Really looking forward to playing a series of UK dates again at the end of this month, we’ll be off on a mini-tour of some really cool festivals and venues across the full width of the North of England followed by a return to one of our favourite places to play, Ronnie Scott’s in London. There may even be the first airings of some brand new stuff I’ve been working on over the summer which is always an exciting time!
Dates are as follows – click on the venue name for more details and ticket info. See you there…
Last week we had a really nice evening at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards hosted by the one and only Moira Stuart in London, where we were chuffed to be nominated for Ensemble of the Year – we didn’t win this time but (and I know this is a cliche but its true) just to be nominated in a category of three alongside bands of the calibre of The Impossible Gentlemen and Troyka was a huge honour. Congratulations to The Impossible Gentlemen on their award – check out Mike’s typically Northern acceptance speech here!
The nominees for the awards were selected by a panel from nominations made initially by an open public vote – in other words, we were only there in the first place because one or more of YOU put us forward for the award so thank you!
We’re also really pleased to have been nominated for another award, this time in the Big Band category of the British Jazz Awards which will be announced in July. This time the winners themselves are determined by a public vote – you know what to do… Ta!
Happy new year! Thanks a lot for your support in 2012 – it was a pretty big one for us with the release of our first album, a really productive residency period in Devon in September, and loads of gigs all over the place including a hugely enjoyable collaboration with Ensemble Denada from Norway and ending the year with our first ever trip to France… But it was only such a good year because of you all listening to our music and coming to our gigs, so thanks so much again – it means a lot to us.
Looking forward 2013 promises to be another really exciting year, and I’m pleased to announce the year’s first few gigs! Particularly excited about our trips to Ireland and Germany to play at 12 Points and jazzahead respectively, and also our return to play in the north of England – it’s been a while… Dates are below, more details as ever can be found on our gigs page. And there’ll be more to follow, promise…
Hope to see you out and about!
7th February – Great Hall, LICA, Lancaster (info)
16th February – 12 Points festival, Dublin (info)
27th April – jazzahed!, Bremen (info)
We’re delighted and really really excited to announce that we’ll be playing a few Christmas shows in Paris next month. On Monday 17th December we’ll be ‘Orchestre de Cérémonie’ for You & The Night & The Music, French radio station TSFJAZZ’s annual end of year bash at Olympia Hall alongside a whole host of other artists from France and across Europe – then the following night (Tuesday 18th December) we’ll be playing a couple of shows at Duc des Lombards, one of France’s most famous jazz clubs. All the details and ticket info for both nights are over on our gigs page – tell your French friends! À bientôt, Paris…
We’re really chuffed to have been nominated for Best UK Newcomer at the inaugural Jazz FM Awards! We’re on the list alongside Josh Arcoleo and Roller Trio in that category, with the award ceremony to take place in London at the end of January 2013. Amongst the musicians nominated for other awards are legends such as Sonny Rollins, Django Bates and Brad Mehldau – should be a fun night, can’t wait!
This time last week I was in Mo i Rana, a beautiful town (as shown above) just outside the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway, rehearsing and working with Helge Sunde and Ensemble Denada ahead of the premiere of a new collaborative project between ourselves and Denada during the London Jazz Festival. We’re playing two gigs on Sunday 11th November at the Purcell Room, and tickets on are sale NOW! Go here for the 3pm show or here for the 7.45pm show.
The gig will feature brand new music from both bands, including new pieces by me and Helge where we’ve taken inspiration from one of each other’s existing tunes. My trip out to Norway to rehearse my piece with Denada followed a visit by Helge and the band’s manager Anders Eriksson to England in August, where Helge worked on his piece for us with the guys and took in our gig at the Canary Wharf Jazz Festival – here he is rehearsing with us in Manchester, and then during an epic Norway vs England table tennis match against our trombonist Simon after our set in London!
Both my trip to Norway and Helge and Anders’ visit to England were supported by funding from the Artists’ International Development programme, a new fund jointly funded by Arts Council England and the British Council – thanks! Really excited about the November gigs which are going to be a lot of fun, don’t miss it…
Here’s some more pictures from Norway, including some really amazing scenery I saw during the long train journey north from Trondheim (apparently the Nordland railway line is recognised as one of the prettiest in Europe, and you can see why) and some of me and Denada rehearsing in Mo before their concert there:
Last week we were fortunate enough to spend 4 days away in the beautiful and inspiring surroundings of Dartington Hall in Devon, in a residency period generously supported by an Emerging Excellence Award from the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund. We used the time to workshop some new tunes, really nail some little corners in the existing set, experiment with different ways of recording the band ahead of a new album recording next year, and generally just to have an extended period of time playing together – something thats normally almost impossible to manage with so many busy people to assemble!
We got loads out of the week and look forward to sharing some of the stuff with you – there’ll be some new tunes that we worked on during the week featured in our next gigs at the London Jazz Festival in November, and I’ll put some snippets of the recordings up online when I’ve gone through them all (220gb, may take a while so bear with me…).
Thanks once again to the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund for their support, and to Jude and everyone at Dartington for generally being amazing whilst we were there!
Photos by Anthony Brown, Anton Hunter, Ben Cottrell & Finlay Panter – more in our gallery!
UPDATE – here’s a video of us working on some rhythm exercises outside in the sunshine!