Sidetracks & Detours present PASS IT ON 52 weekly Supplement Sunday 12 5 2024

Sidetracks & Detours



weekly Supplement Sunday 12 5 2024

Hello. As parents, Sidetracks and Detours are enormously proud of our little baby, PASS IT ON, especially today on his first birthday. He is so lucky, of course, to have such a supportive circle of friends, like Tony Brady, Trevor Bannister, Michael Higgins, Steve Bewick, Graham Marshall and Peter Pearson. We also have organisations such as Jazz In Reading, Jazz Music That´s Going Places, Ribble Valley Jazz And Blues, I Love Manchester and the city´s Music Festival.  In fact, Manchester Folk and Sound roots regularly send him letters to read  and from further afield he receives letters from Music In Portsmouth and The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and whenever his dad is off on his travels. His grandfather, Ralph Dent is already teaching PASS IT ON  about the recorded music he used to listen to and his grandfather on his mother´s side, Alfred Michael keeps sending notes to  PASS IT ON telling him of festivals he might wish to see. He´s only one year old, granddad ! Still, our little baby seems to really enjoy tidying up all this correspondence and putting it in a semblance of order. That´s why we, his parents, thought it would be worth sending on to our readers each weekend. We have a long contents list, today, which seems fitting on our son´s first birthday! So please enjoy your reading and raise a glass to our baby edition and PASS IT ON.


Researching History.


A reminiscence by Michael Higgins

Researching History.


MY FATHER THE HUMMINGBIRD: preview by author

Following Festivals with Alfred Michael.


previewed by Sound Roots newsletter

Folk Music Live And Recorded .

CHARTING FOLK SUCCESS by Manchester Folk Newsletter

Live Folk Music

GIGS AND FESTIVALS previewed by Manchester Folk


Live Jazz Music


logo Jazz On Air

HOT BISCUITS served by Steve Bewick

Live Music           

SIMEON WOOD preview By Graham Marshall

Live Music Manchester Music Festival

MEET THE OPENING GUEST ARTISTS! previewed by newsletter

A Reader´s Perspective; All Points Forward


the tragic journey of Jim Gordon, bio by Joel Selvin

review by Peter Pearson

Island Insights

A NIGHT IN ON LANZAROTE: with  the neighbours

by Norman Warwick


Researching History.


A reminiscence by Michael Higgins

Last month the 50th anniversary of the poetry anthology The Male Muse was officially celebrated at the Rainbow Book Fair in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Published in 1973 by Crossing Press, and edited by Anglo- Canadian poet Ian Young, it was said to have evolved as ‘the growing impetus of the homophile/gay liberation movement began to be felt by the rest of society- both gay and straight…’ Ian, in his original introduction wrote that he conceived the anthology in 1972 when the taboos of the past seemed to falling away and what he conceived as a ‘gay anthology’ was not merely an anthology of ‘gay poets’, which he said was a difficult and useless categorisation. It was, he said, ‘a collection of poems by contemporary writers on themes relating to male homosexuality, gay love, romantic friendships, what Walt Whitman called, “the dear love of comrades, the attraction of friend to friend”. ‘

It is under the latter phrase, I think, that a poem by me was included in this rather eclectic roll-call of forty of the well-known, and lesser known names of the poetry world of that day. Ian’s idea was accepted by the Crossing Press and he began soliciting contributions from the literary greats of the day to emerging writers yet to be known. Playwright Tennessee Williams and Howl poet Allen Ginsberg were two of the former, as were Christopher Isherwood, James Kirkup, and Thom Gunn.  Perry Brass, who was later to be a co-ordinator of the New York Rainbow Book Fair (the largest in the world) was, like me, a lesser light. Fifty years later the book is now celebrated as a poetic landmark and first in its particular genre.

Ian Young was then an emerging poet beginning to publish but since then has written many books on gay themes, poetic, satirical and factual, including The Stonewall Experiment, A History of Gay Pulps, Encounters with Authors, London Skin and Bones, and, amongst others, the poetry anthologies Year of the Quiet Sun and Sex Magick.  But I first met Ian as a rather forlorn high school dropout teenager in Toronto’s bohemian or ‘hippy’ Yorkville village at a Village coffee shop. He was about to start up Catalyst Press and was looking for poets and writers. He was to publish my little chapbook of Poetry, Owlscript, in 1971. I became part of his literary world, associating with hopeful young writers, street poet performers, and formal readings at low-key poetry events. Ian had ‘come out’ as a homophile to all who knew him and had been instrumental in forming the University of Toronto Homophile Association, the first such in Canada. I was a high school ‘droput-medievalist’, and once I performed Old English poetry on a radio broadcast. Ian was a mentor to me and many another young hopeful. But when The Male Muse came out I had returned to Northern England, where I still live today.

So fifty years after this landmark ‘gay’ offering Perry Brass and others organised a celebratory event with Ian Present, at the 12th Rainbow Book Fair in downtown New York. This annual event, begun in 2009 but paused for the Pandemic, brings together publishers, booksellers and readers in the LBG Centre, and spread over three floors, in premises maintained to support the literary  LGBTQ+ community. Ian has kindly sent me his opening remarks, which were expanded on by the panel of readers and contributors.

Ian reminded his audience that male homosexuality was once illegal in English speaking countries and that ‘coming out’ was a brave thing. ‘Gay’ poets therefore used disguise and ambiguity. Ian does not mention this but it is interesting to note that lesbianism was not recognised as a crime and was therefore paradoxically quite legal. Ian went on to say that the first prominent American poet to come out was Robert Duncan (a contributor to the Male Muse) who wrote an article, The Homosexual in Society, in 1944. Things were pretty quiet until Allen Ginsberg (another Male Muse contributor) was prosecuted for obscenity in 1967 for his poem, Howl. After that things began to open up and the Stonewall Rebellion changed the atmosphere. ‘What you had in the late sixties was a generational change. Those born during and after World War II-the baby boomers-had very different attitudes from those born even just a few years earlier. When thought patterns change and forbidden subjects emerge, expression changes- and poets are in the vanguard.’ Thus came into being The Male Muse, a collection of forty poets from five English speaking countries.

