The Necks and the BBC SSO

May 8, 2017

When I have seen the Necks play they have always made me reconsider what music is and what it is for (both as a listener and a player) in a way that I have always found really cool, and I had that same experience this time but also with the symphony orchestra within that territory that is being redefined - it is redefining roles and expectations and demands on people (including audiences) and certainly orchestral musicians. It is fascinating to watch their body language and so many levels of meaning. And the bottom line was there were many moments where the orchestral element sounded really cool and to me it was a real sonic success. I saw Butch Morris doing his conducted improvisation with jazz musicians and really enjoyed it and I really enjoyed this too. That there will likely be very mixed opinions on it absolutely comes with the turf but for what it is worth that was mine!

Nice video from last summer

April 3, 2017

Nice video from the Edinburgh Jazz Festival Last year. 

See longer full length video here.

Tom Bancroft presented one of our EXPO projects last year - here what he has to say about it...To see the full video, please visit:

Posted by Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival on Monday, 3 April 2017

A Metaphor for a Jazz Life

March 24, 2017

A metaphor for a jazz life on many levels. 

I sat on the roundabout pedalled and nothing happened and I thought - "this roundabout is broken and that is a metaphor for life so I should make a video". Halfway through the video I tried pedalling backwards and found it works fine. So in fact instead of being broken I had sat on it the wrong way and blamed the roundabout and not questioned myself. Then I realised that was in a way a better metaphor for life... at least my life! And then my cameraman (who shall remain nameless but you know who you are) obscured the action with his thumb.

Arsehole Force: How to not be an Arsehole by an Arsehole…

December 21, 2016

How to not be an Arsehole by an Arsehole

I am working on accepting and admitting that I am at times an arsehole.

An arsehole who denies he or she is an arsehole is a much bigger arsehole and much harder to be around.

An arsehole who accepts he or she is an arsehole and takes responsibility and apologises (without needing to be asked) when he or she is an arsehole is hardly an arsehole at all.

So by admitting and accepting that you are an arsehole you kind of stop really being an arsehole.

It is known as the arsehole/not an arsehole paradox.

That is it.

(This post on Facebook was the origin of Arsehole Force!)

Caber Yuletide log Free Download

This is definitely the best ever Scottish Jazz Christmas CD and (after enough whisky) is also arguably the best jazz Christmas CD ever. And it is a free download so please share download and enjoy.

Charts from Playtime

May 7, 2015

Here are my charts for the Playtime Film & TV theme night.

Ghana in Scotland

May 29, 2014

Been an incredible few weeks. So many incredible gigs and experiences…. Been a real privilege to travel round scotland with these fabulous musicians and dancers. PLUS very professional and positive guys to work with. Last two nights did gigs

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Duo with Stephen

May 28, 2014

I was working in the SEN school and nothing I normally do worked so I had to start thinking of it as a free jazz improvisation and then it was really cool.


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Potted Grammy’s 2014 for those that missed it

January 28, 2014


Potted Grammys for those of you that missed it. 

Beyoncé came on looking very hot in her undies and sang a carefully choreographed incredibly lit version of Drunk in Love while sitting on a Mandy Rice Davies chair. It is an ode to having sex with Jay Z, who showed up near the end in a DJ and large bow tie and phoned in an inaudible rap. I can't have been alone in wondering if there isn't a part of Beyoncé's brain thinking "I'm working way harder at this than he is..."

 Anyhow one person who probably was wondering something like that was Jamie Foxx who came on (after Pharell appeared in a weird oversize Mounties hat looking a bit like some weird Rupert the Bear sidekick) and  basically creepily flirted with Beyoncé who was by now sitting in the front row with her husband in a "sorry Jay Z I can't help looking she's so hot" way. 

Then Mackerelmore or someone came on (a white rapper who looks like Boris Becker with a tunnocks tea cake on his head) he rapped a very actually uplifting ditty about gay marriage. This took a turn for the bizarre when Queen Latifah - who looked very happy to be there in not a totally convincing way - announces that 29 gay couples and Mackerelmore's sister were gonna get married right there and then during the song. Latifah kind of asked them to say I Do whilst stood in front of a glass door through which unbeknownst to us , and apparently Queen L, Madonna was about to make a huge entrance. 

