Sunday 23 December 2012

Ollie Howell: Safe in Derek Nash's hands

Derek Nash, Mark Perry, Matt Robinson, Ollie Howell, Max Luthert & Duncan Eagles
Before the quintet arrived on Day 2, I spent some time with Derek Nash as he ate his porridge and prepared for the day ahead. We all know him from Jools Holland's Rhthym and Blues Orchestra, and as the front man in Sax Appeal and Protect the Beat but I hadn't known of his early days as a sound engineer at the BBC. This made perfect sense as the Quintet arrived and Derek patiently honed the recording. He unselfishly contributed his ideas and shared his knowledge with the assembled band, but never dominated Ollie Howell's overall concept.

Much of day 2 was spent listening and discussing how the music was developing. Even though Howell had a handful of charts for everyone there was a healthy jousting for interpretation.
As they prepared to record Angry Skies a conversation unfolded -
MP - Lets talk concepts
DE - lets do 8 bars each then I'll hint at the tune & then play the tune
MP - Who's going first
DE - I like those chords
MP - We can probably mess it up
DE - I can do 8, you can do 16, I do 16, then we'll not know what's going on!
MP - I come in whenever I want to come in!
DE - Are you angry?
MP - I'm going to go mental on the D Free!!!!!!!

I don't want to give the impression that all discussions we're about serious music concerns. One of the hot topics was Christmas food and we were treated to Giles Coren style dissection of Sainsbury's Boxing Day Lunch Sandwich by Matt Robinson. A little research reveals he is one of the team behind the popular Christmas Sandwich Review Website.

Before leaving for the day I sketched the recording of 19th Day, a tune Howell had penned on his 19th Day in his hospital bed and dedicated to the trumpeter Sam Palmer.

The music has now arrived in my inbox and I'll be getting some images together for the CD so keep an eye out in 2013 for The Ollie Howell Quintet and the album that will be 'Sutures and Stitches'.


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