Friends of Efpi will already know about drummer Johnny Hunter. He features in his brother Anton’s trio, as well as having performed at our Freedom Principle nights with several different groups over the years. In 2012, he brought together this quartet to further explore his experiments with the freedoms and challenges presented by the absence of a harmony instrument. Johnny’s compositions for the group draw on his long-standing interest in the piano-less groups of Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson, through to the more recent ensembles of Dave Douglas, John Zorn and Jim Black – also a massive influence on Johnny’s drumming. The quartet have quickly established themselves as a live draw across the North of England, regularly appearing at Matt & Phred’s in Manchester in particular, with this constant schedule of live gigs culminating in the summer of 2013 with the recording of the group’s debut EP Appropriations, which we are proud to announce will be released on Efpi Records on 16th December 2013.
The members of the quartet were hand picked by Johnny for their individual musical voices, which he ingeniously combines to create an intensely tight group dynamic without ever compromising the freedom of each voice. As Johnny explains: “Graham approaches the group more like Ornette Coleman or Don Cherry might whereas Ben is a lot more melodic, although they often switch roles. Stewart’s playing has such drive and in my opinion is a large part of the group’s energy.” All four of the quartet are highly active in the thriving Manchester jazz scene, with Graham and Ben key members of Efpi stablemates Beats & Pieces Big Band, and Johnny and Stewart key fixtures of a number of bands – Johnny in particular regularly performing in Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield with bands such as Blind Monk Trio, Marley Chingus, Engine Room Favourites or his own reggae/ska band Skamel.
Have a listen to the EP and pre-order here, or come along to the launch gig this Tuesday, 10th December at the Creative Space Jazz Club in Manchester to pick up a copy in a person.
Graham South (trumpet), Ben Watte (tenor saxophone), Stewart Wilson (bass), Johnny Hunter (drums)
Posted: December 9th, 2013 | Author: Anton | Filed under: Johnny Hunter Quartet, Releases | Tags: appropriations, ben watte, graham south, johnny hunter, johnny hunter quartet, stewart wilson | No Comments »
Tuesday 10th December @ The Slug and Lettuce, Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 6QZ
Sunday 23rd February @ Number 39 Hopstar Brewery Tap, 39 Bridge Street, Darwen, Lancashire, BB3 2AA
Tuesday 25th February @ ParrJazz, Studio 2, 33-45 Parr Street, Liverpool, L1 4JN
Wednesday 26th February @ Lescar, Sharrowvale Road, Sheffield, S11 8ZF
Sunday 2nd March @ Splinter at The Bridge Hotel, Castle Garth, Newcastle NE1 1RQ
Here is the stunning new video from Silence Blossoms. Created by the ever-wonderful Angela Guyton and shot on location at the group’s recording sessions last year in deepest Derbyshire.
Lady White from Silence Blossoms on Vimeo.
The single (Lady White/Invisible Mender) is officially out on Monday, but you can enjoy it here now, or catch them on tour this week and next in the UK and Sweden.
October 4th – Fusebox, Leeds (with Chris Sharkey)
October 5th – St Margarets Church, Manchester (hosted by David Birchall)
October 6th – The Music Exchange, Nottingham (noon)
October 6th – One Note Sunday, Derby (afternoon) (hosted by Corey Mwamba)
October 7th – Boat-ting, London (improv set without Gus)
October 10th – Fylkingen, Stockholm (with Lisa Ullén)
October 15th – Jazz i Stan, Stockholm Jazz Festival
Posted: October 1st, 2013 | Author: Anton | Filed under: Silence Blossoms | No Comments »
We are very pleased to be able to announce that on Monday 5th August, we will have a brand new addition to the Efpi family in the form of the Paradox Ensemble, a nonet led by trumpeter Nick Walters. You may well have already heard his dulcet tones that gracing the likes of 'three' and 'yafw' by the Beats & Pieces Big Band, and he can be seen taking over the festival circuit with the Riot Jazz Brass Band, who so far this summer have been at Glastonbury, WOMAD and Soundwave in Croatia to name but a few. If you're really clued up, you might have noticed his electronic-trickery skills being put to good use remixing bands like Skamel, Caulbearers, or indeed this Beats & Pieces track.
