New Records!

    All In

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.

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.

The Hunt Is On!

Last year, Beck Hunters (the trio of Mick Beck, Johnny Hunter and myself) released our debut recording The Hunt Is On on Discus Records. You can have a purchase of it here if you’d like. Or, more excitingly, you could come along to one of these gigs and buy from our beautiful selves in person! I’d really like to see you, so I hope you can make it…

Beck Hunters UK Tour 2015

Thu 5th FEB – Over the Top, 78 Kingfield Road, Nether Edge, Sheffield, S11 9AU 7:30pm

Thu 12th FEB – Noise Upstairs @ Fuel Cafe Bar, 448 Wilmslow Road, Manchester, M20 3BW 8:30pm (improv night with open jam sessions, BH set at 9:30)

Sun 15th FEB – Mopomoso @ Vortex, 11 Gillett Square, London, N16 8AZ AFTERNOON SHOW 2:30pm

Wed 25th FEB – Safehouse @ Good Companions, 132 Dyke Road, Brighton, BN1 3TE 8pm

Sat 14th MAR – Halton Mill, Mill Lane, Halton, Lancaster LA2 6ND 8pm

“Agressive when it needs to be, but comfortable winding down into unhurried, meandering humour, it sounds like a miniature Art Ensemble at play.” – Daniel Spicer, The Wire, 2014

“…truly mind-blowing, ranging between a cardiac arrest, epileptic fit and a nervous breakdown. The trio are extremely tight, threatening to unravel before skilfully coming back into sync.” – Rob Aldam, Now Then Magazine, Oct 2013

“Ne esci curioso e in vita. Roba non da poco.” – Kathodik, 2014

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…

New Voice! Some gigs!

Hello, I am a New Voice. For the next 12 months, Sound And Music have taken me (and whole host of musicians and composers from a wide range of backgrounds) under their wing. It’s nice to be in such good company and, if the first residency in Cornwall was anything to go on, I’m really looking forward to working with Sound and Music for the year. Myself and Cath Roberts (Ripsaw Catfish) have got a small amount of funding from them to do a series of gigs in the Autumn too, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

On that note, I’ve just updated my gigs page with some upcoming things in the next few months. I’m pretty excited about my first visits to The Vortex and Brecon Jazz Festival, as well as, well, all of them really. A couple more to be announced in the coming weeks too.

Here’s a picture of my face that Jon Tipler took recently. I definitely felt happier than I look here.

Wooda Weekend

I’ve just got back from a long weekend in Cornwall at the stunning Wooda Farm. It was the first of two weekends organised by Sound And Music under their Portfolio banner, and I’m pleased to report I had a great time with Seth Bennett (bass), Shaun Blezard (electronics), Julie Kjaer (alto sax & flute), Shelly Knotts (electronics) and Rachel Musson (tenor sax).

The weekend was spent improvising in different combinations (from solo to septet), listening to records, discussing all aspects of playing, all under the direction of Steve Beresford, who’s knowledge of improvised music, it’s creators and archivists seems to be second to none. Thanks no doubt to our hosts Max and Gary, the whole weekend seemed simultaneously very relaxing and very productive. Having space and time to explore this music is a real blessing, and I’m looking forward to our return visit in June already, not least because hopefully it won’t quite so stormy and I can play more outdoors.

Here’s a gif of us (click on it if it’s not moving).

And a picture of some ducks.

Exciting things in 2014

So I’ve got some things to talk about already this year, if you’ll indulge me for a minute or two.

First up, I’m pleased to be able to announce that I have been commissioned by the Manchester Jazz Festival to write a new work entitled “Article 11″ for a brand new 11-piece band, to be premiered at this year’s festival in July under the MJF Originals scheme. More details will follow, but safe to say there’s going to be plenty of improvising involved from the word go. And I’ve got a great band, more info on everything in the coming weeks.

Next, I’m off to Cornwall next week for the first weekend retreat with Steve Beresford under the Sound And Music’s Portfolio scheme. Together with 5 other musicians, we’re all decamping to Wooda farm to improvise and talk about improvising. There will be a performance or two in June, so keep your eyes peeled for that too.

And last but not least, I’ve got a brand new band again! Ripsaw Catfish is a duo with the excellent London-based saxophonist Cath Roberts. If you don’t know her Quadraceratops band, you need to hear them now, although our duo sound nothing like that. We’re a bit noisy, quite improv-y and occasionally plays things together that we’ve written. But don’t take my terribly-written description as the be-all and end-all, come and see us at one of these gigs…

Tuesday Feb 11th – Fizzle @ The Lamp Tavern, Birmingham (with Bruce Coates & Trevor Lines)
Wednesday March 26th – Freedom Principle (with Trio Riot), somewhere in Manchester
Thursday March 27th – Lume, London (with Steve Beresford & Julie Kjear)
Sunday April 6th – One Note Sunday, Derby

That’s all for now, hope you’re well, and I’ll let you know when there’s more to tell about anything.

Large Ensemble Score – ‘Surface To Air’

Written during my composition masters. This is the start of me trying to build more freedom into large ensemble writing, but, here at least, still starting from a more “traditional” starting point of a melody and harmony. There’s some effects in this I really enjoy, and I think both Ben and Graham’s solos are particularly awesome in this recording. Oh, and the title came from the news that surface-to-air missiles were installed on residential towerblocks during the London Olympics. Who know whether the music accurately reflects my feelings on the subject, but just for clarity, I thought that was a bad thing.

Recorded on 23rd August 2012 at Salford University, by me.

Drums – Johnny Hunter
Bass – Dave Tompkins
Guitar – Anton Hunter
Alto Sax – Kyran Matthews
Tenor Sax – Sam Andreae
Baritone Sax – Ben Watte (solo)
Trumpet – Graham South (solo)
Trumpet – Lucian Amos
Trombone – Ed Horsey
Bass Trombone – Paul Strachan

Download the Surface To Air Score.

If you want to perform it (not that I would be so bold as to assume you might, but just in case), feel free to contact me and I can e-mail you the parts.