LATEST NEWS: As performing life starts to slowly return…

Assuming they don’t get postponed again, I am very excited to be performing with my band 3 times in the coming summer months. Like most others in the musical world we live in I’ve got used to waiting patiently for things to start up again and not get too excited about anything in the future as so many hopes and dreams of life returning to normal have been crushed. The first is on Saturday 26th June at the Fermata Festival in Earl’s Court (London). After that it’s the 3-times-postponed Up Close And Musical festival on Saturday 14th August (the original date for this was supposed to be well over a year ago and so we’re really hoping this can finally happen) which is also in London (near Farringdon) and then NQ Jazz in Manchester on Monday 30th August.

In other news I also have some concerts coming up with my mum Viktoria Mullova, with a new swing trio featuring Lizzie Ball and Nick Fitch, with the Manchester Collective at the BBC Proms, and my dear friends and musical collaborators for many years – the wonderful Sam Lee and Alice Zawadzki. This is of course assuming nothing gets cancelled in the next couple of months – this is the first time I’ve dared updated my website all year as I wanted to wait until it felt reasonably likely things would go ahead as planned. Feel free to head to my Gigs page for more info.

2020 has been a year for recordings

Well this year really didn’t go as anyone thought it would at all. The music world is one of many that has suffered a huge amount by being able to do barely any of the planned concerts and festivals, and I so hope that we will all be able to perform again like we used to before this year. In the meantime however it’s amazing how many recordings got to be made in place of the usual touring, and I’ve been lucky to have made a lot of progress in a new branch of music-making for me which has been engineering and producing. One of the highlights from this year was recording with my dear friend for many years now, the brilliant singer-songwriter Nessi Gomes. We recorded two covers that Nessi released this year as singles, a song in Portuguese called Novo Amanhecer (A New Dawn) and one in Hebrew called Hine Ani (As You Will). With the help of some new recording gear and many hours on Logic I am proud to have helped create these two singles which have already been so well-received.

Front cover final Front cover final

And then more generally I am so happy that my third album as a bandleader Dream Circus was released on Edition Records in June this year, despite the entire album tour getting cancelled. It has had many shining reviews which you can read in the reviews section below. Also the album my mum and I recorded Music We Love was recorded right at the start of the year and came out in September. And finally I am still so proud of the 5-track EP The Light That Shines which Patchwork Jazz Orchestra recorded in total isolation during the first national lockdown in the spring. So despite almost all of our gigs being cancelled we have all managed to still create and release music, and I am so grateful for that.

Front cover final Front cover final Front cover final

“Music We Love” with Viktoria Mullova out Sep 25th

During this year of few live performances but enough recording projects to make up for it, my mum Viktoria and I are really happy to announce that our duo album Music We Love is being released later this month on Friday 25th September on Onyx Classics. The album contains a broad selection of music from many different cultures that we’ve arranged for violin and bass, and we recorded it in back in January when life felt very different, in the very capable hands of Robin Hawkins (Compton Audio) who recorded and mixed the album. Also thanks to the wonderful Aga Tomaszek (whose work is everywhere on this website) for the wonderful photo of us used in the artwork.

We’re so looking forward to being able to share this album with you all. Earlier this week a single from the album “Spring Fly” (the theme from an Estonian cartoon) has been released as a sneak preview on Spotify. Have a listen!

In the meantime I’m very happy that my own album Dream Circus is still getting such praise in reviews all over Europe. See the post below for some highlights, and do have a listen to the album if you haven’t yet. At the moment (fingers crossed – nothing seems to be certain these days) my band is due to perform our first actual real concert to an audience since January on Friday 2nd October at the Two Moors Festival in Somerset. Come along if you’re nearby, or else watch this space as very slowly the music scene starts to rebuild itself…

Praise for ‘Dream Circus’

Thank you to everyone who has reviewed the album so far. Click on the links below to read the full review…

“Dream Circus is a poetic, romantic and rhythmic work… Edition Records once again demonstrates beautiful European diversity in the world of jazz today… Yet another ‘Indispensable’ rating that the editors of Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move will attribute to ‘Dream Circus’ for the quality of composition and performance, and the cinematic atmosphere intervening at times with welcome writing tricks…”
Thierry Docmac, Paris-Move (FRANCE) ★★★★★

“My album of the year so far. Cleverly written and played, but also beautiful, musical and although “classically” inflected in places, definitely jazz: distinctly modern but with mainstream and lyrical roots. This third outing by London-based double bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado confirms a new and substantial British ensemble composing voice, joining the tradition of Kenny Wheeler, Mike Gibbs and Issie Barratt.”
Chris Kilsby, Bebop Spoken Here (UK)

“The writing, the playing and the recording are of such high quality that once you’ve put the record on, you need a very good reason to take it off. This is modern jazz with a powerful imagination and a sense of variety that never compromises its integrity. It’s a music with roots in hard bop but a strong commitment to melody.”
Richard Williams, Blue Moment (UK)

