Robert Mitchell is one-of-a-kind. I normally write a short introduction for these interviews but there is no need, just take in these incredible responses to my questions… [above, Robert’s album releases to date]
What is your earliest memory of the piano Robert?
There was an old one in the family home – which was already there when my folks moved in. The remnant of a time when they were in many houses (before record players, cassette decks etc). I would mess around on it before I was asked about taking lessons….
What was your learning environment like as a child?
I had a teacher locally (as in – one minute away from where we lived!). Milada Robertson. A fantastic teacher – who had tons of pupils and who taught into her 90s. My father used to sing – eventually professionally – and had lessons with her before I was born so – I was lucky to have music in the family and a route to learning that was physically closer than either my primary or junior schools!!
Freddie Gavita is a fabulous trumpeter and we go back quite a few years now… he appeared on my first record Tangent and at Emulsion III & IV. He’s just about to bring out his debut record Transient so I thought I’d get him to answer a few questions for my blog…
This year it has been a pleasure to work with composer-vocalist-harper Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian. I commissioned her, with support from the PRSF, to write a piece for My Iris & the Emulsion Sinfonietta, to which I wrote a response piece. Both works – Cevanne’s Muted Lines & my Tap Dance (for Baby Dodds) – both appear on my latest album and received their large-scale premieres at Emulsion V in January, broadcast by BBC Radio 3’s Hear & Now and available to listen to on iplayer until early April.
The whole process has been extremely rewarding and so I have invited Cevanne to do an interview for my blog…
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.
[This interview was originally from January 2017 but some new questions have been added throughout the text in June 2017, as well as questions relevant to future activities at the end.]
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.
Joe Cutler is a fantastic, versatile composer, clearly a really open-minded kinda guy! He is currently Head of Composition at Birmingham Conservatoire and is a founding member of NOSZFERATU, a contemporary music collective with Dave Price, Finn Peters and Ivo De Greef. For his full biog, have a look at his website: http://www.joecutler.com/
I met Joe very recently after Cheltenham Music Festival commissioned him to write a piece for the Emulsion Sinfonietta, who are performing at the festival with Food (Iain Ballamy & Thomas Stronen) on July 4th – gig details here: http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/music/whats-on/2015/emulsion-sinfonietta/ We also have some lovely mutual friends in the forms of Percy Pursglove and Hans Koller!
Joe has taken a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer a few of my questions…
So for this interview I get chatting to saxophonist Tom Challenger, a fine Yorkshireman living in the heart of South East London down the road (on the 185 bus) from me… I first met/heard Tom when he was studying at Guildhall, playing with all the people I was first getting to know when I moved to London.
Mark Lockheart is a beautiful tenor player, always involved in highly creative projects, be they with Kenny Wheeler, Django Bates or his own fine ensembles. I have known Mark’s playing ever since I was a teenager, first getting into jazz and listening to Loose Tubes… Here I chat to him about all things musical…
Huw Warren is a much cherished musician amongst the great British jazz players of his generation and it is a joy to see him receiving the ultimate recognition, an ECM release. His deeply considered piano playing, together with saxophonist Iain Ballamy and vocalist June Tabor make the exquisite Quercus… Here is a link to the ECM website: http://player.ecmrecords.com/quercus