So, as busy as Nick is it may be surprising to learn this is his first outing as an out-and-out leader. But we're pleased to report it's more than worth the wait…
Bringing together many strands of his musical experience, Nick has taken inspiration from jazz composers such as Gil Evans, electronic artists such as Aphex Twin, and from artists who blur the lines between the two, such as Jaga Jazzist and Tortoise. The result is an enthralling blend of sounds, both acoustic and electric that manages to be complex and interesting whilst not letting go of it's danceability. Or, as Manchester Jazz Festival put it ahead of the group's live debut, “a coherent synthesis of electronics, live effects and samples but retaining an earthy groove.”
You can catch that debut gig this weekend, Saturday 3rd August at the Manchester Jazz Festival in the Festival Teepee at 5pm. We'd strongly recommend getting there early as the gigs have been selling out, or even better, buy an advance ticket for the whole afternoon! Either ways, all the information you need is right here.
Check back on Monday to buy the EP (or turn up to the gig of course!), but in the meantime, enjoy this track taken from our latest Efpi sampler.
Paradox Ensemble – Entanglement
Nick Walters – trumpet & electronics
Tom Harrison – alto sax
Ed Cawthorne – tenor sax, bass clarinet, vibraphone
Tim Cox – trombone
Ben Kelly – sousaphone
Aidan Shepherd – accordion
Rebecca Nash – piano, keyboards
Paul Michael – bass
Yussef Dayes – drums
Posted: August 1st, 2013 | Author: Anton | Filed under: Paradox Ensemble | Tags: entanglement, manchester jazz festival, nick walters, paradox ensemble | Comments Off
This month’s podcast features some live recordings from our Freedom Principle series at Sandbar, alongside a look ahead to what’s in store for us in new venues.
1. Qrt 2 by Anton Hunter, feat. Sam Andreae (alto sax), Will Lenton (tenor sax), Simon Prince (tenor sax), Ben Cottrell (baritone sax)
2. Arms 1 by A Greater Horror; Rodrigo Constanzo (keys), Mauricio Pauly (bass) & Alex Tod (drums)
3. Relentless by WorldService Project; Dave Morecroft (keys), Raph Clarkson (trombone), Tim Ower (saxes), Liam Waugh (drums), Conor Chaplin (bass)
4. #3 by Bagpipes For Pluto; Francesco Bigoni (tenor sax, clarinet), Markus Pesonen (guitar), Adam Pultz Melbye (double bass), Håkon Berre (drums)
Future Freedom Principle dates will all be announced in due course, including something very exciting in July, but put these in your diaries NOW…
Tues 16th April – WorldService Project @ Dulcimer, Chorlton
Tues 7th May – Aaron Diaz Ensemble @ tbc
Weds 19th June – Bagpipes For Pluto @ tbc
That’s all for this month, see you next time!
Posted: April 1st, 2013 | Author: Anton | Filed under: podcast | No Comments »
For the third podcast in our monthly series, I’ve interviewed Paddy Baxter, Huw Wahl and Insa Longhorst (aka Castles Built In Sand collective) about their new film ‘Helpyourself Manchester’. Their film is about a group of DIY gig promoters who started putting on gigs in Manchester in the early 2000′s, and aims to shine a light on the great work they did, and how it’s influenced the scene today.
We chat a bit about it all and play some of the tracks featured in the film.
1. Our Beautiful Ridiculous Plan – ‘Bleaklow’ (Dave Birchall – guitar, Olie Brice – double bass)
2. Enablers – ‘Career-Minded Individual’ enablerssf.com
3. Mcwatt – All FM live recording (Sarah McWatt – flute, Seth Bennett – double bass)
4. The Unit Ama – ‘M’
5. Burnst – Live recording from Albert Road house-gig (fade out due to time constraints and it being a 30 min track…) burnst.bandcamp.com
Hope you enjoy it!
