Here is the first in our brand new podcast series, this month curated by Ben Cottrell. Here he chats with fellow Efpi co-founder Sam Andreae about Silence Blossoms, a great band that Sam formed in Sweden two years ago and who are preparing to play their first ever UK gigs next month to mark the release of a collection of live recordings from around Sweden (released November 5th on Efpi Records, in collaboration with the Ljup label in Sweden).
In the podcast you’ll hear music that you won’t be able to hear online anywhere else, as the tracks played will only be available on old-school audio cassette… Sam also talks about the formation of the band and the compositional process, previews Silence Blossoms’ upcoming UK gigs (details below) as well as giving an idea of what to expect from future podcast editions – this whole thing was his idea!
If you like what you hear, you can catch Silence Blossoms and purchase the live collection in concert (alongside the awesome Alice Zawadzki for both dates) in the UK in November:
18th November – The Forge, Camden (London Jazz Festival) more info/tickets here
20th November – Sandbar, Manchester (Freedom Principle) more info/tickets here
We’re really pleased to announce a new series of podcasts from Efpi Records, the first of which is online TODAY! Podcasts will be uploaded on the 1st of every month, and will be curated by each of team Efpi (Sam Andreae, Ben Cottrell and Anton Hunter) in turn – for October we have a podcast by Ben, November will be Anton and the Christmas extravaganza will be provided by Sam.
The content of the podcasts will be really varied from month to month – sometimes they will take the form of conversations with musicians within the Efpi family and beyond, others will be snippets of unreleased music exclusive to these podcasts, or they might be exclusive commissions or collaborations between artists that we think would fit together well. You’ll just have to listen to find out…
You’ll be able to listen to the podcasts on our website and also subscribe through iTunes (link to follow). We hope you enjoy listening to them, please do let us know what you think by dropping us an email on email@example.com or getting in touch via twitter or facebook
Its that time of year again – back to school, heating is going back on and the Christmas biscuits are in the shops… But never fear because to ease the mourning for the loss of summer we have a ridiculously exciting Freedom Principle Autumn season for you! For the first time, every gig is a double bill so there’ll be twice the music – but all for the same price of £3. Don’t forget that 100% of that £3 goes straight to the musicians, so please continue to support them by coming along to Sandbar for great music and great beer!
Perhaps the headline-grabbing gig is the Mercury Prize nominated and Gilles Peterson and Jez Nelson championed Roller Trio, appearing on 6th November alongside a new electric project from Beats & Pieces saxophonist Ben Watte, but we’re equally excited about a meeting of Mancunian guitar heroes Mike Walker and Stuart McCallum on 16th October and a journey into the unknown on 2nd October with improvised sets from vibraphonist Corey Mwamba‘s trio with Dave Kane and Joshua Blackmore, and Trio VD and Acoustic Ladyland’s Chris Sharkey. The programme is completed by gigs from French-born guitarist Hugo Corbin and his trio alongside The Horizon Experiment, a brand new band led by drummer and multi-instrumentalist Jim Molyneux, on 25th September; a return for Freedom Principle favourite Alice Zawadzki alongside Stockholm-based Silence Blossoms (led by Efpi’s Sam Andreae) on their first set of UK gigs on 20th November; and a Christmas extravaganza on 4th December from Freedom Principle’s very own Anton Hunter and his trio alongside the Madwort Sax Quartet from London, formed by Tom Ward and featuring Led Bib’s Chris Williams.
Full line up below along with some audio and visual delights to whet your appetite:
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.
Here’s a little vid from one of our recent gigs in Helsinki, seems the summer arrived when it should in Finland at least…..
We were there last month recording for our new album planned for release later in the year, the sessions were great fun and we put down a lot of tracks. Big thanks to David and Eero, and also Joonas, our fantastic recording engineer. Here’s a special little something for you guys too ;-)
There’s some amazing gigs happening in the UK over the next few weeks featuring Efpi musicians and/or some of our very good friends… Here’s just a selection, in vaguely chronological order:
LET SPIN – quartet led by guitarist Moss Freed that features Beats & Pieces’ Finlay Panter on drums, Acoustic Ladyland’s Ruth Goller on bass, and Led Bib’s Chris Williams on saxophone. UK tour runs until June 14th visiting Manchester tomorrow (Friday 8th), then Oxford and London next week – click for more info
MATCH & FUSE – organised by the ever inventive and industrious WorldService Project, this is a FREE festival in and around the Vortex Jazz Club in London that brings together a whole load of awesome bands from all over Europe, notably including Trio VD and Led Bib. The festival runs over 15th and 16th June – if we lived in London we know where we’d be that weekend… Check out the teaser video below for an idea of what’s to come.