The thought patterns in The Male Muse range the full gamut of male relationships, from the overtly physical to the romantic and sentimental, the self congratulatory, to the self awareness to the awareness of others, and even, in my case, seemingly no human relationship at all. My single contribution is merely an empathy with the model posing for Botticelli’s Portrait of a young Man,   who, as the artist paints in his male countenance he also paints in his mortality and human attributes. The only other poem I ever contributed to a homophile magazine (Gay Sunshine) was in a similar vein- an empathy with the model posing for Praxitales’ sculpture, Hermes with the Infant Dionysos.

The Male Muse poets are arranged in alphabetical order so I am between the American English-born poet Thom Gunn, and Londoner Brian Hill.  Christopher Isherwood and Graham Jackson follow. Jackson was a Toronto playwright just beginning to stage and publish, and was a friend of mine and Ian’s. Brian Hill (b 1896) I later met in London and was the author of translations of Martial, Rimbaud, and a biography of the Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. His poem in the book is a romantic one, Meeting at Mallow, where the poet is awe-struck by a red-golden haired youth encamped among swarthy gypsies, like an earthbound god in the English countryside. Jackson’s is a romantic paean to his relationship with partner, Don. Isherwood’s poem is ‘On his Queerness’, where the poet is advised to skim over the ‘Roman Camp’ by would-be guides and spend his time at the Aquarium instead. ‘Till you’ve seen the Aquarium you ain’t seen nothing.’ He preferred the Roman Camp.

Looking back I find playwright Tennessee Williams’s poem, The Interior of the Pocket, the most intriguing. Here ‘the boy’ is not far away, ‘his left hand removed from the relatively austere pocket of the blue jacket’. One poet, whom I met later back in England, was the American poet Jonathan Williams. He was a keen walker, staying in the farthest north eastern corner of the West Riding of Yorkshire, near Dent, and, with Ian, we walked over the hills between Dent and Sedbergh. He later invited me for a walking weekend with others, including guest TV presenter, Russell Harty, who had just filmed a walk along Hadrian’s Wall.  But I declined. Ever the outsider I felt out of place, and out of the required social milieu.

These days I relate to the few poets in the book that I knew at the time. Foremost is Ian himself, whose poem Angel, which vividly evokes the ‘city room’ he shared with Rick, a room I vaguely remember visiting once, and which Rick I also knew. One of them stares out the window after three in the morning. There are a few blurry lights, car tyres on the wet road ‘as if all night were stopped/at this one moment’. And I truly remember the neon sign so instrumental to the poem.

So what do I think after fifty years? Well, I wonder that a poem of mine was accepted in it for a start, but am pleased that it was. I was young and eager to see my work in print. And being in lists with Tennessee Williams was another boost. But was the Male Muse Needed? I can only say that for poetry readers, yes. But poetry cuts a strange figure these days. Popular readership of any modern poetry is problematical as the genre becomes ever more elitist, obscurantist and particular to academe.  And as for the maleness thing? Ian remarked that one poet he contacted was WH Auden, whom I met (briefly) at a Toronto valedictory reading as part of his ‘farewell’ North American tour. Auden declined to contribute because he said he did not write poems for one sex only. Or as Ian put it, he did not write for a specific gender. But then neither did I. Later I wrote a poem The Girl Botticelli Painted where the painter paints in music that billows a dancing girl’s dress. But I don’t rate it as highly as my The Boy Botticelli Painted in the Male Muse. My Botticelli boy (left) is a reminder of me.

But most of all the volume reminds me of my vagabond days in hippy Toronto when I was a bewildered outcast in a romantic yet dreary world of flower power, extravagant dress, coffee house chatter, haute couture, and the demi-monde. And looking at my little write-up in the original NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS, I find my hobbies listed as ‘war-gaming (he is a member of the Societe Napoleonic), history, Celtic literature and horseback riding’.  This was the year before I started Morris Dancing so this year is now also my fiftieth since that plunge into the folk dance and song world of Olde England. And in Morris Dancing the male muse steps up lively and lightly to the sound of the streets and the beat of an enticing drum.

But Ian (left and above right) reminds me of the past in sending me photos taken by Robert Wilson of him signing books at the Rainbow Book Fair. He had his long hair trimmed somewhat after the book- signing and is pictured by Robert shorn and happy enjoying a cup of coffee in the street. When Ian and I first met it was I who had the shoulder length hair like Botticelli’s young man. The male muse mirrors our image in many ways.


My Father The Hummingbird

preview by author

Double cover reveal for my debut novel My Hummingbird Father (Salt Publishing) out September, with heartfelt thanks to early readers for their beautiful words Warsan Shire and Nilanjana S Roy. Their quotes are below on the covers, it’s so moving to receive them! Thank you, Christopher Hamilton-Emery for the dream art & design!

More details from Salt here…/my-hummingbird-father…

Pre-orders are open from local bookstores, Amazon, Waterstones:…/pascale-petit/9781784633110

Following Festivals with Alfred Michael.


previewed by Sound Roots newsletter

Sound Roots, supported by funding from Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), will showcase four artists from, or resident in Greater Manchester, who work in the genre of folk, roots or acoustic music, at this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival. Thanks to the team at Cambridge Folk Festival for welcoming our artists (right) on to the line-up.

