Article XI – Live in Newcastle

New album is out now on Discus Music!

Just to introduce the project a bit, Article XI came together in 2014 when I was commissioned by the Manchester Jazz Festival to create a new set of music for large ensemble. This record continues the group’s explorations into large ensemble collective composition, with two new pieces alongside re-imaginings of two pieces from that first set. “Live in Newcastle” was recorded at the Bridge Hotel during a concert for Jazz North East, long-standing supporters of improvised music, and a night I’ve loved playing at over the years, including one of the first live performances of Beck Hunters, HAQ playing on one of the first tours I ever did (garnering the worst review I ever got too…), my trio and Sloth Racket more than once. The concert was part of a 2017 double-bill tour with fellow large ensemble, Cath Roberts’ Favourite Animals.

The bulk of the set is two new pieces. ‘Municrination’ was developed from an initial melodic idea of mine which I brought to a trio rehearsal with Johnny Hunter and Graham South. They improvised their way through and around the fragments, recording the results as they went. I transcribed elements of this session and went on to weave these into the final piece, as part of Article XI’s on-going experiments in creating a large ensemble music that allows the individual voices to shine through.

The second new piece, ‘Always A Fox’, is named in honour of Leicester City’s surprising Premier League title win in 2016, with a knowing nod to all those who adopted them as the season progressed. Compositionally, it takes inspiration from Ken Vandermark’s modular approach. The piece is set up with 7 different sections, and the exact path navigated between them is altered for each performance, maintaining an uncertainty that keeps it fresh. Again, the material that makes up the finished piece has had contributions from band members, this time Tullis Rennie, Cath Roberts, Sam Andreae and Seth Bennett all recorded their own improvised responses to melodic ideas I presented. The score (or a version of it at least) is here if you’re interested.

The remaining two pieces are reimaginings of tracks from our 2018 debut record on Efpi Records. ‘Not The Kind Of Jazz You Like’ is named after a Stewart Lee joke and ‘I Dreamed I Spat Out A Bee’ is named for a dream that my partner had, which in turn inspired the fantastic artwork by trusted long-term collaborator Angela Guyton.

Having featured on several of Martin Archer’s projects (Story Tellers, Ron Caines / Martin Archer Axis and the forthcoming fifth Julie Tippetts / Martin Archer album) as well as two Beck Hunters records, I’m really chuffed to be bringing Article XI into the fold at Discus Music.

Go and buy it and make it all worthwhile!