“This studio recording has the soul and spontaneity of a live performance – the musicians seem to play with total freedom. But that apparent freedom is in fact the composer’s trademark and living proof of his creative mastery… The warm expressivity of Misha’s melodic bass is a perfect match for the sparkling brass instruments, crowned by a pianist whose agile hands could be acrobats in a dizzying trapeze act.”
Jean-Michel Schlosser, Couleurs Jazz (FRANCE)

“The band of former fellow students, with whom he is now presenting his third album, has been in existence for four years – a sextet that often sounds larger due to the skilled use of three wind instruments.”
Berthold Klostermann, Fono Forum (GERMANY) ★★★★★ (music) / ★★★★ ½ (sound)

“Wallow [yourselves] in the harmony of the solos of trumpeter James Davison, alto saxophonist Matthew Herd, tenor saxophonist Sam Rapley or pianist and Hammond organist Liam Dunachie, the immensely imaginative interplay of Misha Mullov-Abbado, Dunachie and the enjoyable drummer Scott Chapman’s rhythm section with the horn section and enjoy the Dream Circus a second, third, fourth or fifth time.”
Werner Stiefele, Rondo Magazine (GERMANY) ★★★★

“The new generation of British jazz is storming into the spotlight… [Mullov-Abbado] has an elegant and agile style… His music has the hymn urgency that characterized McCoy Tuner’s records in the 1970s… The three wind instruments melt together again and again to form their own sound in an impressive way. Although Mullov-Abbado – who wrote all the material himself – enjoys complex rhythms, his music never gets hectic.”
Rolf Thomas, Jazzthing Magazine (GERMANY)

“Definitely one of the most important messengers in the new great British jazz generation. With music that brings along the best of the acoustic 60s language and moves it into our time in a very life-affirming way – with plenty of dynamism and personality, Misha Mullov-Abbado confirms that he can become one of the truly great within this genre in the future.”
Tor Hammerø, Nettavisen (NORWAY)

“Last week I found Misha Mullov-Abbado to be our “album of the week” at NDR Jazz, played music from “Dream Circus” every night on my programme. The response from our listeners was overwhelming – it might have set the record for the year so far!”
Ralf Dorschel, Album Of The Week on NDR Jazz (GERMANY)

“Misha Mullov-Abbado’s compositions are full of surprises and alternating between lively and melancholic. The sparkling joy that the 6-piece radiate is contagious… Sprawling solos create a cool jazz atmosphere, framed by majestic themes…”
Jan Paersch, Kulturnews (GERMANY)

“Certainly one of the most talented bassists to have emerged on the UK jazz scene in many years Misha Mullov-Abbado’s ‘Dream Circus’ is his most convincing and enjoyable album so far”
Stephen Graham, Marlbank (UK)

“Third album by double bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado whose compositions still remain anchored in the tradition but are also just sufficiently surrounded by a touch of modernism and inventiveness that keep it exciting.”
Georges Tonla Briquet, Jazz Halo (BElGIUM)

“Fans of top quality cutting edge playing, and of generally uplifting high quality musical creativity will find much to delight them here.”
Eddie Myer, Jazz Views & Sussex Jazz Magazine (UK)

“Absolutely brim-full of musical and personal vivacity. His albums seem to me to have become increasingly refreshing, new and exciting with just the right measure of ‘cheekiness’. Brilliant.”
Martin David Powell, BCB Radio Bradford, Jazz Scene (UK)

“The sextet’s music is saturated with an exciting mixture of expressiveness and impression… The musicians did not disappoint. We are in for a treat with free jazz breakdowns and a captivating ride straight ahead with solo eruptions. That’s what I call a masterpiece, gentlemen!”
Jan Hocek, His Voice (CZECHIA)

“Mullov-Abbado’s manifesto to having earned a place among the field of extraordinarily creative bassists in contemporary Jazz.”
Michael Ambrosino, 33third.org (UK) Best Jazz Albums 2020

“For all its exhilarating improv breakouts, this is contemporary jazz with a very firm hand on its tiller, but it’s beautifully done.”
John Fordham, Jazzwise (UK) ★★★★

“Multi-influenced yet stylistically coherent, accessible but never merely obvious, this is an inviting and rewarding album.”
Steve Harris, Hi-Fi News (UK)

“The tunes themselves are excellent, but are lifted up another notch by inventive scoring for the ensembles.”
Barry Witherden, BBC Music Magazine (UK)

“As superb as his previous album Cross Platform-Interchange is, the new one is maybe even better.”
Ron Schepper, Textura (CANADA)

“Dream Circus” out soon | New isolation E.P. with Patchwork Jazz Orchestra

Thanks to all that have enjoyed the two singles from Dream Circus – “The Infamous Grouse” and “Little Vision”. The full album will be out on Friday 12th June (just over two weeks away for those of you who, like me, have no idea where we are in the year anymore). If you haven’t yet you can pre-order the album HERE, and in the meantime the two singles are out now on Spotify and Apple Music.

