Eltham College have their own 9 piece New Orleans band, complete with Sousaphone and 3 drummers, which I am very proud to direct! They were very fortunate to play their very first gig in the main room at Ronnie Scott's in April.
In March, Eltham College gave their annual concerto concert at St Johns Smith Square in London. This year was very special, as it featured two brass concertos, Arun O'Sullivan played the Mozart Horn Concerto and my own student, Nick Cochrane played my own brand new orchestration of 'Morceau Symphonique' by Alexandre Guilmant on the bass trombone. Nick has been studying with me for about 10 years now, and this performance marked the pinnacle of his musical career at Eltham College.
HCB at the Fusion Festival in Germany in July
2014 is just getting busier and busier and it is with huge sadness that I decided I could not continue with one of my favourite ever teaching jobs at the James Allens Girls School in London. I have been there for over 13 years now and was extremely sad to leave, but the brass group, 'WonderBrass' gave me a phenomenal send off at the annual 'Friday Night Live' gig finishing with a great version of 'Twist & Shout'. I shall really miss my awesome students, but I know they'll be in safe hands, my great friend Emma Bassett is taking over from me!
The year finished with another run of gigs for Robin Ince, including two amazing nights at the Hammersmith Apollo where I played both the trombone and Laser harp.
Some incredible people were there, including Dr Helen Czerski, Prof Brian Cox and Prof Alice Roberts.
The highlight of the run had to be playing 'Love Cats' with Robert Smith of the Cure and 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' with Monty Python's Eric Idle!
As part of BBC Radio 2's Sport Relief event, some of the finest UK bands were asked to play live on the Jo Whiley show. Naturally HCB was one of them and I was delighted to be asked to join them.
I was really delighted to be asked to join the amazing Hip-Hop band, Lazy Habits in a recording session for their next album 'The Atrocity Exhibition' which is due out in Spring 2016. This track was a no holds barred brass explosion entitled 'Feed The Brass'. Really exciting!!
Another exciting recording session came along in June when Robert Shaw, and upcoming new artist asked me to contribute some horn parts and play on his new track 'Beauty Battles'. It was great to see the creative process from early on and the track take shape of two days of intense recording. Look out for this track soon...
For a few years now I've been a huge fan of Jerry C, the amazing guitarist from Japan who spawned a million YouTube guitar videos, when he laid down a challenge to play his version of Johan Pachelbel'sCanon in D, 'The Canon Rock'. I set my self the goal of playing this piece on both the guitar and the laser harp as a kind of 'celebrity death match' battle. It did mean however, learning the guitar. I had a lesson on 'hammering on' and 'pulling off' from my good friend Steve Foley and got practicing. Including learning the guitar, the whole project took about a month. I was delighted when the video got just over 10,000 Youtube views in just its first week! It has since gone on to over 140,000 views!
I had an awesome time in one of the loudest recording sessions ever when HCB, Lazy Habits and King Porter Stomp combined forces to make this Band Melt video. It was a great evening with some very talent musicians.
I was delighted to be asked by the Wah Wah45 record label to play on a recording session for their extremely talent vocalist Stac Dowdeswell. Stac is in the middle of creating her new album and I was delighted to be a part of an early recording session.
Those of you that have checked out my blog on Tumblr may know that although I really enjoy to write, I don't often get time. But I was delighted to be asked by Music Teacher magazine to contribute a review of Finale scoring software for their May issue which rounds up all of the currently available systems. I have been producing scores with Finale for a decade now, so was delighted to give two thumbs up!
Back at the James Allens Girls School in Dulwich, I was honoured to be asked to judge the lower school singing competition. I was an incredibly difficult task as musical talent was in such abundance!
The Hackney Colliery Band continue to be one of the hardest working bands in London, and played three exciting gigs in the upstairs bar a Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, the most famous jazz club in the world. I was fortunate to join them for one of these gigs which was a collaboration with some of the finest electronic based musicians in town.
The real thrill for me was to once again meet with to of my favourite people in the world Cali Lewis and John Poz. They were amazing hosts and made the most unforgettable day ever for me!
In May I decided to mass the three brass ensembles of Eltham College, 'Eltham Brass', 'Aeolean Brass' and the 'ECJS Brass Ensemble' to record a version of 'Gonna Fly Now', Bill Conti's iconic theme to the 1976 Oscar winning movie 'Rocky'.
I was delighted to hear that on its release day, exclusively on ITunes, July 1st it actually charted in the iTunes pop chart! I'm really proud of all my lads for their hard work.
All proceeds go to an excellent children's charity, so do please consider downloading it from ITunes
In August I was thrilled to be invited to Dallas to play for the opening of Livid Lobster's new studio, the 'Geek House'.
Its a state of the art facility which boasts a Star Trek transporter room entrance hall, leading to a luxury lounge with its own huge 4k TV. It has the largest psychwall in Dallas and a brand new TV studio where both the daily and live shows of 'GeekBeat' are produced. Oh, and did I mention a full size Han Solo frozen in Carbonite??