My Iris tour photos so far…

Here are some fabulous shots by Dannie Price from our album launch at the Pizza Express Jazz Club on Tuesday 17th Jan…

 

And here are some great shots by Bill Shakespeare at The Gallery, De Montfort University in Leicester from 19th January…

Camilla George Interview

camilla

Camilla is a fantastic alto player based in West London. She’s releasing her debut album Isang – pronounced E-S- A-NG (NG as in song) – on Ubuntu Music on Friday 13th January (same as my release date!!) after honing and nurturing her craft by playing with Tomorrow’s Warriors, the Nu Civilisation Orchestra and Jazz Jamaica.

A note on Isang from Camilla’s website:

“Isang is an old Effik/Ibibio word which means journey and symbolises the musical journey that the CGQ have embarked upon. Effik is the language of coastal southeastern Nigerians and is of particular significance as it is where Camilla was born. The album aims to create a fusion of African, Caribbean and American influences. It will include some music inspired by West Africa but performed in the jazz medium such as Mami Wata- a driving blues written to celebrate Mami Wata a West African spirit often taking on the form of a mermaid which is deeply rooted in the ancient tradition and mythology of West Africa.”

I caught up with Camilla this weekend ahead of her ALBUM LAUNCH at Pizza Express Dean Street on Wednesday 11th January 2017.

 

What got you into the saxophone?

I had heard a lot of saxophone when i was growing up as my Dad had an amazing vinyl collection and we used to listen to Sonny Stitt, Jackie Mclean and Cannonball together. I had my first go on a friend’s sax when I was 8 and that was it I was hooked!

 

Does your sax have a name? Mine’s called Shirley…

No! I feel left out now! I’ll have to have a think about a suitable name!

 

You can get back to me on that one then… 😉 Let’s do the saxophone thing…. what’s your set-up?!

I have a 1959 Mark VI Selmer and a Meyer 6 mouthpiece with a ligature that I got ages ago in Italy. I use Vandoren Java reeds strength 3.

 

For those new to your music, who or what has inspired you the most in your career so far?

Probably the music I heard when I was growing up which was a blend of afrobeats, calypso and jazz. Playing with Jazz Jamaica has been a massive inspiration too!

 

What’s your favourite practice accompaniment? Coffee or tea? Smoothie? Wheatgrass?… Vodka?!

You can’t beat a good cup of tea!

 

If you could have absolutely anyone – dead or alive – to a dinner party at your home, who would the invitees be?

Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Coltrane, Kenny Garrett and Nelson Mandela

 

Where can we buy the album?

From Friday 13th Jan the album will be available to buy from all good record stores and online from iTunes and Amazon.

[Her label’s website: http://www.ubuntumanagementgroup.com/music-1/]

Where can we hear you live?

We are launching the album on 11th Jan at Pizza Express [as mentioned above] and then we’re going on tour- catch us at:

22nd Feb The Lescar, Sheffield

23rd Feb Matt and Phred’s, Manchester

25th Feb Zeffirelli’s, Ambleside

26th Feb Seven Arts, Leeds

27th Kenilworth Rugby Club

28th Feb, The Royal Legion, North Wales

1st March, Dempsey’s, Cardiff

2nd March, The Vortex, London

More details at: http://www.camillageorge.com/

 

Thanks Camilla!

Emulsion Kickstarter is Live!

Emulsion V is taking place on January 27th 2017 at the mac birmingham! The festival will be hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenter Fiona Talkington and features a triple bill of the Hans Koller Quartet featuring John O’Gallagher, my new band My Iris and the Emulsion Sinfonietta.

We have just launched a kickstarter to help us commission new works for the Sinfonietta by Hans Koller, Percy Pursglove and Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian. Please take a look at the video and rewards to see if you might want to help us! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1520638818/emulsion-v-new-music-festival-2017

2nd and final day of recording for 4th album

Yesterday we had a fantastic day recording at Curtis Schwartz’s studio, the bulk of the work is done now… Over to myself and Curtis to finish off the mixing etc. We recorded a new work by Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian, written specially for us, supported by the PRSF. Very much looking forward to sharing the results of everyone’s hard work in due course! Here are some nice photos of everyone taken by Curtis. Cevanne came down to the studio for a few hours to have lunch with us and oversee our performance of her piece.

1st day of recording for 4th album!

