Buy Arcania (ebook) by Zandy Alexander (pen-name Brother Xanadu) here:
(alternative author names – Max Fabian, Brother Xanadu, Alexander Gordon) – is a musician (keyboard player) and author, who has toured and performed internationally for many years. Today he is based in Canada, where he also runs an audio-video production studio.
Zandy Alexander has written 13 novels, 2 poetry compilations and more than fifty short stories and essays. Most have been self-published and many are featured on the internet in critical writer groups, webzines and and blogs. A member of the literary workshops of Pierre Faucher and Faye Porter, his work has been favourably reviewed in ‘The Big Issue’ magazine and also in the ‘Manhattan Mirror,’ a NYC newspaper which has also published regular articles of his. Having been interviewed on radio many times by Stuart Nulman and also by Stanley Asher, his writing has been described as ‘slick, British humour’ by Professor Leanne Saunders, and Professor Gilroy (FRSL FBA, English sociologist and cultural studies scholar), once stated ‘You cannot afford to miss out on those novels of his which document the music scene of London, Rome and New York’. Alexander has contributed to many spoken word projects, notably with Marina Fiorentini and Peg Pegley. A former friend, the painter Lucian Freud once commented that ‘Zandy Alexander is totally dedicated to his craft’, and Alexander’s work has also been acknowledged as crucial and revelatory by Cathal O Searcaigh, the foremost poet of the Irish language.
The real name of Zandy Alexander is Alexander Gordon. He uses the pen-names of Zandy Alexander and Max Fabian.
1954 – Born in London, UK
1962-72 Attends University College School, Hampstead, London UK
1972-3 Student teacher at Chwele School, Bungoma, Kenya
1972-4 Numerous jazz workshops including three terms at Barry Summer School, receiving tuition from Ian Carr, Don Rendall, Stan Tracey, Mike Gibbs, Manfred Man, Gordon Beck, Tony Oxley and Maggie Nichols
1973-4 Attends Barnet Art College – completes Foundation course
1973-4 London music dates with Paul Gilroy – FRSL FBA, English sociologist and cultural studies scholar.
1975 – Concert at the London College of Oriental Studies with Lord of Storm.
Showcase at the ‘Marquee’ with the George Hatcher band
1976 – Three month residency at the Ambassador Hotel, Dubai
1977- UK tour with Jon Owen band, including a concert at Chelmsford prison. UK tour with Bruce Ruffin. Residency at ‘McKinlie’s’ (formerly the ‘Country Club’, Belsize Park), with Canute Edwards and the ‘Scientists of Sound.’
1978 – Formation of ‘Mirage’ – live show at Ronnie Scotts
1979 – Mirage headlines at Glastonbury Festival, and plays residency at the Bamboo Club, Serracunda, Gambia
1980 – Mirage signs to Trident/Flamingo/RCA and first record ‘Summer Grooves’ becomes a club hit in London, and achieves chart position in France. Concerts at the ‘Rainbow’, the LSE, the ‘Lyceum’, ‘Hammersmith Palais’ and many soul festival all-dayers and all-nighters. Also many dates supporting Level 42. Several live Radio One broadcasts and many press interviews. Much airplay and record used as BBC theme.
1981 – Mirage plays Odeon tour of UK. Zandy records with Eduardo Niebla (Towards the Sun).
1982 – Zandy teams up with Marina Fiorentini to play jazz concerts in Italy and New York – (the New Music Festival). Rehearsal bands with Art Blakey junior, Chip White and Rashied Ali
1983 – Live shows in London – the ‘Canteen’ (with Joe Lee Wilson) and independent TV, Rome.
1984 – Residency at the ‘Bar Naviglio, Milan – (also concerts at the ‘Swing’ and the ‘Scimmie’) and more dates in London including the Roundhouse, the Dome and the Royal Festival Hall cafe. Workshop with Art Blakey, Chalk Farm.
1985-6 – USAF bases in UK, ‘Bulmershe College’.
