Has there ever been a more exciting time on the UK jazz scene? With new and immensely creative young musicians constantly appearing all around the country, it’s became apparent that it’s tough for promoters to find a slot for everybody they’d like to bring to the region.
One solution is to assemble as many as possible in one package, and that’s what Jazz North East are doing for their final concert of 2017 when they will bring 14 musicians from the Leeds, London and Manchester scenes to the Bridge Hotel on 10th December and present them mixed and matched into two large groups, Article XI and Favourite Animals.
Article XI, which, not surprisingly, includes 11 of the players is led by guitarist Anton Hunter. Unlike most big band projects, where the leader begins by writing the compositions and then presents them ready-made to the musicians, Anton started with considering each of their qualities as improvisers and then built the material around those elements. The result is music that offers grand-sweeping ensemble passages that frame generous spaces for individual voices to be heard.
One of those voices belongs to saxophonist Cath Roberts, whose own 10-piece, Favourite Animals, forms the other half of this astounding double bill. The music builds on areas Cath had explored with her quintet Sloth Racket. With the doubling in size of the group, the spice, the riffs, and the bluesiness all getting cranked up to a higher level, with improvised passages that move from intimate whisperings to a glorious cacophony.
Jazz today is so amazingly diverse that no single concert could possibly encompass all the different approaches, but this double bill is as close as you could get.
Tickets, priced at £8.00 in advance (£6.00 for concessions), are available from seetickets.com or Reflex CD in Newcastle.