Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Hot jazz for a cold day.

We played the Magdalen Street Festival in Norwich on Saturday.  The courtyard of the King of Hearts doesn't get much sun in October and we froze.  I had chosen my T-shirt with care but didn't even take my jacket off.  Nor did Cesar. Andy wisely kept his hat on. Or perhaps unwisely - opinion is divided. But a little hot jazz and klezmer goes down well in Norfolk and I like to think our audience was somewhat warmer for the music we played.

Thanks to Polly for accepting the offer of my camera and taking the pictures.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Eastern Straynotes on video

As promised, here are the results of the band's first foray into motion pictures.  Three live takes: two jazz tunes and one klezmer piece. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

Radio Video

Well it's a busy time for Eastern Straynotes.  On Saturday we had our first video shoot and hope to get something onto Youtube very soon.  That was followed by a private party in the evening where we went down rather well, even if I say so myself.  We were more or less acoustic for that with just Andy's vocals given a little boost.

This evening I'll meet the filmmaker to select the takes we'll go on and use.  Then, tomorrow afternoon, I'm off to Radio Norfolk to be interviewed in relation to our next public performance.  Also there will be singer-songwriter James Frost who has programmed the King of Hearts stage in the courtyard of the eponymous cafĂ©.  James is also playing on that stage.  If you tune into Radio Norfolk at around 3.30 tomorrow afternoon  (Tuesday 9th October) you'll probably hear us both.

And if you make it Magdalen Street on Saturday, look out for Eastern Straynotes at the King of Hearts at 11am.  You know if it's us playing because our infectious klezmer and swing jazz will make it impossible to stand still!


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ringing endorsements

Verbal compliments everyday fare for Eastern Straynotes but, sadly, written praise is rarer.  So it was lovely to receive this card from Denise Denis who runs a care home for the elderly in Norfolk.  The band went to play some jazz for the residents there.

It reads: "Thank you again for the lovely concert on Sunday morning - valiant in view of the weather! - everyone really enjoyed your music."

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Cathedral Wedding

Thanks to go Molly for this lovely picture of the bride and groom dancing in the Cathedral Close with with Eastern Straynotes and the spire of Norwich Cathedral in the background.  It really was a beautiful evening, certainly the warmest of the year, and this was the perfect way to spend it.

The happy couple are moving to Honeysuckle Rose - their choice for the first dance of the evening.  It wasn't long before others joined them as the band played one of their hottest, most infectious jazz and klezmer sets ever.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Another public appearance

Andy and I will be standing in for our friend Hugh at Pinocchio's in Norwich on Monday evening (23rd July 2012).  Unplugged and completely acoustic.  Our unique blend of jazz and klezmer kicks off at 7.30pm.

This is a foodie gig so you may like to book a table by calling the restaurant: 01603 613318.  Their website is http://pinocchiosrestaurant.net/

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Graduation Day

So Tuesday was Graduation Day at Norwich University College of the Arts.  After each ceremony (there were three in all) Eastern Straynotes were on hand to play acoustic jazz for the champagne reception.  Electrically amplified music is forbidden in Blackfriars Hall so Andy Kirkham (centre of picture) was able to demonstrate his powers of vocal projection.

Personally I love playing acoustically, finding a natural balance between the instruments and tailoring that to the demands of the space and the occasion. It can be challenging, certainly, but it is music making at its most refined and satisfying.

This is the band's fourth year playing for this event so I can only assume we must be doing something right.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The vagaries of the weather

June can deliver so much in terms of weather.  Last Sunday we were performing in a soggy marquee in Aylsham, North Norfolk, and I ended up playing in my hand warmers.  The sky threw buckets of rain along with thunder and lightning. The latter caused a power cut all across the town and we played one number, Summertime (I think everyone was aware of the irony) acoustically.  By necessity, this brought us closer to our audience.  Fortunately the outage was shortlived and Andy, not relishing emulating the Jazz 'belters' of the 1920s, was able to resume a more varied vocal style.

After we played we stuck around for a very pleasant lunch, courtesy of Aylsham Manor, a photo opportunity and to hear the first couple of numbers by the Aylsham Band (pictured) before heading off to other engagements.

The following Thursday, in contrast, was perhaps the warmest day yet this year in East Anglia.  I don't remember seeing a cloud in the sky during our drive down to Woodbridge in Suffolk.  And it stayed warm all evening.

