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…

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!