It Kind of Blue me away

From the recording of Kind of Blue

When was the last time you actually sat and listened to an album? When I say ‘listened’, I mean stopped doing other things and really paid attention to the music.

Today, I went to a gig as part of the Brighton Festival called Played Twice: Miles Davis Kind of Blue, where – for the first half of the show – an audience of more than 400 sat and listened in rapt silence to a vinyl recording of what has been called the greatest jazz album ever.

The atmosphere was electric. It was a communal experience – so many people all sitting quietly concentrating on the music and nothing else – no phones, no chatting, nothing.

I’ve been to gigs before. I’ve been to jazz concerts before. But to sit with so many people and listen to a ‘record’ – not a live performance – was something quite special.

If you want to experience something similar, Played Twice happens regularly in London.

How to practise

Wynton Marsalis
The acclaimed jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis came up with his Twelve Ways to Practice (sic) back in 1996.

Even though his forte is music, the lessons are as relevant to most areas of learning, as they are to becoming a music maestro.

For example:

Concentrate: You can do more in 10 minutes of focused practice than in an hour of sighing and moaning


Don’t show off: It’s hard to resist showing off when you can do something well.”

Inspired? Read the full list

Why the deaths of Prince, Bowie and others in 2016 are so shocking

Prince“No, no, no, no!” On learning that Prince had died unexpectedly at just 57, the response of almost everyone I know yesterday was the same.

It was awful news. It was a complete and utter shock. It seemed faintly unreal. That it was just the latest in a seeming unending line of celebrity deaths in 2016 merely compounded the hurt.

David Bowie, Terry Wogan, Ronnie Corbett, Victoria Wood to name but a few.

But why are these deaths so shocking? In Prince and Victoria Wood’s cases it was their relative youth (57 and 62 respectively), but that could hardly be said of Ronnie Corbett or Terry Wogan.

The simple reason is this: for a generation of 30-50-somethings, our childhood and adolescent memories and heroes are being eviscerated. Continue reading “Why the deaths of Prince, Bowie and others in 2016 are so shocking”

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