Yesterday we travelled to the wonderful residential studio of Curtis Schwartz where we recorded material for my 4th album… Another date is in the diary for later in the Summer when we will be recording a commission written for us by Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian (& supported by the PRS for Music Foundation)…

Rehearsals and docu-video with ‘My Iris’

It’s been an exciting week for my new project ‘My Iris’ (with Chris Montague, Ross Stanley & James Maddren)… We’ve just been filming for a docu-video (thanks to Pete Cant, Alex Eisenberg and Alex Killpartrick for directing, filming and sound) and rehearsing for our recording over the summer (album to be released in early 2017).

Video to follow soon so watch this space…!

Dannie Price took some photos of the activities…

My Iris + Pete Cant play at BBC Radio 3 Sounds of Shakespeare

On Saturday Trish took ‘My Iris’ (with Ross Stanley & Chris Montague) plus special guest writer/director Pete Cant to Stratford-Upon-Avon to take part in BBC Radio 3’s Sounds of Shakespeare weekend… Saturday 23rd April 2016 was 400 years since the playwright’s death…You can listen to the broadcast here.

There are two new tunes, written to evoke the multifaceted ‘Iris’ – a Greek mythological character who pops up frequently in the works of Shakespeare. And there was an improvised ‘storm’ featuring Pete.

Here are some photos courtesy of BBC Radio 3:

Joe Wright

Joe Wright is a true individual. Saxophonist is merely the beginning of how one would describe his activities and contribution to music and art! We met through the jazz scene in London and have had many conversations, shared listening experiences (both big ‘Food’ fans) and more recently some playing. Joe is launching his EP ‘Yarrow’ tomorrow night at the Red Door Gallery in Greenwich – an event I look forward to immensely!! – more details below.

Where shall we start Joe? Can you introduce us to your Soprano Sax, what’s his/her name? Any curious features?

Hah! Sadly the poor thing doesn’t have a name, perhaps I ought to have given it one by now. It’s quite an ugly saxophone, with a weird matte gold colour body and shiny gold keys (I’m not a fan). The saxophone also has a silly detachable bell that Borgani put on their saxophones. I came to it on a long search for a soprano I liked. Having tried everything else in the shop I thought I’d give it a go just in case, and I loved the sound and feel of it. I’ve been playing it for years now, and thankfully that strange matte lacquer is starting to wear off.

 

When/how/why did you choose solo soprano for this new EP, Yarrow? When did this musical journey start for you?

Recording my first solo EP was a big learning process, and made me think a lot about my approach to the saxophone. Since releasing it last spring I have been thinking that it would be a good thing to do again, possibly making small recordings on a semi-regular basis. It’s also a lot easier to have an ongoing recording project when you only have yourself to worry about.

I knew I would be staying on a narrow boat for some time as part of a tour in the autumn. Being away from London and my regular collaborators, I thought this would be a good time to focus on a new recording. Choosing the soprano was a practical consideration really, those boats are pretty small!

 

Oooo, a small boat – canal boat? What were you up to? I’m intrigued!

I was on tour with Under Foot, a movement/music show that I worked on last year. We were working in a children’s theatre and a special school in Bath for a couple of weeks and a friend of a friend had kindly lent us his narrow boat as accommodation. The shows were going on during the day, and in the evenings I was at the boat with no internet, dodgy phone signal and nobody to hang out with. It was good to have a project to keep me busy!

 

Is there any music that has particularly influenced or interested you in the creation of this EP (or the path to creating it)?

The EP has largely been created out of the desire to explore the possibilities of my instrument, and become a better improviser.

 I have been attending Eddie Prévost’s workshop for the last few months. I have found the searching nature of the workshop really liberating, and have been greatly inspired by the musicians attending it. The regular workshop concerts at I’klectik, gigs at the Hundred Years Gallery and recordings on Matchless and Earshots! are good places to hear them play. Listening, talking and playing with people at the workshop as made me re-assess a lot of what I think about improvising. I wanted some of this process to be reflected in the music I planned to record that autumn.

Alongside the workshop I have been playing regularly with Tom Taylor and James Opstad in the trio, duck-rabbit. Our music has shifted towards a much more textural aesthetic. I felt that my ability to play quietly with more unpitched material in this group was greatly lacking. Recording in the evenings, isolated and needing to keep volume at a minimum was an ideal limitation for exploring such sounds.

 

Perhaps tell me a bit more about Duck-Rabbit… How did the 3 of you start playing together? Do you set objectives (musical or other) for yourselves or do you let your minds wander and see what you come up with? Any recordings out there?

