A couple of new videos have sneaked out recently, so I thought I’d stick them on here for you to watch.
First up is a video of my Article XI group in action at the Manchester Jazz Festival 2014. Dan Spicer mentioned in Jazzwise magazine this month that this group “demands to be heard”. So here it is:
And, on the back of a great review from Bird Is The Worm for our debut album ‘Triptych’ (“hyperactive…doesn’t sit still..whirlwind display of forms of expression…” buy it here folks!), here’s a video of our gig earlier in 2016 at The Vortex in London. And we’re playing a track that will eventually end up on the next album.
I’m sure there’s plenty more to report, but for now, hope you enjoy those.
The idea with this piece is to rehearse each section in a couple of different ways, maybe with different groups within the ensemble, and then to improvise your way through a structure that is written just before performance. The thinking being to ensure it’s fresh for each performance, and to avoid the ensemble learning a particular set way of navigating the material. This is me exploring an idea from Ken Vandermark’s Resonance Ensemble, according to the liner notes of Kafka In Flight (which is a great album and you should buy it!).
Live recording of the first performance, complete with some cueing mistakes on my part…
And the title; in honour of Leicester City’s premier league title win in 2016 (or rather, the way that everyone suddenly seemed to be a Leicester City fan).
The piece formed part of an hour long concert, the theme of which was responses to Cornelius Cardew’s ‘Autumn 60′. Composers Cath Roberts and Tullis Rennie also contributed pieces and the three of us performed them and a load of improvising with the Vonnegut Collective‘s Gemma Bass and Gary Farr. A lot of fun was had by all.
If anyone fancies playing it, let me know, I’d love to hear it!
Proudly announcing our #VoteIN EU tour. Or, rather, we’re playing in Belgium and Holland this month. The details are on my gigs page, as ever, but the headlines are below.
Also, today is the last day you can register to vote in the EU Referendum if you’re a UK citizen. I’d strongly recommend you do, and then on 23rd June, go and vote for us to remain a part of Europe. Pretty please. Click on the link and do it now. I’m just beginning to play outside the UK, and over the (nine!) years of The Noise Upstairs we have welcomed many people from all over Europe. Freedom of movement is brilliant.
I’ve got around to uploading one of the tracks from 2014′s Article XI live recording at The Vortex in London. Which is nice timing as I can announce that we are (probably) playing a a gig in June. I’m very honoured to have been asked by Cath and Dee from Lume to bring the band together once again for their one day festival on 26th June at I’Klectik Art Lab in London (interestingly, that’s the day after the Efpi festival, also in London where I’ll be playing with Beats & Pieces Big Band)
There is, however, a catch. Lume are in the midst of a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds for the festival, and it’s not going to happen unless they hit their target by 11th May. If you can donate, then please do, and even if you can’t, you’d be helping a lot if you can share the link with all your friends (especially that rich one who doesn’t know what to spend their money on…).
CLICK HERE NOW TO DONATE MONEY (please)
Sloth Racket have got a brand new album coming out on Monday 2nd May to coincide with it. We recorded it at Limefield Studios near Manchester with John Ellis, and mixed it with Alex Bonney in London, and I’m really happy with it. Don’t take my word for it though of course, The Quietus called it “an agreeably spicy goulash of free improvisation, grungy riffs and bluesy themes”, but if that doesn’t convince you, you can hear for yourself and pre-order the album from our Bandcamp page right now!
And the tour to go with it…
In a few weeks I’ll be off to play in Canada for the first time, with a brand new group featuring the legendary Julie Tippetts, alongside the equally legendary Martin Archer, Peter Fairclough, Laura Cole and Seth Bennett. For several years now, Martin and Julie have been collaborating on studio recordings that have resulted in four albums (and they’re alright too, buy from Discus if you like). They were approached by the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (FIMAV) to put a live band together and play the material for the first time ever in public, and I’m pleased to say they asked me!
Hopefully there will be some festival appearances in the UK and Europe before too long, but for now, maybe see you in Canada?
