Robert Mitchell releases a new, double album with his new band True Think
Long in the making, Robert Mitchell’s latest brainchild is finally here! The new band, True Think features the leader on keys, Tom Mason on bass, Zayn Mohammed on guitar, Saleem Raman on drums and Liselotte Östblom on vocals and is a multi-generational, multi-cultural reflection of several periods of Robert Mitchell’s musical journey. They blend Electronic, Jazz, RnB, Spoken Word, film and folk influences together to create a unique sound.
The double album “Hold The Light/The New Resistance” features a long list of special guests, including internationally renowned Grammy-nominated vocalists, and a Grammy winner amongst the production cast. The release is available on digital (Bucks Records Limited) and as a limited edition CD (Depth of Field) from 13th October 2022, pre-order starting today. Watch out for the single “What Say You”, which drops on 6th October!
This album began several years before the pandemic - with a promise to put the growing collection of keyboards here to proper use! It was a deliberate electronic approach that would allow distance to be no object when engaging some amazing international guests and extremely busy home-grown legends. I had been touring with most of these guests and really wished to make sure this album commemorated these moments (as 2020 has shown - things can change so fast!). I certainly did not know it would end up as a double album - but I had to answer a very demanding muse! - says Robert Mitchell.
The album launch takes place on 13th October 2022 at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London, with special guest, the trumpeter Yelfris Valdés and the band tours in in autumn, including Marsden Jazz Festival (headlining).
The vocalists on the album are: Omar, Liselotte Östblom, Becca Stephens, Deborah Jordan, Alice Zawadzki, Carleen Anderson, Xan Blacq, Alicia Olatuja, Laura Perrudin and Sharlene Monique.
Narrators (reciting in multiple languages) include: Nicola Harrison, Gordon Wedderburn, Gillian Wedderburn, Alice Mitchell (aged 8), Masumi Endo, Eugene Skeef, Liselotte Östblom, Zayn Mohammed.
Front cover photo by Carl Hyde, back artwork and photo by Jelani Powell/WAB Studios
Our new collaboration with Ivo Neame’s Dodeka – booking 2023/24 now!
We are thrilled to share the news about our new collaboration with Ivo Neame's latest project, the 12-piece band Dodeka. This is not the first time we’ve worked with Ivo, previously as a member of the great band Kairos 4tet. Dodeka is a special project, debuted during the pandemic with Ivo's music composed, produced and recorded during the hiatus. The inaugural gig for the band - first time in person! - is at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club during the 2022 London Jazz Festival.
The album "Glimpses of Truth" (Whirlwind Recordings 2021) was recorded during the time of the lockdown and none of the musicians involved were in the same room at any time. Thanks to the wonders of music technology and the internet, Ivo was able to produce a critically acclaimed work during an extremely difficult time. Seeing as it was possible to record musicians from their homes anywhere in the world, he also decided to involve US jazz stars Gilad Hekselman and Ingrid Jensen on the record. The core of this new venture, Dodeka, is Ivo Neame’s Quartet which features some of the UK’s finest jazz instrumentalists: George Crowley (Melt Yourself Down, Julian Argüelles Septet, Yazz Ahmed) on tenor sax, Tom Farmer (Empirical, Anoushka Shankar) on bass, and James Maddren (Enemy, Wynton Marsalis, Seamus Blake) on drums. The rest of the line-up is stellar:
Noel Langley, Robbie Robson, Laura Jurd (trumpets)
Kieran McLeod (trombone)
Ray Hearne (tuba)
Mike Chillingworth, Emma Rawicz, Claire McInerney (saxes)
Neame's work is off-beat, complex, immersive, kaleidoscopic and often bracingly polyrhythmic - All About Jazz
This wide-screen triumph by Ivo Neame is one of the standouts of the pandemic era - Jazzwise Magazine
Phil Robson releases a guitar solo recording – and it’s a multitude!