Posted: December 1st, 2012 | Author: Anton | Filed under: podcast, Uncategorized | No Comments »
Once again, the Manchester Jazz Festival is upon us, we’ll be there most of the week indulging in posh burgers, foreign lager and loads of jazz. If you’re finding the programme a bit daunting, allow us to talk you through the week, with our Top Ten Gigs You Shouldn’t Miss. In chronological order of course, so no-one’s offended. I’ve also assumed that Stan Sulzmann and John Surman are already on your lists so you don’t need to be told twice…
1. Alice Zawadzki – Fri 13th 10pm – Matt & Phreds. Alice is a vocalist many of you will know, she’s a frequent feature of our Freedom Principle nights, and always brings some beautiful music with her. This gig she’s expanded her band from a quintet to sextet with the addition of our very own Ben Cottrell on tenor saxophone. Expect a wide range of material from all round the world, and from Alice herself.
2. A Greater Horror – Sat 14th 3pm – Festival Pavillion. A relatively new group on the Manchester scene, A Greater Horror have nevertheless found the time to play not once but twice for Freedom Principle at Sandbar. Bringing years of electronic experimentation into a piano trio format, combined with a healthy obsession with pushing boundaries wherever possible, this makes for an exciting dynamic gig. They’ll be launching their debut self-released EP at this gig too.
3. Roller Trio – Mon 16th 11:45am – Festival Pavillion. Winners of last year’s Peter Whittingham Jazz Award, this young sax/guitar/drums trio from Leeds are making some big waves nationally already. Their debut album is out in August on F-ire Presents and is sure to showcase their own brand of improv-meets-jazz-meets-electronics-meets-rock. They’ll be on the radio soon too, as later on in the evening they’re playing at a live recording hosted by Jazz on 3 and BBC Introducing.
4. HSQ + 2 Mon 16th 1pm - St. Ann’s Church. Saxophone quartet HSQ have a wide palette of sound already; between the four of them they play bass sax all the way up to soprano, plus flute and clarinet from time to time. For this gig they’re expanding further by adding harpist Rachel Gladwin and percussionist Andy Hay, and drawing on influences from classical and British roots music as well as jazz as you’d expect. A unique gig, that’s for sure, name us any other time you’ve seen a harp and bass sax play together on a jazz gig? No? Thought not…
5. Phil Meadows Group – Tues 17th 11:45am – Festival Pavillion. A sax player that will be known to many of you, originally from Bolton, this is his brand new quintet formed on arrival in that-there-London. Expect some fantastic playing from all the band, including the much-talked-about Laura Jurd on trumpet, all framed within some fresh compositions, while still respecting the jazz tradition. (And then stick around for Steve Hawkins/Sam Healey quintet for some hard-hitting be-bop and beyond. Those familiar with Sam’s blazing solos in Beats & Pieces will know not to miss this.)
6. Noose – Weds 18th 11:45am – Festival Pavillion. We first happened upon Noose when Beats & Pieces were playing on the same bill as them at last year’s Mostly Jazz festival in Birmingham. Made up of an unusual line-up of vocals, drums, piano and lead by tenor saxophonist Luis Mather, they create a really intriguing soundworld; blendinga range of influences including “mathematical concepts such as fractal geometry.” All we know is they’ve blown us away each time we’ve seen them, and I suspect they’ll do it again
7. Kyran Matthews Quartet – Weds 18th 3pm – Festival Pavillion. Another rising star from the RNCM, you might have seen Kyran once or twice covering a sax chair in the Beats & Pieces Big Band, he’s definitely one to look out for, and this gig should be a great showcase. Joined by Beats & Pieces tenor man Ben Watte, this “chordless” quartet have a strong interest in Scandinavian jazz, which comes through in their originals, here played alongside some arrangements of music by Julian Arguelles and others.
