SOUND CLIPS

Here's a few snippets of improvised solos and compositions that I've written or contributed to over the years. It was interesting to look through these again, back to back.

I'm pleased with how varied they are. The solos reflect the pieces, rather than stamping the same narrative all over them. It's so important, for me, to get into the identity of a piece and it's something I'm keen to talk over with my students.




Still Slippy Underfoot

From "Ropes"

Les Chisnall - Piano

Jen Langridge - Cello

Iain Dixon - Clarinet

Psappha String Orchestra

This piece was written for Annie, my Mother. It's what she used to say after snow had fallen. She never said 'slippery underfoot', just 'it's slippy underfoot'.


I added the 'still' bit. Because it is.

Ropes - MV 3

From "Ropes"

Iain Dixon - Soprano Saxophone

Psappha String Orchestra

Ropes MV 3 is part of a suite of three movements based on a sea shanty I wrote and orchestrated. I took this little ditty and made three seperate but sibling pieces that twisted it into distant reflections of one another.

Madhouse And The Whole Thing There

From "Ropes"

Mike Walker - Guitar

Iain Dixon - Clarinet, Tenor Sax

Gwilym Simcock - Piano

Adam Nussbaum - Drums

Steve Watts - Bass

Psappha String Orchestra

This track was originally written for my 2008 studio album of the same name. It's a piece that is reflective of my time growing up as a kid in the 70s with an older Brother, two Sisters, and Mother. It was, frantic and free. There was a wild beauty to it.

In Two Minds

From "Madhouse And The Whole Thing There"

Mike Walker - Guitar

Iain Dixon - Saxes

John Ellis - Fender Rhodes and Hammond Organ

Sylvan Richardson - Bass

Myke Wilson - Drums

This piece was wholly improvised by the Madhouse band. We did a few takes but this was the best. Again, it's from my childhood. Mother suffered from Schizophrenia. She was hilarious and her timing was 'spockless'. She said she was proud to be something she couldn't spell. A funny stoic. Incorruptible.

Laugh Lines

The Impossible Gentlemen

Mike Walker - Guitar

Steve Swallow - Bass

Gwil Simcock - Piano

Adam Nussbaum - Drums

Laugh lines I wrote as a kind of modern burning bebop melody with chord/scale changes every 4 beats... This was an exciting take I thought ... listen out for Adam at the end... I think he liked it.

When You Hold Her

The Impossible Gentlemen

Mike Walker - Guitar

Steve Swallow - Bass

Gwil Simcock - Piano

Adam Nussbaum - Drums

I thought the guys captured this tune beautifully. This we did in one take. We didn't feel we needed anymore. I also added a live version that we played in 2010 at the RNCM in Manchester (below). It was interesting to hear the contrast in solo direction.


Live version

Play The Game

The Impossible Gentlemen

Mike Walker - Guitar

Steve Swallow - Bass

Gwil Simcock - Piano

Adam Nussbaum - Drums

This is one of Gwil’s pieces. He wrote it to give us a more straight ahead blowing opportunity. Swallow and Adam park dead centre of this vibe.

Tampico

Storyhouse Big Band

Storyhouse Big Band

Taken from a live Big Band gig for Chester Festival in 2019, this is sax player Andy Scott’s piece, Tampico. The solo has a more 70s Los angeles studio vibe to my ears.

Alice In Wonderland

The Quartet

Dave Holland - Bass

Norma Winstone - Voice

Mike Walker - Guitar

Gwilym Simcock - Piano

This was more a spontaneous get together. This was actually just for this one gig but we enjoyed it immensely... so free and creative within a more standard genre. I think more will come of it. In fact, I have plans to do some concerts with Norma and another lovely piano player, Kit Downes, in the future.

A Simple Goodbye

Holland, Walker, Simcock

Dave Holland - Bass

Mike Walker - Guitar

Gwilym Simcock - Piano

The piece is an Impossible Gentleman piece but we thought it would work in this format. Actually a strong piece works in any format, and I think it’s a strong piece.


© Mike Walker 2021