Hot Jazz!

Hot jazz time. It’s been a jazzy week, and by that I mean I went to one jazz gig and listened to about three quarters of a Fats Waller album. But nonetheless, let me tell you all about it:

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We start with me going to hear a jazz pianist called Huw Warren play in the Aboyne Festival, my hometown’s  very own art and culture event. Huw Warren is really tremendously talented. A terrific pianist. Very, very impressive. The only thing though, is that he suffers horribly from Weird-Musician’s-Expression-Syndrome. That is to say, he starts a song looking like this:

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And by the time he reaches the first crescendo just after the introduction, he looks like this:

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Unfortunately but unsurprisingly it was dark in the theatre, so I couldn’t draw too much. But suffice to say he spent most of the gig looking like a character from a Sylvain Chomet film.

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I feel it’s okay for me to comment on this because I also suffer from “bass-face” when I play, as anyone who’s seen my band can testify. I once lost control of my face so badly that I drooled down my shirt.

Anyway, Huw Warren plays very impressively so if you didn’t see him you should look out for him, etc, and he may well come back to Aboyne because there was a good turnout too.

On a slightly-related note, it’s worth mentioning that Aboyne Festival’s branding is so desperately unexciting that it looks like a run-down caravan park in the mid-90’s. In fact, Aboyne’s dentist has a more exciting logo. If anyone in Aboyne Festival is reading this I would urge you to hire someone more exciting me to redesign your posters.

I say this because of the other jazzy outing of the week, which was designing a poster for my good friend John Youngs’ band: The Gramophone Jass Band, who have a festival show on in Henry’s Cellar Bar on Morrison Street throughout August.

This is a bit of a departure for me, because I’ve spent most of the summer telling my pupils to experiment with new techniques despite never doing it myself. So I tried it as a papercut. Above you can see all the different elements, which then all got photoshopped together to look like this:

Jass screen

My favourite thing about this design is the pattern of gramophones in the background. Anyway, as I say this about everyone, you definitely should check out the Gramophone Jass Band in the festival. The details are all on the poster, and what a poster! What are you waiting for?

Two last things to say too. One is an announcement: One of my other secret plans (apart from the secret project which I’m mentioning occasionally) is that I’m going to spent a few months in Hong Kong at the end of the year on a reportage project, similar to the one in Ethiopia last year.

This is the first announcement so HELL YEAH HONG KONG!

Khartoum airport, on the way

The other thing is that my best buddy the illustrator Oliver Ninnis  has done a Don’t Panic brief, and has made by far the best entry there. Unfortunately the evils of democracy dictate that we can’t just take an educated opinion as a judge of its quality, instead everyone gets a say. So do a friend-of-a-friend a favour, click on this link and then you just have to like it on facebook or twitter and he gets your support. If he wins he’s promised to give everyone who voted for him a thigh massage.

So that’s all my news for now. What do you think?

Edit: as someone rather smugly pointed out, the above picture is of Khartoum airport. It is not Hong Kong, because I haven’t been there yet. It is just a vaguely related travel-themed drawing.

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Filed under Illustration, Making things, Sketchbook, Typography

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