The group came about by chance, James had invited me to join in with a play he had organised with Tom. We were all getting into playing free improv at the time. That was a couple of years ago now. As soon as we had played, we all agreed that we should continue playing as a group. From then we have been playing every week. Our aim is to be able to improvise with our instruments and electronics, and have a band that could transition between acoustic and electronic worlds within the same improvisation. We had kept the electronic and acoustic sides of the band separate until the beginning of last year. It was too much to try and learn about everything all at once. We have always just played when we’re rehearsing, but we also talk about improvising, go to gigs and listen to music a lot as a group. Much of our development has sprung from this shared experience as well as the playing. We have a few EP’s out now. Part IV of our electronic series Scattered Voices, has just come out, using sounds recorded at a working grain mill. Our first electroacoustic EP, Accretion, is also on our bandcamp, along with some videos from the recording.

 

Who are your heroes (musical or other)?

As someone who came to improv from playing Jazz, many are the usual suspects. John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman come instantly to mind. But I feel really lucky to be living in the UK, with its rich heritage of improvising musicians. John Edwards, for instance, never ceases to amaze me with his musicality, and creative use of his instrument. I really admire the sheer energy and commitment he brings to every gig (or at least the many I have seen), something which I will always aspire to do as a musician.

I have visited many special schools over the last few years. In these visits I have been lucky to work with some of the most energetic, caring and kind people I have ever met. Outside of music, these people have been some of my biggest role models.

 

What would be your definition of “noise”?

That’s a tricky one! I’d probably need some context to give a more meaningful answer.

As a saxophonist I am interested in ‘noises’ which are outside of the expected sound-pallete of my instrument. This could be outside of my own expectations too. ‘Noisy’ sounds in music, or sounds which defy usual musical expectations often force me to hear music differently, exciting the visual imagination and heightening a sense of what’s happening in the moment. At least, that’s what happens when things go well. If I’m trying to avoid emphasising pitch over the course of an improvisation, I often also think of ‘noisiness’ as a measure of how unpitched a sound might be.

 

Have there been any pivotal moments in your life (meeting people, decisions, anything really) that have led to where you are/what you do today?

That’s a tough one to answer really. I still do quite a range of things, but I wouldn’t say my own work comes as the result of a handful of moments. Lots of small things have a small impact which accumulate over time. I’ve always wanted to try and find my own way to play, and to feel like I’m really improvising. It’s not something I feel I’ve managed yet but I’m very slowly getting closer. It’s hard to pin down individual moments, but my lessons with Iain Ballamy, James Allsopp and Julian Siegel, my time working with Oily Cart and duck-rabbit, and attending Eddie Prévost’s workshops have all been really significant in making me think differently about what I do.

 

I know you are a keen inventor and adapter of instruments… Last time we saw each you were playing a curtain pole! How’s all that going?!

I don’t really know yet. I had gotten into a bit of a rut with my saxophone playing (again!), and decided to make things that would fit my mouthpiece but force me to play differently. The curtain pole was just the first of many monstrosities. I have since made some more out of various plumbing materials from the local DIY shop, in various shapes and sizes. I’m trying to see if I can intuitively learn a bit more about where instabilities come from with reed instruments, and perhaps bring some of that back to the saxophone. Though I have to admit it was also a nice excuse to play with the new drill I had bought.

 

Now… jazz hats – would you wear one?

Emm, no. I think you have to be quite a special person to pull of a jazz hat. Perhaps one day I’ll develop the visual panache of Joe Lovano, but I doubt it.

 

It’s been wonderful to chat Joe… thanks so much for your time!

Now, if you’re free tomorrow night (21st January 2016) this is where you should be in time for 8.30pm:

YarrowLaunch

Red Door Gallery, 10 Turnpin Lane, Greenwich SE10 9JA

Featuring: Joe Wright Solo + Dan Peter Sundland Solo

 

Joe has a fantastic page on his website dedicated to ‘Yarrow’ with loads of fascinating info about the music and his processes: http://www.joewrightmusic.co.uk/Yarrow.html

Here is bandcamp where you can obtain this fabulous music: https://joewrightmusic.bandcamp.com/album/yarrow

And here are a few more websites about Joe’s other projects:

duck-rabbit: www.duck-rabbit.co.uk

Scattered Voices IV: https://duck-rabbit.bandcamp.com/album/scattered-voices-part-iv

Accretion: https://duck-rabbit.bandcamp.com/album/accretion

Under Foot: http://www.aboutnowish.com

An important article from Iran’s Blogfather

A friend of mine, Alex Fiennes, recently brought this Guardian article to my attention, written by Hossein Derakhshan. In support of his view of social media, I am sharing it here, on my own website, accompanied with a hyperlink to his blog. One of my favourite sentences in his piece is this:

“Ironically enough, states that cooperate with Facebook and Twitter know much more about their citizens than those, like Iran, where the state has a tight grip on the internet but does not have legal access to social media companies.”