A musical conversation between piano and birdsong, evolves into a pentatonic composition. It was inspired by my late
aunt and by studying the work of Olivier Messiaen.
02. GRAND HOTEL
I wanted to connect Harlem Stride Piano with contemporary dance rhythms. I have improvised over a song I wrote
with Sting entitled 'Grand Hotel'.
03. LAST DATE
This is a collaboration by Soundscape genius, Artist and Producer Brian Eno. We are both great fans of
Nashville pianist and musical minimalist Floyd Cramer. This is our interpretation of one of his most famous compositions,
utilising his slip-note piano styling.
04. BUMBLE BOOGIE
Part of my live repertoire, this epic piece is captured in its current state of evolution with my
Big Band. It has Bach's Prelude No.1 inserted into the middle of it, a piece that Bach wrote to encourage the young
to learn music.
I am an admirer, follower, friend and sometime collaborator of Mac Rebennack, The Night Tripper, Dr. John.
He entitled this piece 'Dorothy' after his mother.
I first heard this music by Focus aged 16 in a small flat in Plumstead at dawn. Having stayed up all night my
senses were sharpened and I became captivated by the theme. Desiring a contemporary rhythm I invited top Remixer and Producer
Johnson Somerset to lay down some foundations and then set to work.
07. UPRIGHT AND GRAND
Music is sometimes an expression of joy. My hope is that like me the listeners' sense of joy will be slightly
intensified with the syncopation of this piece.
I originally wrote this as a short piece for solo cello. You will hear the left hand of the piano playing
that part. I then started improvising and it grew as I experimented. My wife is called Christabel, she thought it sounded like
the theme from a 1960's spy film. I considered changing the title to 'The Cold War' but after some consideration retained the
09. MIDNIGHT HOUR BLUES
10. I HAD IT BUT IT’S ALL GONE NOW
11. HOW LONG BLUES
12. BLUE LAMP
These tracks are a quartet of blues themes. The first music that I learned to play was The Blues where people
played what they meant and meant what they played. It's a music that sounds deceptively simple but in a lifetime of study I have
learnt that it is far from that. On Leroy Carr's 'Midnight Hour Blues' and 'How Long Blues' you may hear the influence of Jimmy
Yancey and the attentive listener will note that following Yancey’s trademark I end the songs both in E flat, although neither are
in that key. Sidney Bechet wrote 'I Had It But It's All Gone Now'. He was not a piano player but I never heard him play anything
that didn't make me feel better. What the title refers to, his fortune, his love, or the common cold, I shall leave to the listener
to decide. 'The Blue Lamp' is my tribute to the wonderful piano player Lloyd Glenn.
13. ROMANTIC RUIN
I wrote this for my Big Band in the 1990s; I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful band.
Together we make our unique style of Ska and Blues mashed up together. This also features a wonderful tenor saxophone
solo from Jamaica's own Michael 'Bammi' Rose.
14. BANG AND POP
'Mind your finger on my trigger, case it goes bang and pop We've been fighting all this time, now it's got to
stop' was the opening line from this song. Stripped back to its bare instrumental form you can hear the Albert Ammon's influence.
I would also draw the listeners' attention to Gilson Lavis' sexually explicit bass drum which enters on the fourth chorus.
15. STRANGE CARGO
Freddie Slack was one of the piano greats. In the 1940s as a band leader and a boogieist he was way ahead
of his time. On his composition here you can enjoy another man way ahead of his time, our own Fayyaz Virji on trombone.
16. RED RAG TIME
Modern technology allowed the recording of this music to be made not just in the formal setting of the recording
studio but in various locations and localities. Drummer Gilson Lavis and myself were running through some music on an old piano in
the back room of a terraced London house. I started to play this piece which I haven’t played for many years. This recording captures
that first take moment which can often have a unique and special feel.
17. ROLL 'EM
Mary Lou Williams is one of the true greats of jazz. She has influenced my playing and my musical philosophy. This
is one of her best known compositions recorded in the same circumstances as the previous track.
18. I'M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
I am. Thank you for listening.
This album was recorded with vintage ribbon microphones and tape machines on location by the Kent marshes, where
we found a secluded wooded area and placed microphones in the trees and then, huddled in a small but quaint wooden hut, Jools braved
the elements and performed on an old Wurlizer upright. We then took advantage of the acoustic properties of a panelled room where we
installed a Yamaha Concert Grand.
In Central London we decamped to a back room with a beautiful 1958 Grand.
Finally, we ended up back at base in the Pyramid room at Helicon Mountain studios in Greenwich, London, with the old faithful Yamaha
Grand piano and Wurlitzer Spinet.