Loved playing in Bournemouth last weekend.
It was especially good to play with Stan Majerski on keys. We met in the Balkans and he produced and played on two albums that were developed out there: “Dreams of a Homecoming” and “This is for you”. We’ve also toured a lot together along with our larger five-price band. In my opinion, the man is a genius – if you’ve heard his melodic solos and creative harmonies, I expect you agree!
Sharing an evening of “Stories and Songs”, we wanted to weave together music, conversation and visual art that point to the reality of the “God who is there”. The One who has come towards us in the person of Jesus to draw us into connection – relationship – with Him through His death and resurrection…
With one or two events most weeks until the end of March, I’ll keep you posted!
Here are some images taken on the evening by the gifted Bournemouth photographer, Loïc Salan…
“Andy has put together a finely crafted set of songs which speak clearly of the Gospel and relate it to the experience of the man in the street (or the man in the jazz café, in this instance). His careful vocals mean that every word is heard and the diverse musical arrangements – particularly those which feature Nick Beston, and some achingly beautiful strings – are wonderfully produced.
“Some of the songs are obviously very personal and there are two or three which have a narrative style to equal the best of Tilbrook and Difford’s work with Squeeze, “He Says He Loves Her” being a prime example. “Jazz Café” makes explicit an atmosphere which really pervades the whole album and into that atmosphere Andy sings the good news of Jesus with a forthrightness that hits the listener between the eyes.
“At a time when singer/songwriters are enjoying something of a renaissance, Andy Mayo’s work is definitely up there with the best of them.”
– Ian Hayter
(Cross Rhythms Review on Release)
The band line-up on “This is for You” is an exciting combination of exceptional artists – here’s Andy to introduce them:
Nick Beston: Saxophones
“We met at university while Nick was studying jazz. The first gig I heard him play was on a bus-café we opened in New Cross! It was Nick who one day said, ‘Andy, we should do something with this music…’ To start with that meant playing clubs together, later recording, touring, and the story goes on…”
Stan Majerski: Keys & programming
“Stan and I met in Serbia – the place that was my home for ten years. I’m always stunned by Stan’s creativity and lateral thinking… a funky man. On ‘This is for you” – as well as playing and programming – it is Stan who has engineered and arranged the songs.”
Scott Barnard: Bass & Trumpets
“Give to Scott an impossible score and he’ll play it perfectly adding that ‘Je ne sais quoi!’ that makes a Barnard bass-line. You’ll also find him playing the subtle harmonising trumpets in the background of ‘Silhouetted'”
Buster Birch: #1 Percussion
“He’s playing all over the world but he has time to put in gigs with us too. He’s the ultimate drummer who – as one person pointed out – ‘Can play slow and fast’.”
Luke Wastell: #2 Percussion
“Luke’s toured with us several times now and adds some Wastell spice to retro-sounding ‘Flattered’ on this latest album – in fact it was while we were touring in the Balkans that we set aside an afternoon in an artists’ ancient brick studio and asked Luke to play that distinctive retro snare sound.”
Natasha McDonald: Backing Vox
“She’s amazing – took time out from London shows to pour in some extra magic to five of the songs on ‘This is for You’. Her voice is incredibly versatile as one reviewer wrote, “a delight”.
Daniel Weatherley: Violin
“Usually found playing with Catherine in chamber quartets, Daniel came to join us for the recording of “This is for you”. Somehow we squeezed a “strings section” into the “Railway Carriage Studio”…
Catherine Brooker: Cello
“Friends from way back and now bringing her sound to this recording, classically trained Catherine is the heart of the string quartet easing into the title track. A most mellow cello.”
Pete Ringrose: Double Bass
“Pete’s a genius. So precise yet with a soul… From the lineup of our first tour, it’s something special to have him back for ‘This is for You’.”
PRESS RELEASE – for immediate release
– no champagne and music executives at this surprising CD launch.
On the 24th May, the eagerly awaited CD, ‘This is for you’ by the soulful, jazz-blues singer-song writer Andy Mayo will be released. Should we be shocked that this will not be a flashy red carpet affair?
The first concert of the “This is for you” tour is planned in an East UK prison – details are shrouded in secrecy due to security issues. After living for a decade in the war-battered Balkans, London–born Andy has seen the ‘rawer side’. Yet inspiring his music – Andy would say, even his life – is a belief that there is more to living than the passing realities that many take to be ‘the whole story’. This belief in ‘something greater’ echoes throughout the thirteen tracks on this beautifully crafted CD.
‘This is for you’ follows the success of the highly acclaimed previous album “Dreams of a Homecoming” and features ten musicians – each a show-stopper in their own right. From the melodic jazz sax soloist Nick Beston to the funk infused Stan Majerski; from the Gospel singer Natasha McDonald on backing vocals to the chamber musician Catherine Brooker on cello, these contrasting schools resonate together to form a harmonic whole in this stunning production.
“This is for You” is eclectic and yet wonderfully coherent: the sound hard to pigeon hole and yet intuitively making perfect musical sense… Andy gives a clarion call throughout this soul-stirring recording to a life of freedom and beauty – a life of fullness in personal relationship with a God He believes intimately cares for ordinary people – even to the point of dying for them in the person of Jesus Christ…
There will be an opportunity for those of us not living ‘at her majesty’s pleasure’ to experience, “This is for you” live. The first concert ‘on the outside’ will be at Oak Hall in Kent on the 1st June…
But as he prepares for the ‘Prison Premiere’, with no hint of irony, Andy explains, “Jesus’ message of life and salvation is for anyone who knows they cannot make their own way to freedom… “If you’re coming to such a point of realisation, ‘This is for you’”
And the crowds are pushing, bustling by: anonymous strangers thronging toward untold destinations – lives in their own personally-contained orbits. Some confused. Some ecstatic. Some limping towards a worrying tomorrow, others striding self-confidently ahead.
And the busker-man steps forward. He reaches out to touch your arm – to tear your attention away to another. And as the masses blindly march on, a voice whispers:
“This is for you.”