8. Sons of Kemet/Anton Hunter Trio – Thurs 19th 8pm – Band on the Wall. Obviously there’s a vested interest here, with the debut of Anton Hunter’s brand new trio (rehearsals are sounding great so far, watch this space for some footage soon), but the main event is exciting enough to warrant inclusion on this list. Led by saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, and completed by Oren Marshall on tuba (he’s phenomenal, to be seen to be believed) with Seb Roachford AND Tom Skinner on drums. Heavy doesn’t even come close. There aren’t many places you can hear music like this, as their album’s not even out yet, so get yourself to Band on the Wall! (and come early because Anton starts at 8pm sharp…)
9. Unfurl + Matt Owens Ensemble – Fri 20th 2:15pm – Festival Pavillion. An intriguing double-bill featuring two composers previously selected for the MJF Originals strand, both drawing musics from around the world into an improvisational setting. Olivia Moore’s Unfurl project has long been associated with Indian music, and blending Egyptian percussion into the mix alongside stalwarts of the Manchester jazz scene Gavin Barras and Jim Faulkner. Matt Owens looks more west than east, and brings influences from Latin America (he’s been a prominent force on this scene in Manchester) and New Orleans, alongside classical minimalism. A similarly heavyweight band ensures this’ll be a double-bill not to miss.
10. Neil Yates’ Five Countries Trio – Sat 21st 12:30pm – Festival Pavillion. We’ve been waiting for this album to be released since we heard this trumpet/guitar/percussion trio make it’s debut at MJF 2007. And it’s not disappointed. Neil continues his journey through folk music that he started with the excellent “New Origins” ‘celtic-jazz’ album. This trio presents a more reflective mood, with greater space, and casting the net wider, with eastern European folk being thrown into the mix thanks to guitarist Zsolte Bende’s presence.
And don’t forget to dance the night away on the closing night with Hackney Colliery Band at the Festival Pavillion, and/or Dub Jazz Soundsystem at Matt & Phred’s.
Should be another great year! Let us know your favourites in the comments below, or find us on Twitter, and keep your eyes peeled for some Efpi Sampler CDs. See you out there!
Posted: July 10th, 2012 | Author: Anton | Filed under: General news, Misc, Uncategorized | No Comments »
Happy New Year Efpi fans!
It’s been a pretty big year of firsts for us, and as is traditional at this point, we at Efpi Towers thought we’d take stock of last year. And probably have a little sneaky peek at what’s in store in 2012 while we’re at it.
The big success story has been Beats & Pieces Big Band, their own list of firsts are more than enough to be going on with. They started the year with a debut gig at Ronnie Scott’s in London in January, supported Chick Corea and Gary Burton as part of their prize for winning the Burghausen European Young Jazz Award in March, recorded their debut live DVD at Manchester’s Band On The Wall in June, and in November they fitted in both a headline gig at the London Jazz Festival and the recording of their debut album with legendary producer Tony Platt. You can read more about Ben’s take on everything over at the band’s website.
Not wanting to be left behind, the rest of our artists have been busy too! Way back in February we released our first full-length album, ‘Walking Walking Falling’ by HAQ, which was supported by our first ever Jazz Services tour and some good reviews. The Jazz Mann blog said the album “is a fine record in it’s own right with HAQ demonstrating a distinctive sound of their own” while Time Out said “they work through evolving textural washes and noir-ish folk moods through to full on skronk. Well worth a look.”
July saw the release of the debut recording by pianist Claire James and her trio Jim Molyneux (drums) and Stewart Wilson (bass). Coupled with a successful gig at the Manchester Jazz Festival the EP ‘Lines’ also won praise from the Jazz Mann “The EP covers a lot of ground over the course of its four tracks and it is immediately clear that Claire James, in addition to her pianistic skills, is also a composer of considerable promise.” Hot on it’s heels was the debut record from Aarhus-based quartet Pink Fem. It’s an outstanding record if we do say so ourselves, have a listen over at the shop.
Most of the label’s activity was focused on November. Trio Riot led the charge with their first UK tour, incorporating our first label showcase at the London Jazz Festival with HAQ and the Claire James Trio. Sam wrote a post about it with some nice videos and everything, have a read. Not only that but Aaargh! also played in the UK for the first time, and then Switzerland for the first time too.
In amongst all the excitement, HAQ released their first collaboration with Barcelona-based sound artist Tullis Rennie, a remixes EP called ‘In Free Fall‘. Tullis has worked with Efpi before, you’ll have heard his electronic trickery on the Beats & Pieces Big Band remixes EP (which got updated recently with a new track so check it out!)
