Piaf by Little Theatre Company

This week, I’m Musical Director for the Little Theatre Company‘s production of Piaf, at the Brewhouse Arts Centre, Burton upon Trent.

The Pam Gems’ play, portraying the life and career of French singer Edith Piaf, features some fantastic acting, beautiful music and a great live band.

The show runs from Tuesday 25th to Saturday 29th June, 7.30pm, with an additional matinee performance at 2.30pm on the Saturday.  Tickets are just £8, available from the Little Theatre Company website, or by ringing the box office on 01283 508100.

Please do check out these few links, and come to support if you’re able.  It promises to be a very entertaining and moving show.  The play features some adult themes.

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Brit Awards 2013

So the Brit Awards 2013 came and went with, somewhat astonishingly, very little drama.  In fact, the only juicy moments were Adele’s “Sorry I can’t be there” speech (which can be roughly translated as: “after last year’s antics, there’s nothing I’d like more than to stand you all up”), the camera’s magnetic-like attraction to Harry Styles upon hearing the trigger words “Taylor” and “Swift”, and the very strange coupling of drunk comedian Jack Whitehall and the seemingly-overawed Olympian, Louis Smith.

For the first time in a while (contrary to a mass of negative news stories), I thought the state of today’s popular music came over pretty well. It’s fair to say, in most cases, awards went to real and honest musicians.

If you’re still one of the few saying “Who on earth is Ben Howard, and why is he winning all of the awards?” – there’s a reason: he’s an incredible writer and performer.  He beat Calvin Harris, Olly Murs, Plan B and Richard Hawley to win ‘British Male Solo Artist’ and saw off competition from alt-J, Jake Bugg, Jessie Ware and Rita Ora to claim the title of ‘British Breakthrough Act’.

 

The award for ‘British Group’ went to the incredibly talented yet constantly-mocked Mumford & Sons.  So their Brits performance wasn’t exactly the tightest, but this is REAL and original music.

 

‘Best Live Act’ rightfully went to the unstoppable Coldplay.  I mean, who else?  Duh.  And yes, those two middle-aged blokes that collected the gong are in the band – Chris Martin’s not the only member, you know?  Everyone should try to get to a Coldplay gig.  They’re unlike anything else I’ve experienced.

 

I only got to know of Tom Odell’s music fairly recently, but I’m completely mesmorised by his performances.  Clever songs, good lyrics, brilliant live.  You only need a quick reminder of previous Critics’ Choice Award winners to know that this year will be huge for Tom (Adele, Florence + The Machine, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J and Emeli Sandé).

 

Internationally, creative songwriter Lana Del Rey and the amazing Frank Ocean became ‘International Female Solo Artist’ and ‘International Male Solo Artist’ respectively.

 

Other than that, Taylor Swift’s performance was pretty badass, and Justin Timberlake’s, pretty perfect.

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Other winners included The Black Keys, Paul Epworth, Adele’s “Skyfall”, the barely-known, never-on-TV Scottish singer Emeli Sandé, and the equally shy group, One Direction (?).

If you’ve actually watched all of these videos, congrats.  Hurrah for good music.

Phil Collins Big Band

This is just magical.  Make sure you listen to the whole thing.  Over and over again…

 

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Newcastle Sinfonietta Winter Concert

This coming Friday, I will be performing with Newcastle Sinfonietta at Jesmond Parish Church, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Miles Cragg will be conducting the Orchestra, whilst I shall be the soloist for Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto.  The program also features Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn.

Tickets are available on the door at just £7 / £4 concession, so please come along if you are in the area!

Alicia Keys and Arturo Sandoval

Occasionally I’ll hear something that I just can’t keep to myself.

Listen up, world.  Let’s have more Arturo Sandoval.