Music is a huge part of my professional life and I'm lucky enough to spend most of my waking day listening to music or working with musicians. Since there are few greater gifts than music, I thought I'd showcase 10 acts that have made a real impression in the past few months.
A snowy Saturday night in New Cross found Jason Holmes enjoying a post-gig chat with Simon Bartholomew of the Brand New Heavies
Petite and lithe, Carleen Anderson took the stage in a black gown and launched into a 90-minute set of jazz and gospel at the legendary London jazz club, and such was her vocal power, that in an instant we all forgot the ephemera of the day just gone.
Sounding like a young John Mayer with hints of Adam Levine, Ed Jones' debut album Going Places is a confident and brash affair
A love of live music pervades the club, rather than the sweaty media ambition of the mainstream, whose godheads can be identified as the millionaire prefab boy bands who some of us have learned to avoid.
When it comes to promising new bands, eclectic musical vibes, and well-thought out lyrics - it seems that the unbelievably creative mind of Joshua Idehen knows no end.
'We're a gigging band in Scotland,' Andy Clucas tells me. 'We started as an acoustic band back in the winter of 2007, and a lot of people told us we had a Dexys [Midnight Runners] sound, probably because our sound is...eclectic.'
This vibrant raucous second single from the 4-piece band Benin City does just that with a massive cherry on top! Named after the Nigerian state capital, this London-based band consists of the members: Theo Buckingham (drums), Faye Treacy (Trombone/BVs), Tom Leaper (Tenor Saxophone/Samples/Synths) and Joshua Idehen (Vocals). Although they have only been going since 2009, the tight musical chemistry as demonstrated in their material since then, and this current single, is second to none and really inspiring to hear from such a "young" band.
To paraphrase a well-known British songwriter, he's got a pick in his pocket and it makes him a player. Nigel Price, one of the leading lights of the UK funk and jazz scene, spoke to Jason Holmes about his taste in music and how devotion to the guitar transformed his life.