I think I heard through the grapevine that my son in law, Norman Warwick, interviewed Kirsty Almeida a few years ago with her keyboard player John Ellis. He also reviewed her album Winter Wonderland. When I checked out that thought, Norman gave me the directions to its location in the massive free-to-read archives, so I slipped down and picked it up and surreptitiously reproduced it here on today´s pages. Kirsty Almeida, and her then band The Troubadours, played a selection of Winter Songs one evening, a few years ago, that warmed the hearts of a large audience that had turned out on the frostiest of evenings when, truly, ´the weather outside was frightful.´ I found her to be refreshingly quirky and courageous enough to insert many of her own songs amongst an excellent selection of songs made famous by others, such as the ubiquitous and absolutely appropriate for the evening, White Christmas and Winter Wonderland as well as a gorgeous, ethereal and quite unforgettable interpretation of Joni Mitchell´s River. After my wife had lent the band her jump leads to start their van after the concert I felt like, having just listened to an angel, I was soon to be following a star to HMV, where I would purchase the Kirsty Almeida CDs that I knew my wife would be delighted I had bought her. I later interviewed Kirsty for my all across the arts page in The Rochdale Observer.

Kirsty Almeida by Norman Warwick

Kirsty Almeida is a UK-based singer-songwriter who has released four albums, the latest being Moonbird, released earlier this year. Her broad influences include folk, pop and jazz but are further strongly and uniquely shaped by her own global heritage. Because her father worked internationally, she grew up in the Philippines, Brunei, Venezuela, the US and Gibraltar.

There is a particularly strong latin inflection to her work, an aspect she has brought particularly to her work in the field of jazz.

After gaining a degree in Popular Music Studies at Bretton Hall, a college of the University Of Leeds, Kirsty recorded her debut album for Decca. Pure Blue Green, was released in 2010, to strong critical acclaim.

It was recorded at the Arc Studios, owned by Terry Britton, in London, and produced by the legendary Youth, founding member and bassist of the band Killing Joke. John Ellis, a musician we have previously interviewed on these pages, was both multi-instrumentalist and assistant producer on the album and Kirsty Almeida herself had a co-producing credit.

She found the results of Decca´s ‘speed producing’ very satisfying and recalls that ‘My A&R man said I would just “know” when I met the right producer and I definitely had a strong feeling Youth was the right one. Compared to Youth, all the other producers seemed very safe.

With Youth, we found a common love of song. I felt like I really wanted to play my songs for him; I wanted him to be proud of my songs. I wanted to impress him. That´s what made me feel he was the right person. He was perfect for getting the right vocal out of me’

A noted track on a richly diverse collection of songs was ‘Spider’, re-mixed by DJ Mr Scruff.

There were also two EPs for Decca from film soundtracks. Albatross (2011), featured four original songs linked to a movie release of the same name, and Patagonia (2011), was a two-song set.

After departing the major label and setting out on a new independent course, Almeida recorded and released the 2012 album Wintersongs.

Recorded at Limefield Studios in Middleton, Manchester, it came out on the singer’s self-established label All Made Up. This was the album Kirsty showcased at that concert I saw in Heywood with her Troubadours band, that on that evening included the aforementioned John Ellis. The track Cold Lonely Blue gave a clue to the composer’s state of mind at time. She states: ‘It was actually a song inspired by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I wanted to make a warm album about the festive season – something you could cuddle up to. Cold Lonely Blue was a song about the moments in the belly of the dark winter months where it seems it’s never going to end. That also felt important to bring to a Winter’s album.’

Having regained ownership of the Pure Green Blue recordings, in 2014, she compiled an artist re-mix of the whole album and released it under the title Déjàvoodu, again on the All Made Up imprint.

In 2014, Kirsty Almeida put her musical career on hold to give birth to her son and consequentially heal from PTSD and post-natal depression, which saw her leave the stage for 5 years, but not before she had recorded a number of songs which would lie dormant for some significant time. During this time Kirsty took on a major project to revive an abandoned mill in the centre of Manchester as an arts and wellness centre, The Wonder Inn.

These dormant compositions form a significant part of the new album Moonbird, released in February 2020 on All Made Up. There are also several more recent songs –Dance With Me, Into The Light and I’m Going to Love You among them.

The production is jointly overseen by Kirsty Almeida and bass player Matt Owens. She remarks: ‘The album feels very much like a bridge from my old life into my new one.’  

Actually I find that description really resonating with me, and I think pretty much all my favourite albums might be described in that way. That certainly seems to fit so many of my albums by Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, for example.

Responses to Kirsty´s latest album have been positive and her absence from the scene has actually helped to generate media interest as she returns to live performance. Commenting on Moonbird, rock critic Simon Warner says: ‘The new record displays an eclectic richness but also an artistic unity because, throughout, the production, mixed supremely by Grammy award-winning Jerry Boys, is understated and never crowds out the principal heartbeat of the songs – Almeida’s utterly distinctive voice.’

My own immediate responses to Moonbird were to its perfect production values, the music that is somehow majestic and minute, with every faint tinkle and trill adding to the overall beauty. The vocals are understated but insistent and invite comparisons, that I feel Kirsty rises above, with the likes of Tori Amos, Katie Melua and even Norah Jones. I feel the opening song, Josie Brown, lovely though it is, might be a little introspective for an opening number but the second track includes a wonderful line in ´you make my heart reach´ which seems to me to speak of how empowering being loved can be. The highlight of the album for me is Dance With Me, a song that sometimes rises and falls almost like something from The King And I but that in other parts turns its command of a title into a tentative request. The playing by the musicians on this, and all the tracks, is exquisite and the arrangements follow our expectations but also seem to nip off down sidetracks & detours every now and then, making this a perfect album to feature on our blog.