FREEDOM PRINCIPLE – Efpi’s twice-monthly gig in Sandbar, Manchester hosts the awesome Ma (led by saxophonist Tom Challenger) on June 19th. Members of London’s Loop Collective, the band are on a Jazz Services supported tour supporting their debut album ‘The Last’, and this is one gig you don’t want to miss… See below for the reason why.
For the last gig before our summer break, we’ve got Manchester’s Johnny Hunter Group on 3rd July. The group features Beats & Pieces members Ben Watte on saxophone and Graham South on trumpet, as well as Stewart Wilson on bass who appears on Claire James Trio’s Lines EP.
£3 entry, all of which goes to the musicians, and you even get a discount at the bar for your troubles – everyone’s a winner!
MANCHESTER JAZZ FESTIVAL – a bit further in advance, but still very much worth mentioning! There’ll be a whole load of amazing music all over the city for 10 days in July (13-21) with highlights including the Stan Sulzmann Big Band, John Surman and Sons of Kemet – and those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head… Appearances by Efpi artists include our very own Anton Hunter, who will be debuting his new trio (supporting Sons of Kemet, Thursday 19th); Beats & Pieces saxophonist Sam Healey co-leads a brand new quintet (Tuesday 17th); and Beats & Pieces director Ben Cottrell will be playing saxophone with the incredible Alice Zawadzki and her band at Matt & Phred’s on the festival’s opening night (Friday 13th).
Freedom Principle is currently taking an Easter break to allow us to digest both the vast amounts of chocolate we’ve had recently and the amazing music we’ve hosted at Sandbar since January. But fear not – we’ve been hard at work programming some more incredible artists to take us through until the heady days of Summer, and we think we’ve come up trumps… Full details are over on the Freedom Principle page, but dates in brief are below.
We’re particularly looking forward to June when we’re delighted to be bringing two incredible London based bands up to Manchester, both led by saxophonists – on June 5th we’ve got Cath Roberts Quadraceratops and on June 19th we’ve got Tom Challenger’s Ma as part of their UK tour promoting their fantastic album, ‘The Last’. Check out music by both groups here:
This feast of music will only cost you £3 entry, 100% of which goes straight to the artist – during the Spring season we had some amazing nights with really great audiences, so thanks a lot for that and please continue to support creative live music in Manchester! If you want a reminder about each of the gigs you can join our mailing list by clicking here (don’t forget to tick the Freedom Principle box) or follow us on twitter. See you there…
1st May – Gambol
15th May – No Good Beatniks
5th June – Cath Roberts’ Quadraceratops
19th June – Ma
3rd July – Johnny Hunter Group
Here at Efpi towers we’re all very proud to announce the release of Big Ideas, the eagerly anticipated debut album from our flagship ensemble, Beats & Pieces Big Band. Financed by the prize money won when they were named winners of the European Young Artists’ Jazz Award in Burghausen, Germany last Spring, the album is the culmination of the band’s efforts since their first ever gig at the Manchester Jazz Festival in 2008.
The band launched the album over the past couple of weeks with special launch shows in Manchester and London – highlights from the Manchester show at the RNCM were broadcast on BBC Jazz on 3 and the sold out gig at Ronnie Scott’s in London received glowing 5 star reviews in both The Guardian and The Telegraph, as well as heavy praise from Jazzwise magazine. The video below has some footage from the Ronnie’s gig, as well as a quick chat with bandleader Ben Cottrell about the band’s history and the new album and some post-gig reaction from some enthusiastic audience members.
The album is released on 12th March 2012, and available via the Efpi online shop or other online retailers such as Amazon.
We’re pleased to announce that Efpi’s own Anton Hunter is taking part in a residency all this week at the Band On The Wall, led by award-winning folk band The Unthanks. The aim of the week is to create an evening’s worth of music by collaborating with the band and with the other 11 musicians selected to take part. The fruit of their labours will be on Friday 10th from 7:30pm.
You can keep up to date with what Anton thinks at his website. And up to date with what everyone else thinks as well at this website (content will be uploaded throughout the week, nothing on there at time of posting).
For even more links to Efpi; Clive Hunte, who is playing bass all week, actually filmed some of the Beats & Pieces Big Band live DVD too. So there.