News

Bat Music - a new composition for a good cause. 

When it is difficult in times of COVID and lockdown to get any live performances (or commissions) of new works, I have found another unlikely outlet for my composing - the website of the ecological group Sustainable Warminster.

This organisation has made several recordings of local bats to highlight the variety of local bat species (some very rare), the number of colonies, and the plight of these colonies in the 21st century. The recordings have been slowed down considerably to bring them with the range of human hearing, and several sympathetic local musicians and composers have used them as the basis for new works in a variety of genres. 

To hear my piece, The Last Pipistrelle, and the other pieces in this series please go to https://sustainablewarminster.co.uk/2020/10/31/bat-music/

In case you are interested, I plan to tell the story of the composition of my piece and explain some of the compositional techniques used in my upcoming vlog: Musician at Work.

Stay safe,

Ralf

The effect of Covid-19 

Obviously, the global Covid-19 pandemic has had a major effect on my work as a musician. 

This has affected both my work as a performer - as 100% of gigs have been cancelled and many venues have closed (temporarily or permanently) - and also as a community musician. When only groups of no more than 6 people are allowed to meet indoors, running a community big band of 30+ players is not possible. This is even more impossible when taking into account the fact that being in a room with brass and woodwind players is as serious a cause of infection spreading as being in a room full of coughing people. As of today, I have not rehearsed or performed in public for just over seven months. All of the things that were meant to happen since the middle of March 2020 (see events section) and a European Tour with College students have been cancelled, and no new events have been booked in their place.

My work as a college music teacher has continued in term-time but all teaching is now online, teaching from home, and this newly revamped timetable has resulted in a drop in teaching hours this academic year. As a part-time hourly-paid teacher this has hit my monthly pay-check hard.

But, I have been working hard on many other aspects of this job and this is the subject of my new Vlog Musician at Work.

I am also expanding my business teaching online one-to-one lessons covering various areas of music and musical skills.

Please investigate both of these new areas of this website... I welcome enquiries and comments.

Cheers,

Stay safe.

Ralf

 

A busy Summer just going and an Autumn of work coming up... 

This Summer has been a busy one with various musical projects happening. The highlight was recording the first CD with Dr. Zebo's Wheezy Club in August, but time was also spent playing with Graham Dent either in a trio with Rob Brian or various jazz singers. This group also has a CD recording projected for the near future. The Bath Community Big Band has also rehearsed every week over the summer.

I have invested in Logic software and have bought various microphones and interfaces to create a small home composing studio. A lot of time has been spent trying to learn my way around the complex software this Summer. Tricky, but great fun. Also good to actually get down to some composing (rather than just writing about it) now that the PhD is submitted. Just the viva exam to deal with in September...

With the start of term looming, my upcoming weekly timetable looks like:

Monday - Kingswood School, Bath and St Laurence School, Bradford on Avon (both instrumental teaching) - Monday evening - Jazz Factory at Wiltshire Music Centre.

Tuesday - Bath College (lecturing on a pop course) - Tuesday evening - Jazz gigs with Graham Dent Trio and Duo.

Wednesday - Corsham School and Malmesbury School (both instrumental teaching) - Wednesday evening - Bath Community Big Band rehearsal, Bath Spa University 

Thursday - afternoon and evening - Bath College (lecturing on a pop course - at A-level equivalent and degree level)

This year I have added more hours (including some degree level evening lecturing) at Bath College and a new school - Malmesbury - to my weekly work load. The timetable above isn't completely finalised yet, but it looks likely at the moment.

I'm shortly off to Shrewsbury Folk Festival (as a punter, not performer) for a few days of relaxation before this timetable all starts up in September. The end of the Summer!

Jazz Duo gig in Bistro setting 

Hi,

On Tuesday 2nd Aug in Sebastien's Bistro, by the bridge in central Bradford on Avon, from 7pm onwards I will be playing in a new duo with the excellent jazz pianist Graham Dent, recently moved to the area from the Midlands.
Please support this new monthly residency, and enjoy the excellent food cooked by the owner (and jazz drummer) Sebastien Rouxel.
We will be playing standards and a few original tunes in a relaxed piano and double bass format. 

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g209965-d4602814-Reviews-Sebastien_s_Bistro-Bradford_on_Avon_Wiltshire_England.html
http://www.grahamdent.com/
 

Two busy weeks for performing... 

This week is the start of two very busy weeks for performing...

3rd July - Bath Community Big Band on the bandstand below the Royal Crescent, Bath. 2-4pm
4th July - Jazz Factory end of term gig - Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon. 7-30pm
5th July - Graham Dent/Ralf Dorrell - jazz piano and double bass duo - Sebastien's Bistro, Bradford on Avon. 7pm
6th July - Bath Community Big Band rehearsal - Bath Spa University - 7.30-9.30pm
9th July - Jon-Paul Gard Trio - with J-P and Ian Evans - Jazz Piano Trio gig - The Daffodil, Cheltenham. 1pm
10th July - Dr Zebo's Wheezy Club gig - The Bell, Walcot St., Bath - swing/folk/roots trio. 1pm
11th July - Jazz Jam Session - Sebastien's Bistro, Bradford on Avon. 7pm
14th July - Dr Zebo's Wheezy Club gig - Wheelright's Arms, Monkton Combe, Bath - 6.30pm in the garden (weather permitting)
17th July - Duncan Anselm trio - alto sax with guitar (Jon Diver) - Gascoyne Place, Bath - 7.30pm restaurant gig

Phew! Come on down to check out these bands.
Cheers
Ralf

Change of Venue for GBH gig, Thurs 11th June 

Due to unforeseen circumstances the GBH gig on Thurs 11th June has had to be moved from The Golden Lion in Bristol to the Tern Inn,  Chipping Sodbury, BS37 6XW,

The gig on Sunday afternoon 14th June at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon is unaffected. Both will be a potted history of the Big Band. 

Summer school, a new band and upcoming Theatre Tour 

I have just got back from a week working at Marlborough College Summer School, teaching 2 courses - jazz improvisation for beginners, and a jazz appreciation course. I had a great time and really enjoyed the week, and I'm pretty tired today. Thanks to all in Marlborough, both the organisers and the course participants - a couple of lovely groups to work with.

There was also the first gig (and a workshop) by the new Ralf Dorrell Quartet - with David Newton (piano), Gethin Liddington (trumpet/flugel) and Rob Brian (drums) - in the theatre at Marlborough College. I was really happy with the gig - you can't go far wrong with players of this calibre - and look forward to many more gigs with this band in the future. Watch this space...

Coming up is a series of theatre performances with the Outlawed Nomad theatre group, performing a new play based on Shakespeare called "Mad, Bad and Downright Ugly" with excellent new music and songs by Al Cubbin. See the events section of this site for more details of this tour.

Lots of up-coming gigs.... see the Diary section 

After a quiet and sobering January, my diary has started to fill up nicely with some interesting new projects and old favourites playing over the next few weeks:

Dr Zebo's Wheezy Club  is a new trio of guitar/voice, violin/voice and double bass playing folky, bluesy, jazzy material. Check them out!
GBH Big Band is in its 15th year of playing swingy, funky big band music...
Several interesting and varied jazz quartets - lead by Duncan Anselm (alto sax) , Jim Bennett (trumpet) and Rob Brian (drums) - keep the acoustic jazz flame burning brightly.
Misbehavin' continues to pack out arty venues with it's interesting, eclectic mix of material performed with grace, elegance and fire!

See you at a gig soon! Keep Music Live......

Cheers! Ralf