Twelve O’Clock Tales – New album by Clare Teal

I remember the day distinctly when Clare called about this recording. It went along the lines of “hello Love, We’d like to do a recording with the Halle… and a big band… yes in the same room… well it’s a church… but a treated church…” and so it began. A live jazz recording like they used to at Columbia… 93 musicians, Big band and orchestra.
I was discussing this conversation recently and I think it was only when it was all over that the scale of it finally hit me. Even when I was preparing the line lists (about 111 +/- 5 here or there) or preparing the desk in the truck did it ever occur to me that this was quite a big deal. Colleague and long time supplier Pete Austin (Ethos Audio) was the first point of contact as I knew he had the truck to do the job. The large channel count meant that we’d have to go digital and the Studer Vista 5 was a perfect choice.
Vista 5

The tricky part was how to keep the lush textures of the orchestra and maintain the sheer dynamic of the big band. We agreed that it was best to have the big band to one side and opposite side from the violins and all the open microphones. The ability to mix up tight and ambient microphones gave us the scope to get good separation of the sections and yet still have that enigmatic blend that makes an orchestra sound so lush.
The space in Ancoates that the Halle rehearse in is superb. Set in quite an up and coming part of the redevelopment of this area, St Peter’s is a gem indeed. The Halle Chorus also rehearse here and so its multi functionality is well serviced by clever use of staging and an excellent crew to set and reset as required. The acoustic treatment is excellent and they also have 63amp 3ø power installed near to the load in door. Sensible cable traps and routing make this a great venue to work in.


We started recording on the Tuesday afternoon and four sessions later it was in the can. The sheer musicianship of both the Halle and the big band, embracing some pretty demanding music from mssrs Barker, Rebello and Windsor, is clear to hear on the album. Stephen Bell was fabulous at interpreting the jazz/classical crossover with the Halle and a good time was had by all.



in the truck…


The Album feature 14 classic songs…

It Might as Well Be Spring
Feeling Good
Wild Is the Wind
Sans Souci
I’ll Never Stop Loving You
La Belle Dame Sans Regret
Lush Life
Never Again
Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most
Always True to You in My Fashion
Whole (It Isn’t Like Me)
Secret Love
The Folks Who Live on the Hill
Paradisi Carousel

The music was arranged by UK trumpet legend Guy barker and by the pianistic talents of Jason Rebello and Grant Windsor. The title “Twelve O’Clock Tales” is taken from a lyric of Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Lush Life’ and the album explores timeless classics penned by legendary musical storytellers of the last 100 years, and celebrates the giants of the Great American and British Songbooks through to the work of more contemporary writers crafting the standards of today plus Clare’s own original compositions. From swing to sublime ballads, Twelve O’Clock Tales reflects Clare’s versatility as a performer, and her agile and expressive voice is captured in the rich, eclectic, jazz infused repertoire ranging from Cole Porter, Billy Strayhorn, Rodgers and Hammerstein to Tim Rice, and Sting.

This was an amazing project to be part of and I’m immensely proud of my association with it.


The album has just been reviewed by Dave Gelly in the Guardian – Review


Clare Teal said ‘This is our most ambitious project to date and being accompanied by the Hallé is an absolute privilege.   To be in a room surrounded by 93 incredibly talented musicians wondrously lifting these stunning arrangements right off the page before your eyes makes for a great day out – to actually then add your own voice to the story is a dream come true. We’re thrilled to be releasing Twelve O’Clock Tales on our own label – it’s truly liberating to be in control of what you want to record, with whom and where you want to release it.’

Stephen Bell said ‘One of the most joyous projects to be involved with – fabulously crafted and classy orchestral charts by Guy Barker, Jason Rebello and Grant Windsor sounding particularly splendid with the full might of the Hallé and Clare’s unique vocal talents. Fabulous music-making!’