Kirsty had started to tour the album prior to lockdown in the UK with a date scheduled at Bury Met (see cover photo) a venue for local and international artists alike, and where I once heard the wonderful American Cajun ensemble Beausoliel. It must have been frustrating to have her new album already to take out on the road, only to see signs saying ´road ahead closed´ but it seems from her lively Facebook page that Kirsty will be straight out of the gates now the gates are carefully unlocked.

If there is then any justice left in this world for musical excellence and integrity then this singer I first interviewed almost ten years ago will surely go on to earn the same respect from a new audience that I had for her then, and still hold for her today.

Other artists Confirmed for English Folk Expo 2025 are

Cohen Braithwaite Kilcoyne, The Deep Blue
Holly Clarke, Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings, Katherine Priddy, Nick Hart & Tom Moore

More artists will be announced soon.

To book your delegate pass for English Folk Expo (EFEx) 2025, running from 20th-23rd March. Limited free passes available for international delegates. Artists and industry are welcome to attend. Please contact our web site for more details

You can meet Sound Roots at Focus Wales. Their CEO Tom Besford and Sound Roots Artistic Director David Agnew will be attending Focus Wales in Wrexham from 9th-11th May and look forward to meeting friends, old and new, from across the industry who will be attending that weekend. If you would like to arrange a meeting with Tom or David at Focus Wales please contact them in advance on

Sound Roots will also be accompanying four Manchester-based multi-genre artists – Dirty Freud, LIINES, NXDIA and The Red Stains – as they showcase at and experience FOCUS Wales supported by funding from Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

Sound Roots (a charity registered in England and Wales #1192064) helps the independent music sector to thrive and grow. They have a specialism in the folk, roots and acoustic music genres within England and are an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, providing career pathways into the folk, roots and acoustic music commercial industries. We build audiences, we advise on policy, we support talent from diverse backgrounds, and we create pathways to a more diverse sector.

Their work includes the annual industry showcase English Folk Expo (EFEx) which presents a broad range of folk, roots and acoustic artists from England and runs alongside the public Manchester Folk Festival each March. We are also the local event delivery partner for WOMEX 2024.

They also play a part in compiling the monthly, along with the likes of Manchester Folk, folk charts that have brought a gravitas and sense of achievement amongst folk music professionals.

Folk Music Live And Recorded .


by Manchester Folk Newsletter

April 2024 Official Folk Albums Chart was announced on the Folk On Foot Official Folk Chart Show with eight new entries in the top 40 plus a new number 1.

‘You Promised Me A Lifetime’ (RCA) is the number 1 debut EP from Luton-born Myles Smith. 135 million streams have led to successful UK, EU and US tours. On the back of this release he hits the road again in May in the UK and EU and heads back to the US this autumn.

Folk stalwart Martin Simpson returns with his twelfth full-length studio album for Topic Records since 1992, ‘Skydancers’ (Topic), which is straight in at number 2. It features a title track commissioned by naturalist Chris Packham highlighting the plight of the endangered Hen Harrier.

New at 5 is This Is The Kit with ‘Live At The Minack Theatre’ (Rough Trade) following in the footsteps of other notable folk artists who have recorded live at this iconic open air theatre overlooking the sea near Lands End. 

Dana Gavanski is new in at 11 with ‘Late Slap’ (Full Time Hobby).  A London resident, and Canadian of Serbian descent, Dana recorded the album in Margate in 2023 with Mike Lindsay (Tunng, LUMP). She says, ‘This album is my take on the tension between cynicism/despair and openness/trust. It’s about tenderness in a world that’s constantly trying to desensitize us.’

Other new entries in the top 40 are ‘Far Rockaway – The Songs Of Phil Ochs’ (Vinyl Star) by Phil Odgers and John Kettle at 30, ‘Pomegranate’ (Shoelay Music) at 32 by India Electric Company, closely followed by Daisy Rickman with ‘Howl’ (Daisy Rickman) new in at 33. The final new entry in the April 2024 Official Folk Albums Chart is ‘Duets’ (Hudson) by Ben Nicholls at 40.

Live Folk Music


previewed by Manchester Folk

The rave reviews are in for Kathryn Williams & Withered Hand’s lauded debut collaborative album Willson Williams!

Don’t miss these prolific singer-songwriters when they visit Manchester this Friday. Book today and experience this inspired and poignant project for yourselves.

“Williams and Willson have built something quietly lovely, something that carries weight” MOJO  ****

“Two natural born songwriters… an effortless chemistry” The Scotsman ****

“Gorgeous, really beautiful” Marc Riley & Gideon Coe (BBC 6Music)

“Two songwriters at the top of their game”Roddy Hart (BBC Radio Scotland)!


Sam Carter’s tour is now well underway! Renowned by many as “the finest English-style fingerpicking guitarist of his generation” (Jon Boden), the highly regarded instrumentalist will preview new material from his fifth studio album in the intimate setting of The Peer Hat on Fri 17 May. 

Over the course of his fifteen-year career, Sam has earned a reputation for vivid, narrative-driven songwriting “as penetrating as Richard Thompson’s best work” (Uncut). For a taster of what’s in store next Friday, watch Carter’s stunning recent live session featuring Sam Vicary of Cinematic Orchestra.

Live Jazz Music

Limpopo Groove and Blue Magoo
Oaken Grove Vineyard
Fawley, nr Henley-on-Thames

Let’s Raise the Roof!

A charity fundraising event to support and literally put the roof on a Ugandan school for orphaned and destitute children. Live music from both bands, authentic two course African meal included in ticket price, short inspiring presentation, raffles and auctions. Limpopo Groove is an established, upbeat, afro-fusion group playing infectious, lively music, inspired by their drummer and founder’s African homeland. With original songs written in Shona and English, they blend afro jazz with tribal beats and European influences to create catchy rhythms that crowds just can’t help dancing to. Blue Magoo is an eight piece upbeat fun jazz band that will be supporting with a selection of African tunes. Oaken Grove Vineyard is a fabulous beautiful location overlooking a stunning view over the valley.

