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.
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.
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 January – make 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)
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…
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!
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…
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:
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!
Happy new year! Over the past two months I have began making recordings for Radio 3 as part of my new role as a BBC New Generation Artist. In November my trumpet-playing friend, colleague and housemate James Davison and I recorded some standards and pop song arrangements, and one month later I brought my band in to record some of my compositions that I have written since recording the last album. Two of these have been aired already and I am delighted to share them with you now:
Some Things Are Just So Simple
I have also finished releasing videos of full-length tracks from my album Cross-Platform Interchange and have put them into a YouTube playlist. A massive thank you to Duncan Bridgeman for filming every take of every musician during the recording over a year ago and for putting these videos together. Enjoy!