|Artwork by Kevin Fitzsimmons|
Kevin Fitzsimmons writes about his Show me the Way album launch at the Spice of Life on 2nd October.
Having spent many an hour performing and listening to some incredibly smart solos, be it trios, quartets, sextets, I’m excited to be joined on stage on 2nd October at The Spice Of Life by all eight musicians who appear on my new CD ‘Show me the Way’ .
I know, of course, there’ll be the coffee shop whispers “ Nash, Garnett, Greening, Lockrane & the Fishwicks, all on the same stage...he must be two bars short of a jingle”. Yeah I guess band leading a stage full of band leaders was never going to be my sanest move, but then I’ve always been more relaxed on the edge of an abyss, or is that a buzz.
I have got to know these jazz stars pretty well and feel quite at ease in their rebellious company, whether arranging for me or song writing with me. Like the table for two in the cosy corner of a restaurant, song writing for me is quite an intimate process. There has to be a mutual respect. Derek Nash, who I feel could be at home writing a money-making pop tune as well as a new jazz standard (just a small facet of the Nash talent empire), has two collaborations with me on this CD: Blue For You and Multicoloured Misery. Matched in equal measure by the piano playing of Leon Greening, Leon, who would give the most hardened pop-fan the urge to sneak a quick shuffle through the jazz section of their local HMV (If it’s still open?). Our collaboration is on Views From The Quayside, Slightly Intoxicated - two subjects of interest to me and Leon. First the great city of London; a city that pays our bills. Second our connoisseurial appreciation for real ale’s strange sounding brews (we leave the optics to Alex Garnett), although rousing shouts from me of “two of your finest, mate” can be quite embarrassing among the refined populous of Kensington & Chelsea.
Leon also has a hand in the arranging alongside saxophonist Alex Garnett. Alex, ‘the Guvnor’, is creative in real-time. That’s such a gift, and I get all the presents. A man so cool he’s frozen solid. His arrangement of Cole Porter’s It’s Alright With Me always stops me mid-flow from sponging down the rhythm section.
Also on arrangement duties is bassist Dominic Howles, with Supergrass’s Moving and Paul Weller’s You Do Something To Me. Gritty and moody...I love it. It was Dominic who introduced me to Steve Fishwick - “he’s the best”. He was right; he was in.
The title track, Show Me The Way, one of my songs, features the presence of flautist Gareth Lockrane, who has found so many dimensions on an instrument I thought only had one. And there’s doubt there are many technical terms for Matt Fishwick’s playing. I call it ‘high-class drumming’, ‘posh percussion’. Not easy to find.
It promises to be a great night musically, and that’s without the banter and shtick. Can’t wait. Now, do excuse me while I take my medication...
‘SHOW ME THE WAY’ CD Launch - WEDNESDAY 2nd October
SPICE OF LIFE
6 Moor St
KEVIN FITZSIMMONS vocals
MATT FISHWICK drums
STEVE FISHWICK trumpet
ALEX GARNETT tenor sax
LEON GREENING piano
DOMINIC HOWLES bass
GARETH LOCKRANE flute
DEREK NASH alto/tenor sax
Tickets £10/£8 MU student/advance