three different aspects of Debut

’Debut’ had three different aspects for me. The studio album, the tours and the MTV Unplugged session. Would you mind touching on the concpet behind these three difeerent elements concerning this period of your career ?

A lot of those songs were written before I made ’Debut’. Many of them were old ideas. So they existed as songs before they were arranged in the final form they took on ’Debut’. Maybe it’s always turned out like that ever since. ’Debut’ was shaking hands with Nellee, maybe on equals. Maybe most of all shaking hands with London club scene. So the songs were dressed for the occasion.

When I was going to do the tour an emergency broke out. The songs were there but I hadn’t particulary thought of performing them in concert. Loads of people were called to audition for the concert band. A group was put together and rehearsed, all in three weeks. It was great fun. Maybe partly because I’d never conceived the songs for performing. In the groups the instruments were - like it or not - exactly the same in concert as on the album. Part of the inital freedom was not thinking about performing the songs. When I made ’Debut’ there was so much freedom in being able to use whatever instruments I fancied. Didn’t have to think about being able to load them on the tour bus. When I did that album I felt like a kid in a toyshop, chocolate. But when the ’Debut’ tour came around there were all sorts of snags to sort out in the space of 3-4 weeks. I thought we managed fairly well but for some reason I convinced myself that I don’t want to work like that in the future. I had to make some compromises. There were saxophones, vibraphones and all sorts of instruments you couldn’t tour with. It was simply too expensive.

Then when the invite to do MTV Unplugged came along I totally let myself go, like a kid in a toyshop. You didn’t need to travel with the instruments and musicians. It was just a single concert. MTV put money into the project so all the people who played on the album could be flown in, like Corky Hale or Oliver Lake. After playing the songs in concerts all over the world I’d got the know them better. What worked and what didn’t. We’d just finished touring when we did Unplugged so I was still hot. I could leave out what didn’t worked and keep what did. I can’t remember how many musicans were involved. We rehearsed for two days, I think, and didn’t sleep at all. Then when we did the concert we were exhausted. Got though the event and slept for 18 hours afterwards. It was incredible fun.

Livebox interview, 2002