Buy tickets and bring your friends to this Africa-themed fundraiser & celebration, where 100% of profits will go towards building a roof for the Emily Collins School in Kisoro, Uganda.

The Emily Collins School in Kisoro Uganda provides food, education and safety for vulnerable and orphaned children, providing them with the skills needed to escape the poverty trap.

Eighty children already attend the school. Donations are desperately needed to complete the second floor and provide a permanent roof and facilities such as a library, IT room, desks and photocopier.

The school is being built and managed by our friend Martin Duhimbaze. We were fortunate enough to visit Uganda earlier this year and experience for ourselves the humbling inspiration and dedication behind this project, and quite simply, we want to help.

Our Raise the Roof party at Oaken Grove Vineyard, located just outside Henley, with award winning wines (and other beverages) promises to be a fun and lively night to remember. We will entertain and engage you with a 2 course authentic African meal (incl. vege and vegan), live bands playing African music, an awareness-raising inspirational presentation, an auction of promises, a raffle and other fund raising activities which will offer opportunities for you to make a difference and help us to literally, Raise the Roof!

Emily Collins was a young English woman with a passion for helping others. Defying doctors advice not to travel following her cancer diagnosis and treatment she volunteered in Uganda and became good friends with Martin Duhimbaze. As a result of his experience as social worker, Martin founded and continues to lead Our Father’s House Ministries, a registered charity in Uganda. He and his team rescue vulnerable and orphaned children and get them into school by matching them with sponsors globally. Martin and Emily had a shared vision of building a school that was also a community hub, health centre and sanctuary for children. Since 2020 Martin has been turning this into a reality and when Emily sadly died aged just 26, he asked her parents, Stephen and Sarah Collins if he could name the school after their daughter.

The Emily Collins school is currently half built, it has a ground floor, some classrooms, an outside kitchen and toilets (holes in the ground). Of the eighty children who attend, only forty have sponsors, a few have guardians who can pay and the rest contribute in other ways, eg some bring beans to contribute to the daily meal, a key benefit of why children attend.

It’s not often we can see a tangible result from our charitable donations, especially on the other side of the world. This is a wonderful opportunity to join Martin and his supporters, on a journey to fulfill his and Emily’s vision and provide hope and a future for children currently without one

Tickets £50

Location Oaken Grove Vineyard, Benhams Lane
Fawley, Henley-on-Thames

Live Jazz

BLAKE´S HEAVEN BIG BAND featuring Fleur Stevenson

North Wall Arts Centre, OxfordFriday 17th May

On air sign background

logo Jazz On Air

HOT BISCUITS served by Steve Bewick

Eclectic saxophonist / multi-instrumentalist Oscar Lavën resides in vibrant Wellington, New Zealand. Gary Heywood-Everett reviews his recent CD , `Questions In Red`

Also included in the broadcast is Clement Regert and his `Wild Card,` and Jo Harrop telling us, `Everything Changes`.

We also the Emily Francis Trio with How To Escape From The Echo Chamber, whilst Dominic Miller will be Cruel But Fair.` .

We will hear the Trio HLK with their improvised sounds. and will close the show with Ron Carter and Daniele Cordisco and a Canada Sunset.

If this looks interesting follow me on 24/07.

Live Music


preview By Graham Marshall

I’m looking forward now to what is likely to be a most enjoyable and satisfying musical afternoon on Saturday, 18 May. Beginning at 2.30pm the fantastic flautist/musician Simeon Wood (right) will be playing in St. Michael’s Parish Church, Bury and Rochdale Old Road OL10 4BB. This concert is a Rochdale Music Society promotion. Do come along and join us if you can. Meanwhile, you might like to take a look at Simon’s website:

Live Music Manchester Music Festival


previewed by newsletter

Manchester Music Festival welcomes artists from all over the globe to perform in the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont. We look forward to being joined by Philip Setzer, Wu Han, and David Finckel as our opening guest artists for 2024.

Get ready for MMF’s 50th season celebrating “The Romantic Journey,” a theme that cuts to the heart of how art reflects our humanity. The box office opened on May 8 for single ticket buyers!

Live Music


previewed by newsletter

Come and join us for our unique Summer Concert at one of Oxford’s most iconic landmarks, Christ Church Cathedral.

Enjoy live music, delicious food, and great company. This event is the perfect way to experience the unmatched Oxford Chamber Music Festival atmosphere and is not to be missed. We look forward to bringing people together from across Oxford to celebrate the power of music and creativity.

Festival Founder and Artistic Director Priya Mitchell will share details of our Autumn festival at the event. ‘These Enchanted Isles’ from 23-28 September 2024 celebrates the boundless creativity of music inspired by the British Isles. This concert is a fundraising event so every ticket sold will help us on our way to being able to present another memorable Autumn festival. If you are unable to attend, you are welcome to donate via the button below.

Tickets are £38 and include a pre-concert reception and post-concert party to include drinks and canapés provided by our long-term collaborators and supporters, the Vaults and Garden Café.

7.15pm Reception
8pm Concert
9pm Party

Claude Frochaux, cello
Priya Mitchell, violin
Guy Johnston, cello
Emmanuel Despax, piano

Ravel Sonata for violin and cello
Priya Mitchell and Claude Frochaux

Brahms Trio No. 1 in B major, Opus 8
Emmanuel Despax, Priya Mitchell and Guy Johnston

Ravel’s magical sonata for Violin and Cello was written between 1920 and 1922. He dedicated it to Claude Debussy, who had died in 1918. It is one of the great masterpieces for both instruments and is in turn dreamy, ferocious, humorous and incredibly evocative. Brahms completed his Piano Trio no. 1 in January 1854, when the composer was only twenty years old. It is the only of his works which appears in two published versions, as he revised it in 1889, though it is usually the revised version which is performed today. It is considered one of the greatest piano trios ever written.