Well, that was fun. This week I had a few days in the tropical South for my last gigs of 2015. Ripsaw Catfish played in Brighton at The Safehouse, a thoroughly enjoyable night in a room that sounded great. And then my first trip to Hundred Years Gallery for the “Lume : The Hat Speaks” gig, a sort-of tribute to my night The Noise Upstairs (the concept for which was actually inspired by The Safehouse 8+ years ago) where names are pulled out of a hat to form improvising ensembles. The high calibre of musicians in attendance made for some genuinely exciting listening. I played a quartet with Alex Bonney, Andrew Lisle and Ed Riches where I ended up with a heavily de-tuned guitar, exploring some bass frequencies beneath everyone else. Next was a quartet with Alison Blunt, Dee Byrne and Tom Greenhalgh, I got into some slide playing for this, and last of all was a very enjoyable scratchy duo with Tom Ward on bass clarinet. Other highlights were literally everything else, there was a really nice atmosphere, a great way to meet new players and explore new ground. More of this please!
In January 2016 Ripsaw Catfish head to Derby on the 17th, and Cath and I will both be working with the Vonnegut Collective on the 23rd, on a piece inspired by Cornelius Cardew’s Autumn 60. Skamel will be around in February, and the rest of the year promises more Beats & Pieces Big Band gigs, a Sloth Racket album and tour and my first trip to Canada to perform. More on all of that as details are finalised on my gigs page.
For now, here’s a live Sloth Racket video for you to enjoy. And a few photos below that.
Morning all, a few things to update you on here. Firstly, I’m playing with Sloth Racket TONIGHT in London. If you happen to read this, go to The Oxford in Kentish Town from about 8:30. Details on my Gigs page, where you will also find info about a Vonnegut Collective performance and some big band gigs.
Next, Beats & Pieces Big Band have a brand new video out. Filmed live on stage at Ronnie Scott’s, with 15 GoPro cameras, all strapped to our heads. I didn’t really believe Ben when he said it was a good idea, but it does look pretty cool/motion-sickness-inducing. Check it out…
We’re also going to be on BBC Radio 3 tonight, with a live recording of that very same gig, so on your way home from the Sloth Racket gig, you can listen to Beats & Pieces on Jazz On 3. Aren’t I good, planning your evening like this?
I also just spent a very enjoyable weekend recording new music for Martin Archer’s Storytellers, a brand new band featuring Martin and myself (obviously) alongside Corey Mwamba, Kim Macari, Peter Fairclough and Michael Somerset. It was the first time I’d met Micheal, and the first time I’d played with Kim or Peter, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable process. Lots of freedom, some loose themes, some defined structures, some less so. I think the album is going to be a mix of our pieces recorded as-is, and some of Martin’s collage approach that he’s used to great effect before. Check out his Discus Records for a whole host of his releases (and Beck Hunters of course). Here’s a couple of photos I took, along with one of all of us.
On Monday, the second Beats & Pieces Big Band album will be released into the world. This is actually the first second album I’ve been on, so that’s quite an exciting thing, and it’s nice to see it getting some good press already, with 4 star reviews in the Guardian and Jazzwise (where there’s also a three-page feature and interview with our glorious leader Ben Cottrell).
Have a listen here, and pre-order and so on.
There are also two launch gigs next month, with Manchester on 7th July at Soup Kitchen (cheaper earlybird tickets for £7 if you’re quick and you use the code “ALLINMCR7″ or buy it with a CD) and a return to Ronnie Scott’s in that London on July 8th.
The Spirit Farm
And that’s not all! In the same issue of Jazzwise there is also mention of ‘The Spirit Farm’ by ‘The Spirit Farm’. In another four star review, Daniel Spicer writes that the album is “Full of unexpected textures and surprising sounds, the session convincingly proposes a 21st Century British Response to some of the challenges laid down by the AACM 50 years ago.”
The Spirit Farm is: Adam Fairhall on piano and other things, Christophe de Bezenac on sax, Dave Kane on bass, Johnny Hunter on drums, Corey Mwamba on vibraphone and other thing, and me on the guitar. We recorded this live last year during a day of improvisation in Crewe, and I’m really pleased with the outcome. Have a listen for yourself below and have a purchase of it from Slam Records.