Well here we are in mid-summer and what an eventful time I have had since my last Blog in March. Sorry for the delay in posting my latest update, I’ve been pretty busy these last few months! Here are just a few examples of my hectic life as a music student and musician in and around South Wales and further afield.
If you have followed my diary of events you will have already recognised some of the gigs that I will be mentioning in this Blog.
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
I have now completed my First year as a Postgraduate student at RWCMD which culminated in an end of year recital. My first-year results have been published and I look forward to preparing for the second year of my Jazz Masters course commencing September.
In my first year at RWCMD, I was fortunate to have received a financial grant from the Arts Council for Wales to assist with my college course fees. I attended another audition recently and have been successful in obtaining further financial support from the Arts Council for next year’s course fees. The observant ones amongst you might have noticed I have now included on my website the relevant logos which reflect the support that I am receiving from the Arts Council of Wales. I am hugely appreciative and thankful for this support they have provided me.
The initial year of my course has given me many opportunities to enhance and broaden my playing technique thanks to my sax teachers, lecturers and all the staff in the jazz music department. I am very much looking forward to continuing this development in my second and final year.
Jack Mac’s Funk Pack
Where do I start? In only six months, the Funk Pack has gone from strength to strength. We have played regularly in venues across Cardiff and Bristol. More gigs are planned over the coming months and we are already booked for a return appearances at Porters (Cardiff) in August, The Old Duke (Bristol) in September and Mr Wolfs (Bristol) in October.
The Funk Pack has also been frequenting the recording studio where we were able to record several tracks that can be heard in the media section of my website. One of these tracks was played on BBC Radio Wales courtesy of Adam Walton, which was a big honour! Major thanks to Jordan Day Williams, Joe Shrimpling and Peter Jackson for their support and expertise in the recording projects. We have also recently been working on a separate project with Andrew Sanders from Kings Road Studio. More on this though at a later date.
The Jack Mac Jazztet Series
Again, since being established my jazz ensembles have been performing at several venues in and around Cardiff, including The Pomegranate, Café Jazz and a number of private functions. We have been delighted to be offered a regular at Revolucion de Cuba in Cardiff and you can catch us there every Sunday afternoon 2pm till 5pm. We were also delighted to play at the St David’s Cathedral Festival this year back in May and hope that we will be able to reappear at this annual event in years to come. As with the Funk pack, I have been recording with the Jazz Quartet a selection of original and standard jazz tracks which can be heard on my media page.
The Bandits, Bass12 and other ensembles
The Bandits jazz trio continue to entertain each and every Monday night at Lab22’s Moonshine event to great acclaim. We have also recently started a regular at Soda Bar in Cardiff on a Thursday night, 9pm till 11pm, so be sure to catch us there!
Bass12 have been exceptionally busy recently. We have just come back from our first ever busking tour in South West England, where we were received to great acclaim! Falmouth in Cornwall especially enjoyed us and several videos of us playing can be found online. The band is also still in high demand for private functions and our shared residency with Wonderbrass for the Gwdihw Brass Takeover is still going strong every second Friday of the month!
Unfortunately, due to all these commitments I have had to withdraw from playing with both the Jiveoholics and the Liberty Big Band. I have greatly enjoyed playing with both ensembles for the past two years and will miss the experience, having learned much from my time with them. Thank you all for the fun times we had!
Playing in the Middle East
JACK MAC HAS GONE INTERNATIONAL! During May this year I flew out to Jordan to perform two gigs for a private function there. The event lasted three days, the first gig taking place in Amman was performing alongside a great band, The Edge, and I very much enjoyed the lavish buffet there. The second involved me travelling south to the Wadi Rum Desert where I performed a Sax DJ set with this awesome Lebanese DJ, MaDJam, which lasted until the early hours of the morning. I have to say, nothing beats travelling across the desert Indiana Jones style in the back of a pick-up truck. All in all, a fantastic yet very tiring opportunity and certainly a highlight of the year.
Alongside all this, I have continued with my music teaching locally both privately and peripatetically with CAVMS. The end of term concert with the school band that I run was a tremendous success and I am very proud of their performance as well as the graded exam results that my students achieved.
The summer calls to me now and hopefully that means I’ll get some rest. I’m sure there will still be plenty of gigging happening as well, so be sure to check out my calendar to see where I am gigging! My next blog will be in the autumn (I hope), when I will have started again at the RWCMD, but I will also have much to update you on! Till then, have a good summer everyone. Stay classy San Diego.