Jazzlines and TDE Promotions have had a lot of success in recent years with the setting up of short residencies for leading jazz artists to come to Birmingham to work with players based in the city to create a special project. Last year trumpeter Peter Evans and sound artist Sam Pluta worked with Birmingham Conservatoire and University of Birmingham students to create a series of pieces for the University’s Crosscurrents Festival. Then in October last year saxophonist Tim Berne and pianist Matt Mitchell spent three days in the Jazz Department at Birmingham Conservatoire working with students on pieces of Tim and Matt’s own music. Both projects were great successes and provided a challenge for the students and an introduction to the more ‘out there’ aspects of contemporary jazz. I remember one students telling me how baffled he had been when he first saw the scores that Tim and Matt had sent over in advance, and how hard they seemed, but that working on them in the sessions with Tim and Matt and in the final concert had been great fun.
This way of working seems to me to be very much a jazz way of working. A group of musicians get together and work on material as a result of which something fresh and unique emerges. It also gives young and emerging musicians the opportunity to work with an established artist.
In the next weeks TDE Promotions, Fizzle and Jazzlines will be working together on two new residency projects. The first has been set up by TDE Promotions and Fizzle and involves a collaboration between the Not On The Guest List, which is a duo of vocalist Natalie Sandtorv and Ole Mofjell, both Norwegian, but currently living in Copenhagen. They were strongly recommended to us by Norwegian promoters and we heard them give a stunning duo performance at midnight at the German Moers Festival a couple of years ago. They will work with pianist Andy Woodhead and saxophonist Lee Griffiths for two days and then play at the Fizzle session on Tuesday 29th January. That’s at the Lamp Tavern. Natalie is a spectacular vocalist who has worked in duo with Steve Beresford as well as on her own projects and Ole is a fine drummer who played at Cheltenham Jazz Festival as part of the Birmingham Trondheim link.
There are details of the venue and the Fizzle programme here
The second project is a collaboration between Jazzlines and TDE Promotions; it involves the American trombonist Jacob Garchik working with a group of British brass players. Some years ago Jacob created in the US what he called the Gospel Trombone Choir, which played arrangements of gospel songs. Jacob has long been fascinated by gospel music and, as well as the vocal choirs, he heard groups of trombonists playing that material. He was struck by the beauty of that music and set about creating his own version. The album entitled The Heavens was the result and it is a totally unique piece of music. You can hear an excerpt here. So Jacob will be coming over in March and working with a group of British players selected by Richard Foote, leader of the Young Pilgrims group, and consisting of 7 trombones, one tuba and drums. In a sense, this is a different kind of project in that they will be working on already existing material, but I’m sure they will come up with their own interpretation of that material. There will also be a first set with a quintet with Jacob, Richard Foote, Andy Woodhead, Olie Brice and Andrew Bain working on other material of Jacob’s
The concert will take place at the CBSO Centre Birmingham on Saturday 16th March, details here. It will then play the Yellow Arch in Sheffield on Sunday 17th March and London Vortex on Monday 18th March. Incidentally, Jacob is now Musical Director for the Mark Morris Dance Company and will after this short tour will tour UK playing with Mark Morris Company, which will be performing Pepperland, which celebrates the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album with arrangements of that music by Ethan Iverson.
Key words: jazz, improvised music, Jazzlines, TDE Promotions, Fizzle, Not On The Guest List, Jacob Garchik, the Heavens, gospel music, trombone choir