You’re currently touring with Steve Winwood. How’s that going?
It’s going extremely well, thanks for asking. We are currently on a west coast USA tour and just a few nights ago played at the Hollywood Bowl, which was certainly one of this year’s highlights. I’ve been with Steve for over ten years now, we tour every year but this year has been particularly busy. We toured the east coast of USA in April, then a European tour in July and now the west coast/Colorado/Texas then we finish up on the east coast again playing the Laid Back Festival at Jones Beach, New York.
Steve is a real gentleman and a pleasure to work with, extremely knowledgeable and an all round monster musician. Not only have we been touring together a long time now, but I also record all my projects at his studio out in the Cotswolds, using his master engineer/tour manager James Towler. Being part of such a great band and working with an artist of this level has made a big impact on my life as a musician, expanding my musical horizons and also helping me find a wider fan base for my own projects.
Tell us about the new project that you’re putting together. How is it different from what you’ve done before?
The new project I’ve put together for this tour is a quartet of outstanding musicians. With this project I’m looking at dipping back into the origins of why I became a saxophone player in the first place. I’m going back to a quartet sound, just pure playing, no electronic toys or tricks. My last album, Patchwork Project, was the opposite of this album with multiple ensembles, overdubs, string quartet, songs and influences from multiple genres. This time I wanted something different again.
I’ve written some new music which is intended to let each musician have the freedom to express themselves without having the constraints of playing difficult individual parts. In a way I’ve written one page tunes, much like you’d find with the jazz standards we all know and love. I simply endeavoured to write strong melodies with strong harmony and leave the rest up to the band.
Will there be a recording released?
Yes indeed. I booked the tour first before the recording session, therefore we have 7 performances to develop the music live before we record the album. On the day of the recording we will set up in the round, no separation, all facing each other, lay down two takes of each song and do it all in one afternoon. This way there’s no room to “fix” anything, it is simply a snapshot of where we were on the day. This is how all of our favourite jazz albums were recorded back in the day, so why not record that way now? It’s going to be very interesting. I would say by the time we have recorded the album and mixed everything we will be looking for an early 2018 release on my label Pathway Records.
What else have you got planned in the future?
2018 is shaping up to be an interesting year of my own projects outside of what I do as a session musician. I’ll be booking more gigs around the UK for my new quartet along with releasing the debut album of my co-led big band album Bansangu Orchestra.
I’m also starting to work on Volume 2 of my Patchwork Project and this group can be seen playing around the UK featuring the fabulous vocalist Jacqui Dankworth.
Aside from my own projects I’ll be touring again with Steve Winwood, can be seen with Incognito, Brand New Heavies, Marti Pellow, Clare Teal, BBC Big Band and more.
Paul Booth Quartet are at The Verdict, Brighton on Saturday 21st October.
Paul Booth Organ Trio are at Jazz Hastings on Tuesday 7th November.
Interview conducted by Charlie Anderson.
Photo of Paul Booth by Lisa Wormsley.