2019 was another busy year for me. It started with the amazing Phil Miller memorial gig at the Vortex in London at the beginning of January followed by the continuation of the Soft Machine 'Hidden Details' World tour. In late January we flew to the West coast of America to do 3 weeks touring there then flew to the east coast of the USA to finish off on the Cruise to the Edge sailing to the Gulf of Mexico with Yes, Brand X, Steve Hackett, Focus and a whole host of other great bands too. In fact Soft Machine has been in great form this whole year. We just finished an Autumn tour mainly of the UK but also visiting Zoetermeer and Tilburg in the Netherlands for a couple of shows. The music has been developing and audience response has been better than ever. Particular highlights that come to mind were the Baked Potato Club in Los Angeles, Triple Door in Seattle, HRH Prog in London, Band on the Wall in Manchester and A New Day festival, Kent..…but so many great shows.
On the UK jazz circuit there were some strong gigs, particularly towards the end of the year – and several with Ben Crosland and his band re-interpreting the Ray Davies Song book in a jazz way. In true jazz world style, some notable one off gigs meeting great musicians on the gig for the first time about 45 mins before show time and playing storming sets. Thank you 144 Club, Eastside Jazz Club, Jazz at the Keys and others. April and May saw a brief flirtation with the mighty King Crimson (me playing keyboards) and it was a thrill to play such great music and with a band of such musical giants as Mel Collins (a musical hero of mine for many years), Tony Levin, Robert Fripp , Jakko Jakszyk, Gavin Harrison, Pat Mastelotto and Jeremy Stacy.
In the studio this year there was lots of activity composing and recording for Production music projects. Four new albums this year including collaborations with some very talented composers and producers, like Paul Ressel, Andrew Kremer, Dave Sturt and Richard Salmon. Some unusual albums for me, like one of whimsical acoustic songs and another of Middle Eastern tracks, but also a more familiar dark ambient one and a flutes based one. Plus I recorded some sessions remotely for some artists' albums in my studio too. I really enjoy collaborations on recording projects and 2019 was very productive in this area.
Looking forward to 2020 with more recordings in the pipeline, more Soft Machine touring (and hopefully recording), all being well some activity with the Tangent, more jazz gigs and even a solo alto flute and electronics gig in Birmingham in March.
Best wishes and here's to a great 2020 for us all.