Seems a long time ago now (sorry for being so late posting these…) but way back in November we did a couple of gigs at the London Jazz Festival with the fantastic Ensemble Denada from Norway – it was a really fun couple of days for everyone from both bands and the response from the audiences at both gigs was amazing so thanks very much if you were there!
Here’s a few photos by our drummer Finlay Panter from the rehearsal day and the soundcheck at the Purcell Room, followed by an shot of Denada performing onstage taken by our guitarist Anton Hunter from our viewpoint in the best seats in the house at the rear of the stage – really I guess I should fire or at least heavily fine him for using his phone onstage during a gig but I’m feeling generous…
Thanks again to everyone who came along to the gigs and to Arts Council England, the British Council and the Culture Programme of the European Union for their support of the project.
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:
In our customary belated style let us be one of the last people to wish you a Happy New Year! The 3rd of January seems as good a time as any (?) to reflect on the past 12 months, an amazing year for us as a band – things that happened in the first few months of 2011 seem such a long time ago now and maybe thats because so much else has happened as the year went on!
In January we played our first gig of 2011 and our first gig at Ronnie Scott’s in London, a gig that we all really enjoyed and that seemed to go down well too… Then in March we were off to Germany (kindly supported by the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund) to compete in the final of the European Young Artists’ Jazz Award in Burghausen – which we won! This meant that we got a giant novelty cheque (below) and the honour of opening the Burghausen Jazzwoche, performing a full set before Chick Corea & Gary Burton in a concert that was recorded for TV and radio. We all had an amazing time in when we were over in Germany, check out some of the best photos here (or if you’re really keen, here’s the complete gallery from days 1, 2, 3 & 4).
The next major thing on the horizon for us was in June when we played a really special gig at Band on the Wall in Manchester that was recorded and released as an extremely limited edition live DVD in October. We’ve still got a few left – head on over to our shop to get your hands on one! Here’s one of the tracks:
Over the summer we played in Norwich, in a field in Cheshire, and had a great day at Mostly Jazz in Birmingham, and then in August we were invited back to Ronnie Scott’s for their annual celebration of all things British in a double bill with the amazing Kairos 4tet - again this was another brilliant night, with some really nice reviews!
At the beginning of November we were busy recording our debut full length album, which was a hectic few days to say the least… Its all come together nicely though, and will be out in February – more information to follow shortly! Here’s us all at the end of the session at Livingston Studios in London with producer Tony Platt and engineer Simone Filiali – more photos from the weekend in our gallery here and on our tumblr blog here.
Finally, we ended our year at the London Jazz Festival with an amazing gig at Kings Place which was a fantastic way to round off 2011! As for 2012, we’ve already announced some gigs at some lovely venues and as I’ve mentioned above, our album will be released in February – its already shaping up to be an exciting year. Thanks for your support in 2011 and we hope you enjoy what we’ve got lined up for you in 2012!
Its been a really busy but really exciting time at Beats & Pieces HQ – lots more info to come in the next few days so keep an eye out… Here’s just a few little things though that I wanted to let you know about before the big news drops!
Firstly massive thanks to everyone who came to our London Jazz Festival gig at Kings Place – we had a great time and it was really nice to see so many people there! It was also cool for us to speak to a lot of people in the interval and in the bar after the gig, you’re all lovely… I said this on stage on the night but massive thanks again to everyone at Serious and the London Jazz Festival, as well as to everyone at Kings Place for having us. The picture below (taken by Ben Watte) is our drummer Fin getting a bit excited in soundcheck…
Secondly, you can now purchase our Live @ Band on the Wall DVD through our online shop – just in time for Christmas… They’re priced at £8 + postage which also includes a digital download of the audio tracks and a PDF photo album from the night. We’ve also updated our remixes EP with a brand new remix of yafw (part iii) by our very own Nick Walters – he’s not used his own awesome solo but its still amazing work! The eagle eyed amongst you may notice that our 2009 EP is no longer available to download – this is in preparation for the release of our debut album early next year, as I said above there’ll be more details to come in the next few days…
Our gig at Ronnie Scott’s tomorrow with the fabulous Kairos 4tet is now sold out! Hope you managed to get tickets in time if you were planning on coming down…
Also congratulations to Julian Siegel who received the London Jazz Award at the awards ceremony in London last week – very much deserved! We had a great night anyway, and once again thanks very much to you all for your sterling work on facebook and twitter to get us on the shortlist… We had the highest number of votes by a considerable margin all thanks to you, you’re all legends!
So hopefully see some of you at Ronnie’s tomorrow – if you missed out, get your tickets NOW for our next London gig at Kings Place during the London Jazz Festival in November so you won’t miss out again!
We’re making a couple of trips to London over the next couple of weeks, and then again in November for a really exciting gig in the London Jazz Festival – read on for all the info!
Firstly on Thursday 28th, a few of us will be down to attend the London Awards for Art and Performance 2011, for which we’ve been shortlisted for the Jazz Award. You may remember me asking for you all to support us in the first stage of this process on twitter and facebook, and you responded amazingly – thanks so much! We had the highest number of votes by a considerable margin, you’re all legends… Now its down to the panel of esteemed judges, and of course we’ll let you know what happens on Thursday via all the usual channels so keep those eyes peeled.
Then on Wednesday August 3rd we’ll be back at Ronnie Scott‘s in a double bill with the fantastic Kairos 4tet during the annual Brit Jazz Fest that celebrates the best jazz the country has to offer – and we can’t wait… Remember that our gig in January with Get the Blessing sold out and we wouldn’t want anybody to miss out again, so get your tickets in now from here and we’ll see you there!
Looking a bit further ahead, we’re really pleased and honoured to have been included in a series of events at Kings Place during the London Jazz Festival in November. The festival website describes the series as ‘five massively talented groups and leaders – a meeting place for artists from the USA and Europe whose music stretches and probes the boundaries of jazz’ and there’s some stellar names involved… We’ll be playing on Saturday 19th November following gigs over the preceding few days by Nik Bartsch’s Ronin, Robert Glasper, Gretchen Parlato and Rory Simmons’ Fringe Magnetic and we can’t wait! Tickets are already on sale, so again get em while they’re hot…
I’m really pleased to announce that I’ve been selected along with seven other musicians from across the country to participate in this year’s edition (the seventh) of the ‘Take Five‘ professional development scheme, produced by Serious and funded by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, the PRS for Music Foundation, Arts Council England, and the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund. Some amazing musicians have participated in the scheme in the past six years, including some of my biggest musical influences, and so its a real honour to have been selected to take part. The other musicians on the scheme this year are Trish Clowes, Christophe de Bézenac, Alexander Hawkins, Ivo Neame, Laura Rossi, Tom Skinner and Adam Waldmann – really looking forward to meeting and working with them all.
The launch event, called Take Five Takes Over is tonight (Thursday 18th) at the Front Room in the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London (part of the London Jazz Festival), that will feature performances from previous participants including Corey Mwamba, Tom Cawley and Soweto Kinch, so if you’re around London for the festival make sure you stop by for what will be a great evening of music… I’ll be there before shooting off to Cafe Oto to see Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, and of course if you’re currently planning your festival events don’t forget us – we’re playing at the Spice of Life at 7.30pm on Sunday 21st. See you there!