Warning There now follows some ego-massaging. Warning
Last month I had a really nice time on some gigs, specifically the first two performances of my new ensemble Article XI (commissioned by the Manchester Jazz Festival to who I am eternally grateful) and my first time playing at the Cockpit Theatre in London for Jez Nelson’s Jazz In The Round gig. Anyway, some people came along and said some nice things…
Andy Cronshaw in the Manchester Evening News reckoned that the “Results panned out beautifully into a suite of eight arrangements”, with special mention to “trumpeter Graham South’s breathtaking solo, full of poise and invention.” Full review here.*
Rachel Maby wrote on the MJF blog… “Last night I heard a completely new side to Hunter: a musical complexity that mixes his love of free improvisation alongside tightly composed and structured contrapuntal instrumental writing. I was amazed by his ability to combine both composition disciplines so successfully” Full review here.
In Adrian Pallant’s round-up of the festival for the London Jazz News blog, he called the suite “A triumph for creative jazz”. Full review.
Ian Maund wrote of the Vortex gig “the Article XI gigs have showcased an outstanding quality of ensemble and improvised playing.” Full review here (although I think the site gets updated on the 1st of every month, so the review may disappear).
A couple of the people I paid to be there (the musicians) also said nice things online. Cath Roberts had “a fantastic time” and Sam Andreae said “Great tunes, heroic leadership and good times all round.” Both of them will be booked next time the band gets a gig.
I also did some chatting to the PRS For Music magazine and made a playlist of a mixture of bands that inspired me to play music, and composers who made me want to write for large groups.
And as for the Jazz In The Round gig, Mike Hobart wrote in the Financial Times “empathetic and appealing guitar trio minimalism over a pitter-patter pulse.” Full review.
Some people took some nice photos too, here’s a selection of images, some from Peter Fay’s Facebook page, some from my dad, and some from Cara Courage on Flickr.
That’s all for now. The future hopefully brings new opportunities for the Article XI band (and in fact we’re hopefully announcing the next concert shortly), so keep your eyes peeled!
*They also seemed keen to highlight that “It was a great event and a good example of arts patronage at its best.” Now, I’m not overly sold on the idea of sponsorship in music, or rather, there are tricky moral arguments to navigate, but for what it’s worth, both MJF and the sponsors stayed out of the way and let me get on with it this year.