CLX, T&T, Scarborough and other things…

My, it’s been a long time since I wrote on here! I must try harder.

Since my last post, I have been back to NYC, and I have visited New Orleans (both AMAZING) where I saw the incredible Pfister Sisters sing and felt like I was going to explode from Happy.

I also hosted the marvellous Scott Cupit, with the help of Jules, for another successful Teapots and Twirls on my return, and then threw myself back into my days of singing, teaching, conducting choirs and dancing Lindy Hop.

I was very lucky to be able to take my lovely band to Cambridge Lindy Exchange a few weeks ago, and see the beautiful city of Cambridge for the first time.

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I have a very quick thank you to reiterate to the organisers of CLX:

Whilst I have already said this to some, and notwithstanding the gratitude I have for my host and the lovely people I met/danced with, the thing I am most appreciative of is the fact that the organisers booked my band in it’s fullest form.

Cambridge is a long way from Leeds, and petrol alone is quite an expense, so to be booked felt like a great honour. To then be able to bring a 6-piece band was just wonderful; it makes such a difference when budgets allow organisers to book the best versions of certain bands, and people value live music that so highly that they are willing to take that financial risk; CLX even put on a 20-piece big band the previous night! Incredible stuff.

I had such an amazing time playing with both Saxophone and Trumpet on the stand, and so I thank the CLX committee (and the other organisations who have been able to budget for a 6-piece) for the opportunity. And to the dancing audience – you were amazing! Thank you! I look forward to many more Lindy gigs (with whatever line-ups!) in 2014.

I then returned to Leeds with a new thing to focus on: the biggest incarnation of Teapots and Twirls so far, with help from Leeds Uni Swing Society, saw us hosting the incredible Mikey Pedroza.

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What a lovely weekend! Anyone who has organised an event (or saw me in the few weeks running up to this one) will know how difficult and stressful such a thing can be, but I am happy to report that it all went very well and I truly loved getting to know Mikey and being able to show him around my city; I think he liked Leeds. 🙂   I was actually a little sad to see him leave – that kind of positive, child-like enthusiasm and energy was a joy to be around!

But of course, the days trundle on and soon we will be many more advent-chocolates down and looking to 2014.

Yesterday, day 1 of the chocolate countdown, saw me take a trip to Scarborough – possibly my first.

The incredibly talented Stuart Macdonald, whose musical CV reads like a who’s who of Musical greats, asked me if I wanted to join him at The Watermark Cafe. The prospect of doing a gig where I had no organisational role was so appealing, as was joining Stuart on the band stand, that I didn’t hesitate.

Working with Stuart is always a joy (he is often one of my AppleJacks) but yesterday in particular was great. He has a very gentle way of pushing me out of my comfort zone and getting me doing things that I would ordinarily shy away from; reminding me of the kind of singing I was doing before I had a little bump in the road and before I discovered Lindy Hop. My favourite moment was when he announced, mid-song, that the band should drop out and we should do a chorus together; just me scatting and him on sax, weaving around each other. Adrenaline pumping, I nervously agreed, and it was ACE!

I thank him wholly for the encouragement, the gentle persuasion, and the prospect of many more Sit-Down-And-Listen jazz gigs; I’d forgotten how much I love doing them (as I love the dancing ones so much!) Special mention too to Mike, Bob and Tom who provided the most excellent rhythm section and were very enjoyable to make music with.

Our next is at Scarborough Jazz Club on January 29th, and I’m already looking forward to it!

Anyway, that very long post, takes us up to the present date. And, as always, I thank you for reading what is essentially a diary entry for me to remember what wonderful things I have been fortunate to experience in the past few weeks.

I hope to write some more interesting pieces in the future, though I can’t promise!

Love, and hopes for a happy December.

Tessa x

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