The daily conundrum…

Sometimes the hardest thing about posting everyday is thinking of something to post. Hence posts like this! Nonetheless, the discipline of doing something daily is important, particularly for those of us who engage in creative practices. It doesn’t have to be your best work everyday, the practice is it’s own reward in the end.

A day of mixed blessings

Today has been notable for many reasons, both positive and negative. For the purposes of this post, I choose to dwell on the positive. The beginning of baseball season, here in the USA, has been a most welcome distraction which, goodness knows, was extremely necessary. I look forward to watching many more of the following 161 games of the regular season, which will follow over the next 6 months or so.

30 Days…

I managed to post on this site for 30 consecutive days… then promptly fell off the wagon. There are perfectly legitimate reasons for this, going on behind the scenes, but nonetheless it’s time to start a new streak. This is Day 1 again. Let’s see if I can make the habit stick, this time…

Habit forming…

I’m closing in on 30 consecutive days that I’ve posted here on the site. They’re not all incredibly meaningful, like this one, but it’s good to get back into the habit of posting regularly. It’s a practice I intend to continue. Now, talking of practice…

The Power of Influence.

Today has been incredibly joyous for me. I hardly know where to start…

I was invited to sit in with The Northern Swing Orchestra at a small social club outside of Leeds, by both the bandleader, my friend Jonathan Wyatt, and their guest musical director, the seemingly ageless Ronnie Bottomley, now in his 90s, who wrote a new selection of fantastic arrangements for the occasion.

I had a number of old friends in the band, but it was a particular pleasure to be back playing in a trumpet section led by the great Dale Gibson, for the first time in close to 15 years.

If you’re in the UK, and a fan of big band music, then Dale’s name should be familiar to you. I certainly hope it is!

If you’re from elsewhere, then it may well not be. All I can say is: you’re missing out!

I’ve been fortunate to play all over the world, with all kinds of different bands, including some pretty famous ones. Somehow, as a lad from the small resort town of Cleethorpes in the north of England, I’ve wound up living in New York City, where I have the opportunity to play in many of the great big bands that city has to offer, often in the lead trumpet chair. My point is this:

When it comes to playing lead trumpet, Dale Gibson is the gold standard.

I was lucky enough, as a young man, to play with Dale pretty regularly. We have been friends for a long time. I’ve learnt a tremendous amount from him, over the years, although I don’t think I realized quite how much until today. When the band struck up, as we started our soundcheck/rehearsal, I was following along with the music, in my role as guest “extra” trumpet. The first trumpet section phrase comes in, and Dale phrases it EXACTLY the way I heard it in my head, from looking at it. It was precisely the way I would’ve tried to play it, except it sounded better than I would have managed.

That’s when I got it.

I don’t know when I’ll see Dale again, although I sincerely hope it’s sooner that another 14 or 15 years, so I took the opportunity, in person, to thank him and tell him how much he has meant to me as a friend, trumpet inspiration, and a mentor. His influence is in everything I play. Nonetheless, I’ll do so here again.

Thank you, Dale. It means the world that you like my swing quavers!

Also, thanks again to Jonathan Wyatt and Ronnie Bottomley for the invitation. Today was a good day!

Dale Gibson & Bryan Davis. March 5, 2023.
Dale Gibson & Bryan Davis. March 5, 2023.