Le Paris!

This time next week I’ll be mentally preparing myself for my first trio gig in Paris. Johnny, James and I are lucky enough to be the guests of the Onze Heures Onze collective for their festival on Tuesday 12th May. All the info is on their website, or my gigs page of course. Really looking forward to sharing the bill with Donkey Monkey and Jozef Dumoulin, have a look at the other gigs going on over there too on this handy Facebook event.

Not only that, but whilst we’re there, us and a couple of other Efpi-related artists will be hanging out with members of Onze Heures Onze and making some music together, behind closed doors for now, but watch this space to see if anything comes out of that. This trip has been made possible by Fanny Martin and Jazz North who have actively sought out potential collaborations, and we’re very grateful for that!

Also, even before then, Cath Roberts and I (aka Ripsaw Catfish) are hooking up with my namesake Anton Mobin to play our first gig outside the UK this Sunday (10th May). All the details are here on the Plateforme website, or if you prefer, you could Facebook.

That’s all for now, here’s a picture of the Ripsaw Catfish logo.

Recent Reviews

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 successfullyFull 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.

Article XI

So I’m nearly there. I’ve been working on my MJF Originals commission for Manchester Jazz Festival since January, and in little over a fortnight it’ll all be over. It’d be really nice if you could join me, there’s still a few tickets left for Manchester, but if you miss out on that, there’s always The Vortex in London a couple of days later. If you want to read more about the band, I’ve been blogging about each member over here. And then, as a nice little bonus before I go on holiday, I’ll be playing with my trio at the Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone for Jez Nelson’s ‘Jazz in the Round’ night.

Thursday 24 July – Article XI @ Manchester Jazz Festival
Sunday 27 July – Article XI @ The Vortex, London
Monday 28 July – Anton Hunter Trio @ Jazz In The Round, London

Right, get back to typing these scores up Anton…

Tour Round-up

We’ve finished our short UK tour now, so this is me taking stock and reflecting and all that sort of thing. Highlights for me were the response we got in Sheffield, meeting some Trio Riot fans in Newcastle and supporting Troyka in Manchester.  There were some really special moments every night, and I particularly enjoyed how different some of the tunes were from night to night, in particular our version of Fiddle and The Drum by Joni Mitchell (the trick is Johnny’s never heard it, so it came out more like a demented Mogwai track than a folk song in Sheffield for example).  I also really enjoyed getting stuck into a bluesy Elvis Costello cover on each gig too.

Here’s a recording of a brand new, as-yet-unnamed tune from our London gig at The Oxford (fantastic night worth your support by the way…).

Had the recorder not failed during ‘Tyven’ on both nights we recorded it, you’d have been able to hear what I think may well have been my favourite times we’ve ever played it.  Ah well, the album version is a close third, you can certainly still hear that, over at the shop ;-)  To make up for it, here’s a version of Kolme also recorded in London.

As a bit of an aside (maybe this should have been a separate blog post), I’m really happy with how this whole process has worked out.  Throughout the recording/production/booking/touring process I’ve tried to do as much myself as possible, and keep things as affordable as possible, and I’m really pleased with the outcomes.  Sure, it would have been nice to earn more on the tour, but we played for the first time with this band in four new cities, and more than covered our costs.  Thanks in no small part to heroic local promoters Andy Champion, Tymoteusz Jóźwiak and George Crowley who all lent us enough gear to half our transport costs.  And I’m sure there’s things I’d change about the album given the time and money, but I’m really happy with it, and (thanks largely to the generosity of talented individuals Angela Guyton, Sam Andreae and Ben Cottrell) we’re already halfway to having covered our costs there too.  It would have been great to have secured some funding for any or all parts of this project, but I’m proud that missing out on that hasn’t stopped us.  More and more, I believe that sustainability as an artist doesn’t mean chasing big money, I think it’s about building from the ground up and reducing out-goings rather than looking to maximise income.

Right, enough of that, here is a selection of photographs, mostly showing Johnny and James looking thoughtful/bored pre-gig in a variety of places (the budget didn’t stretch to include an official photographer…).

 

Trio Album released today!

Especially to coincide with International Jazz Day* (sort of), here is my brand new album…

Featuring James Adolpho on double bass and Johnny Hunter on drums.

 

It’s available from my shop, and you can stream it all there for free so you can try-before-you-buy.  I’m really happy with the performances we managed to capture, in particular Newsome never sounded like this before, and Aire really went into another space.  I’d say it’s definitely worth buying, not least Angela Guyton has done some great artwork for it, and taught me how to do lino-block printing in the process too.  So your CD will either be printed by me or her or a bit of both.

There’s still chance to buy them in person too, the album launch gig is at Matt & Phred’s in Manchester tomorrow (Wednesday 1st May) and we’ll also be playing at The Oxford in London on Monday 6th.

Thanks for listening, now here’s a picture of my cat.

