New Track – Gary Moore’s “The Loner” cover

Hey folks,

This morning I recorded a cover I’ve wanted to do for a while – it’s my tribute to Gary Moore, his track ‘The Loner’. The guitar world will miss his fantastic & inspiring playing.

I hope you enjoy my rendition, it’s a track that has been a big influence to me over the years:

http://soundcloud.com/johngregson/gary-moores-the-loner-john

John.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“Love Story” Cast CD available

Dear all,

It is with great pride that I can announce the Original London Cast recording of “Love Story” is now available! Currently you can pre-order it at Amazon and Dress Circle, or download it immediately from iTunes here.

We had an absolute blast recording the session at the no-introduction-needed Abbey Road studios, worth hearing for that alone!

Of course, for the ultimate convenient package, you could come to the Duchess Theatre in the West End and pick up a copy there after seeing the show!

It’s official: our limited run will conclude 26th February so please make sure you pop along before then for a chance to see this wonderful show. The chamber music setting makes the guitar chair a delightful challenge, and everyone involved is thrilled to be involved in such a classy, individual show in town.

Hope to see you there one last time!

John.

"Love Story" CD Session at Abbey Road

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Jazz Study Tips

What ho,

Seeing as I’m away from home for an extended period of time with the “Love Story” band, I’ve had to be quite creative with my practice as I only have a finite amount of space & time available to me.

As my show work involves playing the same notes, reading from the same score, 8 shows a week, I’m always aware of the danger of my sight-reading ability atrophying as the weeks go by. Also, as I’m playing purely acoustic-based music, there’s the narrowing focus on stylistic playing that often requires a bit of expanding, just for maintaining my own interest.

So I decided to base a lot of work around Charlie Parker’s Omnibook, an epic tome of be-bop scribblings. My reason for packing this book was two-fold:

1) It’s a marvellous resource as a compendium of Parker’s soloing approach over a large number of standards.

2) The chromatic nature of his soloing makes it superb as a sight-reading text.

As I’m not a be-bopper at heart, I haven’t been as well-versed in Parker’s playing as much as some of my colleagues – something I’m trying to remedy. Besides standards like Au Privav, Anthropology, Ornithology & Donna Lee (which I know fairly well), I’m treating the transcriptions as sight-reading studies.

As I get more comfortable just reading through the book at different tempi, and in a variety of positions (and horizontal & vertical approaches), the patterns & lines cease to be sight-reading studies, and are gradually becoming internalised. I’m noticing, even after only a few days of this, that listening to the original recordings, I’m beginning to ‘decode’ the lines. For someone interested in developing their inner ear for jazz, I’d say this is a hugely useful approach.

Having this sort of time to dedicate to something like this is a tremendous luxury, and hopefully I’m making the most of it. A most satisfying endeavour, indeed!

The always-marvellous chap that is Mike Outram has compiled a Spotify playlist of all of the solos transcribed in the Omnibook – well worth checking out with the book to hand. Many thanks to him for sparing the time to do this.

If you have any thoughts or other tips, do let me know. In the meantime, listen for the changes, and try to keep up!

John.

Leave a comment

Filed under Guitar, lesson, music

“Welcome back, my friends…

…to the show that never ends”, chorus a legion of prog fans around the world.

Yes, it’s that time of year where I plug my latest adventures in the pit – June sees me in the guitar chair for the premiere of Howard Goodall’s musical setting of the classic story/film “Love Story” at the prestigious Chichester Festival.

It’s a lovely score, for strings, piano & guitar (doubling classical & 12-string) – a wonderful and rare blend of lyrical & evocative writing, with some real finger-twisting ensemble moments. Marvellous!

Details for the show can be assimilated here: http://www.cft.org.uk/cft-productions_details.asp?pid=371

Come on down and revel in the sunshine and musical derring-do!

