Dial a Bone, end of season report

I wanted to write a post about my trombone improvisation project that I’ve been running over the past year because I’m fairly confident it’s over now. Good to have a record of these things… so…


It started during my Curfew Tower residency in Cushendall, Northern Ireland in a phone box outside, specifically. I posted the phone number of the box online and invited people to call me. When they rang I asked them a couple of questions that gave me parameters to improvise a trombone solo on. Most of the recordings of this can be heard on my album that came out last year on Crow Vs Crow –

I performed this process of question asking equalling improvisation at a party in the kitchen of the Curfew Tower also –

Later that week after the residency had ended I was invited to perform at a house party in Athlone in Ireland. Dial a bone was performed in front of a live audience mainly of people I didn’t know. Nice thing about boning is you make friends easily.

A couple of months later, back in the UK, I was asked to perform my new act at a small art studio in Sheffield. This one was a bit weird because I hooked up my mobile to a PA and got friends to call in, all prearranged. I’ve definitely got good friends who obliged but they all use different methods of contact so phone calls got interrupted by Whats App calls and things like this. A few lessons learnt there.

Then Ryoko Akama (legit sound artist) invited me to perform Dial a Bone at her AME event in Huddersfield. How could I refuse? I decided to approach the format in a new way and asked people to contact me on Skype so that their images would be on stage with me. Musically it went really well! Although an audience member mentioned that they felt ignored so again…lessons learnt. Isn’t art a fine thing.


Then the last performance took place back at The Curfew Tower, although, I was in North London at the time. They had a party in Northern Ireland and the party organisers put my mobile number into the original phone box so that people could call me. I was teaching teenage composers at the time and luckily one was a bass trombone player so we performed as a duo. It felt good to past on the trade to young James who was really into it.

So there you go. It went back full circle in way. It’s been an interesting project that has made me consider improvisation in other ways. Really into this concept of parameters and it has lead onto another new trombone stunt I’ve got now – Trombone Aerobics.

trombone aerobicsThanks to the Curfew Tower, especially Bill Drummond for texting my friend to say he was into it. Debbie Sharp and Rosanne Robertson – you are both amazing.


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