Saturday, 21 February 2009


Dear Blossom Dearie passed away on February 7th. She was a master interpreter of the great songs and has committed to record some of my favourite versions of standards - When the world was young, On Broadway, The Party's Over - to name a handful.

Her tiny voice could fill palaces with it's style and poise and I always thought her elegant and swinging piano playing was just perfect. I am sad I never got to see her play as she did regularly up until 2005, although she did speak to me on the phone when I played the Oak Rooms in NYC. Bob Dorough was a old friend of hers and he knew I was a fan. He called her while I was unaware and then passed the phone over: "Someone called Blossom wants to speak with you!"

The beautiful little voice was instantly recognizable as Blossom's. She briefly wished me luck on my month long run at the Oak Room - the kind of shows she had been holding court at her entire life. She said she might come down to see me play if she was well enough and said her goodbyes.

Merely to speak to her on the phone was a gift. She never came to the Oak Room but I'll never forget my phonecall with Blossom.

The world misses you.

Friday, 20 February 2009


I can't work it out. I have been a music consumer my whole life. Obsessed by it, saved for it, longed for it. Now it appears that feverish collecting is coming to an end. Spotify even has those hard to find, Japanese Herbie Hancock albums. It is however missing quite a few independent gems. No Grizzly Bear, hardly any Rhythm and Sound - a lot of stuff on some great labels - Stones Throw etc. Maybe physical releases will be purely for muso-head types, pitchforkers. I still go to Soul Jazz in Soho, Rough Trade in Notting Hill for recomendations and ensuing purchases. Always Ray's Jazz for jazz; Portobello road for vinyl - Intoxica, Honest Jon's. But I've also been buying stuff off of Boomkat for three years now - in fact a lot of my new artist discoveries come from their brilliant emails. I also am an Emusic subscriber - like iTunes with a better independent catalogue and much better editorial - like subscribing to melody maker with the ability to have each act you read about. Beatport for the finest selection of electronic music. And then of course iTunes itself - easy, massive and reliable. Deep down I still love to physically OWN music but Spotify........oh my are we having a love affair!

Spotify is easy and beautiful. I had a Herbie Hancock day yesterday - building big, beautiful playlists from his interstellar catalogue. Who knows what I'll decide to listen to today - maybe a Deep Purple day?

I don't know what this means as a musician, but as a listener it's very exciting.

In an idealist, rose tinted world it means that you only survive if you push yourself to be great, greater, unhomogenised. When everything is available with one click there is no need to keep listening. So you'd better make it brilliant. Perhaps in the real world it will mean it is even harder for the seething mass of undiscovered talent to peek through. I guess then, that is what record companies will still be needed for - nurturing and breaking talent.

I'm off now to finish my album to make sure sure it is brilliant.

Typed at great speed in the back of a cab.

Sunday, 15 February 2009