Three great gigs I’m looking forward to this summer

Image: Summer Of Love Party, Hawkhurst, Kent

Three great gigs I’m looking forward to over the next few weeks, playing with some of my favourite friends.

Here’s the first one, with my band, Groundation at the Summer Of Love Party on Friday 24 July when we’ll be bringing our afro jazz vibes to a bit of a hang in Hawkhurst in Kent! Joining me are the incomparable Nathaniel Facey, Shirley Tetteh and Moses Boyd. (Thanks to Steve @ FunkyFeet Photography for the great pic!)

Image: Gary Crosby's Groundation. Photo by Steve @ FunkyFeet Photography

 

 

Then on Saturday 25 July, I have the great pleasure of performing Coltrane’s A Love Supreme with Denys Baptiste, Rod Youngs and Joe Armon-Jones at the Hull Truck Theatre (part of the 2015 Hull Jazz Festival). I know…we only played this suite a couple of weeks ago at Southbank Centre, and we’re still buzzing from the great vibe there, but it’s an extraordinary piece of music that, without fail, gets all of us excited about playing it again.

Image: John Coltrane - A Love Supreme album cover

Then I have a couple of weeks to get my party head in gear for Jazz Jamaica‘s favourite club gig, celebrating Jamaican Independence at The Hideaway in Streatham, South London on Saturday 8 August. Always a pleasure, we have the lovely Ms Myrna Hague joining us again. Plus…we’re planning to introduce a new young vocal talent…But you have to come along if you want to find out who!

The Hideaway Flyer - Jazz Jamaica 08 Aug

Hope to see lots of you over the next few weeks!

Peace and love.

 

Jamaican Independence – come celebrate with Jazz Jamaica!

 

Come have some fun with us and celebrate Jamaican Independence on Saturday 8 August at The Hideaway in Streatham, South London on Saturday 8 August. We have the wonderful Myrna Hague as our special guest, plus there’s brilliant comedy with Felicity Ethnic!The Hideaway Flyer - Jazz Jamaica 08 Aug

 

Revisiting John Coltrane’s A LOVE SUPREME – 10 July

I’m looking forward this week to working in Quartet format again on Friday 10 July at 5.30pm when we revisit John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. I’ll be joined by my long-time friends and sparring partners, Denys Baptiste and Rod Youngs, and rising star Joe Armon-Jones.  We’re doing it in a free space, The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre, London so lots of you can come see it! It’s an incredible piece of music that we never tire of playing. Here’s a link to my blog piece My Supreme Love Affair that I posted in January where I talk about my relationship with this great work.

Meantime, here are the details for the gig. When you’ve it, click on the flyer to be taken to the Southbank Centre website for more info. Hope to see you there!

IMAGE: Gary Crosby 4tet feat. Denys Baptiste

RIP Gertrude Goode 1919-2015

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23 June 2015:   Today we received the very sad news that our dear friend, Gertrude Goode – wife of my mentor and legendary bassist, Coleridge Goode – passed away. Cancer, and an impressive long innings, eventually took her away. 

Gertrude was a beautiful woman – elegant, refined, and in possession of a keen intellect. She was a wonderful wife and mother, and the perfect party host. Bright as a button, age and illness never seemed to dull her great sense of humour.

Gertrude was always about fairness and honesty, and had some insights into music and musicians that only comes with age, experience, knowledge and genuine interest in jazz people. She was a great supporter of Tomorrow’s Warriors, attending concerts with Coleridge whenever possible, and was always eager to hear about the young musicians coming through our programme, especially those who had performed at her delightful get-togethers at the Goode house. It was at these get-togethers that she would introduce me to several elders from the jazz community, giving me the chance to receive so much first hand information about jazz in Britain. Such occasions gave the ‘Lords Of The Lower Frequencies’ (Coleridge, Peter Ind, Dave Green and myself) an opportunity to meet and gave me the chance to play Coleridge’s fabulous bass. In fact, it was at one of Gertrude’s soirées that we ‘Lords’ hatched the plan for our debut concert in the 2013 London Jazz Festival.

One can only imagine the deep sadness Coleridge and their children, Sandy and Jim must feel at this time. We send our love and condolences to the family and to all friends of the family. Even though we all knew of course that age and illness would eventually get the better of her (though few things did in reality!), the news of her passing is still shocking and upsetting for all who knew and loved her. But what a fine innings she had, huh! I’m so glad for that.

Janine and I, and all of the young Warriors who had the pleasure and privilege of meeting, being around, talking and having fun with Gertrude, will miss this very Sophisticated Lady very much indeed. For those who didn’t, have a listen to the snippet below of Gertrude speaking about her first years in London and her marriage to Coleridge to get a sense of her warm and wonderful personality (see below).

Rest in beautiful peace, Miss Gertrude.

