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!
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!
The Claire James Trio recently performed at a Proms Plus event at the Royal Albert Hall during the annual Proms season, and the live recording of the title track from their debut EP ‘Lines‘ was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 last week – you’ve got until tomorrow evening (Wednesday 3rd) to listen online via BBC iPlayer or take a listen to it below.
Its been a busy couple of weeks for the trio – as well as the recording of ‘Lines’ and the Proms Plus performance, they also played at the Manchester Jazz Festival last week. There’s some great photos of the gig by Phil Portus up on flickr, there’s one below and check the rest out here.
And don’t forget to listen/download ‘Lines‘ if you haven’t already…
Lines, the brand new EP from the Claire James Trio, is now available from the Efpi online shop! Take a listen here…
You can download the 4 track EP for £3 or order the CD version for £5 (+£1 p&p) which also includes the download for immediate gratification. Don’t forget the trio are also performing a free gig at the Manchester Jazz Festival TODAY – 3pm in the festival pavilion in Albert Square, more details here. Come along and celebrate the release with the guys, and be amongst the first to get your hands on the CD.
All of us at Efpi are really excited about this collection of music, let us know what you think!
Efpi Records is delighted to present ‘Lines‘, the debut EP by the Claire James Trio – an exciting young piano trio led by Claire alongside Stewart Wilson on bass and Jim Molyneux on drums.
The trio brings together three musicians who take the fluent techniques and subtleties of sound gained from their classical training and apply them brilliantly to a contemporary jazz setting. As a pianist and composer Claire is influenced by British greats such as John Taylor and Nikki Iles as well as the rhythmic groove of Zoe Rahman, leading to an ensemble sound that is versatile and dynamic whilst continually evolving.
‘Lines’ features four of Claire’s original compositions and will be released on Monday 25th July 2011, available as a handmade CD and download through the Efpi online shop. You’ll also be able to purchase the CD at their gig at the Manchester Jazz Festival on the same day – they perform at 3pm in the Festival Pavilion in Albert Square, entry is free (more details here).
To whet your appetite for the release of ‘Lines’, check out the trio’s version of Nick Drake’s ‘Three Hours’ below (recorded in the same session) and check back on Monday to be amongst the first to hear the full EP!