Phil Robson, the inimitable guitar player and composer completed a project of exploration, reflection, learning and experimentation, plus, a technological challenge and released a new EP/album “ Portrait in Extreme ” (Lyte Records). Having been a seminal figure on the London scene for many years, then in New York City from 2015 to 2020, Phil Robson has been based in the enigmatic Irish countryside of County Roscommon since March 2020. In many ways, this self-produced and recorded collection of original compositions and soundscapes tells his story of living in very diverse places and circumstances between 2019 and 2021, as well as aspects of his life, work and loves as a whole. The music on the EP was compiled by Robson using conventional playing/recording techniques combined with the use of Ableton Live 11 software plus exciting drum loops provided by Ireland-based David Lyttle.
In Phil’s own words:
The Covid era has given me a great deal of time to imagine how I want my music to sound in the future and to reflect on and interpret my experiences (…) To reference possible polarities again, I love John Zorn's 'Naked City' and Chopin nocturnes, the Curlew mountains and the streets of Hackney, Miles Davis and Black Sabbath! By embracing the fluidity of interconnectedness, I want to focus my outer reaches into something homogeneous & listen to my inner voice without limits.”
It's a lot of fun. What it is about this digital release that makes you listen up isn't just the typically strong creative playing but its unpicking of conventional construction and composition in a restless sequence of stylistic experiments for guitar and electronics, was it some stirring quasi-industrial drum loops from David Lyttle. AJ Dehany, London Jazzz News
Shirley Smart & Robert Mitchell release their first duo album
Shirley Smart and Robert Mitchell release a new album, “ Zeitgeist² ” (Discus). This duo, and the resulting album developed out of conversations between Robert and Shirley whilst working on Robert’s Invocation project in 2014.
Their discussions explored the varied paths of their respective backgrounds, and different relationships of all aspects of those musical paths to improvisation. Both have a shared classical training, in which the absence of an improvisation became both a frustration and source of inspiration. Part of the story of this album lies in their different forms of searching for this lost aspect of the classical tradition, and also the journey of embracing it in other musical forms.
Recorded at Steinway Recording Studios and engineered, mixed and mastered by Spencer Cozens – the album is an exploration of originals, improvisation, poetry and some CPE Bach with a unique history of its own. Robert also debuts here as a narrator of his own poetry, focussing on a response to the Windrush scandal and tribute to his mum and the search for global peace.
Shirley spent many years in the Middle East, where she also became involved with both jazz and Middle Eastern regional traditions and their forms of improvisation. Since returning to the UK, she has established a formidable reputation as one of the most versatile and creative cellists on the scene, drawing on her various influences as a root and basis for her musical work.
“Zeitgeist²” represents an impressive piece of work from two of the UK’s leading performers on their respective instruments. Smart and Mitchell achieve a remarkable rapport, this is very much a partnership of equals working in tandem in pursuit of a common cause. Ian Mann thejazzmann.com ****
Mitchell’s flourish o harmony and metric complexity enable him to really present the keyboard as a miniature orchestra while the faultless articulation of Smart’s pizzicato and fleet basslines as well as singing quality of her arco work lends her a notable expressive range (…) On a repertoire that has classical, European folk and non-western resonances Mitchell and Smart uphold the lineage of the most successful duos (…) Kevin Le Gendre, Jazzwise ****
Album cover painting by Walt Shaw
Robert Mitchell’s Interview in Jazzwise magazine & National Poetry Day celebration with a new piece on 7 October
Robert Mitchell spoke to the legendary writer and journalist Kevin Le Gendre and the result of that conversation is available now in the October issue of Jazzwise.
The interview is a look into Robert’s musical journey so far and his current interests, and touched on poetry and words that are part of his creative output. Robert’s recent collaboration was with the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition winner Marvin Thompson. Robert reacted musically to his poem entitled “May 8th, 2020”. You can read and listen here.
Kasia Pietrzko Trio w/ special guests performs new music inspired by Cyprian Kamil Norwid’s poetry at 17. Chopin and his Europe International Music Festival
Kasia Pietrzkowas commissioned with her trio and special guest Maciej Kadziela (alto sax) to perform music inspired by the Polish poet Cyprian Kamil Norwid. Joined on stage by the renown actor Andrzej Chyra
the band moved the audience with their take on the Polish romantic poet’s words. There was a standing ovation!