Leave a comment

Filed under gigs, Guitar, music, promotion

“Soloing Concepts” videos

Dear all, I’ve started a series of tuitional videos on YouTube under the banner ‘Soloing Concepts’. This is going to be a continuing series of developing ideas that are designed to give you some concepts to apply to your playing and practice.

Part 1: Combining Disciplines

Part 2: Harmonic Variations

Part 3: Rhythmic Variations 1 , Rhythmic Variations 2

There are quite a few more in the pipeline, so please subscribe to my channel for updates!

Thanks for watching.

John.

Leave a comment

Filed under lesson, music, tuition, Uncategorized

On Green Grass, Silver Linings, Roundabouts and See-Saws.

I really can pick snappy titles, can’t I?

This latest missive is based around a few observations that keep repeating in my day-to-day existence: the most common being dissatisfaction from friends and colleagues about their professional lot; we all manage to find an example of a schedule that would be perfect if we just had that one thing.

I’m sure we can all relate to this: imagine a schedule completely packed to the rafters with gigs – everyday a new challenge, constantly working with different people all over the place. Idyllic, no?  I’m sure, as wind-swept musicians we’ve all wanted a timetable a bit like that.

But you get stuck in, and after a week, you yearn for the schedule of last month – why, I had so much time to practise! I could really have sorted out that tricky unison passage back then – and you feel encumbered by the workload without any time to yourself to actually get to grips with the material at hand.

So you eke out your time in the gigs, silently cursing the lack of time you have for woodshedding; every fluffed note a sharp nudge in the musical ribs; the tension in the picking hand becoming the twinge of the negative feedback loop engaging just like it did yesterday; that slightly dodgy vibrato whispering that “you really should have warmed up properly before changing into your concert blacks, instead of winging it like you’ve done every night this week…

So the anticipated day arrives – tour over, goodbyes said, farewell drinks imbibed and hastily regretted. A day or two of recuperation allowed to reaclimatise to ‘real life’; then the diary is cleared while the kettle boils, and the excitement is palpable – today is the day! I can finally iron out all the creases in my technique! Sort out my sight-reading! Think of all the transcriptions I can finish – I can master slide guitar now! You change the batteries in your metronome and dig out your music stand.

Idealism is a fragile thing, beautiful when young – and it’s always sad to see reality catch up with it, as reality inevitably does.

Give it a month. A month of  no gigs – of empty calenders; long walks in the park; hours spent practising, preparing for…what?

Soon the urge to be back on the stage – treading the boards, rocking the populace – is overwhelming.

Finally, I can play that 3-note-per-string pentatonic phrase at 180bpm, can solo over ‘All the Things You Are’ and play slide guitar more hauntingly than Derek Trucks. But who can hear me?

And we’re into the long, lonely irregular see-saw period.

We can find examples of the ‘see-saw period’ in everyday life, not just that of a musician. In relationships, in holidays and travel, in sports training – we crave variety. It’s nice to be social, and surrounded by people – but don’t you sometimes wish you could be alone once in a while? And so the folklore saying ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ is trotted out with blithe regularity.

But it’s not idealism of the alternative that should be encouragement – but instead a regular alternation of activities and situations. It may seem obvious, but the grass won’t always be greener. I’m not saying to avoid striving for greater things – but instead to appreciate the linearity of life. Enjoy the illusive, peripheral nature of the perfect state – and carry on doing your thing, striving to muster all your efforts to doing your task to the best of your abilities. Apply the downward thrust with conviction, and the see-saw will move. Once up, don’t fight it – let gravity take over, and repeat. Don’t stay stranded at the bottom of the arc, moping about missed opportunities.

Don’t go searching for the elusive pastures – celebrate the movements of your time on the see-saw.

Embrace the differences – they give meaning to what we’d otherwise call the mundane.

2 Comments

Filed under essays

Facebook is VERY ODD INDEED.

Call off the search – the gremlins behind tech failures in Facebook have been traced to HG Wells.

Time travel proved through medium of Facebook.

Time travel proved through medium of Facebook.

1 Comment

Filed under geek, humour