Guy Barker said ‘Clare Teal has always been a total joy to work with … a great vocalist, musician and communicator with a seemingly never ending flow of great positive energy.
You add to that one of the world’s great orchestras under the baton and superb musicianship of their conductor Stephen Bell … including some amazing star players like Jason Rebello, Mike Lovatt, Matt Skelton, Iain Dixon, Gordon Campbell and Jeremy Brown… and you then have one of the most enjoyable musical experiences I have ever been privileged to be a part of.’

Twelve O’Clock Tales, released on MUD records, is Clare’s 15th Album and can be listened to via Bandcamp here.

Click here to view ‘The Making Of’ video.


September 16, 2016 at 14:18 1 comment

Tour -Ettes syndrome

I suppose I just like to be busy, and when touring always need to accomplish something other than just turning up for the show each day. I knew I had over a years touring to do and wanted writing/producing solution that was easy to carry and didn’t require a flight case.

iPad was the obvious solution as I carry it most places anyhow but it seems that digital audio workstation (DAW) and MIDI software was a bit thin on the ground individually never mind as a package. Garage Band seemed the obvious solution. It’s very powerful and free! But the big requirement, to me, of having a portable recording solution is the ability to export your midi and audio into a bigger studio once home or at work. Garage band doesn’t do this at all. You can export a .wav or .aiff file but not midi. A nice chap called Lars Kobbe has written an applet GB2MIDI. In order to do this Scott Troyer‘s work around is lumpy but workable. You will have had to export the .aif file from your iPad to a Laptop/Desktop.

As an established Pro Tools user I didn’t want to go down the Cubase/Logic route. The research that I did suggested two possible apps NanoStudio


and Auria


NanoStudio is very good and integrates both audio and midi. As the web site says “NanoStudio is a recording studio for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. It has virtual analogue synths, sample trigger pads, a comprehensive sequencer, a sample editor, a mixer and multiple effects all integrated into a single application.” It’s easy to use and the synths, drum machine and mixer work well and for £5 its a bargain. There is an in-app purchase £3.99 to make it 16 tracks and this is also worth it. Once again the exporting is the issue. MIDI exports from the computer version but seemingly not the iPad. You can mix down on the iPad or export to the laptop version of NanoStudio and you can share with SoundCloud.

Auria I liked from the off but vs1 didn’t support MIDI, there was a work around involving Audiobus and Nanostudio but none of this worked fully until Apple released iOS 9 in Late 2015. With this came the release of Auria Pro and this now had MIDI integrated.

This now all worked without Audiobus running (I believe that it runs in the background) and I could include other synths like Animoog and Sampletank as MIDI instruments.

Now we could write and export via Auria’s .aaf export option directly into Pro Tools either via Dropbox or iTunes when connected to the laptop. Auria Pro is £34.99

The next nut to crack was a portable mic preamp. I’ve a couple of USB/firewire interfaces but neither of the are portable. Speaking with my chums at Mediaspec UK they unanimously suggested IK Multimedia’s iRig Pro. This little device is pocket size and very good.


It integrates with Auria very well and is easy to use. You can plug either a jack or xld into it and 48V phantom power is supplied via a 9v battery (not included). It evens works as a MIDI interface. I’ve done a few sax/flute solos for dance tracks with it already. Here’s one for Phil Bonna .

I have found the iPad a little fiddly to play so as a little Christmas gift to myself I bought iRig Keys a 37 note key board. Although it doesn’t fit in the man bag it is quite portable.


There you have it it, a mobile recording/writing system all in one man bag. The only addition that I have now made is Pro Control for Pro tools 12.


PT Control

Here’s the first track written and recorded on this system – Agent Tea Bag





February 10, 2016 at 15:50 Leave a comment

US Frackers to sue UK Government for £ millions

Business in Berkshire

Imagine a headline that said US corporation to sue UK Government for loss of earnings due to local populations preventing fracking in their area… and UK politicians gave them the right to do so! Is this treason?

