Tori Freestone & Alcyona Mick to release duo album 2018 + tour dates + Freestone nominated for a Parliamentary Jazz Award

We’re pleased to announce the early 2018 release from the duo of saxophonist Tori Freestone and pianist Alcyona Mick.

After working together in various ensembles in and out of the UK in recent years, Mick and Freestone decided to fuse their unique writing styles and improvisational approaches to record a duo album for the exploration of new material and arranged covers with a contemporary twist.

Given their wealth of experience working with unusual instrumentation in a variety of formats, this duo formation provides an ideal setting to blend their distinct voices in a more intimate exploration of their new material.

We’ll have more info on this release in the coming months…

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Tori, who released the critically acclaimed ‘El Barranco‘ (Whirlwind) in 2016 and ‘In The Chop House‘ (Whirlwind) in 2014, has received a nomination for the Parliamentary Jazz Awards (2017).

 

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 TORI & ALCYONA TOUR DATES: (Full Details)

8 October – The Parochial Hall, Marsden Jazz Festival, Yorkshire

31 October – Oxford Jazz Society @ The Mad Hatter, Oxford

9 November – The World’s Larder, Wanstead, London

13 Jan 2017 –  El museo Bodega ‘El Grifo’, Lanzarote

Feb 13  – Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street, Soho, London – Tori’s Birthday Gig (Tori Freestone & Alcyona Mick + Tori Freestone Trio)

Feb 4 – Colchester Jazz Club, Colchester

Feb 22 – Jazz at Future Inn, Bristol

Feb 23 – Ashburton Live, St Lawrence Chapel, Ashburton, Devon

4 March – The Verdict, Brighton

18 March – Clapham Omnibus, Clapham, London

23 March 2pm – Workshop @ Leeds College Of Music, Quarry Hill, Leeds

23 March 8pm – Crescent Community Venue, York

24 March 11am – Workshop for York Jazz Initiative, York

28 March (TBC) – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

18 April (TBC) – The Vortex, Gillett Square, Dalston, London

8 May – St Ives Jazz Club (Tori Freestone & Alcyona Mick + Tori Freestone Trio)

 

 

 

 

‘Embodied Hope’ by Andrew Bain releases November 10 – featuring George Colligan, Jon Irabagon and Michael Janisch + available for pre-order


 

Pre-order Embodied Hope

 

New routes in musical exploration are at the heart of drummer Andrew Bain’s episodic suite, Embodied Hope – a project with pianist George Colligan, saxophonist Jon Irabagon and bassist Michael Janisch. An influential percussionist and educator based in Birmingham, England (and a first-call sideman both in the UK and the States), Bain’s own research has led him to study a concept which seeks to link improvisation with the increasingly topical issues of human rights, community and social transformation. Taking jazz as a metaphor for positive change in the world, and based on seven aspects – listening, surprise, accompaniment, practice, responsibility, trust and, ultimately, hope – this work is defined both by its distinct flexibility of expression and the quartet’s ongoing appraisal of what it progressively achieves.

Andrew Bain explains that, rather than counting himself as a composer, he’s a writer of music for improvisers: “Like all good music written with improvisation in mind, Embodied Hope starts with an idea and a vibe, as well as melodies, chord sequences, solo sections and as many boundaries as I want to provide. But apart from that, it’s all in flux and very much up to the band, even in terms of suite order, solo order, etc. I trust these guys with where they take things – an experimental journey evolving on the road, night after night”.

The approach is melodic and full of singable melodies originally conceived at the piano. Each movement is developed from a different perspective, with Bain’s intricate though powerful percussion subtly directing group improvisation; so rather than a stated theme and variations, there’s individual symbolism in each piece. ‘Surprise’ begins with a drum spotlight (so a surprise in itself), and then the solos from three written cues start to arrive – not in a traditional way, but by interrupting each other, challenging more conventional song formats. The free, opening section of ‘Listening’ sounds largely improvised, yet isn’t, because it grows out of ten specific lines of melody written in a similar key center (albeit with no set tempo); and the drummer reveals that ‘Accompaniment’ was originally intended as the ballad, a moment of solace: “But as we rehearsed, it became this classic Coltrane rumble-and-tumble, elevating it with some kind of higher energy. So, importantly, I realised that together we had decided this was something different, and it became the opener to the suite.”

