The SMALL CHANGE DIARIES is a musical ensemble founded in 2014 dedicated to creating and playing original lyric based acoustic music. Founder members are Jessica Bowie (ukulele and vocals), Nick Cody (ukulele and vocals), Garry Jackson (double bass) and Richard Ferdinando (percussion).
I have been fascinated with music for over four decades, growing up in what I consider to be the golden era of singer songwriters in the 1970s. Major inspirations are Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan and Ani Difranco. My main instruments to date have been electric and acoustic guitars and I have become an avid collector of both of these.
In 2008 I first attended a Martin Simpson workshop and subsequently became a student of his taking private lessons in Sheffield exploring the wonders of altered tunings. I first became fascinated by the ukulele in 2013 and met Jessica Bowie taking ukulele and singing lessons on a weekly basis. I had already purchased a Collings pre-production ukulele in New York a few years earlier but had never attempted more than the occasional strum, aside from figuring out an instrumental that would in time become “Cold Mountain” part of the Small Change Diaries repertoire. I quickly began to realise the potential of this instrument and started to write material for “The Small Change Diaries”
The Small Change Diaries is a project that is lyric based with songs that detail observations about human relationships, stories and behaviours.
For me SCD is an exciting opportunity to collaborate on both writing and performing original pieces of music with great musicians. Having worked primarily with cover bands previously, this has been a great chance to focus my musical creativity and develop my songwriting skills further.
Although I play other instruments the ukulele is my singular passion. My days are filled with playing and teaching, and my nights are filled with band rehearsals and gigs. Such a small thing can bring so much entertainment and enjoyment. Already having a massive library of other people’s songs in my head which I play on ukulele, it is really nice to use the ukulele to create something brand new and unusual.
I especially enjoying playing alongside Nick and Rob as the mix of instruments is unusual, lending a certain lullaby quality to some of the songs, with distinct ukulele parts being complimented by Rob’s guitar. Nick’s mature, insightful lyrics cover a vast array of topics and the messages carried within them are genuine and heartfelt (no shopping list songs on this album).
Garry began studying double bass at the age of 8, starting bass guitar at 14. He moved north in 1997 to study at Leeds College of Music and was awarded the Fred and Ethel Tolsen Memorial prize for strings. Shortly after in 2001 he was offered a teaching position at LCoM, where he has been a faculty member ever since.
Garry has worked and taught in a variety of styles, having lectured in double bass and bass guitar, theory, aural and led numerous ensemble classes. He has led workshops and master classes throughout the UK and has also taught for Leeds University and Leeds Young Musicians. Garry has taught within most areas of Leeds College of Music’s varied curriculums, throughout his years as a staff member.
In 1996 he was awarded a bursary from The Michael Tippett Musical Foundation. He used this bursary to study with world renowned bassist Herbie Flowers (David Bowie, Lou Reed, T Rex, George Harrison).
Garry performs regularly with many of his colleagues at LCoM alongside having a busy performance schedule, working with national and international artists including, Howard Alden – Guitar, Alan Barnes – Saxophone, Jonathan Gee – Piano, Herb Geller – Saxophone, Jeanne Gies – Vocalist, Guthrie Govan – Guitar, John Horler – Piano, Julian Joseph – Pianist & Broadcaster, Peter King – Saxophonist, Tina May – Vocalist, Jim Mullen – Guitar, Mark Nightingale – Trombone, Dave Newton – Piano, Dave O Higgins – Saxophone, Gary Potter – Guitar, Don Rendell -Saxophone, Perico Sambeat – Saxophone, Martin Shaw – Trumpet, John Surman – Saxophone, Bobby Wellins –Saxophone, Roy Williams – Trombone.
Garry is currently the bassist for fusion guitarist Tom Quayle, having recorded a selection of unique video backing tracks with fellow LCoM tutor Dave Walsh. He has recorded albums with LCoM tutors Jamil Sheriff (Jamil Sheriff Big Band) and Jamie Taylor (Java and Outside Line), alongside an ever growing discography. Garry also works as the bassist for The Al Wood 9, James Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Svarc Trio, Sam Dunn Trio, as well as countless other projects.
He has appeared at numerous music festivals including Glastonbury, Leeds/Reading Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival, Hull Jazz Festival, Cleethorpes Jazz Festival, Marsden Jazz Festival, Scarborough Jazz Festival Leeds Big City Jazz Festival. He also appeared on the Emmerdale Christmas Special 2008 and in series 7 of ITV’s The Royal.
Rich was first tutored in kit and orchestral percussion and went on to study jazz and contemporary music at CLCM. With some 30 years live experience on the roots music scene, he’s played with a diverse number of outfits, covering genres from jazz, soul, funk, folk, rock, world music and the blues.
Other projects he is currently involved in include Crosscut Saw (crosscutsaw.co.uk) and The Wolves (wolvesband.webs.com).
• The Small Change Diaries was inspired by Nick Cody’s love of Tom Waits album “Small Change”
• The album "Adam Blames Eve" was recorded at The Billiard Room Studio in Leeds
• Jessica Bowie is a longstanding ukulele teacher in Yorkshire
• Airport Codeine Blues was written by Nick Cody after a nightmare journey back from India where he remarked to his wife “I feel like I have an ice pick in my head!” (opening line to this track)
• Miles Ahead is a song about Miles Davis with many lyrical references that jazz buffs will get from listening
• 5 String Man is a song about Keith Richards
• Nick Cody was originally a ukulele student of Jessica Bowies and up until 18 months ago had never even played a ukulele
• The instrumental track Cold Mountain was named after the movie of the same name
• Hey Rona is based on Nick Cody meeting Rona in Tel Aviv, a woman who suffered a car crash aged 16 and was in a coma for 2 weeks
• There’s Only one of you was written in an hour one morning by Nick Cody
• Birdman is about an eccentric music store owner in New York who used to be a stock broker. A movie short on him won a Cannes Film prize
Buy the album Adam Blames Eve from our Online Music Store
Visit the band's website
Visit the band's Bandcamp
Follow Small Change Diaries on Twitter
Join Small Change Diaries on Facebook
Watch Small Change Diaries on YouTube