Hans Koller

hans koller

I first met Hans Koller when he came into the Royal Academy of Music to do a big band project with us (the students at the time). I immediately loved his music, the melodies and sounds he was finding in the big band setting, his approach and explanation of the music to us. I remember particularly enjoying an arrangement of ‘Marshmallow’ by Warne Marsh. This incredible, giving musician has quite a biography which you can read here. But just to pick out a few highlights: touring with the Mike Gibbs big band feat. Steve Swallow, Bill Frisell and Adam Nussbaum (which I remember being a very awesome gig); commissions for Birmingham Jazz and Freden International Music festival; writing for Steve Lacy, Evan Parker, Kenny Wheeler, Bob Brookmeyer, and the WDR big band…. The list goes on!

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Gail Macleod

Gail with the big bass at Truck 2011

Gail is a founding member of the recorder ensemble Consortium 5. Having met her many years ago through mutual friends (and study) our paths seem to cross more and more frequently. She has also just set up a new company with some other innovative types who say this of themselves:

“Soundcastle is a pioneering arts collective which creates original music by engaging first and foremost with the people and the place in which the music is to take place.  Our mission is to:

Explore exciting and inspiring approaches to music making

Promote music as an individual and collective voice

Make links within and between communities”

 

Let’s find out a bit more about this talented and motivated woman…

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Barry Douglas

barry

I first came across Barry Douglas through my husband who plays in his chamber orchestra, Camerata Ireland. Barry is one of the most incredible concert pianists out there with a biog that most of us could only dream of. He’s also a great socialite and banishes all the myths about soloists who can’t talk to us normal folk. What a guy.

So Barry, where can we start? Do you like garlic snails (being an inhabitant of Paris)?
No I’m not a great fan though I have tried them a few times. I like riz de veau which I thought I’d never like- but I like small portions.

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Liam Noble

liam noble

Liam Noble is an incredibly inventive pianist and composer, praised most recently by Dave Brubeck for  ‘going so far into the unknown’. I saw Liam on many gigs while I was studying but I didn’t meet him until I graduated – at the time I was taking the odd lesson with various musicians as a way of continuing my study. I had a great time with Liam talking about many interesting things, approaches to playing music, how to think about music and the jazz scene – he also introduced me to Henry Threadgill…

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Rory Simmons

fringemagnetic

Rory Simmons runs Fringe Magnetic, plays regularly for Jamie Cullum and is also a member of the Loop Collective.

We’re two of many musicians living on South East London and hope to collaborate on a project next year, celebrating new music and improvisation.

 

Could Catford be the next ‘place to be’ for Jazz in London?

Catford spawned the career of Billy Jenkins I think. That’s a good accolade for any suburb of south east london. Apart from that, we have a giant plastic cat looming over our shopping centre, this architectural triumph is a constant inspiration to my music.

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Iain Ballamy

iain ballamy

I first heard Iain on a recording of Loose Tubes when I was a teenager and I think I was about 18 when I had my first lesson with him. I have quite a few memories of Iain playing – here are a couple I’d like to share:

Django Bates was touring with his Quiet Nights band and I went to hear them in Birmingham. They were playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and there was this incredible moment where the voice of Josefine Cronholm merged into the sound of Iain’s tenor and that memory has stayed with me for life (you can hear it on the album too). In fact it inspired me to mimic that effect in my own band Tangent, but blending sax into cello instead.

Another great memory was hearing Iain play with Kenny Werner at the Wigmore Hall. Iain only played a few tunes but it made such a huge impression on me – they called a few tunes on the spot – one of them was Giant Steps… I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone else reinvent that tune so successfully.

To see Iain’s full biography click here

So, to the interview…

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