Recorded on the twelfth day of a two-week tour of workshops, masterclasses and performances, the session presented its own challenge – after all, how is it possible for improvisers to decide on the definitive version of a constantly evolving work? But it’s precisely that captured moment in time from which the sparks of originality fly, whether through Jon Irabagon’s rapid sax invention in feverishly-swinging ‘Practise’, George Colligan’s typically artful Steely Dan quote in the solid groove of ‘Responsibility’ or a theme-tune-like amiability woven into ‘Trust’.

Echoing the album title, driving, anthemic ‘Hope’ synopsizes what has become important to the band in this process – how they have made it relevant to themselves through their social interaction; how the concept has literally been embodied as they have memorized the music; and the positivity arising from what they fashion and develop together. “The best music that I play is with musicians I really trust”, says Bain. “Not that it’s cosy and we all know what we’re going to do, but that we’re comfortable to push each other, over and over, with every performance. When you’re in that space, there are so many things the music could be… and that’s as good as it gets”.

Here are the press highlights from the two week tour:

“This is an outstanding band with seemingly bottomless reserves of energy and excitement and a strong concept driving the leader – the upcoming recording session should yield some explosive results.”
Jazzwise Magazine (full review)

“A stellar international quartet led by drummer and composer Andrew Bain.”
The Jazz Mann (full review)

“A concert full of riches.”
The Jazz Breakfast (full review)

“The band in full flight sounded genuinely transported… Breathtaking stuff.”
Bristol Jazz Log (full review)

 

Mike Gibbs starts 80th Birthday Tour this weekend and receives BASCA Gold Badge Award

We’re pleased tohear that revered composer, conductor, producer and arranger Mike Gibbs has been awarded a Gold Badge for his contribution to the world of music.

The Gold Badge Awards celebrate the unique contribution of individuals, who have supported or inspired the UK songwriting and composing community.

During his career spanning more than four decades Gibbs’ work has included projects with Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Joni Mitchell, Whitney Houston, John Schofield and Peter Gabriel.

This weekend, Mike Gibbs embarks on a series of dates to celebrate his 80th birthday.

We are producing his 6-date English tour with full big band and  live video recording planned for September 29th in Southampton.

Click here to learn more about Mike’s release on Whirlwind from a few years back.

 

LINE UP

Trumpets: Ryan Quigley, Henry Lowther, Percy Pursglove, Nick Smart

Trombones:
Mark Bassey, Jeremy Price, Rory Ingham, Richard Henry (bass trombone)

Saxophones:
Jason Yarde (alto/soprano), John O’Gallagher (alto), Julian Siegel (tenor/bass clarinet), Alex Garnett (tenor/baritone)

French horn & accordion:
Jim Rattigan

Guitar:
Mike Walker

Bass:
Michael Janisch

Piano:
Hans Koller

Drums:
Andrew Bain

 

CONCERT DATES

24 Sep – Scarborough Jazz Festival

25 Sep –  Vortex London

26 Sep –  Watermill Jazz, Dorking

27 Sep –  Vortex, London

28 Sep –  CBSO Centre, Birmingham

29 Sep –  Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton

 

 

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‘Moment Frozen’ by Dee Byrne’s Entropi released today + full tour dates announced

 

Moment Frozen – CDs, FLACS, ALACS, Digital Downloads and more

 

With an invigorating spirit embodying the sequential, macrocosmic concept of ‘order, unpredictability, then descent into disorder’ (originally launched and explored in the debut album New Era), London-based alto saxophonist Dee Byrne’s five-piece Entropi continue their extra-terrestrial flight with Moment Frozen – a sweeping sequence of eight original compositions again frequently inspired by galactic and chronometric themes. The band’s now-established personnel is completed by Andre Canniere (trumpet), Rebecca Nash (piano/keys), Olie Brice (double bass) and Matt Fisher (drums).