You can watch the concert recorded at the National Philharmony in Warsaw for a limited time here:
Robert Mitchell’s 50th Birthday Celebrations at Ronnie Scott’s in August 2021
Today is Robert Mitchell’s Big Birthday and to mark the year, he will be celebrating with a special event at Ronnie Scott’s, London, on Saturday 7th August 2021.
Throughout the evening Robert will present two shows, each with a different band and special guests. The ensembles not only represent the bands that have been Robert’s primary focus (apart from his solo piano performance) in recent years – Epiphany 3 and True Think, but also are a multi-generational, multi-cultural musical reflection of Robert Mitchell’s musical journey so far.
Robert Mitchell’s Epiphany 3 (feat. Tom Mason & Saleem Raman) will be joined by Special Guest, the South African poet, percussionist, composer Eugene Skeef . Eugene will read both his and Robert Mitchell’s poetry. Their connection goes back 20 years, and Eugene collaborated on Robert’s large-scale work “Invocation” premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2014.
The band True Think is a multi-generational, multi-cultural reflection of several periods of Robert Mitchell’s journey. They blend Electronic, Jazz, RnB, Spoken Word, film and folk influences together to create a unique sound. Joining Robert Mitchell (Keys, perc, sampler) on stage will be vocalist, violinist, songwriter and composer Alice Zawadzki, multi-instrumentalist Zayn Mohammed, multi-genre bassist/keys player Tom Mason, and drummer and percussionist Saleem Raman. The
upcoming album will feature a great line-up of collaborators and guests from the US, France, South Africa, Cuba and Japan. On the night, the band will be joined by Special Guest, the Cuban trumpeter Yelfris Valdés (Chucho Valdés, Omara Portuondo, Damon Albarn, Rokia Traoré).
Poetry & Jazz Month – lovely memory of Christine Tobin’s album “Sailing To Byzantium”
In 2012 Christine Tobin released a fabulous album, “Sailing to Byzantium” which consists of 12 poems by the Irish poet W. B. Yeates that Christine set to music. The multi-award-winning album (including British Composer Award, Best Contemporary Jazz Composition) features a special guest, renowned actor Gabriel Byrne reading three of the poems. All those years ago, I spoke to Christine about the album, the poetry, the music, how the project came to be and her connection to the poems. I was also curious about her approach to writing and what made this recording different than her albums to date. The interview was never published, sadly, but since April is both a Poetry Month and Jazz Month, I thought it was very fitting to search the archives and remember the conversation, the masterful compositions and the great joy the music, and especially the live performances brought. Here are some excerpts.
Why did you choose Yeats and these particular poems for this project?
The idea for the whole project came about because the National Library of Ireland phoned and asked if I’d come to Dublin and give a talk about the poetry of W.B. Yeats. They celebrate his birthday every year on June 13 with a series of performances by writers, artists, journalists, musicians, poets, all kinds of people come to honour his work. I don’t really like talking in that scholarly or intellectual way about poetry, I’d much rather sing, because that’s what I do. I agreed to set four of his poems to music – so that was really the beginning for me. That was the starting point – the trigger came from the outside and when I began working with his words, I really enjoyed it! I hadn’t actually read Yeats’s poems for quite a few years so this re-introduced me to his poetry and reignited my love of his poems. I enjoyed the process of tackling the initial four poems so much that I decided I wanted to make it my next album and to get a whole programme of songs from his poems.
It’s not the first time you’ve set poems to music. What’s the most difficult thing about it?
Well, I don’t find it too difficult. Maybe getting the right structure and shape can be the toughest problem to solve. I usually start by finding some musical motif, something that illustrates the feeling or the spirit of the poem and that process is just a matter of reading the work over and over again. I kind of “live” with the poem for a while, until I get a musical idea that I feel exemplifies its spirit and character and then I build it up from there. I really love doing it, it’s a labour of love. Shaping the song structure is more challenging because sometimes it’s difficult to align the poem’s structure and rhythms with what works best and is more logical musically. But there is always a way to resolve it. It’s just a matter of unlocking the music that is in there.
