PELT – blog #5

“… not since that winter
I’d worn the world
against my skin,
worn it fur side in.” from PELT by Paul Muldoon

Happy New Year everyone! Wishing you all the best for 2018! Hope you had a great Christmas. Mine turned out to be quite eventful! To begin with, we’re still getting our apartment together in Jersey City where we stay when we’re in the States. I like to make places my own & homely so I’ve been painting walls & furniture. I particularly went to town with the colour on my sideboard cabinet & mirror, but I’ve given it the distressed look, to tone it down a bit & I just need to add a light coating of wax to finish them now.


Mainly though, we’ve had some very nice gigs in NYC over the last few weeks. I’ve been putting on a regular little Sunday brunch gig in Hell’s Kitchen in the Brazen Tavern & it’s building up a reputation in the area nicely. We mostly do them with our English pal Mark Lewandowski on bass but another close friend, Joseph Lepore did the new year’s eve one. Meistro Jed Levy came and joined us on sax on one of the gigs before christmas! The Brazen Tavern is a fantastic Irish bar/restaurant just down the street from Birdland.

IMG_4912   Mark Lewandowski  Mark.

I also had a lovely trio gig with Phil Robson on guitar & Peter Brendler on bass at the legendary 55 bar in Greenwich Village on Christmas day itself. We didn’t know what to expect in terms of audience with it being Christmas day but it turned out to be really packed & the atmosphere was fantastic! We hung out in our favorite bar, ‘the kettle of fish’ which is right next door after, so it was a really fun night.

Peter, Phil & Christine xmas 55bar

Peter Brendler, Phil Robson & Christine taken at the 55 bar by Kyra Kverno

IMG_5006 …at the ‘Kettle’ later!

We also played the venue called the ‘Bar Next Door’ (just to add confusion!) on new year’s day with the same trio. It’s in MacDougal St, in the village & we play there quite often as it’s one of our favorite places. It’s an intimate venue which is part of La Lanterna Vittorio Italian restaurant. The food is fab too!


Myself & Phil joined the great singer Roseanna Vitro at trumpets in Montclair, NJ on Dec 29th for her ‘celebration of life’ gig/party! Gabrielle Stravelli, another great singer, was also on the bill, as well as a host of NY’s finest musicians including bass legend Ratzo Harris & pianist Mark Soskin. It was a fun evening, made perfect by our dear friend Billy Hart turning up towards the end with his daughter Imke, who is about to visit London for the first time. Billy sat in & played the standard ‘Detour Ahead’ with us which was great.


Phil & Billy Hart – with kind courtesy of Chris Drukker

There have been a few other gigs but particularly worth mentioning is that Phil did the 55 bar for the first time as band leader on Jan 3rd which he did as a trio with the great Peter Slavov on bass & Colin Stranahan on drums & the show was fab. He was also asked to stand in for the great Peter Bernstein at The Django on Dec 27th playing solo.

IMG_5072 IMG_5059

Another notable aspect to Christmas was looking after our neighbour’s dog, Duke! He’s a gorgeous 6 month old puppy, Collie crossed with possibly dalmation, who gave us quite a run for our money! We had great times with him in the dog park in Jersey city in the freezing cold winter weather!! We really enjoyed the social scene of dog walking & got talking to all kinds of people doing it. It was great fun being with him. We tried to introduce Duke to our cat, Orsini but that didn’t go well at all! They met too late sadly!

Otherwise Orsini is doing great & we’ve organised for a friend to stay & take care of her whilst the tour happens. You can see her helping me to learn my words here!


Yesterday we found ourselves in the middle of a ‘bomb cyclone’ which was an experience. It’s basically a minor slow blizzard but it doesn’t feel very minor when you go out to get milk & the wind hits your face! In celsius terms (still wrestling with farenheight!!) it was getting to about -8° in the daytime & -20° at night! Ok not Siberia but enough for me!

We’re very excited about coming back home to London soon & starting the tour. Can’t wait to see friends too! Hats off to Anne Rigg of ‘Right Tempo’ who is project manager (as well as my agent) & who is still dealing with all kinds of last minute practicalities! A special tour like this is quite a thing to organise but she does a great job.

A fantastic thing that happened over the holidays is that Paul Muldoon won the Queens gold medal for poetry!!! Massive congrats to him for that. Don’t miss him reading with us at the Phoenix, Exeter on Jan 28th!

Muldoon - hairdo

That’s all I have to say for now, but there will soon be some vid stuff from the rehearsal before the tour begins & we’ll be doing a video diary as the tour proceeds as well as all the usual kinds of pics & updates so please keep following us here, on facebook, twitter & instagram. If you search ‘tobin’ & ‘pelt’ together in any of those apps you’ll find it easily enough. We really hope you can join us on one of the gigs.




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