I can hear you, “Don’t be stupid Jon, our politicians wouldn’t do that, you’re a fool!”

I got this email yesterday, thought you might like to read it…

Dear Jonathan,

Do you want to live in a world in which multinational corporations can sue the UK government for raising the minimum wage? [1] Or how about a world where big tobacco companies can sue the UK for billions of pounds for introducing a plain cigarette packaging law? [2]

Scarily, this could happen if TTIP – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – is passed. It’s basically a Christmas wish-list for big businesses – one with no benefit to ordinary people. Right now, the…

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July 5, 2014 at 00:44 Leave a comment

Cut above the rest – The tour continues in Manchester

Business in Berkshire

Those of you who have seen me recently will probably agree that the hair had got a bit out of control.

So when our newly appointed and exquisitely groomed keys two, Mr. Carradine, joined the tour there was a sudden rush of hair cuts amongst the chaps and yours truly decided that enough was enough. Now Mr. Carradine had found a place like no other, well certainly new to me, a proper gentleman’s barbers. Very different from the £10 buzz cut that is so familiar in high streets across the country.

barber barber jazzmouse

BarberBarber opened in Manchester 14 weeks ago and they’ve not looked back since. It claims to be the UK’s only ‘men only barbers’ and they’re pretty strict on it. To say it’s a just barbers is like saying that foie gras is just paté. This is a grooming experience. Now to women readers you may be used to being pampered…

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February 26, 2014 at 14:42 Leave a comment

LinkedIn Daily Routine

Wise words from big Jon

Business in Berkshire

Create yourself a daily routine for LinkedIn. Give yourself 30 minutes at a time of day that suits you best and do these three things… your actions are bound to create a reaction over time.

Go see who’s been looking at you kid!
Every day go & see who has been looking at your profile… say hello as you think it relevant. You can invite folk to connect easily, flick of a wrist & if they’ve been looking at you, they are likely to respond positively giving you more connections. This is useful when you are searching for your perfect prospect… the more 1st connections you have, the border your reach.

Contact 3 new people
You know the profile of your perfect customer… go find 3 people who match and say hello… send them an invitation to connect providing a unique invitation based on what you’ve read about them.


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February 5, 2014 at 15:40 Leave a comment

Where Music Works

If you’ve ever sat before a blank page of manuscript…

Jim Aikin's Oblong Blob

In the opening chapter of his book How Music Works, David Byrne makes a provocative and insightful observation. In a nutshell, he argues that the type of music composers and performers create depends largely on the type of space in which the music is to be played. The social purposes being served also play a role.

The simplest example of this is to imagine what high-energy funk would sound like if played in a cathedral. A cathedral is an extraordinarily reverberant space. As a result, the crisp rhythms of funk would turn into a dull roar. Trying to play funk in a cathedral would be all but pointless, because nobody could hear what you were doing.

Byrne gives lots of other examples. His underlying point is that our usual fantasy, in which the artist creates something based on an inner impulse toward personal expression, is exactly backwards. What the artist…

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February 5, 2014 at 12:22 Leave a comment

Cone with the wind…

A little Blant (blog rant) about our beloved road system…

Business in Berkshire

Following on last last weeks food post I am now writing to you as an in-betweener. That is in-between Wolverhampton and Newcastle.

A travel day of sorts, too far to go home to return to the north again with out enduring eight hours plus on the motorways of Great Britain. I’m sure for many of you this isn’t part of your daily pain but for the touring thesp and muso it’s a necessary evil. I’d love to have gone home and seen my wife for the day but the prospect of travelling from London to Newcastle on a wintery Monday put me off!

Today’s journey from Wolverhampton was greatly helped by the M6 toll road. These are comparatively new in the UK but they’ve had them for years in Europe. Paying to drive has been almost as contentious in this country as the 2nd amendment sections on baring arms in…

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February 5, 2014 at 12:08 Leave a comment

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