Had a most amazing trip to New York, stayed with my Tuba soul-brother, Marcus Rojas who looked after me like family. Did some great gigs with Sxip Shirey www.sxipshirey.com playing harmonica and penny-whistles through pitch-shifters and delays and the awesome beatboxer, Adam Matta. We played at the Union Pool on my 2nd night. It was rammed to the hilt. When i played a solo there were people putting their bodies right up against the Orenophone as if to soak up the low vibrations. I was still quite spaced out after the flight so the whole thing felt pretty trippy to me.
We played 3 gigs at the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee where we met Philip Glass and Ned Rothenberg amongst others. I had the honour to meet the great Brazilian Capoeirista, Mestre Acordeon and took part in one of his workshops - totally inspiring. The trio, which was called Sxip Shirey´s Sonic New York also spent 4 days recording. I´ll let you know when a release looks imminent.
Went to a benefit gig at John Zorn´s club, Stone, on the lower east side and heard some great and not so great improvising. The place was packed yet totally hushed. After that, nipped over the road to the Prospect Inn. Lots of youth playing pool to loud rock music but walk through to a small room at the back and what do you find? That´s right! The hippest Salsa bar ever! A kicking band. Mostly old guys, swinging their asses off! Danced with a old puerto-rican lady who showed me moves she´d been doing since she was a young girl. Way more improvised and interactive than the stuff people learn in classes now.
Played a set at the International Underground with a fantastic dixie band that my old college buddy Conal Fowkes plays piano and bass in. With any tunes you didn´t know, the banjo player would call the changes just once through then you were off, such a brilliant way to learn!
By the way, for those of you into the tuba, check this out - I met and hung out with Bob Stewart (played with everybody from Dizzy Gillespie to Arthur Blythe), Brian Wolff (has an incredible solo act with electronics), Jay Rozen (Anthony Braxton), Ron Caswell (Slavic Soul Party), Alan Baer (New York Philharmonic) and his buddy Morris (Shrek, the Musical). Tried to hook up with José Davila (Henry Threadgill) but alas, our free times didn´t quite coincide.
Time has passed and much has happened. Including an interview i did a while back for a friend who works at the Arts Council. It’s just been published - http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/takeitaway/stories/orenmarshall.php In it i mention one of the people i’d like to work with is Bobby Mcferrin. On june 17 i had the good fortune to do just that. In duo in front of a sold out Royal Festival Hall at London’s Meltdown Festival! We had a little play in the afternoon to soundcheck and he said on the gig he’d call me on after he sang some solos. That evening he sang for about 45 minutes, getting better and better and more sublime with each song. I was waiting in the wings getting colder and wondering what on earth i was going to do. Then he just stood up quickly and said, “Let’s get Oren on!” We improvised for about 10-15 minutes. It was great fun and Bobby was super-warm and complimentary. I received much positive feedback from so many people including Ornette Coleman. A great experience.
Just got back from a hectic 3 weeks away. First in Italy, recording with Achille Succi who plays Alto sax and Bass-clarinet and Chris Culpo on piano. Mostly Achille’s composition with one tune by Chris. Very intricate parts and quite challenging to get together in the short time we had. From there i went to visit my friend Oscar from Chile who’s a gardener who plays tuba mostly in marching bands. He lives in a bit of a rough part of Milan. We played, got drunk, ate good food, got bitten all over by mosquitos. This, of course, meant we hardly slept which, for some strange reason, we seemed to find totally hilarious at the time. Didn’t feel too good the next day and in the searing heat carried all my gear(weighing a total of around 50kgs) on a 3 train journey to a part of Genova where i supposed to be meeting Dave Douglas and his band. We played an awesome gig on the sea-front and the whole band made me feel so welcome.
At that gig was Tuba enthusiast extrordinaire, Hans Schlipfinger and his wonderful wife, Renate. Hans had organised a tuba workshop in his home village of Altmunster. The next day we drove there. It took 9 hours and Hans buzzed his mouthpiece the whole way. When we arrived, the first thing he did was play one of his collection of fantastic tubas. Now that’s what i call comittment! There were about 25 tuba students taking classes from myself, Jon Sass (Jazz player and total Funkmeister who lives in Vienna), Paul Halvax(Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra) and Thomas Keller from the Berlin State Opera Orchestra(incredible tubist). While there i met and played with Cuban Trumpet virtuoso, Amik Guerra. What an amazing man. We had a real ball together. Also met the great Trombonist and Bass-Trumpet player, Andrea Conti from Italy and his beautiful family. What a story-teller!
From there got a lift to Graz with Martin, one of Paul’s students. Most of the way we listened a CD of the fantastic Bohemian band he plays in. Marches, Polkas, Yodels. All new stuff for me…
Spent a week in Graz sweating through 2 Kidsamonium shows a day(was meltingly hot!) at La Strada Festival(www.lastrada.at) Such a great band. Check it - www.kidsamonium.com The show really evolved throughout the week and prepared me for the stamina needed to do a solo set at The Big Chill the morning after getting back home (see gallery for pictures)
Been a while (again) and it suddenly seems a strange thought to be communicating with an anonymous public via the back-end of a website. Yet that´s what millions of us are doing all round the world, minute by minute, literally at the click of our fingers. Mind-blowingly extraordinary yet mind-numbingly banal at the same time…
Of late i´ve mainly been teaching. On the Jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music and for the Brass department at Trinity College of Music. Keeps the wolf away from the door, as it were. I also get to work on the basics over and over which is actually what i need to be doing anyway.
Last week London Brass spent a day recording followed by an evening show. I´ve always found chamber music a fascinating challenge but that day was exhausting. Mentally and physically. Some of the results of that day will soon be posted on our new website to be, so keep your eyes peeled.
Also - The Charming Transport Band are recording an album dec 1-4. Finally it´s happening! Watch this space for a release date.
Sorry, very little time these days to update blog but keep checking the rest of the website for news of what´s going on!