Multi-instrumentalist Charlotte Glasson grew up in Brighton and joined Ian Hamer’s Sussex Youth Orchestra as a teenager. Having recorded her sixth album, Festivus, she is now preparing for a UK tour starting in Brighton.
How do you describe the music you play?
“I would say it's a mixed bag as I have loads of musical influences and I want to try to tie them all together somehow. I play quite a few different instruments, so this also adds to the flavour, and hopefully we can still surprise the audience in the second half of the gig. The musicians in my band, (Mark Bassey, trombone, Chris Spedding, guitar, Mick Hutton, bass and steel pans, and Sam Glasson, drums and percussion) are fantastic, and this allows me greater freedom in writing tunes for them as they can play any style.”
Tell us about your latest album, Festivus. How did that come about?
“I was originally going to call it Fiesta, as that seemed to sum up the mood of the album, but Chris Spedding, the guitarist on it (session man who’s played with everyone: Tom Waits, Carla Bley, Paul McCartney, War of the Worlds and the Wombles among many others) told me of an episode in Seinfeld, the American TV comedy, where they create Festivus, a holiday for everyone from all walks of life–young , old, Christians, Jews, athiests, Muslims, etc., so I thought I'd call it that!”
You’re going on tour around the country, what can we expect at one of your gigs?
“The unexpected hopefully! No, in all seriousness, a bit of swing, ska, gypsy jazz, New Orleans, blues, African and Latin music. I've been told I'm good at talking to the audience, something that many jazz musicians neglect to do, so I think people find that entertaining. But the quality of the musicians playing in the band is as good as it gets. They all play out of their skins!”
Tell us about the saw. Are you a fan of horror films? Should I avoid sitting in the front row, just in case?
“My dad is a musician, too, and the band he played in when I was a child (Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band) had at least three saw players in it, so I have heard that sound for as long as I can remember! In 2006 when Luke Cresswell (of Stomp) was putting together his new show for the Brighton Festival, they wanted a few of us to learn the saw, so I had ago. You need a strong left thumb! I play an Irwin Jack 22 inch from B&Q and it sounds fab. It also fits in my violin case, though I must remember to take it out when I fly to Portugal this weekend. I’m playing a gig in a prog rock festival with Three Friends and I take my violin as hand luggage…my sax is in my suitcase!”
The Charlotte Glasson Band perform at The Verdict in Brighton on Tuesday 29th April and at The Ropetackle in Shoreham on Friday 30th May, 2014.
(Q&A interview conducted by Charlie Anderson)