And we’ll be hitting the ground running in 2012… Trio Riot are back, supporting gaNNets (the improv-y side-project of Guillemots’ front-man Fyfe Dangerfield no less) on some of their UK tour (check listings for details) in January; Beats & Pieces Big Band release their debut full-length album in February with a host of dates around the country; and Silence Blossoms will be recording and releasing material that we can’t wait to hear!
Have a great 2012, hope to see you while we’re out and about!
Posted: January 4th, 2012 | Author: Anton | Filed under: Beats & Pieces, Claire James Trio, General news, Trio Riot | Tags: 2011, 2012, Beats & Pieces, beats & pieces big band, big band, claire james trio, HAQ, trio riot | No Comments »
Our good friend and close collaborator Tullis Rennie (you can hear him on the Beats & Pieces Big Band remixes as well) has totally reinvented three tracks from HAQ’s debut album ‘Walking Walking Falling’ for a download-only EP entitled ‘In Free Fall‘ – listen/buy below or via our online shop. To perfectly compliment the music, there’s also some brand new artwork by Angela Guyton.
Tullis has been mangling sound through his laptop for years, a lot of the results of which can be found on the Concrete Moniker label. Of particular Efpi-related interest is this improv trio with Anton from HAQ, and his newest project The Electronic Exchange, a collaboration with singer Najia Baji, who was recently spotted guesting with the Beats & Pieces Big Band.
In Free Fall
Catch HAQ on tour next week:
Mon 14th November – Coventry
Tues 15th November – London Jazz Festival
Weds 16th November – Manchester
Full details here.
Posted: November 8th, 2011 | Author: Anton | Filed under: HAQ, Releases | Tags: angela guyton, HAQ, in free fall, tullis rennie, walking walking falling | No Comments »
November 2011 is shaping up to be the busiest month in our short but colourful history! Not only will we be locking ourselves away to work on some exciting releases for 2012, but Efpi musicians from home and abroad will also be embarking on an extensive showcase tour all over the country, including two gigs at the London Jazz Festival. Kicking off in Sheffield on the 9th with some free improv from Efpi co-founders Sam Andreae and Anton Hunter, the tour will then see various combinations of HAQ, Trio Riot and the Claire James Trio wind their way across England before ending on November 19th with the final chance to catch the Beats & Pieces Big Band in 2011, the conclusion to an incredible year for the band.
We’re particularly excited to introduce the UK to Trio Riot (pictured above), a sax-sax-drum group formed in Helsinki in 2009, as well as teaming up with The Forge in Camden again for our first ever Efpi showcase gig as part of the London Jazz Festival. Also at the festival, we’re proud that Beats & Pieces have been included in a programming series at Kings Place that throws the spotlight on young artists from across the UK, Europe and USA alongside Robert Glasper, Gretchen Parlato, Nik Bartsch and Rory Simmons’ Fringe Magnetic.
All the dates are below, hope to see you at one or more of them. Click the links for venue info and ticket details!
Wednesday 9th – Sam Andreae/Anton Hunter improv gig @ The Riverside, Sheffield
Thursday 10th – Sam Andreae/Anton Hunter improv gig @ Fuel Cafe Bar, Manchester
Sunday 13th – Trio Riot @ RNCM, Manchester
Monday 14th – Trio Riot & HAQ @ Taylor John’s, Coventry
Tuesday 15th – HAQ, Trio Riot & Claire James Trio @ The Forge, London *London Jazz Festival*
Wednesday 16th – HAQ & Trio Riot @ Matt & Phred’s, Manchester
Thursday 17th – Trio Riot @ Yardbird, Birmingham
Saturday 19th – Beats & Pieces Big Band @ Kings Place, London *London Jazz Festival*
There will also be a brand new Efpi Records Sampler CD available at the gigs, featuring some as-yet-unheard live recordings and a general mix of what we’re up to.
Posted: September 19th, 2011 | Author: Anton | Filed under: Beats & Pieces, Claire James Trio, HAQ, Noise Upstairs, Trio Riot | Tags: Beats & Pieces, beats & pieces big band, claire james trio, HAQ, london jazz festival, november showcase tour, trio riot | No Comments »