I am now “Plymouth’s top jazz flautist” according to twitter. I know this because I am probably the only jazz flautist in the whole of South Devon (with the exception of my dad, who often prefers to play saxophone).
This post is a bit of everything – music I’ve recorded, pictures from the past year’s worth of gigs and news of gigs to come and some lovely testimonials from people I’ve played for – I hope you’ll enjoy it and feel free to ask me anything you like in the comments!
Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to play lots of gigs with a great little gypsy swing band called Hamer & Isaacs. I met them, by chance, at a blues night at a pub where a mutual friend had invited us both along. I thought they were pretty cool and took a particular liking to one of them (that’s a different story) and since then I’ve stood in whenever one of the others can’t make it!
After playing with the band a fair bit, a few of them spotted my Sterry Cartoons creations on facebook and asked whether I’d like to design them an ‘art deco’ logo. I thought it’d be good fun to have a go (having not attempted logo design before) and this is what I came up with (see right).
All of this led to some really wonderful testimonials from people I’ve met through the band:
“As a professional musician for nearly four decades, I have been very impressed by Hannah Sterry’s contribution to our gypsy swing band as a deputy flautist over the last few months. She has deputised at short notice for both our lead guitarist and swing violinist, not easy roles to fill, and I have been awed by her levels of competence and creativity. Her improvisational techniques display an intuitive flair and inspiration well beyond her years, and she exhibits the stage presence expected in a seasoned veteran. I would heartily endorse her as a flautist to any potential employers, whether in the fields of jazz, rock or classical music.” ~ Julian Isaacs of Hamer & Isaacs Gypsy Swing Band
“[Hannah] is a brilliant musician and I love working with her in the gypsy swing band. Her flute solos inspire me to up my game!” ~ Melanie Scullion B.A Hons.P.G Cert. P.G Dip.Perf. Professional violinist, violist and peripatetic music teacher.
I’ve haven’t been playing jazz and designing logos the entire time though. Whenever I’ve had a few hours free, I’ve been working on a few of my own musical side projects! Most recently I’ve been doing a bit of recording with my little sister (she’s ridiculously cool, but you can’t take her anywhere). 😛
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might have heard it before, but here’s a little bit of chilled out flute music I recorded as an earlier side project (it’s not jazz, but it’s cool and floaty)!
P.S. If you like any of my music, you can download it for FREE on bandcamp. Just click the link above. If you really like it and want me to make more music, you can donate however much or little as you like with the “name-your-price” button and you’ll get a gigantic smile and thanks from me!
Anyway, I’ve just been told that dinner’s on the table, so I’d better go, but I hope you’re enjoying the story so far and I’ll leave you with a few pictures from the last year and adates of my upcoming gigs! Hope to meet some of you at some point and as always, if you want to ask me anything, or have any great music recommendations, I’d love to hear from you in the comments! 😀
Flautist Hannah Sterry performing jazz flute for The Cottage Hotel’s Summer Music Nights in Hope Cove, Devon.
Ansa Back playing at Morleigh Village Hall
Hamer & Isaacs live at the Millbrook Inn, South Pool. Photo Credit: timhirstphotography.com
BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY (27th May) Ansa Back will be playing at Bigbury Golf Club from 4pm.
JUNE-SEPTEMBER The Sterrys will be playing every Tuesday evening at The Cottage Hotel, Hope Cove for their Summer Music Nights. Feel free to come and join us, enjoy a cocktail on the terrace and take in one of the most Mediterranean views that the South Hams can offer!
Here’s a little video of Hamer & Isaacs gypsy swing band playing at the White Horse Inn in December! I was lucky enough to guest with them and Steve Jenner (guitarist) that evening and had a great evening of jazz, meeting new people and friendly banter! 🙂
At the time the landlord was running a 12 days of Christmas event which led to this brilliantly surreal image of inn, innkeeper and camel.
Life has been changing fast, which has meant that I’ve not drawn and uploaded the cartoons that I aimed to have completed by now. Here’s what’s been going on:
Christmas Cartoon Sales!
The Musical Compliments cartoon still seems to be doing really well. After thousands of sporadic shares on facebook, people seem to be going mad with t-shirt buying! If you’ve got a musical friend, who loves puns, it could make a really nice complimentary gift!
My sister has been involved in my most recent recording and I’m absolutely desperate to share it, but it’s not finished yet! Would love to hear any band name suggestions for dark, electronic, synth rock with flutes and a female singer… leave me a comment if you have any ideas!