In other news when the whole world pressed pause about 2 months ago those of us in the Patchwork Jazz Orchestra decided to make a lockdown E.P. recording all our parts from home. We released the E.P. last week and it sounds fantastic! It includes a mixture of older compositions and arrangements and some newer pieces that have made it into our pad since our first album release but before the lockdown. The whole album was mixed by the incredible John Prestage, who did such an amazing job considering we each had our own individual mic setup. You can listen to and download the album HERE, and in the meantime here is a video of my now-ancient composition “New Ansonia” that I made last week. The same song was the title track of my own debut album five years ago and I am very happy to have finally had the song’s original big band version recorded after writing it almost seven years ago…

“Dream Circus” out 12th June 2020

In these most strange and unexpected times I am pleased to announce that in the midst of all the cancellations and postponements of live performances around the world my third album as a bassist and a bandleader “Dream Circus” will be released on Friday 12th June on Edition Records.

The album contains nine compositions that I wrote over the last three years which were recorded at The Village studio in Copenhagen last September. It was recorded and mixed by August Wanngren, produced by renowned bassist and fellow Edition Records band leader Jasper Høiby, and features my usual partners-in-crime from over the years, the incredible James Davison, Matthew Herd, Sam Rapley, Liam Dunachie and Scott Chapman.

I am so excited for you all to hear this album. You can now pre-order the album via the bandcamp page, where you can also preview one of the tracks “The Infamous Grouse”.

New decade and two new albums

Happy New Year to you all! Apologies for such a big gap since my last update on here. As you might be able to imagine the events mentioned on the previous update took over the last few months in quite a big way. I am most pleased that my cello concerto Evolving Spring was premiered beautifully by Matthew Barley, the BBC Concert Orchestra and Michael Seal at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last November as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. This occasion marked the end of my two years as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and I am now back to being a regular freelance jazz musician again.

On the same day that I submitted the first draft of the concerto back in September I packed my bass into a flight case bigger than me and flew to Copenhagen with my band to record my third studio album. We recorded 9 pieces that I’d brought to the band over the past three years and I’ve never been more excited to release an album than with this one. I was very lucky to have my old bass teacher Jasper Høiby producing and offering many thoughts and suggestions along the way, which totally transformed the energy of the band and the album. A massive thank you also to August Wanngren for engineering so faultlessly and mixing the album to such a high standard, and of course to the guys in the band without whom I would be nowhere – Jim, Matthew, Sam, Liam and Scott.

Outside Riverhouse        Riverhouse Barn Playing

The album has now been mastered and I have a few days left to decide on the title, so watch this space! The album launch gig will be on Weds 3rd June at Pizza Express on Dean Street in London (tickets aren’t yet available but save the date nevertheless) and then the official release with Edition Records will be Fri 12th June. I am also currently preparing for a recording happening in less than a week with my mother Viktoria Mullova – we will be recording our duo programme Music We Love for an album to be released later this year, containing a wide range of classical, jazz and original music.

In the meantime you can visit the gigs page to check out when I’m next playing. My band’s next show is at The Conduit in London on Sat 18th Januarymake sure to book tickets now as there are a limited number…

(photo of the BBC Concert Orchestra premiere by Ian Gillett; photo of my band from The Village Studio in Copenhagen by Liv Anastasia)

BBC Concert Orchestra commission and Album No. 3 recording

This summer has been full of lots of exciting things, including performances with my band, with my mother-and-son duo with Viktoria Mullova, ZiroBop and the folk singer Sam Lee‘s amazing new group. Amongst all the traveling and nearly missing early-morning flights I have also spent many many hours buried at home in London desperately trying to finish writing and orchestrating my new Cello Concerto before the fast-approaching deadline of 10th September which is next week.

This project, which is jazz-inspired and features lots of improvisation, is a commission from Radio 3 and the piece is being written for the BBC Concert Orchestra and (just to add to the family connections this year) my step-father Matthew Barley who is one of the best cellists around and also bridges the classical and improvising worlds very beautifully. The world première of the concerto will take place on Saturday 23rd November at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and is part of this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival!

Outside Riverhouse        Riverhouse Barn Playing

I have almost finished writing the piece – the first deadline for submitting parts for the initial workshop with the orchestra is next week – the same day I fly to Copenhagen to record my third album as a bandleader for Edition Records! I am really looking forward to finally recording a lot of the music we have been playing for 2-3 years now.

Third album to be released on Edition Records next year!

I am very happy to announce that I am extending my contract with Edition Records to release my third album in 2020, which I will be recording this September! My ever-fantastic band (Scott Chapman, Sam Rapley, Liam Dunachie, Matthew Herd & James Davison) will be joining me at The Village Studio (Copenhagen), and I am especially pleased to have the incredible Jasper Høiby producing, who is one of my all-time double bass heroes and was my teacher at college a few years back. Since my last record was released two years ago the band has gone from strength to strength performing at festivals up and down the UK and abroad. Over that time I have written lots of new music for the band and I am extremely pleased to be working with Edition Records once again for this new album.