Trish Clowes is a saxophonist and BASCA British Composer Award winner based in London. Her fourth album for Basho Records ‘My Iris’ was released in January 2017, accompanied by Clowes’ most successful UK tour to date. The album features Clowes’ new quartet, also called My Iris, with Chris Montague on guitar, Ross Stanley on piano and Hammond organ and James Maddren on drums. The album has received plaudits and acclaim from jazz critics. Dave Gelly of The Observer wrote that “with just four players, the variety of tone colour is remarkable’ and Cormac Larkin in The Irish Times suggested that “(My Iris) represents the front rank of the new generation of UK jazz.”
Clowes’ previous albums focused on ideas spanning a range of genres and involved collaborative larger ensembles. Clowes recorded her third album ‘Pocket Compass’ while a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, working with the BBC Concert Orchestra on four tracks. Her second album ‘and in the night-time she is there’ (2012) featured an improvising string quartet lead by Thomas Gould. Clowes has also adopted wide-ranging, open-minded approaches in live performance. In May 2012 Trish founded her new music project-come-festival Emulsion, which she now joint runs with saxophonist Tom Harrison. Emulsion has hosted various events and festivals in London, Birmingham and at Cheltenham Music Festival, receiving coverage on BBC Radio 3 along the way, and to date has commissioned fifteen new works. Emulsion V recently concluded Clowes’ My Iris tour at the Midland Arts Centre in Birmingham, featuring special commissions for the Emulsion Sinfonietta from Hans Koller, Percy Pursglove, Joe Cutler and Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian and hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenter Fiona Talkington.
Other significant achievements include a television appearance as part of BBC Proms Extra and an appearance on Radio Bremen with a trio. Celtic Connections (January 2014) hosted the live premiere of Clowes’ composition Sketch, performed with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and in 2015, Clowes performed with acclaimed German pianist Michael Wollny as part of a tribute concert to the late John Taylor. In December 2015, she won a BASCA British Composer Award for The Fox, The Parakeet & The Chestnut, her work for the BBC Concert Orchestra. Clowes has recently been commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to compose a new piece for the BBC Concert Orchestra. The piece will address issues surrounding the refugee and migrant crisis for a family audience and will be premiered at the EFG London Jazz Festival 2017. Clowes will explore the idea of ‘exchange’, both in terms of active engagement between performers and audiences, and in terms of direct exchange between western populations and refugees.
In addition to My Iris, Clowes’ ongoing projects include the Glow quartet with pianist Gareth Williams and Under Your Wing, a song-based project with vocalist Norma Winstone and guitarist Mike Walker (The Impossible Gentlemen).
Trish Clowes is a professor of jazz saxophone and improvisation at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. She has also become an ambassador for the charity Donate4Refugees.
“This is British Jazz at its best…I assure you she is a great, great talent.” Jamie Cullum
“The music is ambitious, fresh and experimental. Trish is a talent to watch” Julian Joseph
“Everything Clowes does has an invigorating purposefulness…” Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph
[above photo by Dannie Price]