(Photos of Gertrude Goode © 2014 Janine Irons; photo of Coleridge and Gertrude Goode courtesy of Metal Dog Media).

 

Unbelievable, but True!

Yes, I celebrated a special birthday recently and was thrilled to have received messages from some of my friends you remembered the date!

Thanks to you all for your greetings – it’s not so bad after all…

Happy Birthday to a fellow January person – I hope I look as good as you at 60, but then you know black don’t crack! One Love, Michael.
Michael McMillan

OMG! I can’t believe you’re 60. You look and (act :) ) decades younger. Anyway I hope you have an amazing day and I look forward to celebrating with you Feb 6th. Happy Birthday Gary. Danielle x
Danielle Bayley-Hay

Hi Gary, This is primarily to wish you a Happy 60th Birthday. I bet it has crept up on you as rather a surprise. Allow me also to congratulate you on devoting the past three or four decades to opening up the world of music making for so many young people and to making such fine music yourself. Here’s to many more birthdays and lots more music. All the best. Charles
Charles Alexander

Happy Birthday Gary – we hope you have a fantastic day for your special birthday – we look forward to seeing you soon. Best wishes, Colin, Laura, Jo (& Oslo – woof woof!)
Colin Towns

Happy b-day dear Gary, all the best! Hope you can arrange it to come to Vienna in 2015 with your wonderful family! Wish you a great Party tonight. Big hug Christine!
Christine Jakl-Hussmann

Other people who celebrate birthdays on 26 January include: Anita Baker, Angela Davis, Ellen De Generes and many more!

My Supreme Love Affair

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A Love Supreme-Southampton2015Happy New Year! Let’s hope it’s going to be a good one, full of great music, inspiration and creativity.

The year is definitely getting off to a great start for me as 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the only live performance by John Coltrane of his everlasting classic, A Love Supreme. I feel honoured to have been invited to perform this monumental piece on Friday 16 January at Turner Sims in Southampton with my quartet, which features my long-time friend and musical sparring partner, Denys Baptiste. Completing the rhythm section are the great Rod Youngs on drums and rising star pianist, Joe Armon-Jones, a graduate of my Tomorrow’s Warriors Young Artist Development Programme.

I first discovered Coltrane’s A Love Supreme in about 1977, and it has to be said that this classic jazz album had an instant and profound effect on me. I recall it was my sister who bought the album for me. I had listened to other Coltrane music, but this was one of the early Impulse recordings and it clearly was something special. Indeed, it was a masterpiece and spoke to me in so many ways that other jazz works so far had not (perhaps with the exception of Mingus’ Black Saint and The Sinner Lady). It was apparent to me that this was a very personal piece of work – a spiritual albeit very public declaration by Coltrane that his life as a musician was now a seamless (at one) dedication with his faith in God. Here was a man who was rising out of his personal problems, including a long struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.

Looking back, I had started listening to A Love Supreme before I had even started taking ‘proper’ bass lessons, as I had been trumpeter up until that point. When I think about it, at the time, my reaction was not so much about the high level of importance in jazz history that the work had assumed over the past decade, but it was much more about how this was a deeply emotional, somewhat ethereal response that took hold of me. This may sound somewhat prosaic or even strange given the easy access to lessons about world cultures and diverse societies that we have through global media and the web. It was rare for me to get opportunities to learn about, let alone directly experience or get close to hearing a black male talking or expressing his artistic and spiritual devotion to another being, albeit it the Creator or God. In fact, most of the music I was listening to at the time was focused around or directly fused with my political beliefs: Black power, the growth of the left wing, anti-apartheid movement, Mozambique, independence in Africa and the Caribbean. Several of my contemporaries, who also hailed from the Rasta movement, were realising that we were starving intellectually. We were asking ourselves: how do we expand our philosophy, talk through and deepen our thoughts on the ideas that were influencing us. And so it was not only about geopolitics or religion, it became about creative expression. It became about jazz. Jazz became a strong metaphor for sharing stories, communing with fellow thinkers, a symbol of independence, freedom and self-expressionism.

Of course at home, growing up, jazz music was all around us so we grew up listening to the greats (my uncle is the great jazz guitarist, Ernest Ranglin). However, I believe the guys who were around me at the time were looking for ways to engage in deeper conversations about the black intellectual experience. A Love Supreme acted like the soundtrack to the books we were reading at the time. But it was not only Coltrane. It was also through our extended connections and seeing the huge impact that musicians were having across the divides: Fela, Marley, US producers like Norman Whitfield, Curtis Mayfield. If my memory serves me well, Supreme was the first or second jazz album that I had listened to which had been constructed as a conceptual work, composed that way from the start to the finish.

