Music

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Lancaster Jazz Festival, 2013, photo by Richard Davis

As in playing music, and writing it, not writing about it. I’m a semi-pro double bassist, playing jazz and improvised music, writing a bit, playing locally for my own pleasure. Here you can find out about my musical history—bands and projects I’ve been involved with in the past, over 30+ years—as well as my current music. Scroll down or look at the drop-down menu and you’ll find information about my playing in the following places and times:

  • Norwich 2016-
  • Lancaster 2010-2015, with my new bass
  • Lancaster and the north-west, 1990s-early 2000s
  • Glasgow, late 1980s- early 1990s
  • Norwich 1980s.

Also on these pages are some images of bands I have been in—and occasionally out of—over the decades. There are probably a few more to be added… (Recordings! I need to put some music up too.) Recognise yourself? Do get in touch. I can safely say that almost all the musicians I’ve ever been lucky enough to play with I’d be pleased to hear from, really. And only one ever was a prize asshole, that I can remember.

I moved from playing acoustic guitar when I was 14 to bass guitar aged 16 in the mid-1970s to double bass at the age of 23, and have stuck with double bass ever since (and indeed the same instrument for over a quarter-of-a-century until 2010). To a large extent I am self-taught, except for my weekly training when I worked with Community Music East in the mid-1980s, and a regular arco lesson with terrific cellist Maja Bugge in Lancaster for a year or so around 2013. (I would really like to spend a year or two with a double bass tutor working on arco technique, reading and jazz theory, if I could find a really good player and teacher now in the Norwich area, please.)


Norwich 2016-

piano + bass, little scratch ensemble, Old Chapel, 2016

Having moved (back) to Norwich in late 2015, I began looking for some interesting music and musicians to play with, a band or two to join or form. I found a local luthier who rehaired my bow (it was practically bald), and I put some brand new strings on the bass in preparation. Was itching to play some gigs!  Started rehearsing regularly with three new bands—lift-off imminent … oh hang on, got some gigs now, the lift-off seems to have already happened. All three band below are available for booking, folks, you just got to get in touch: Punch House Band, Joey Herzfeld Trio, hymn.  

Some gigs …

  • October 21 2016: Joey Herzfeld Trio, Jurnet’s Bar, Norwich
  • December 4: piano + bass duo, Old Chapel, Park Lane, Norwich
  • December 21: Punch House Band, The Dog, Norwich
  • January 9 2017: Joey Herzfeld Trio, Cactus Cafe Bar, Norwich
  • February 3: Punch House Band, Milkmaid Folk Club, Bury St Edmund’s
  • February 11: Joey Herzfeld Trio, Cactus Cafe Bar, Norwich
  • February 24: Joey Herzfeld Trio, Jurnet’s Bar, Norwich
  • March 4: Punch House Band, Freemasons’ Arms, Norwich
  • March 27: hymn, Plink Plonk concert series, Café Marzanos, Norwich
  • May 20: Punch House Band, The Harnser, Cley-next-the-Sea
  • June 30: Punch House Band, Jurnet’s Bar, Norwich
  • July 2: hymn, Wymondham Music Festival
  • July 14: Joey Herzfeld Trio, Wymondham Music Festival.

punch-house-band-logoThe Punch House Band

is named after an old-now-no-longer-there pub by the market-place in Norwich. It’s a fairly acoustic folk band, specialising in traditional and original songs about East Anglia. The five-piece line-up is as follows: acoustic guitar, lead voice, banjo, hand percussion, double bass, with some doubling and harmonies/shared vocals. Bit of a new thing for me, playing English (well, any) folk music—I really like it in this band. (Of course, perhaps the fact is that I am just trying to channel the late Charlie Haden here.) When I heard some of main songwriter Tim Lane’s own songs and traditional repertoire about Norfolk life I thought I want to play that, and now there is a band. We did a few private party gigs as part of the rehearsal process and there were some public ones in late 2016—St Andrew’s Hall during Norwich Beer Festival in October, the folk club in Bury St Edmund’s in November—and we plan expansion in 2017. Find out more on the band’s Facebook page.

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Punch House Band, 2016 (4/5ths of)


hymn 

is a composed and improvised band featuring Chris Dowding on trumpet/flugelhorn and effects, Dave Ross on analogue effects/percussion/mouth harp/various things and me on double bass. We’ve mostly been rehearsing Chris’s lovely spacey, empty tunes of heads—brass and bass harmonies—and then seeing where each takes us. I’m delighted to be playing with these guys, whose soundscapes are warm and inventive. Further to follow … there’s more at the band’s page on Chris’s website here. Here is a very short piece, featuring percussion and bass: 


Joey Herzfeld Trio

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Joey Herzfeld Trio, 2016

feat. Joey on accordions, piano, voice, Chris on trumpet, me bass, playing Joey’s songs, which I am describing as sort of English/Jewish folk, with improvisations. He calls his music ‘horror folk’. I’d say with added semi-tones and a bit of cabaret. Here is a photo of us playing recently in one of those extraordinary medieval undercroft bars Norwich can surprise you with, Jurnet’s on King Street, and, below, a video of us doing ‘Play with fire’, early 2017.

 

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