*If you’ve read this far, here’s a little present – enter the code “jazzday” at the check-out to get a whopping 20% off the digital download. I spoil you, I really do…

Trio Album and Tour

(by Mark Whittaker)

I’ve been busy of late (one of the highlights was the Beats & Pieces destruction de-construction of a Bach piece for Comic Relief here) and I’m pleased to announced that my trio (with James Adolpho on bass and Johnny Hunter on drums) will be hitting the road this month, and with a new CD to show off too.

Thurs 11 April – Band on the Wall (with Troyka), Manchester
Weds 17 April – The Lescar, Sheffield
Fri 19 April – Ort Cafe, Birmingham
Sun 21 April – Splinter @ The Bridge, Newcastle
Weds 1 May – Matt & Phred’s, Manchester (album launch gig)
Mon 6 May – Jazz at the Oxford, London

I’m planning something special for the album launch night at Matt & Phred’s, and you can expect to see a special guest or two, but it’s a secret for now.  One thing that isn’t a secret though, here’s a track from the new album.  It’s due out on Monday 29th April via Efpi Records, but you’ll be able to buy it from us at a gig on the tour so come down and do that!

The album will be available to pre-order shortly, but in the meantime I hope to see you at a gig soon.

Anton Hunter Trio

Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce you to my new trio.

There’s my brother Johnny on drums…

Our Skamel colleague, friend and gardening expert James Adolpho on double bass…

…and yours truly on guitar and things.

(all these photos are taken by the talented Mark Whitaker during our Manchester Jazz Festival gig at Band On The Wall earlier this summer)

And there’s now some music for you to hear and everything!  Have a listen to the following track and please feel free to let me know what you think of it.

 

I’m really pleased with the way the trio is developing, and I’m looking forward to playing more.  Speaking of which, here are some dates around Manchester for you to catch us at, including an appearance at a great new afternoon event at Soup Kitchen called Pebble:

Sunday 7th October – 3pm @ Soup Kitchen – free

Thursday 15th November – 9:30pm @ Matt & Phred’s – free

Tuesday 4th December – 8:30pm @ Sandbar – £3 (but this is a double-bill with a fantastic sax quartet from London so it’s well worth the entry fee…)

Manchester Jazz Festival

Had a great week at the festival, though I didn’t get to as much as I would have liked due to teaching commitments.  A massive highlight for me was playing before Sons Of Kemet at the Band On The Wall.  Lead by Shabaka Hutchings, the sax/tuba/drums/drums quartet played a blinder, incredible energy.  I spoke to tuba player Oren Marshall afterwards for a while and he seems a very inspiring guy, and particularly excited about the music he finds himself playing at the moment, mostly acoustic but powerful “earthy” music.  It was also great to hear him talk about developing his own voice through years playing on the free-improv scene.  Certainly worked out for him anyway!

Have a listen to one of their tracks here, I’ve been humming ever since.  And thanks to Andrew Newcombe for posting photos of the night on his blog.

 

My set with my new trio went really well as far as I could tell.  Some really nice moments including James’ bowed double bass and some glitchy “electronic” sounds from Johnny. Some really nice comments from friends, including a comparison to Tortoise which is fine by me, I used to listen to TNT a lot on tape in my teens, and Jeff Parker’s a fantastic guitarist if you didn’t already know that.

We’re recording the set at the moment, and I’ll stick some of it online as and when it’s polished.  I’m going to keep one track back for those lovely people who sign up to the mailing list though, so if you want to grab that, you’ve got till mid-August-ish to sign up, over on the right there ——————>

Here’s some photos taken by the talented Mark Whitaker (he’ll do your weddings/christenings/jazz gigs for you):

Other notable highlights included Jamie Safiruddin’s trio set, which was full of great interaction and some beautiful tunes.  Keep an eye on this one, he’s a fantastic player and is getting into some really cool stuff from the sounds of it.  And on the closing day, Neil Yates was in fine form with his Five Countries Trio, and we all had a good knees up to Hackney Colliery Band (eventually anyway, my Britishness kept me seated until a brave couple got the ball rolling…).  Here’s to the next one!

New Trio!

Allow me to introduce my brand new band, The Anton Hunter Trio.  It’s got me on guitar (obviously), my brother Johnny Hunter on drums and our Skamel colleague James Adolpho on double bass.  There’s nothing to listen to just yet, but there’s plans to record some demos at the end of the month, which I will stick online of course.

So why am I telling you this when there’s nothing for you to hear yet?  Well, our live debut comes during this year’s Manchester Jazz Festival, supporting the fantastic Sons Of Kemet at the legendary Band On The Wall.  Tickets are available here, and you should really think about booking them right now.  There’s even a money-saving offer if you book tickets for that gig and Zoe Rahman’s gig the night before.

Here’s some photos of us rehearsing earlier today, and Steve Mead from the jazz festival came down to ask me all sorts of tricky questions and film us playing, watch this space for the results of that.