Life as a Jazz Flautist in Devon: Chapter One

Chernobyl Childrens' Life Line Concert (April 2013)

Hello!

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!

Hamer & Isaacs logo by Hannah Sterry. Hamer & Isaacs play volcanic, swinging gypsy jazz. Whilst portraying the influence of Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club of France, the unique addition of Rosie Corlett's soaring, flaming vocals is guarenteed to turn the thermostat up a notch. Rich Hamer (lead guitar) provides cut, thrust, panache and inspiration, and Mel Brindle Scullion (swing violin) utilises her impeccable classical pedigree to lend virtuosity to the flair of her improvisation. Julian Isaacs (rhythm guitar), a veteran of the gypsy jazz scene for over three decades, and the animated and vivacious lines of Howard Kahn (double bass) provide the driving force that is the rhythm section. Hamer & Isaacs Gypsy Swing Band are available as a guitar duo, an instrumental or vocal trio, or as a full quintet. Set the controls for the heart of swing and witness them for yourselves!
Logo by Hannah Sterry.

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:
Becky Brine Tweet

“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! 😀

GIGS COMING UP…

TOMORROW/FRIDAY (18th May)
Hamer & Isaacs gypsy swing band feat. Hannah Sterry will be playing in the Leaping Salmon, Horrabridge from 9pm.

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!

Thanks all,

Hannah 🙂

Life is Changing: Crafts, Cartoons & Live Music

AnsaBack Poster

Hello again!

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!

Musical Compliments - Music Cartoon by Hannah Sterry. Comic shows some music notes complimenting each other. Text reads: "Liking the natural look!" "Thanks! You're looking pretty sharp yourself!"

‘Musical Compliments’ is available on cards, mugs, t-shirts and bags over here: http://www.cafepress.co.uk/hannahsterrycartoons

Music

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!

Ansa Back Poster

[Click for bigger picture]

Thursday (13th) – Ben Carr will be playing at The Kings Arms, Kingsbridge (I’ll be guesting on flute).

More live music dates on the Gigs & Events page.

Education

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!

Hannah x

THIS WEEK: Upcoming Gigs & Fluid Pianos

Fading Notes II - Flute Keys Version

Here’s what’s happening this week:

Tuesday Night is Music Night at the Cottage Hotel. I’ll be playing flute as part of The Sterrys and watching the sun setting over the water at Hope Cove. Feel free to relax with a cocktail and enjoy the music! Starts at 6:45pm.

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.

Thursday… features An audience with Auntie Pus at B-Bar, Plymouth. I’m really hoping to go to this, but haven’t quite worked out the logistics yet. Either way, I’m sure it’ll be a brilliant evening. Starts at 8:30pm.

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)!

Jazz Greenhill drew me! She’s a genius armed with pencils.

This Week’s Music Highlights

Ben Carr's First Music Hall & Blues Night at The Hideaway Speakeasy

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.

John Sterry (from The Sterrys) playing piano / keyboard at The Cottage Hotel.

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!

Ben Carr's First Music Hall & Blues Night at The Hideaway Speakeasy

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.