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.
This is what my diary has looked like for the past few weeks:
7th May – Recorded some improvisations with Stephen Abrehart, just to see how the harp and baritone guitar worked together. The sounds mixed brilliantly and I hope we’ll be able to record a few more things together in the future.
10th May – Saw Ben Carr play at The Refectory Bar, sampled some delicious cocktails (the Apple Crumble cocktail was really good) and joined in with some jazz flute for the last few songs.
That afternoon we also went to the Cottage Hotel to discuss their plans for music throughout the summer, which led to this:
I am delighted to say that from June 5th, The Sterrys will be playing at The Cottage Hotel every Tuesday throughout the summer. The line up will change week-to-week; one week might be solo piano, the next a jazz trio with flute and harp the week after that…
Anyway, we expect it’ll be a lot of fun and hope to see you there!
Hamer & Isaacs played a really energetic set at the Millbrook Inn earlier on Sunday afternoon. They play gypsy jazz with a sound reminiscent of Django Reinhardt and Hot Club of France and were kind enough to let me stand in as guest flautist on one or two tunes! When I wasn’t playing I found the time to take a few photos and videos. Here’s how they turned out:
The gig was brilliant!
Everyone had a lot of fun and there was smiling…
And even some dancing (I’m attempting to upload the video now, but Devonian internet is a little bit temperamental).
The whole afternoon was a lot of fun and the atmosphere was really relaxed and welcoming. I thoroughly enjoyed playing and listening to the music and hope I have plenty of chances to see the band again!
This is the best week I’ve had in such a long time! Mainly because lots of interesting things are happening:
Monday – Lovely walk around Mount Edgcumbe and Kingsand with great company (the image above was taken from the Amphitheatre woods at Mount Edgcumbe).
Tuesday – Meeting people, helping out and my first experience of attempting to play harmonium.
Wednesday (today) – Caught up with Laura and Charlotte from the The Carrivick Sisters (a brilliant folk/bluegrass duo), great flute lesson this afternoon (I have an exam next week!) and this evening I’ll be going to Ben Carr’s Blues Night at The Royal Oak in Malborough (I’ll be bringing my flute, but have no idea who I’ll be playing music with – it’s great fun)!
Thursday – Going to see Enter Shikari in Plymouth (and might see some other nice people along the way)!
Friday – Work and hopefully catching up with a wonderful friend!
Basically, it’s an amazing week (I’ll try to get some decent photos of all of these things)! If you’re free to come to the Royal Oak this evening, or The Hermitage on Saturday (or both), it’ll be great to see you there!
On Wednesday 25th Jan, there was a brilliant session at the Royal Oak.
About a week before, my dad (Joe) and I had been asked we’d like to come and join in with some blues with Ben Carr and a few guest musicians. Neither of us knew exactly how it would work and we’d had no idea what we were going to play – just that it started at 8pm and that it’d probably be a lot of fun.
Ben Carr played his blues set first, with brother Tom Carr on double bass. Ben is an excellent guitarist and manages to organise things like this so quickly – I’m not sure that anyone else would be able to do it!
Next, Tez Locke played a set of completely original works and Ben asked if Doug “Big Toe” Smith and I would join in . Tez was the only one who’d played the songs before, but I joined in with improvised flute fills and harmonies and generally had a good time. People seemed to think we’d been playing together for ages, so it must have sounded fairly good, and we all really enjoyed it.
The last set was made up of three the musicians from Hamer and Isaacs gypsy swing band (Howard, Julian and Rosie) and my dad (Joe) joined them on saxophone with fills, harmonies and improvisations. They were amazing – Rosie has a stunning voice which suited the blues/swing style perfectly and meshed really well with the guitar and bass.
The evening ended with everyone joining in for the last blues and lots of chatting! The atmosphere was just so relaxed and appreciative that I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t want to play there again.
On the 1st January I’ll be in Hope Cove at The Cottage Hotel playing jazz flute with John (keyboard) and Joe (sax) as part of “The Sterry Family”.
If you’ve not been to The Cottage before, it’s a hotel with a stunning sea view, really good food and the people running it are lovely (they’re even nice to musicians!!!). I chose to go there for my birthday meal because the atmosphere and food is so good (the puddings are delicious too).
Another day, another instrument…
Yesterday I played harp at The Cottage and it went down really well! I got to speak to some wonderful people afterwards about and brought my dad and sister along to listen.
People tend to ask quite a few questions about the harp, because it’s a fairly modern design. This particular model is a Smartwood Harp and is much lighter than some of the more traditional designs, which makes it much more convenient for travelling with. Most importantly, I enjoy playing it and it sounds good (the low notes in particular have a wonderful warm rich sound). I’m tempted to add levers soon, as I am finding the standard modes a bit restrictive, but overall I’m very happy with it.