Outlining the background to this project, Byrne poses the question: “If order eventually always turns to chaos on macro and micro levels, how can we translate that into something meaningful in our lives? The album title is a statement that our lives are made up of a series of snapshots. If we hold each of them up to the light, are we happy with the sum of all these frozen moments which, together, make up the sum of our existence?” Entropi have already forged a sparky signature sound, their combined goal of breaking into new orbits lifting both fierce and nebulous extemporisation from the written page. It’s an effective balance which is as much due to Dee Byrne’s compositional generosity (born out of her eclectic musical collaborations in Western Europe, en route to gaining a Masters at Trinity Laban) as the seemingly inexhaustive, searching intent of her colleagues.

The quintet’s two-horn solidity is finely wrought, featuring bristling unison riffs and harmonic collisions, yet Byrne’s and Canniere’s breakaways into freely improvised hyperspace also find an empathetic, textural connection with the rhythmic and chordal probings of Nash, Brice and Fisher. Indeed, as Dee elaborates on the band’s founding vision, “I was always looking for the intensity of John Coltrane’s quartet and the later Miles Davis groups, taking forward something of their 1960s spiritual depth and energy into our own, progressive experience. Music is a healing force – I feel very much in tune with that concept. Entropi has grown together as a band, and expression is everything. So the album was created from live, whole takes in the studio – moments frozen”.

Described as mirroring our human existence against the five, perceived, transitory stages of the universe, ‘Stelliferous Era’s recurring riffs are blasted into disarray with percussive turbulence; and similarly edgy ‘Interloper’ suggests the stealth of an unwanted intruder, with alto sax both frantically warning and clashing with trumpet against a maelstrom of Rhodes clusters and feisty bass and drums. The piano ostinati of ‘Elst Pizarro’ contribute to a zero-gravity pictorialization of a celestial body whose identity confused astronomers when discovered in 1979, prompting elegant sax and trumpet imaginings; and Byrne specifically describes the elongated phrases in title track ‘Moment Frozen’ as “recreating the circular motion of this [same] comet/asteroid in the asteroid belt, with the horns guiding the unwieldy rhythm section around the circular form”.

The unlikely sleeve-note tale behind ‘Fish Whisperer’ offers spatial reflection, albeit with a central, disorderly free section hinting at fusion; whilst the buoyant, open groove of ‘It’s Time’ cruises to Rebecca Nash’s sustained, tremulant Rhodes and a crisp, rhythmic undercurrent from Olie Brice and Matt Fisher. Byrne’s large-scale ‘In the Cold Light of Day’ (“a moment of realization that that something has irrevocably changed”) is episodic and fluent, showcasing her especially fervid approach to alto improv; and the soft catharsis of ‘Leap of Faith’ conveys “fragile steps into the unknown” along elegant, oscillating horn pathways.

Dee Byrne concludes: “Creative music has enabled me, in recent years, to put life into a larger context. Often we don’t think about it, yet the whole factual basis of time and space can be compelling – full of fun, drama, wonder, and with the potential to open up another perspective. Entropi’s aim is to communicate our original thoughts in that vein, translating the vast unknown of music (as did Coltrane, Miles and others) into exciting new experiences – either directly or indirectly – for us and our audiences.”

 

ENTROPI TOUR DATES

Full Details Here

 

21st September – Glad Café Glasgow

22nd September – Symphony Hall Foyer, Birmingham, UK

27th September – Jazz At The Lescar, Sheffield, UK

29th September: Kings Place, London, UK (album launch)

6th October – Bebop Club, Bristol, UK

20th October – Derby Jazz, Derby, UK

23rd October – Wonder Inn, Manchester, UK

15th November – Pizza Express, London, UK (EFG LJF)

22nd November – Zoology Museum, Cambridge, UK (Cambridge Jazz  Festival)

24th November – York Tavern, Norwich