I was a librarian until retirement in 2018 and continue as a writer and musician. I wrote the book Elastic Dream - The Music of Ian Carr: A Critical Discography (Second, Revised Edition, 2015) the follow-up to The Music of Ian Carr - A Critical Discography (2010). When not writing reviews and liner notes for albums, I edit The Ian Carr and Nucleus website, dedicated to one of the pre-eminent British jazz trumpeters, who was also an outstanding bandleader, composer, teacher, broadcaster and author.
I was first properly exposed to jazz when I was 21 at the Barry Jazz Summer School in Wales, UK in 1974 - I took along my violin and had some improvisation lessons with the guitarist Derek Bailey. I now play guitar mostly, and whilst not emulating Bailey's frankly inimitable style, I do regard him as one of the most truly innovative guitarists ever. But other guitar heroes include John McLaughlin, Allan Holdsworth, Billy Jenkins, Frank Zappa, Larry Coryell, Danny Gatton, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix, to name but a few. Also at Barry I witnessed some stupendous after-class performances from the tutors who included Tony Oxley, Barry Guy, Howard Riley, Henry Lowther, Ron Mathewson and Gordon Beck.
My jazz preferences are primarily British jazz including the up and coming young Turks such as Laura Jurd, Elliot Galvin, Moss Freed, Ruth Goller, Chris Williams and Matt Ridley. I also greatly admire the pioneering protagonists of the 1960s British jazz scene such as Neil Ardley, Graham Collier, Michael Garrick, Mike Gibbs, John Surman, Keith Tippett, Stan Tracey and Mike Westbrook. Tubby Hayes is another British jazz musician who made a very significant contribution to jazz.
Generally, I have a fairly catholic taste in jazz and this spans most of the sub-genres including mainstream, modern, big band, contemporary, avant garde / improv and fusion. However, if I were forced onto the proverbial desert island I would insist on taking with me one box set as my “luxury”; the Miles Davis Complete Columbia Album Collection, which to me pretty much sums up jazz.
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