23-28 September 2024 ‘These Enchanted Isles’
OCMF24 is going to take us on a joyful adventure of nostalgia and discovery through an intriguing variety of our native musical landscapes. September’s concerts, lectures and events again feature outstanding artists that include Quatuor Ébène, Elisabeth Leonskaja, O/Modernt Chamber Orchestra, Hugo Ticciati, Natalie Clein, Julius Drake, Polina Leschenko, Nathan Braude and other distinguished performers in a programme exploring a spectrum of musical expression through the centuries

A Reader´s Perspective; All Points Forward

DRUMS AND DEMONS the tragic journey of Jim Gordon, bio by Joel Selvin

review by Peter Pearson  

Anyone, like me, who studies the musician credits on albums, can’t fail to recognise the name of Californian drummer Jim Gordon. He was one of the most influential and sought after drummers of the late 60’s and 70’s. He and his contemporary, Russ Kunkel, followed in the lineage of Hal Blaine back to Gene Krupa. Until a wave of obituaries following his death in March 2023 he had been a forgotten figure and a name unspoken for nearly forty years. The result of an unspeakable act that came to define his life.   Who can forgive the act of matricide? It is one of the most reviled crimes in human history. My knowledge of his act made me think twice about reading this book. Indeed Joel Selvin, a respected and much published author, tells of the considerable problems he had convincing his publisher to sanction and publish the work. Only after Gordon’s death did his publishers agree to publish. However, this sensitive and comprehensive account of his life and legacy sheds new light on a career blighted by schizophrenia, a disease that whilst all the warning signs were there, went undiagnosed, ascribed to a rock style life, until it was too late.  

The author sets  up the book (left) by describing a scene in Santa Monica in 1983. Jim Gordon, whilst still in the grip of terrifying madness, had managed to fall in with a bar band called the Blue Monkeys, who knew nothing of his previous fall from grace and current mental condition. They knew who he was and were in awe of his mastery of the drums. As far as they were concerned he turned up on time and when it came to the drums was all business.   Following a gig one evening Jim was huffing and puffing through his nose and cheeks flaring.” I’ve got to go see my doctor right now”  he told the group’s leader. They knew nothing about any doctor but Jim was then gone in a flash. That was the last time they laid eyes on him. A few weeks later he was in jail.   James Beck Gordon, born in 1945, was a curly haired golden boy brought up in the golden state of California. Ostensibly the family were the archetypal American suburban family. His father was an accountant and his mother a nurse.   He and his older brother were brought up to say please and thank you, to mow the lawn, to shine their father’s shoes and answer the phone by saying “Gordon residence.”   There was only one stain on this picture-perfect scene and it was hidden from view. When Gordon was a boy, his father was an alcoholic. It was his mother’s strength that held the family together until the children reached adolescence and her husband joined Alcoholics Anonymous, stopped drinking and became a full-time father again. By this time however it was his mother that became the dominant person in his life and ultimately the subject of his demons.   Even as a teenager he was hearing voices but Selvin describes these as good voices which steered him to his love of drums.   While in high school he played in the Burbank Symphony, toured Europe and joined a music group called the Jesters.   It was in 1963 whilst playing at a small club that he was discovered by the Everly Brothers and went on tour with them to England. He continued his relationship with The Everlys for some time after the tour.   The change in pop and rock at this time with the advent of bands like The Beatles taking over from the solo artists resulted in an increasing demand for session musicians to play in the studio and sit in on live performances.   Foremost amongst these was Hal Blaine who was so impressed with Gordon that when he had too much work he recommended they use him.   Soon he became the go to session drummer and was able to command triple rates. He was on the Beach Boys 1966 Pet Sounds, Glen Campbell came calling, Ike and Tina Turner, The Byrds, Joan Baez, Bread. But the drugs and alcohol lifestyle that he took up only served to contribute to those good voices becoming bad voices, as he kept hearing his mother trying to persuade him to give up the drums. There were a number of incidents in the studio where other musicians would hear him muttering as if he was holding a conversation with himself before the count-down to the take. At the count-down Jim would immediately focus and produce an immaculate performance.   There were also spasmodic acts of violence to some of his multitude of girl friends. Selvin describes a particularly alarming incident with Rita Coolidge which subsequently lead him to move to England, playing initially with George Harrison and then joining Eric Clapton’s Derek and the Dominoes in 1970, when he composed the piano parts and played drums on Layla.   If he had a drug and mental health issue at that time it was not helped by mixing with the drug and alcohol fuelled crowd surrounding Clapton, including the likes of Leon Russell and the Stones. Whilst in England he toured with Traffic and did studio sessions, including the drums behind Carly Simon’s Your So Vain.   On his return in 1973 whilst his drug fuelled, violent and peculiar incidents preceded him, it was put down to him being a drugged out superstar unable to deal with the lifestyle pressures. He did seek help but diagnosis only extended to drug and alcohol abuse and treatment was geared accordingly. He was reluctant to admit to the demon voices.  

Demand for his drumming services continued. Gordon Lightfoot, Steely Dan, Maria Muldaur, Jackson Browne, even the puritanical Osmonds employed him.   The story of him playing on John Stewart’s 1974 live Phoenix Concerts album is well known to me but is not mentioned in the book. Interestingly though, amongst the acknowledgments, he mentions thanks to Buffy Ford Stewart. On the record’s outros John introduces each musician and refers to Jim as Jim “The Flash” Gordon.

