Pieces of Note – All Blues, Miles Davis

From our Assistant Head of Service, Samantha Spence


In my adulthood I found I had less and less opportunity or inclination to play with orchestras. I also fell in love with Jazz thanks to my other half but found it really difficult to translate this to the instruments I already played having learnt purely classical music all my life. About 5 or 6 years ago Islington Youth Jazz Band were due to perform at a council event but their bass player pulled out last minute. The band leader asked if anyone could fill in and I mentioned that although a musician I had never played a bass guitar in my life although I was a string player. “A viola player?” the band leader said “Excellent, it’s just like a viola!” and he proceeded to hand me a bass and teach me the bass line to All Blues. It was surprisingly easy and extremely satisfying. I proceeded to attend all the rehearsals and after a few weeks or so bought my own fretless bass. Being classically trained and having spent years learning exam repertoire and learning by rote it is refreshing to play by ear and for fun. I still play now although I wouldn’t say I’m great. But that’s not the point any more!

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