1987 – Residency at ‘Biggles’ jazz bar, St James Square, London. Concerts at the ‘People’s house’ and the ‘Double Dose’, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Workshop with Chick Corea, Leblon, Rio
1988-9 – Dates in Rome, the ‘Music Inn’, the ‘Big Mama’, the ‘Alexanderplatz’ and the ‘Castello’. Workshop with Billy Cobham. Zandy and Marina host radio programme ‘Samba Roma’ for radio Citta Aperto
1990 – Organization of the Roman Carnival. BMG records the song ‘Carnevale Romano’, composed by Zandy. Live appearance on RAI national TV, concert with Nelson Mandela, Campo di Fiori, Zandy signs to Tendance Records and his song ‘Africa Free’ receives continuous airplay in Florence.
1991-2 – Italian tour. Appearance at the Rome Palladium
1993-4 – Africa Free’ remixed by Victor Simonelli and released in the U.S. by Playtime Records
1996 – Residency at ‘Sous L’Escalier’, Montreal, with ‘Naki’.
1997 – Together with Catherine Bazin, Zandy wins first prize at the ‘Festival de Blues de Sherbrooke.’
1998 – Breakfast news TV and residency at the ‘Black Cat’, Magog, with Catherine.
1999 – Montreal club dates with Ginny B. Aullese festival, Italy, with Brent Nokes. Appearance at Laval prison – (with Dakar)
2000 & 1 – Residency at ‘Jazz after Dark’, Soho, London.
Creation of Worldgig recording studio, Little Italy, Montreal. Zandy and Ginny sign to Cdbaby for online distribution. Release of cd ‘I refuse to be cast down’ – (Al Gordon & Ginny B), on Worldgig, Cdbaby.
2003-4 – Residency with Ginny B at ‘Le Cine Lumiere’ and weekly jazz workshop at ‘Les Minots’.
2005 – Concerts with Ginny B at ‘Comme Chez Soir’, ‘La Kemia’ and ‘L’Assomoir’, plus release of cd ‘Alex Gordon & Ginny B’ on Worldgig. Residency at the ‘Bora bar’, Granby.
2006 – Concert with Lodi August at La Maison de la Culture, Frontenac. Release of cd ‘Cherokee’- (by Alex Gordon & Ginny B),on Worldgig/Cdbaby. Recording session with the ‘Surfin’ Cowboys’.
2007 – Release of ‘Lotus Tree’ by Alex Gordon & Ginny B on Worldgig/Cdbaby. Release of three improvisational grand piano cds by Zandy Alexander – ‘Little Miss Tao’, ‘Anima Mundi’ and ‘The songs of the ancestors’, all on Worldgig/Cdbaby. Release of ‘Because the song’ by Zandy Alexander & Ginny B on Worldgig/Cdbaby.
2008 – Shooting of pilot version of ‘Arcania’ (a film based on the novel authored by Zandy Alexander under the pen-name of Brother Xanadu). ‘Arcania’ the film is directed by Jean Bourbonnais. This art film is based on the life of Zandy Alexander in London in the 70s and his connections with two established oil-painters – Brent Nokes and Ian Gordon. The book, the film and the artists themselves provide a key to understanding the background of today’s ‘Donegal School’ of Irish visual artists. Shooting of ‘Breakfast with Ginny’ the Montreal sitcom directed and edited by Gabriel Darveau. Zandy Alexander teams up with fellow jazz keyboard player James Newhouse to produce a series of webcasts which explore the theme of how improvisation may have a wider mandate within jazz music and film acting – as an antidote to the new era of machine intelligence and control. ‘Danny’s life’, ‘The A-Z guy’, ‘Yes, I am a musician’, ‘Meet the Dorkettes’,’The A-Z of jazz’, and ‘The Jazz Bard of Montreal’. These six films are shot, edited and produced all within four months. ‘The A-Z of Jazz’ features the jazz jam session of Alex Bellgarde at the Diese Onze club of Montreal.
