Friday 30 October 2020

Adele and Mary Elizabeth Bowden


So difficult to choose a favourite Adele video. I really enjoyed the Graham Norton Show performance a couple of years ago when she sang with a superb orchestra and included the Skyfall song premiere.

One of the favourites has to be When we were young live at The Church studios in London

Her singing is wonderful and the vibe is very relaxed and productive in such a beautiful setting. So many great musicians making so much musically from simple ingredients.

Adele’s songs are fine to play alone at the piano because they seem to have been written at the piano rather than, say, with guitar at hand. To sound good you just have to play the notes and let the melody speak for itself.

Here’s a thing, I have many LP records and cd’s, too many, of my heroes from long ago and it is a real struggle to do a worthwhile clearout. I don’t have any physical copies of Adele’s recordings, I have never paid a penny to listen to her gorgeous voice. Well, I have watched it all online so somewhere along the line some wiz tech geek has probably been stealing my data, but I have not consciously paid for any LP or cd.

Maybe it was about time I bought a copy of her songs, so here is the songbook for 25. Even so, I like to play Make you feel my love, for which I only every had lyrics and chords. Speaking technically, there is a lovely descending chromatic scale over six notes with chord inversions to make the smooth moves in the verse. No idea what I’m talking about? Don’t worry, just enjoy the music


Adele’s success lies very much in working with top class musicians. Because of my interest in the trumpet I follow Mary Elizabeth Bowden on Facebook. She is an expert trumpet player and teacher, she works as a soloist and as a member of the Seraph Brass Ensemble and teaches at top level schools in the USA and online with the Apex Trumpet Symposium. I admire her especially for the incredible persistence earlier this year during lockdown when she set out to do 100 days of practice videos online. Each day I took inspiration from her honest approach to playing and practising, some days jubilant and others not so. A couple of days ago Mary Elizabeth Bowden  posted a memory from her time in 2016 playing on Adele’s US tour in Philadelphia, Detroit Atlanta and Texas.

There you are, two of my musical heroes that I thought were in different worlds, together on stage making great music. 

Thank you Mary Elizabeth for your inspiration and thank you Adele for 25 and 33, and here’s to more up to 105

I play music by Adele, Elton John, Robbie Williams and many more at my regular Cocktail & Piano sessions at the Urso Hotel & Spa, Madrid @hotelurso 

Follow me on Instagram for updates @piano.tjo

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