Can you tell us about your new album?

Small Blue is a new band, featuring the classic jazz piano trio line up, which is a first one for me. We have David Beebee on piano, Marianne Windham on bass, and myself on drums. David and Marianne are wonderful musicians and great friends so it’s a real joy to play together. The album features twelve of my tunes, nine brand new, and three that have appeared before in different contexts. I’m writing tunes constantly, so it’s always good to have an outlet for them. The album has quite a nocturnal feel overall, hence the title, The Stealthy Moon. Stylistically it sits at the relatively straight-ahead end of what I do, the improvisation being largely based on preconceived structures and melodies. I’m absolutely delighted with how the album turned out. We’re now looking forward to forward to lining up some gigs to play the music live.

What other projects are you currently involved with?

I have another release coming up in May on Discus Music where I’ll be playing vibraphone rather than drums. This one is effectively a follow up to Ripples, the vibes / Rhodes duo album I did with David Beebee in 2022. The duo has expanded to a three piece with the addition of the extraordinary saxophonist Josephine Davies. The group is called ESPIAL which means “The Act Of Noticing”,which will be the album title. Almost exclusively free improvisation, so a complete contrast to The Stealthy Moon. We already have a couple of live shows lined up for that band around the time of the release.

As ever, my work with dance continues, and I’m looking forward to playing a solo set with dancer Melanie Little on April 6th at Ad Lib Ealing, a new monthly improvised music gig being run by trumpeter Jamie Coleman in West London.

What are you currently listening to and what was the last CD or download you bought?

I listen to a huge range of music, but I’ll focus on jazz here.

I listened to a lot of piano trios when preparing for the new album – apart from the usual suspects, I was checking out Meg Morley’s wonderful trio, Richard Jones’ trio record Angel Shades, Marilyn Crispell, and I’ve got a bit fixated on Bobo Stenson, partly because I love the way Jon Fält plays the drums. Away from piano trios Joe Lovano’s Trio Tapestry albums are a go to of mine. Paul Motian is an obsession both as a composer and drummer so I’m always playing his albums. Bill Frisell and Louis Sclavis are regularly played. For a dose of joy, I put on some New Orleans Brass Band music. My most recent purchase is the new solo album from the fantastic saxophonist Rachel Musson.

What is your all-time favourite album and why?

If push comes to shove, I’d say that a record that changed everything for me is El Corazon by Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell, as it opened the door to Free Improvisation, and it’s just so joyful.  Depending on the way the wind is blowing on other days I could go for Ellington’s Far East Suite , Dolphy’s Out To Lunch, or Anita O’Day’s All The Sad Young Men – each one perfect in its own way.

Who has caught your attention recently that we should be listening out for?

I think the scene in the UK is extraordinarily rich in terms of creativity and variety. If you haven’t got Charlotte Keeffe’s wonderful Right Here Right Now Quartet album yet buy it now and make your world better. An album that I really like that didn’t get much attention is Lamprey View by Trio Yoga – Eric Ford, Jakub Cywinski, and Dawid Frydryk. Bluetopia by Ron Caines and Martin Archer is very special. In contrast to all that I caught an amazing straight-ahead gig at Guildford Jazz not long ago from the Fraser Smith Quartet, glorious stuff.