Residency at the Stash restaurant, Montreal. Zandy records and produces cd for Claire Champeau at Worldgig.
2009 – Residency with Cindy Chavez at Christie’s, Boucherville. Improvizational recordings with Paul Dolden and James Newhouse at studio of Paul Dolden and at Worldgig.
2010 – Residency at the Stash restaurant. Shooting of two more Alexander-Newhouse films – ‘Guitar boy hits M town’ and ‘The Hoochie-Koochie gang’. Release of ‘Chant of the Dawn’ by Zandy Alexander & Ginny B on Worldgig/Cdbaby.
Live appearances on club and winebar circuit in Donegal, Ireland including Maggie Dan’s, Gortahork and at the private house of Cathal O Searcaigh (the most established poet of the Irish language.)
2011 – Residency at the Stash restaurant. Zandy signs up for six months of acting lessons from Adam Kelly at the I.O Acting Studio. Shooting of five more films – ‘Billy and the Bard,’ ‘The language of Z’, ‘Tea at Five’, ‘The Actors’ house’ and ‘The Telemarketer.’
Showcase concert performance with Kenwood Dennard and John Acer at the Ultimate Drum Camp, Magog. Residency at the Barouf. Lead role in the shooting of the first nine episodes of the webcast ‘Inspector Godfrey HMI’ – directed and produced by Adam Kelly for I.O. Acting Studio.
2012 – Residency at the Stash restaurant. Jazz concert at Hyatt hotel with Peter Lovett and friends. Zandy has acting role in feature fim of Adam Kelly – ‘Bridges over Montreal.’
Residency at BBAM gallery with THOMASITY band.
2013 – Residency at the Stash restaurant. Zandy takes part in multimedia workshop – contact-improv dance and music, several sessions a week, at University of Quebec at Montreal Dance Department and other venues.
2014 – Several concerts at L’Escalier cafe with Ginny B. Residency at the Stash restaurant – January through June. Contact-improv and music also January through June. Zandy takes long break from music due to health issues.
2015 – Health problems all year. Many piano performances at Cafe delle Pace. Recording project with Alex Farhoud. Irish music jam residency with Tara G, Falcarragh, Donegal, Ireland.
2016 – Djembe workshop with Luc Boiven. Piano performances at Cafe L’Insouciance and Cafe della Pace. Irish music jam residency with Tara G, Donegal, Ireland.
2017 – 2022 – Retires from live work, but continues recording and managing Worldgig recording studio. Plays sessions for many other musicians.
‘Summer Grooves’ – Mirage, RCA
‘Towards the sun’ – Eduardo Niebla
‘As from now’ – Mirage, Copasetic
‘Africa Free’ – ZAM (with Marina Fiorentini) – Tendance
‘Thankful’ – Red light
‘Crazy for you’ – Jose Feliciano
‘African Freedom’ – ZAM (with Marina Fiorentini – produced by Victor Simonelli, Playtime)
‘Celtic distortions’ – Patsy Dan Rogers
‘Paul Rogers’ – (production and engineering also)
‘I refuse to be cast down’ – Al Gordon & Ginny B, Worldgig, Cdbaby
‘The politics of blues’ – the Surfin’ Cowboys
‘Alex Gordon & Ginny B’ – Alex Gordon & Ginny B, Worldgig, Cdbaby
‘Cherokee’ – Alex Gordon & Ginny B, Worldgig, Cdbaby
‘Lotus tree’ – Alex Gordon & Ginny B, Worldgig, Cdbaby
‘Little Miss Tao’ – Zandy Alexander, Worldgig, Cdbaby
‘Anima Mundi’ – Zandy Alexander, Worldgig, Cdbaby
‘The songs of the ancestors’ – Zandy Alexander, Worldgig, Cdbaby
‘Because the song’ – Zandy Alexander & Ginny B, Worldgig, Cdbaby
‘Chant of the dawn’ – Zandy Alexander & Ginny B, Worldgig, Cdbaby
‘Mantra’ – Zandy Alexander & Ginny B, Worldgig