It's been a wee while since my last post. I've spent January settling into the new year, finding my bearings and figuring out what to do next. It turns out that 'next' is a lot, I currently have a to do list longer than the River Thames (plus a full-time job!). This has been a bit overwhelming but I'm starting to figure out ways of slotting everything in.
Progress is being made on all fronts. I'm about half way through the process of setting up a charitable foundation. It's been difficult getting my trustees in one place at the same time, as we're all pretty spread out and super busy, but we are definitely moving forwards.
The Philippa Project is temporarily on hold as our fabulous director, Pia Furtado, directs a show for the Scottish National Opera (naturally). We are still on the hunt for a composer to take Abram's work forwards, but we always knew this part was going to take a minute. Finding a replacement for Abram was never going to be an easy task.
The live recording which I want to release as a posthumous album exists as an MP3 but we're still trying to figure out if there is a master copy. There was an assumption that there was one, but the person responsible for recording the gig has been a bit elusive of late. Either way, we will find a way to make the recording accessible to everyone who made a donation. It just might not be exactly how I imagined it and may take a little longer to sort out, but one way or another it will happen.
Other projects include getting Abram's band back on the road. We're planning to book a UK tour for late November/early December where they'll be joined by Abram's old friend and bandmate, New York based saxophonist Keith Loftis and Jean Toussaint, also on saxophone, who performed as part of the Abram Wilson Septet last year. We're all massively excited and can't wait to get some gigs in the diary.
If you want to see these guys blow you away at your local club later this year then please drop me an email.
There are a gazillion other things going on, some awesome and fun, others less so. The most challenging part is doing all this without Abram. We were a great team, and I really miss my team mate. But then I remember why I'm doing this, and more importantly why I want to do it. Abram challenged me and inspired me to do more, he had incredible vision and taught me that any idea, no matter how crazy it sounded, was possible.
With that in mind I'll leave you with a wonderful video of one of Abram's final education projects, Time I Met The Blues. As the newly appointed Jazzlines Associate Artist of Birmingham Town Hall & Symphony Hall, he had been commissioned to write a 10 minute jazz piece, consisting of five notes, for 300 school children from the Ladywood area of Birmingham. This video, posted by Town Hall & Symphony Hall, is them learning the piece for the first time in March last year, three months before Abram passed.
One of Abram's big aims was to get the kids to improvise, a scary prospect when there's 300 of you. But Abram's motto gave them confidence and encouraged them to go for it, "No fear!" he would call out, "No fear!" they'd respond. Today it acts as a constant reminder of why I loved Abram and how he changed my life.