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The year that was 2013

IMG_3692[Tenor saxophonist Andy Snitzer and Stefan after recording session at ‘The Bridge’ in London.]

First of all a big thank you to all the people that came to our gigs, listened to our music and generally took and interested in what we are up to.

Everybody and their ‘frog’ seems to blog about their year and I feel strangely compiled to join the club:-)

However, I’ll keep it compact for those of you who will care to read my summary of 2013. Let’s start with the gigging front:

– Throughout 2013 we continued to invite singers to sit in with us. Thank you Brendan Reilly, Vanessa Hayes, Atar Shafighian and Ana Gracey. Also thank you to alto saxophonist Ed Barker and flutist Steve Rubie for being our special guests.

– In March we played another one of our annual Funkestra Mini Big Band gigs with a 5 piece horn section to a packed out 606 Jazz Club. [See here]

– We released our 7th and 5th full blown instrumental album ‘The Cooker’ in April and had brilliant airplay at US College Radio stations. [Read more here]

– We released two videos: ‘Funky Barbarella’ in April and ‘Crankmaster General’ in May. [Watch here]

– In June we laid down the rhythm tracks for our next album ‘The Time Thief’ with Mike Sturgis on drums, Eran Kendler on guitar, Rob Taggart on Rhodes and Dave Limina on Hammond B3 at Monnovalley Studio in Wales. They were all burning! [See here]

– After 17 performances our run of Farncombe Cavern gigs came sadly to a halt in August. Perhaps we will re-kindle our relationship with the new landlord in 2014. We would love to play on a regular basis again. If you are reasonably local please support us by coming out to see the band.

– Thanks to all the venues and festivals that hired us in 2013 – 606 Jazz Club, Farncombe Cavern, Floridita, Reading Ale and Jazz Festival, Pizza Express, Jazz at Boaters and the Boileroom.

– We made the switch to iPad scores for our horn section – and we don’t look back!

– Two London Big Bands played our big band arrangement of ‘Music To Swing Your Handbag To’ – The Hot Waffle Big Band run by Graeme Taylor and The Steve Taylor Big Explosion. [Read more here]

– Mike came out with his own drum app for iOS devices called Mike Sturgis ‘Drum Gym’. [Download here]

– Eran and myself came out with two apps – KR Player‘ for iPad and KR Author for Mac and we have the entire Cooker album on offer – backing tracks and scores for all instruments in functional bundles! [Read more here]

– In November we recorded tenor saxophone titans Rick Margitza and Andy Snitzer as well as all alto player Chris Hunter. Their performances are just off the radar!

So thanks again to all involved in the Funkestra universe, those at the heart of the operation – Thomas, Mike, Eran, Dave, Rob, Sid and also those who every now and then might check us out on Spotify or YouTube as well as all the promotors, DJs and radio stations around the globe that spin our music.

Health, love and happiness to you all in 2014!