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!
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.
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.
A concert I recently played with my band at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival was broadcasted on BBC Radio 3 two days ago. Have a listen! It features all my own compositions – some old that features on my albums, and some new ones that are yet to be recorded properly (including one brand new piece that had never been played before). So far this year the gigs with my band have been getting scarily good and so much fun – we seem to be getting a bigger audience each time we play and I am so grateful to James, Matthew, Sam, Liam and Scott for all the time, effort and great vibes.
Also on the programme is my mum Viktoria Mullova and I playing my arrangement of one of the movements from J.S. Bach’s 1st Violin Sonata – this is one of the pieces we play in our new duo programme that is soon to be performing all over Europe…
Click here to listen to the programme
I have also had the pleasure of co-producing and playing on 4 albums that have come out this year so far. The Adventures of Mr Pottercakes by the Patchwork Jazz Orchestra was finally released in March, over a year after we recorded it at Air Studios, featuring 8 compositions by members of the band – one of which is my own and one of which I helped arrange. It’s A Boonie! is a wonderfully entertaining and top-quality album of songs for babies, all written and sung by the great virtuoso guitarist Rainer Scheurenbrand and with all the instrumental arrangements done by me. Odoyá is a collection of songs dedicated to the Orixás, mostly by the Brazilian group Os Tincoãs who were active in the 60s and 70s. The songs are sung by my friend Raja with the engineering and mixing by my old partner-in-crime Duncan Bridgeman and once again with my instrumental arrangements. And finally Sete Cores (Seven Colours) is the debut album by my partner Julia Gelpke – these seven beautiful songs are also dedicated to the Orixás and feature my first ever attempt at engineering and mixing an album. My trumpet-wielding friend James Davison happens to be playing on all of these creations, and various members of my band and my family are featured on most of these – the main reason why each of these albums has been an utter joy to be involved in. Enjoy!
After a brief period of working on some big recording projects (more about that later…) I am returning to performing regularly with my band again this year. In March alone we have six gigs, and we hope to see you at one of these!
Fri 1st, 1:00 pm
Royal Festival Hall Foyer, London (free entry!)
Tue 5th, 7:30 pm
Herts Jazz Club, St Alban’s
Fri 8th, 8:00 pm
Goring Jazz Club, Goring-on-Thames
Sat 9th, 9:30 pm
Clare Jazz, Cambridge
Sat 16th, 8:00 pm
Ryedale Festival, York
Sun 17th, 7:30 pm
Omnibus Theatre, London
I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas! Last month my band performed alongside two other Radio 3 New Generation Artists at a special concert at the Crush Room at the Royal Opera House, and this performance has just been played on BBC World Service. You can listen to the performance HERE. We’re on tour again in March – check out the gigs page for more info!
It has been a busy few months performing lots with a variety of different bands – the Misha Mullov-Abbado Group, Hermeto Hermeto Hermeto (with Rob Luft, Sam Rapley, Sam Watts and Corrie Dick), and my regular bands led by the fantastic James Davison, Callum Au, Nessi Gomes, Sam Lee and Liam Dunachie. I have also been back to Maida Vale two more times to make more recordings with more amazing musicians: Danit Treubig, Rainer Scheurenbrand, Nick Barbachano, Paul Clarvis, Alice Zawadzki and Shirley Smart. I will post an update when these get played on BBC Radio 3 in the coming months…
Next week is the EFG London Jazz Festival and I have a few exciting performances coming up. Firstly on Friday 16th I am playing at the Festival Sampler at King’s Place with Alice Zawadzki, Rob Luft and the fantastic Taegum player Hyelim Kim. The concert starts at 11pm but will also be broadcasted live on BBC Radio 3. On Sunday 18th I am joining Jessica Radcliffe at the Bull’s Head remembering Jon Hendricks. The day after (Monday 19th) the Tom Green Septet is playing at The Other Palace. And next on Wednesday 21st the Patchwork Jazz Orchestra is back in London once again for an evening show at The Vortex! This will be our last gig before our album comes out early next year…
The following day (Thursday 22nd) I am playing the early set at Ronnie Scott’s with Alice Zawadzki once again, this time with her band. This will be supporting the illustrious Jeff Goldblum. And finally on Sunday 25th I am hosting a cozy and intimate evening at Omnibus Theatre doing two sets with two different groups I have recorded with as part of the BBC New Generation Artists’ scheme. The first will be a duo with my long-time musical buddy James Davison on trumpet, and the second will be with yet again the wonderful Alice Zawadzki on vocals & violin and the fantastic Shirley Smart on cello. Both sets will contain some classical music, jazz, originals and lots of music from many different parts of the world (so basically just about anything). This will be one chance to hear these two groups so don’t miss out!
Earlier this week BBC Radio 3 aired more recordings that I made last year and earlier this year as part of my involvement with the New Generation Artists’ scheme. The radio shows will still be available to listen back to for the next 3-4 weeks and you can find them using the following links:
Sat 14th July: New Generation Artists’ programme (1 track of mine at around 40′)
Tue 17th July: Special programme dedicated to me (6 tracks of mine)
The seven tracks that have been aired over the past week feature two groups that I have put together especially for the scheme – one is a duo with my good friend and long-time musical partner-in-crime James Davison on trumpet, and the other is a quintet called Hermeto Hermeto Hermeto (with Sam Rapley on tenor sax, Rob Luft on guitar, Sam Watts on piano and Corrie Dick on drums) which, as you can guess, was formed purely for playing the music of the great Hermeto Pascoal. Most of my recordings for Radio 3 will also end up on my SoundCloud page so if you want to hear any others, or the original shows aren’t available to stream anymore then click HERE!
I have also recently been involved in several album recording projects that will soon be completed and become available to the big, wide world. These have been with the bands of two of my favourite singers in the world – Mercury-Prize-nominated folk singer and song collector Sam Lee and multi-award-winning jazz vocalist Alice Zawadzki. Also the Patchwork Jazz Orchestra has almost finished mixing the album we recorded in December, and so watch this space as all 3 albums are already sounding fantastic and unique and their releases will each come with launch gigs and tour dates.
Finally, here are a couple of live videos from some recent gigs with another favourite singer of mine, the wonderful Nessi Gomes. The first of these videos is from a recent concert where I arranged all of her songs for a 9-piece band. Enjoy!