If I break it down, another reason it appealed to me was its purity – an acoustic work written at a time when electronic jazz was slowly beginning to dominate the scene: Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock. I was into the Rasta movement, living a natural life so the purity of the acoustic arrangements and work held sway with me on a number of different levels.

What does A Love Supreme mean now? It’s been a part of my entire adult life, all the way through its many phases – whenever I am down, even feeling low, or looking for creativity, it’s one of those albums that lifts me. I carry it everywhere with me. It’s on my iPhone, my iPod. It’s everywhere around me.

It’s about ten years ago that I started playing A Love Supreme with Denys Baptiste (and I’ve only ever performed this work with Denys on saxophone). This is a rare piece and, in fact, we have only played it about 7-8 times. However the way we play Coltrane is ingrained in our consciousness. We try to keep the spontaneity, and are mindful about how and when we rehearse. In fact we only ‘rehearsed’ the piece before we had to perform it for the very first time all those years ago, and every other time since then, we command up our energies, get into the mindset and play the set in the sound check before the live performance. In doing so we try to keep a collective purity, a kind of naturalness if you like. However A Love Supreme is one of the world’s sacred canons, and we certainly will not abuse the composer’s intention. As musicians, we want to learn from the piece each time we undertake the work. It’s our absolute duty to play it as Coltrane intended, for example in the case of the bass solo in the movement, Resolution, it really does not need anything from me (or any musician) to be heard as a great piece of art. The work is awesome and awe-inspiring.

It’s really important that the audience engages with Supreme from a pure live perspective. Forty minutes of an intensified and meditative experience. It surely takes you over and elevates the mind and spirit. There’s no choice – you have to take the piece seriously, audiences and musicians alike, but never allow the weight of its meaning and significance to scare you because the rewards are so great. Before we play, I like to ask tacit permission from the audience to give us 45 minutes of their unadulterated time and attention also to allow my Quartet to transport them to another zone, through an immensely hypnotic score – to recapture that spirit that Coltrane shared all those years ago. For me A Love Supreme is pure inspiration. Pure genius. Whether you are religious or not, it’s revealing to be allowed to share in the visceral statement that Coltrane is making – his service to God. The music/concept came to him by some sort of osmosis, apparently. Coltrane congregated all the elements in one day and, with that, he left us a great piece of work that in a thousand years we will be still be listening to, one that unites humans at the spiritual level – a work that unites musicians across genres. Whether you are religious or not, people all over the work respect what Coltrane did. Not everybody ‘gets’ jazz, but back then in 1965, hippies, folk and progressive rock musicians, accepted this as one the great universal musical statements for the ages.

A Love Supreme is “for music fans, not just jazz fans. For people across musical boundaries and cultures — for Carlos Santana, Bono, Joni Mitchell, Steve Reich, Bootsy Collins, Gil Scott-Heron — hearing A Love Supreme was a revelation” Arun Rath, npr.

Come and hear us play A Love Supreme live. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Peace and love.

Friday 16 January 2015 Turner Sims, Salisbury Road, Southampton SO17 1BJ Doors 8pm Pre-booking strongly advised Tickets £18, Concessions £17, Friends £16.20, students £9 can be booked online, or from the Box Office on 023 8059 5151

Celebrating 100 Goode Years: Happy Birthday Coleridge

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garycrosbybass:

Tomorrow’s Warriors have posted a slideshow of some of the wonderful images we used for my concert last week in the Purcell Room at Southbank Centre to celebrate (a week early) the 100th birthday of one of my mentors, Coleridge Goode. We’ll be posting up some footage from the show shortly.

Send Coleridge a birthday message via the Tomorrow’s Warriors blog or, alternatively:

  • Post on Twitter with hashtags #OnceInACentury #ColeridgeGoode100
  • Like and post a comment on Facebook page Coleridge Goode 100

– we’ll be sharing your messages with Coleridge at his party on the 29th!

Originally posted on Tomorrow's Warriors:

Last week Tomorrow’s Warriors artistic director, Gary CrosbyOBE was able to publicly share his admiration for his mentor at a special interactive concert during the London Jazz Festival.  Today, we are so very proud to celebrate the 100th birthday of the double bass jazz giant and unmatched legend, MrColeridge Goode: ‘Lord Master of the Lower Frequencies’.

Happy Birthday Coleridge! may you celebrate many more glorious years with your family and friends, and keep on inspiring future generations of jazz musicians and lovers of jazz music.

Please join us in celebrating Coleridge’s incredible talent, his influence on the jazz scene and beyond and, most of all, the pure generosity and humanity he shows to those who come after him. Send your appreciation by tweeting #OnceInACentury #ColeridgeGoode100 or commenting on Facebook.

Coleridge Goode, born 29 November 1914, Jamaica, West Indies.

Thanks to Coleridge Goode’s family for photographs and…

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