Andy and I even got out for a brief stroll in the break.  Our name wasn't exactly in lights - probably because of the long June evenings, but someone had obviously gone to some trouble making this sign.

Meanwhile, Cesar stayed inside to work on the finer details of his bass sound.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Just like playing outside

The backdrop for the stage at Kelling Heath in Norfolk really brings the forest into the room.  It's just like playing outside but warmer, dryer and with a better acoustic.  My good friend Rick took some pics during the second set and also a few movie clips which may (or may not!) appear in a later post.

I'm not sure what tune we're playing here.  Something with a lyric, that's for sure.  We go down well in Kelling, whether we play swing, Latin or klezmer.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Would Jubileeve it?

Eastern Straynotes didn't miss the party last weekend but, as usually happens, Jonathan was almost too busy to wield his camera.  At Forest Park, Cromer much of the time was spent setting up out on the new decking where we played our first set and pulled a fair crowd to the barbeque.  But then it began to rain so we spent our first break moving the gear inside for our second set.

And then out came the sun again.  So we spent the second break taking the gear back out.  Except half way through doing that it began to rain again so we brought it all back in.  By the time we had started our third set (indoors) it was sunny again and remained so.  Ah well, you have to laugh don't you? At least our jazz and klezmer-loving audience followed us on our meanderings.

And Andy still found time to check out the Jubilee spread.

 "Here's looking at you, cupcake."

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Eastern Straynotes are pleased to be headlining this fundraiser for Norwich Green Party.  It promises to be a fine night with a variety of different cabaret style acts including comedy, theatre, mind reading, storytelling and performance poetry as well as music.  And Tom Foxe's pedal-powered PA is worth the admission by itself.

The trio is joined by Bazza Bizarre on drums and we will demonstrate our credentials as a full-on dance band by ending the evening with an irresistible beat.

All the details are on the poster which should blow up big if you double-click on it.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter Sunday

The first marquee gig of the year on a damp and chilly Easter Sunday, made possible by the combination of plastic canvas and a gas-powered space heater.  So powerful was the heater, and so draft-proof the canvas, that the marquee held its heat very well.

The event was a day-after-the-wedding hog-roast lunch and a little jazz was required to add warmth to the proceedings. Judging by the constant stream of compliments, tapping feet, swaying bodies and occasional nifty footwork we really hit the spot.  I know it isn't very English to big yourself up but the blog is no place to be economical with the truth.

And as we left we couldn't resist saying hello to another Morris.

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Crown at Woodbridge

They certainly know their jazz in Woodbridge and we had an attentive audience who made the long journey south worthwhile.  The Crown is a lovely spot, recently and tastefully modernised and extended. And it seems they always have a jazz band playing on the last Thursday of the month.

I took this snap during Andy's guitar solo in Thelonius Monk's 'Round Midnight', Cesar Camba giving support on double bass.  We played three sets in all, enabling us to give an outing to many of our favourite tunes.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Let there be lights

Andy adds a little sparkle to the occasion as we set up for a jazz and sea-food themed evening at Quayside Plaza in Great Yarmouth last Saturday. Phosphorescence?

Eastern Straynotes do try to add a little colour to their performances. We usually use rather larger lights than these but if you visit Angelo's excellent, but not especially large, establishment you will see why we scaled them down.

Saturday, 3 March 2012


On Thursday night Andy and I found ourselves in Pinocchio's, a restaurant on trendy St Benedict's Street in Norwich.  The restaurant has live music every Thursday from 7pm until 10pm.  It is the perfect way to unwind after some late night shopping.  Eastern Straynotes have the power to both calm and invigorate and we'll be back there on March 15th.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Tour Dates

OK, so we're not quite at the point of printing a roadie's T-shirt with all our dates proudly displayed.  For one thing, I don't think any of the brides and grooms would like to remember their wedding for the arrival of a hoard of uninvited guests.  But we do have a list of public performances which you are welcome to attend.

Most of our gigs are of the foody variety but you can see us in Woodbridge at the end of March or at Kelling in early June.  Food is available, but by no means compulsory, at these venues. (See the Dates page for details.)

And we're hoping to be headlining a large fundraising event in Norwich in April which promises to be a lot of fun.  Watch this space.