On Wednesday I went to a few of the cafe’s and galleries in town, to ask whether they’d be interested in some live harp music and had a really nice chat with the people in The Art Cafe and The Harbour House. By complete chance, I bumped in to a few people I knew and had played for before and they gave me some really nice, on-the-spot references – it’s a small town! 🙂
The Weekly Gigs:
Tomorrow – I’ll be playing music with Hamer & Isaacs at East Portlemouth Village Hall, 8pm.
Tuesday (11th) – Ansa Back will be playing at The Hideaway Speakeasy, Kingsbridge, 8pm.
Here’s a poster I made earlier!
[Click for bigger picture]
Thursday (13th) – Ben Carr will be playing at The Kings Arms, Kingsbridge (I’ll be guesting on flute).
In addition to all of this, I’ve got an Open University deadline on Tuesday and I’m desperately trying to learn some new Grade VIII standard flute pieces. The driving theory hasn’t even been looked at!
Really glad to be busy, meeting so many people and doing so many things!
Hope nobody minds the lack of cartoons too much (they take a surprisingly long time to draw/perfect). I’ll release more as soon as I’m happy with them!
So feel free to hang out over there and share in the friendly banter!
I’ll post the occasional cartoon and we can all have a bit of a laugh.
There are a few gigs coming up in December, where I’ll be performing as guest jazz flautist with Hamer & Isaacs gypsy swing band. They’re a brilliant group of musicians playing lively Django-style jazz and really good fun to watch, so if you get a chance to see them – Don’t miss it!
The 25th of September marks the last Tuesday Night is Music Night of this year and I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone at The Cottage Hotel, on behalf of The Sterrys, because we’ve had an amazing time.
It’s been great fun playing at The Cottage Hotel every week this summer and we’ve met some wonderful people, tasted some absolutely amazing food and really enjoyed playing to such a nice group of people.
Here are a few photos to sum up the wonderful time we’ve had here:
Having fun with the folk harp (sometimes accompanied by Joe on flute).
Fundraising for Hope Cove Lifeboat out on the terrace.
I’m not sure how much we raised, but have been told it was a success!
We even had time for a quick photo opportunity as the sun was setting!
In summary, we’ve had an absolutely amazing time with everyone who’s visited or worked at the hotel.
This is probably the best way to illustrate it:
Thank you to everyone who’s come and supported us,
I really hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have!
Wednesday…brings the second of Ben Carr’s Music Sessions at The Hideaway. Anyone can come along, bring an instrument and join in (I’ll be there with my flute). The whole evening’s great fun and you’ll meet some really nice people. Starts at 8pm.
Sunday…Gallows Ghost play The Hideaway and have asked me if I’d like to stand in for a few tunes as a guest musician. They’re lovely people and their music is great fun to play, so the answer is always yes!
Today’s discovery is… a new instrument called The Fluid Piano. The strings all have sliders that enable each note to be changed in pitch (by up to a whole tone) as the piano is being played. This also means that the piano can be tuned to the true harmonic series, making it much more compatible with traditional indian music, which doesn’t use the standard western tuning (twelve note equal temperament) and can often involve fluctuations in pitch.
Anyway, I hope you’re all having a good week and if you happen to be at any of these gigs, feel free to say hi (I’ll be the one with the flute and the long brown hair)!
Tuesday Night is Music Night at The Cottage Hotel has been a great succes, and was particularly lovely today, as we [The Sterrys] arrived to the sun shining and played until we saw it setting over the sea. Here are the photos from the evening:
John and Joe setting up in the sun.
Taking turns to improvise.
John suddenly turns in to a giant while Joe and Hannah aren’t looking.
It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable, musical week with lots of things happening, but here are the highlights:
Tuesday: John Sterry (pianist for The Sterrys) entertained guests and visitors to The Cottage Hotel with a relaxed evening of jazz piano.
Wednesday: Ben Carr hosted his first Blues Session in The Hideaway Speakeasy, which turned out to be an amazing success! The atmosphere was wonderful and it was good to see musicians who’d never met just getting up and joining in (at one point Ian Feetenby jumped in and provided us with some brilliantly spontaneous percussion on acoustic guitar). The next session is on Wednesday 8th August – Feel free to come along and enjoy the music or, better still, bring an instrument and join in! We’re all friendly, I promise!
Friday: Hamer & Isaacs played The B-Bar in Plymouth and were kind enough to ask me to step in as a guest musician on their second set. What followed was a foot-tapping extravaganza of swinging gypsy jazz with one of the liveliest audiences I’ve ever played to! I think everyone left that gig with a huge smile.