him nightmares!).

The snail makes a good pet - it looks like  galleon in full sail when its out, eats rice and even likes a drop of beer.

I talked with Dave about making plans to re-release some of my back catalogue (Food, Acme, Allmen Amen, Little Radio, Pepper Street Interludes...) on our Feral Records music label.

End of year concert at Dora Stoutzker Hall


Great to finish my year's teaching at RWCMD with a tutors' concert in the superb new concert hall. A quartet of myself, Huw Warren, Dudley Phillips and Martin France played a mixture of our own originals, classic tunes by Hermeto Pascoal, some standards and also interpretations of folk and classical themes.

It was really good to see so many students and staff as well as concert goers and a pleasure to congratulate so many young musicians on their progress throughout the year under the guiding light of the college's head of Jazz, Paula Gardiner.

Lunch in Trondheim


Just arrived at the Trondheim Jazz Summit where I will kick off a talk about jazz education tomorrow afternoon. If it goes ok I might take up after dinner speaking (if anyone asks me to dinner?).

It is still light here in Norway at 11.45pm, so feels like summer is coming. Hold on someone just told me it snowed here two days ago!

Food play with Prakash Sontakke and Petter Vagen on Friday at the Trondheim Jazz Festival. I don't know what they give them for lunch in Trondheim but it seems to do the trick!

Iain listed in BBC's '100 Jazz Legends'

Iain listed in BBC's '100 Jazz Legends'


Listed between Chet Baker and Count Basie!

Compiled by Geoffrey Smith presenter of BBC 2 program 'Jazz record requests', Iain is described as an 'ingenious innovator'.

Iain is one of the few living and non-American musicians included in this prestigious publication. The listing confirms his standing in the true tradition.

Read more about who is in the 100 Jazz Legends area on the  BBC's website