So Ryan Halibut (Mackerelmore's mute underfed sidekick) had to manhandle the heft of Latifah out the road just in the nick of time so that Madge could burst through said glass doors dressed like a diazepam befuddled Miss Haversham in a white cowboy outfit . Madge started screeching out 'Open Your Heart to Me ' in a vocally rancid way while holding a weird white walking stick (She must have had a sprained ankle cos nobody, I repeat nobody, could have thought it looked cool) . 

Basically Madonna was only the first of several over the hill superstars stinking up the place with their dazzling hasbeenosity, and made to look even shitter by on top of their game performers like Beyonce and Pink.

Daft Punk came on , well Chic with Stevie Wonder and Pharell,  to do 'Get Lucky' . Initially Stevie appeared to be have misunderstood the gig and seemed to be working as the stenographer in a court room taking a transcript tapping on this small box . You could see him actually typing "She stays up all night for the sun...," 

Google work revealed that the small thing he was tapping was in fact an iPad. Maybe the Stylophone app as a tribute to Rolf Harris? But you couldn't hear it or Stevie singing much ( though he clearly isn't over the hill in any way) which was a shame cos Pharell sang (allegedly his first live performance of the song) and sounded nearly as bad, but not quite, as the folk cover of Get Lucky by Aly Bain et al on Hogmanay.

Suddenly a curtain pulled back and there were the two Dafties in Darth Vaderesque helmets like two elective mute boys at Nursery. The music got suitably zowie wowee for a while.

Then less like a Monster of Rock more like the Bloated Carcass of a Dead Seal of Rock appeared ie Metallica with a Chinese pianist who had a two or three letter name beginning with Y. He did a ridiculous but suitably bish bash cod Liberace intro on piano until Metallica lumbered into full er throttle? strangle? like an overweight Dad going jogging in leather trousers and a tattoo sleeve.

Lars may have once been a decent drummer but now he drums like the guy who is still in the band cos he has a van but had to cut his hair cos he works in an insurance office during the week. In fact he probably spends his week counting his money.

In the middle of this came Lorde who was pretty good.

Pink did another dazzling aerialist display which wasn't as good as the amazing one she did at the Grammys in 2010 despite an increased range of death defying moves. It wasn't as good a) because in 2010 she hadn't already done it in 2006 and b) she didn't get dunked in water in the middle of it like an overexcited teabag ( as she was in 2010 to general astonishment). Then she jumped off the ropes and started doing angry couple dancing with a bare torsoed male dancer before changing into a frock and duetting with some singer I had never heard of in unfeasably long shoes.

Then, as if Madonna and Metallica weren't enough then came Paul McCartney and Ringo. Now I love the Beatles as much as the next man but since Paul McCartney did Hey Jude at the Olympics surely someone needs to have a word. Despite the massive back catalogue of great songs he did something new from a movie that was just bleaaah. 

It had that sub Chas and Dave chug a lug groove of so much of his post Beatles stuff.

Ringo was on drums in the sense that he was sat behind a set of drums and waving his arms about holding sticks. He was clearly miming and clearly didn't even know what he was meant to be playing.

At this point I went to bed and unfortunately missed Taylor Swift head banging to a ballad while playing the piano which I have seen since and looks like she was either having an orgasm or had tetanus.

Basically it was all good.

It was definitely Not Jazz.

Tom & Daouda Jam 1

December 29, 2012

Tom Bancroft & Daouda (Labouzo) from Mali jam on djembe and bodhran in Kokrobite, Ghana.

I hung out a lot with Daouda on my second trip to Ghana and learnt a lot from him and he was also a very open musician and interested in doing things like this.

When I went back to Ghana Daouda had gone back to Mali and I had no way of contacting him.
So one of these days I am planning a trip to Mali to find Daouda...

Daouda - if you find this please get in touch!