2018: A Year In Food
In 2018, my gym coach assigned me to keep a food blog so he could track my meals. Through developing healthy eating habits to satisfy all of my nutritional needs and a rigorous exercise programme, I lost the 21 kg between January-August 2018 I'd gained on anti-depressants.
I wanted it to be somewhere more private rather than being shoved down people's throats (literally) through Instagram/WhatsApp. Hence I've posted my culinary creations here.
Being vegetarian and/or vegan always presents a challenge in terms of hitting the protein target so this was particularly the most interesting challenge for me.
I made a conscious decision to stop food blogging in 2019 (due to time restraints), but it's useful to have a year's diet documented as a reference and a source of inspiration!
Steve Coleman + Reflex + Stevie Williams @ QEH
Stevie Williams spun a terrifically brilliant improvisation, alternating between playful, wistful and intense, moving almost effortlessly from one idea to another, and making pleasing use of the full palette of colours available at his disposal. My favourite feature was the way in which he interchanged between tenor and soprano saxophones over one idea; starting a musical passage in the upper register of the tenor, and picking it up from exactly where he left off on the lower range of the soprano, only to dip down into the tenor - all in the same phrase, the transition seamless. Another highlight was the way in which he really played with the acoustics in the auditorium - fluctuating between different colours and intensities over one tone. His saxophone sound was light, yet brittle, haunting, and at times gritty and husky. The delivery was well-projected in such a large space - not forced. The pianist Pat Thomas combined cascading clusters with Stravinsky-esque grooving cycles, which alternated between clashing discords, whole-tone amusement and almost ballad-like concordance. The slower passages of the music explored some lush tonal pastures, languishing in drifting interchanges of situation, allowing Stevie Williams' saxophone to flutter up into the stratosphere only to spiral freely back down again. In general, his performance style is centred around autonomous, spontaneous improvisation, which reflect his life experiences, and paint an honest picture of where he is at the moment. From where I was sitting, it was apparent that he is in a pretty good place right now!
Steve Coleman + Reflex
Steve Coleman took us on a whirlwind tour across a multitude of musical landscapes and themes, from hot to cold, from sad to playful, from heavy grooves to fluid floridity and lyricism. His improvisations are centred around one motivic segment, which forms the structural and thematic germ of his musical argument, which grows organically into a multi-faceted work. This allows the band to really stretch out and to enjoy an unmeasurable degree of flexibility; the angular leaps, corners and runs open windows and doors into alternate musical situations, at times striving earnestly towards tonality, yet always retreating back to its motivic centre as quickly as it departed - each time implying something else that could almost be a section of another song, in itself.
In terms of the ensemble playing, the band gelled under an immense degree of sensitivity; the musicians almost predicting one another's next moves and turns. You can tell that these guys know one others' playing intimately. Yet this is nothing too deep - it's all on the surface, at the perimeter, edge of your pants stuff. The improvisations of drummer Marcus Gilmore drew gasps of delight and rapture from the audience; throwing out a barrage of distorted rhythmic perspectives and shapes in a remarkable variety of timbres and colours, as though there were an entire batucada ensemble emanating from one musician, or even an orchestra, for it was clear that his thinking was more than just rhythmic - he was thinking melodically, possibly harmonically. His interplay with the pianist David Virelles grooved militantly and stridently, yet staggered and fell over one another at times, giving the momentum a delightful viscosity.
Coleman's saxophone sound is profoundly spiritual, rooted in the influences from Cuba, Brazil and West Africa, yet at the same time insanely logical and methodical. This balance is complemented by a confident, charismatic and often witty delivery; Coleman is buzzing with energy and humour, yet he is clearly in control of the musical situation, and unwavered by the levels of momentum that emanates from this tight three-piece unit. The musical improvisation run freely, almost childish, but embossed with the weight of density behind it, always playing with your expectations. The Afro-Cuban influences were particularly poignant in the last part of the gig, with variants of the 12/8 bell patterns returning at the end, phasing against a juxtaposed riff scatted out with the piano, the de-synchronisation techniques gradually distorting the musical horizons and leaving us hungry again. Altogether it was a fantastic start to the festival; leaving the audience cheering and pleading for more. It gave us enough of a taste of something to entice us to Ronnie Scott's for an aftershow Jazz Festival broadcast where we were treated to another delightful offering - altogether different within the jazz bar. Absolutely stunning!
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have their reward.