It is now the coming of the New Year of 2018 and my music journey continues into exciting unexplored avenues. Since my previous Blog I have achieved a number of firsts and would love to share my experiences with you.
JACK MAC’s FUNK PACK
Since its inception at the beginning of 2017, the Funk Pack has gone from strength to strength both in performing opportunities and now the release of the band’s first EP, Feel It. More about the EP later on but our live gigs have given us excellent exposure in Cardiff, Bristol and London. The Funk Pack has performed on several occasions at Porter’s Saturday Knees Up in Cardiff as well as at a number of other live music venues in the Welsh Capitol. We have also taken time out during the year to make some recordings at a local Cardiff studio and we were pleased to find out that one of our tracks was played on BBC Radio Wales. Our profile has been further extended by being invited to gig at The Old Duke and Mr Wolf’s both of which are well known Bristol music venues. As a result, Jack Mac’s Funk Pack has made new friends and supporters in South Wales and the South West. The band also had its London Debut gig in November when it played at The Hard Rock Café on Old Park Lane. We will of course be building on all these successes in the near future.
Following our initial recording sessions, I decided to take this a step further by producing an EP consisting of 3 original tracks written and arranged by myself. It is called ‘Feel It’ and was launched to great acclaim at The Big Top in Cardiff on Friday 27 October. Thanks, must go to the following for all the hard work done on this important project. Huge thanks to everyone who came along to support, and also to Andrew Sanders at Kings Road Studio who helped me record and produce this EP. I’ll be working with Andrew again very soon in the New Year.
JACK MAC JAZZTET SERIES
My Jazz groups have continued to perform at venues in and around Cardiff however a lot of my time has been spent focusing on the Funk Pack, so I have had less time recently to work on the Jazz groups. This I aim to improve though over the coming months. I did however have quite a number of gigs with the trio, quartet and quintet since the summer and maintained a regular Sunday gig at Revolucion De Cuba until the end of August. My quartet together with singer Alina Miroshenko performed at the Friday evening Amser Jazz Time sessions at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. We also be played in November at the Flute and Tankard which is Cardiff’s new premier jazz venue following the closure of Dempsey’s early in 2017. I will be pursuing more gigs in 2018 with my different Jazztets, and I am also considering the possibility of producing a record of both originals and Jazz Standards. More on this idea in later Blogs.
ROYAL WELSH COLLEGE OF MUSIC AND DRAMA
I have started the final year of my Masters of Jazz course at RWCMD and am looking forward to continuing to improve my playing as well as expanding my knowledge of my chosen career as a professional musician. Several aspects I’m looking into this year include focusing study on the playing style of Coleman Hawkins, as well as writing a series of reviews on different gigs and albums. Having attended the London EFG Jazz Festival this year, I have plenty of good content to write upon. In addition to this, I have undertaken a vocational project, where I will be taking my experiences with recording my EP with the Funk Pack, to move onto recording an entire albums worth of original music. I will again with working with Andrew Sanders at Kings Road Studio, as well as Fieldgate Studio in Penarth.
My personal teaching continues both with local school pupils as well as my own private students. Some of them took their next batch of music exams in November and came out with some great results. The Christmas concert at Creigiau School went down well and I am looking forward to continue leading the School Orchestra next term.
BASS 12/ THE BANDITS/ OTHER ENSEMBLES
Despite changes in personnel over the years Bass 12 continues to wow audiences wherever they play. Following the success of the summer busking tour and the South of England, Bass 12 played at a variety of venues during the late summer/early autumn. These included their regular Brass Takeover at Gwdihw, the Blackberry Fair in Shropshire and an invitation to play regularly at Cardiff Blues Rugby home matches at Cardiff Arms Park. The Band also performed at Porters Saturday Knees Up and Cardiff’s music venue Clwb Ifor Bach. Thus Bass 12’s unique style of brass band music is reaching all types of audiences.
In October The Bandits jazz trio celebrated 3 years playing at Lab 22’s Moonshine Monday but it was sad for Iori and I to see Matthew Poad leave the group to follow his career interests in London. We wish him well in his new venture. However, his place has been ably taken by Guy Shotton who will also be joining me in ongoing sax/piano gigs which Matt and I performed on a regular basis.
I have been very busy during the summer season playing with some new and not so new ensembles in a variety of music genres. This included Donnie Joe’s American Swing, Blue Lion Band, Liberty Big Band and Will Blake Band plus several Sax/DJ gigs in and around the area. All were great fun and I really enjoyed the experience.
There are plenty of things in store for 2018, so keep an eye out for upcoming gigs and new recordings. With the end in sight for my Masters degree, I will be continuing to branch out further and collaborating with my musicians. Fun times indeed.
Keep an eye on my web-site events diary and if you are able to come and hear me play with one of the bands I can promise you an exciting experience. In the meantime, enjoy yourself and bring on 2018.