In an interview John says his first choice was Russ Kunkel, who knew his music. He was not available and recommended Jim Gordon instead. Apparently Gordon had played on John and Buffy’s 1969 Signals Through The Glass album. John was extremely happy with his contribution and the gatefold sleeve to the album shows Gordon joining in the fun.The gig was probably a breeze for Jim Gordon but to a layman like me re-listening to the album.

I had to marvel at the contrast between the deft touch on the semi acoustic “Cody” and “Roll Away The Stone”, compared with the driving drum beat of “Wheatfield Lady” and “Runaway Fool Of Love”.  

Eventually, and not long after that Phoenix Concert album, Gordon’s beat and sanity were beginning to seriously waiver. He viciously attacked his wife Renee Armand, cracking several ribs in the process, ending their marriage. His work with the country-rock super group Souther-Hilman-Furay Band grew so erratic they had to sack him. While he managed to keep it together in the studio for a few more years, by 1978 Gordon proved too unreliable to be employed.The bad demons in the form of imagined hectoring from his mother were tearing him apart. He retreated into himself refusing to take phone calls and not seeking work.   Selvin says that the voices Gordon heard shamed him so deeply, he rarely told anyone about them, which contributed to him never getting a proper diagnosis. He loved to play the drums and for a long time he was able to keep the demons from preventing him giving anything but an impeccable performance.   He also points to a remarkable audio recording of 1983 in which Gordon featured. The author also points to a remarkable audio recording of 1983 in which Gordon gives a lucid and interesting account of his career to Scott L Fish for The Modern Drummer, January 1983 magazine. It is available to listen to, as I have, on the internet.


Island Insights

A NIGHT IN ON LANZAROTE: with  the neighbours

by Norman Warwick  

Before leaving Manchester in England eight years ago I had written over 500 articles for The Rochdale Observer as a weekly columnist. As a freelance arts-reporter for over twenty previous years I had placed hundreds of articles in arts publications across the country, I also co-hosted a radio jazz programme, on Crescent Radio Station owned by a Muslim company and aiming at the Muslim communities in the Rochdale area.   On arriving here on Lanzarote (in Playa Blanca) I knew already that the island had a thriving live music scene: In fact it has two massive local scenes.  One is comprised of European musicians who have settled on the island and who make a massive contribution, and a pretty reasonable living it seems, from playing the tourists strips in the three major resorts of Playa Blanca, Puerto Del Carmen and Costa Teguise.   The other music scene is of  Canarian Island musicians playing national folk lore music in concerts on instruments such as the timple and performing mainly for the local Spanish audience.   The musicianship in both camps is of excellent quality with the scene on the tourist´s strips giving us plenty of Fleetwood Mac, Springsteen, Elton John and The Eagles etc and the music for the locals being often chamber music, classical and folk lore.   Miguel here at Lanzarote Information responded to an e mail from me about five years ago now and graciously offered me a platform to publicise the arts scene and all this music in this weekly newsletter. With such a thriving arts scene and being a man of (too many) words I have filed a weekly report ever since, singing the praises of productions of the likes of Cats, Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar and other productions in the theatres of Tias, The Victor Gopa theatre in Arrecife and the beautifully situated theatre in San Bartolome and the teatro which Cesar Manrique somehow created as the jewel in the crown, in an underground cave in a lava bubble at Jameos Del Agua with its beautiful bars and even a swimming pool.   My wife Dee (Dutton The Button) and I have also attended the opera and the ballet to review in these columns. We have come to love venues such as CIC El Almecen (The Warehouse), another Manrique creation that serves as an arts gallery, a live theatre and musical stage and cinema as well as  a beautiful restaurant serving delicious food.   Each year in January there is held here a ´leg´ of the Canary Islands International Classical Music Festival that sees symphony orchestras, chamber music ensembles and soloists play here on Lanzarote over a six week period.   Lanzarote also has a beautiful venue with the underwhelming name of The Camel House which stages classical music concerts three or four times a year by visiting international  artists. Its unlikely name belies the fact that the venue has been renovated into a glorious concert hall with views out to sea and beautiful surrounding gardens and courtyards in which to relax with a glass of wine during the interval.   We have never sought a press pass because it is a privilege to attend these events and enjoy not only the arts but also the integration with natives of the island. We have attended at least one concert per week over these years and often two or three. The reason we are not broke is that many of the concerts by Spanish musicians are free to the public, as they benefit from an excellent government funding scheme that supports the arts.   Many of our readers are well aware of the vibrancy of the arts scene of which we are speaking. If anyone reading has not actually visited a live event yet you can find listings here on Lanzarote Information and in free pamphlets issued by the government that are usually available on the service counters in local petrol stations.   The atmosphere at these island events is always friendly and welcoming, so why not give it a go?   Because I also write a Monday to Friday daily blog called Sidetracks And Detours that features arts related stories from around the world and a Sunday Supplement, PASS IT ON, that features contributions written by journalists from a number of different countries, I am always on the lookout for stories, and even here on the island too, for Lanzarote Information. We have only twice failed to deliver A story.  

Until now, (as you might have guessed from the waffle above), but nevertheless, Have We Got News For You.?!  

Not being big on technology we learned from some neighbouring friends last week how to enjoy a concert and meal on the patio. I´m sure this can be done in many other places around the world, such as at a Barbie in Australia, for instance, but on the night we were invited to the splendid home of Harald and Karin, a German couple, who also live here on the Shangrila Park community.  We all later agreed that from five in the afternoon under a bright yellow sun in an endless blue sky that then changed colour all through the evening from  purple to orange until the red sun kissed the sea. During those four or five hours we enjoyed an evening as Masterchef qualities, creating our own meals whilst listening to live concerts by Josh Groban and Michael Buble. These concerts were broadcast somehow from recordings on Karin´s mobile phone and there was a beautiful moment when Buble was singing Fly Me To The Moon just as the moon rose from behind Montana Roja only a quarter of a mile away.   I´m pretty sure Karin would indeed fly to the moon with Michael Buble. She and Harald have already travelled half way around the world to see Josh Groban´s tour of South Africa some years ago.

