2017 seems to be hurtling along at a ridiculous speed …
Well that ended up taking longer than I thought and now it’s April! I don’t know about you but 2017 seems to be hurtling along at a ridiculous speed, it’ll be Christmas by Easter. It has been a bonkers busy work period for us, but moving house is the main reason for my unexpected sabbatical. Glastonbury is a wonderful place to live and we’ve enjoyed our four and half years there very much. Not long after relocating to Somerset my weekly radio show went live and the number of annual gigs rose. We worked out, based on 2015-2016 mileage, if we moved just over an hour northeast back to the M4 corridor we’d get 12 days back a year! That sounds like a holiday to me.
So January and February were spent packing and we upped sticks during a handy 10 day gig free window in March. Muddy devised a fantastic colour coded packing plan so we could pretty much find everything we needed as soon as we landed in the new place, a couple of days into our move however I was to perform at Dame Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday party concert at The London Palladium the brief was to wear something bright and cheerful. I generally wear black which I have found brings out my cheerful side, but looking at the mountain of boxes the chances of finding anything remotely not black were slim to none.
It was an incredible gathering – hundreds of singers, musicians, dancers, comedians and actors, all there to celebrate the great lady’s centenary even HM Queen Elizabeth II was in attendance and when the mighty RAF Squadronaires started up and came over all goosebumpy and emotional.
Another great lady who would have celebrated her 100th birthday on the 25th April is first lady of swing Ella Fitzgerald, my absolute hero. It was a great pleasure to present and sing at a special Friday Night is Music Night concert at The Hackney Empire last week with the BBC Concert Orchestra and The BBC Big Band alongside Mica Paris, Louis Marshall and Emma Kershaw.
2017 is a big year for centenary celebrations singer, actress and civil rights activist Lena Horne, jazz giants Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and rumba quinto master Mongo Santamaria to name a few. Now there’s a brilliant excuse to indulge your ears with some of the finest music ever created.