Overdue Site Updates

The last couple of days have seen several pages of the site updated. Amongst these have been updates to the About page, Schedule, Current Activities and even some new Sound Clips! These updates, many of which are quite overdue, are the first in a series of changes which will be implemented before the end of the year, by which time we are hoping to have a new and improved site design ready.

Most importantly, we have finally been able to update all of the dates for the Rat Pack US Tour which continues into the early part of 2008. It promises to be a busy time for Bryan as he goes directly between the US Tour and European dates in Austria and Germany without a break! He will be visiting Graz, Hannover, Bremen and Essen in January. Please come and see the show and then come and say hello afterwards! Lessons are, as always, available so please contact Bryan if you are interested.

October/November 2007

October started out with the Rat Pack show‘s 2 week run in St Louis, MO. Bryan was also to be found sitting in with the Sessions Big Band, at BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, and with the extraordinary Jim Manley.

Before, returning to the Rat Pack UK Tour at the end of October in Birmingham, Bryan will also be playing with Jim Corry’s A Tribute to Atlantic Records, as well as subbing with Merengada and The Magic of Motown.

November sees the continuation of the US Tour. Check the schedule for details.

Rat Pack – Atlanta

We had a great start to this year’s Rat Pack – Live At The Sands US Tour in the fine city of Atlanta, GA. It was a pleasure to meet and play with all the local musicians, in particular the brass players. My thanks go to ‘Lee’ King and Andy Hagans (trumpets), and Eric, Jason Altieri and Lee Watts (trombones) for making the first week back so easy for me. We had a great time hanging out after the show too!!

One particular thrill for me was the chance to go and help Lee Watts out with coaching the Trumpets at the Wheeler High School band program. Mark Hoskins runs a great program over at Wheeler and we had a great time working with the concert band section. All fine young players whom I look forward to hearing again in the future!

It was also great to have a chance to catch up with some returning Rat Packers. Alonzo Saunders rejoined us for a brief stint as Sammy cover and we even had a visit from Henry Prego; who returned as an emergency Frank cover at the end of the week. Great to see the guys again.

The next leg of the tour took us to St. Louis, MO. More about that shortly…

September 2007

September sees the re-commencement of the Rat Pack Tours; both in the UK and US. Bryan will, as last year, be travelling between the two tours fulfilling the dates on both sides of the Atlantic and collecting the airmiles as he goes! The UK tour kicks off in Liverpool, and Bryan will also be visiting Dublin, York and Grimsby before jetting off to Atlanta for the first leg of the US dates. Lessons are, as ever, available. Please check the Tour dates and get in touch if you’re interested!

The Munich Experience

I’ve just returned from our stint in Munich with Dancing In The Streets. It’s been a lot of fun, despite the gig in the evening! The highlight of Munich for me, despite the beautiful architecture and interesting places to visit, is catching up with all the fine musicians there who I’m proud to call friends. There are a whole gang of great Trumpet players in town who, in particular, always welcome me as part of their community. I had the great pleasure of hanging out with Nemanja Jovanovic, Florian Jechlinger, Rich Laughlin, Thomas Bendzsko, Gabriel Keogh, Omar Kabir and last, but definitely not least, Dusko Goykovich. It’s always really entertaining to hang out with Dusko because he’s really lived the Jazz life and has all the stories to go with it. Having lived in New York in the 1960s he’s met/played with so many of the greats of this music.

Another great pleasure in Munich is always visiting the excellent Jazz Clubs there. My favourite remains the Unterfahrt. Both Sundays during our visit, the DITS band were in full effect at the Jam Session there – the perfect way to unwind after 2 shows! It was great to see the guys cut loose and (really) play following the routine of the show. A particular pleasure for me was the playing of pianist Mike ‘Junior’ Guy – a really fine Australian player who’s settled, at least temporarily, in London. We were also lucky that our Baritone player; Dave Ledingham, chose to document much of these sessions on his video camera. We already have a few clips up on YouTube with more to follow as I have time. Here’s my favourite:

Video embed broken – please visit on YouTube