The couple regaled us with stories of that tour and of conversations they have had not only with Josh Groban but also with Michael Buble.   Karin was a chef and restaurateur in a former life but is now retired and although she keeps herself busy and is a big help to our committee here on Shangrila Park, she has also perfected the art of relaxing.   This was a gentle slow-moving evening with the music at a low sound level that wouldn´t spoil the night of any neighbours. The concerts didn´t begin until Harald, a former pilot, who has probably dined all over the world but not, surely, with such perfect views, gave us the instructions for this Masterchef  task, in which we were going to create our own pizzas. Yes we knew there are about twenty pizza parlours in the town a couple of miles away.

Having your own pizza oven still, he carefully explained the task to us a couple of times, and then said ´I am sure Dee will do this very well but I have little hope for you Norman.´

From left to right. Dee, Norm and Harald.
The ghost photographer in the mirror is Karin

I then listened to his final delivery of the instructions and clapped my hands together  thinking I could definitely manage this.   I couldn´t!   Because we had been asked to bring any favourite ingredients we would like on a pizza I had a bag of apples, pears and bananas (which I usually enjoy on a huge plated pizza at a restaurant in Arrecife). Now here I was, slicing the fruit, and my fingers, rolling out the homemade dough Karin had prepared earlier. I was  sprinkling it in tomato salsa, and laying the fruit and tomato and grated local cheese, various meats such as ham and salami and fish like tuna, mushrooms, onions and fruit such pineapple. All on top of my apples, pears and bananas base !   This I did only after oiling my ´pizza paddle´ so that it would be ready to lift and drop my creation into my own personal oven.  We each had one of these mini pizza ovens in front of us.  Once it had been in the oven for about 15 minutes I had to lift it out, drop the pizza onto my chopping board and replace the paddle onto a coaster to preserve the beautiful table.

There is much to be said for having your own pizza paddle and pizza oven on the table and all your favourite ingredients laid out in front of you.. I love pizzas, but before you say ´what´s nopt to like?¨I should tell you that I´m not sure I have ever known a pizza that didn´t contain at least one ingredient I son´t like, such as garlic. Well, I tell a lie, there was once, at a pizza restaurant on the sea front in Playa Blnca, but the oner refused to serve it. ¨´But it´s on you menu¨! I protested loudly. Yes, he replied, but only for fun,….and in the four years it has been on the menu, no one has ever eaten one here

But apple and pear and and banana and orange sounds great, so why did nobody order one? I asked

Oh, a lot of people ordered them, he said, flashing a triumphant, if evil grin, ´but we never served it !

We each had a different and unique topping, which we could select from but I think I was the only one who laid my choices from the carousal on top of a bed of fruit.   My first, and my subsequent five more hand-sized meals, came out, mostly, beautifully crisp and colourful, and tasted delicious. I was quite impressed by my own competence but I noticed that Dee and Karin and Harald did not share my opinion.   To be fair, I should say here that my station at the table was by far the messiest and that, although I had fully followed Harald´s instructions to the letter, I seemed to have done it  in anagram form, so not in the right order !   Cold cans of non-alcoholic beer or a glass of wine accompanied each pizza, and the fifteen minutes preparatory time for each one allowed us all to get to know each other better.  

Like us, Harald and Karin travel around the island and have found some favourite places, so we all commented on little known locations and swapped recommendations. They have also many friends on the island, as had been evident when we had visited the Casa Marcos restaurant in Las Breñas the previous week. The Spanish owners greeted them like old friends and they all stay in regular touch.   Harald is very humorous in describing airports he had come to love and / or hate during his time as a pilot so on this night under his new self-made pergola he led the pre-concert entertainment, and then when the music started Karin would dance around her patio miming to the words of The Great American Songbook.  

Was all this a taste of authentic Lanzarote, you might wonder. Two Germans, two English and Italian food and Spanish beer? That is pretty authentic to Lanzarote as it is today, but what made it unique was the setting: : the long view straight down an avenue of tall palm trees to the front entrance to Shangrila Park with the sun setting at the end of that avenue, and Montana Roja, to the left, backlit in gold by a rising moon. The patio and pergola was tastefully adorned by diamond-twinkling fairy lights and all this was reflected upon by a surprising and perfectly placed mirror masquerading as a window.   It was a beautiful evening of great food, good conversation and wonderful music to which Karin danced in a blissful dream on several occasions.   Lanzarote had given us another fabulous night out of friendship, chat, music and laughter, all in a beautiful temperature,  and all just by nipping round to the neighbours !  

Salud, Prost, Saluti, Cheers  

We need the services of a baby-sitter now that little toddler PASS IT ON is crawling and nearly running everywhere ! However we have many sidetracks and detours to follow next week as we expect to bring you your usual daily fare of news, previews, interviews and reviews from all across the arts. We´ll be down in the jazz joints next week, looking for gold before setting out to find a posthumous tribute to a songwriter in America and then we will be taking in a great live gig double headlined by two excellent bands. We will also bring you a reminder of a date to put in your diary for much later in the year and then come right back  on time for new releases from a major publishing house. They will all be part of our daily postings so you will always have something new to read.  Nevertheless we have an extensive but easy to negotiate archive of circa 1,200 free to read articles.  We´ll be back here with another edition of PASS IT ON a week today Sunday 19th May

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