You last appeared in Brighton back in October 2014. What have you been doing since?
“The last two years have seen me work quite a lot with Chick Corea’s band The Vigil, a five week tour of South America, plus another tour whose flight route saw me circumnavigate the globe over 3 weeks! So I built up some air miles! My CD Songs To The North Sky was warmly welcomed, several 5 star reviews I was delighted to receive, and my very first vinyl release Return To The Fire about a year later (so cool to see the artwork that size like the old days!)”
“I like to keep busy so I write production music (for film and TV) when not working on my own projects. I have a credit on the new Marvel release, Dead Pool for example.”
“This new release, One, has also taken well over a year to assimilate and prepare.”
Tell us about your new album, One. How did it come about?
“I wanted to bring out the very best of everyone on stage and knew how exciting they were in a more electric environment. I wanted to get back to some of my earlier influences playing groove-based music and using some electronics; it also suits more varied kinds of venues. The album itself is a studio project, meaning we have thought a lot about post-production. In one track I layer six saxophones at once, we layer guitars with different tunings, amazing big sound, – that kind of thing. I also deeply felt the need to communicate the unifying power of music with a lot of middle eastern rhythmic influence, paired with strong uplifting themes. When different musical influences converge you can do amazing things providing you come from that same initial first beat, that big shared ‘One’. With a deeply-held shared pulse the other aspects of the music really fly and the unity you’re trying to express can fly too.”
You’re performing with your Electric Quartet at Brighton Dome Studio Theatre on Wednesday 16th March. What can we expect to hear? Will it be a mixture of older tunes or just tunes from the new album?
“We will definitely play several tracks from the new album but certain things we know so well and can really fly on, such as music by Chick Corea or Paco DeLucia, may well find their way on stage again as we all love playing them.
I am using some effects with my saxes and bass clarinet which create amazing sounds; that side of the technology has got so much more user friendly and high quality now! One thing I prize very highly is a sense of rapport on stage, and that knife-edge excitement comes from that attitude of ‘playing-from-listening’ and this band is good at that. Jason Rebello, for example, is so experienced not just as a great soloist (with Sting, Jeff Beck and others for many years) but as accompanist too.”
Which classic jazz album would you most like to have played on as a sideman?
“Wow I’ve never been asked that. I think maybe Kenny Wheeler’s WW and further back, maybe a guest spot playing with the Bill Evans Trio on one of their Vanguard dates!”
After doing the tour and promoting the new album, what’s next?
“The dates are spread throughout 2016 so we’ll be pushing this album for quite a while, hopefully getting out to Europe a little more. I am also writing a large scale work for big band and orchestra within a winter theme, due for a premiere in December – 60 musicians, that’s a lot of ink!”