Did you find a common spirit or common theme to the poems that you chose for the album?
Yes, I did. There are recurring themes in the poems I chose such as Yeats’s exaltation of art and his yearning to reach a greater personal truth through art. I hear this in the poem “Long Legged Fly”. He often writes about the physical being versus the spiritual being as in “Sailing To Byzantium” for example where again he is reaching for a higher truth and enlightenment.
What about concerts? Does it change when you play live?
Yes, of course, that’s a really nice thing about doing it live, you can do things that you can’t on a recording. What the recording has though is the voice of actor Gabriel Byrne reciting three poems. He has the most beautiful voice and is a great presence. I’m thrilled he’s on the recording because the spoken word adds yet another dimension and he reads with great depth. Also, he is a huge name especially in the U.S. so it’s a real buzz that he wanted to be part of this project. As I said earlier there is more space for improvising when we play the music live. For example, Liam always plays a gorgeous solo introduction to “In Memory Of Eva Gore-Booth and Constance Markievicz” and that’s something we didn’t have the space to include on the recording.
You can read more about the album, the musicians and the stories behind the poems and Christine’s memories of them here, and while there, check Christine’s other CDs! Also visit Christine’s website for more music.
Christine Tobin & album cover, designed by Maxine Sutton
Robert Mitchell’s commissioned pieces to be performed for the first time!
Two organisations have commissioned Robert Mitchell to write new music and the premiere performances are coming very soon. The world premiere of Our Hearts Dance The Infinite (As The Giant Puya Blooms) feat. Clíodna Shanahan on piano comimissioned by London Sinfonietta for the new Sinfornietta Short series, will be broadcast on Wednesday 18 November – tune in here.
Here is what Robert says about the commissioned short piece: For the Sinfonietta Shorts series - I am honored to be asked to contribute a piece for solo piano. It is based on a brief that has the magic to be considered for a film, a play, a painting or a dance! The piece will be dedicated to a love story that took nearly a quarter century to be fulfilled.
On Thursday 19 November Jazz South Radar Commissions series kicks off with Robert’s new piece Good Trouble, Necessary Trouble combining music and poetry in a tribute to the legendary American politician and civil rights leader John Lewis. The broadcast will be a double bill with the saxophonist Josephine Davies and include interviews with the composers conducted by the one and only Kevin Le Gendre. Robert’s band Epiphany 3 (feat. Tom Mason and Saleem Raman) recorded the performance at Turner Sims, Southampton. Watch the broadcast at 7pm GMT here.
Photo by Carl Hyde
What we’ve been up to during the lockdown…
We hibernated a bit, went inwards, listened to music, read, listened to some wise people speak - discovered a few great podcasts! - and caught up with some great TV & film. We also indulged in music coming from our friends at a distance - like Liam Noble's regular piano solo Saturday gigs, which continue to delight, check them out and support Liam!
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year now since Phil Robson/Jed Levy Quartet’s tour in Northern California, US (11-14 Sept 2019)! We had a ball and the quartet, feat. Phil & Jed as leaders, with Peter Slavov & Billy Drummond delighted the audience with their music, including at Yoshi’s Oakland – pictured below.
We look forward to when we can gig again with this group! Until then, catch Phil at Limerick Jazz Festival on 27th September in a duo with Christine Tobin, and Phil Robson's Organ Trio in November (some shows have been postponed until 2021) and at Scarborough Jazz Festival in February 2021.
Robert Mitchell released a new record, and we were excited about that – check the posts below. Robert has also been very active online with miniature pieces released regularly via social media channels (see the previous news item).
What we are also excited about, is Robert’s inclusion in a series of commissions by the organisation Jazz South. Robert’s new piece will combine music and poetry in a tribute to the legendary US politician and civil rights leader John Lewis.
Our collaborator, Polish pianist Kasia Pietrzko released a new album entitled “Ephemeral Pleasures” and we are pleased to be involved with the album’s journey so far. Thanks to the British and US press and media for recognising the album – including Downbeat Magazine making it Pick of the Month (July) and Chris Philips saying of the album This is super strong, love it. Both Chris Philips at Jazz FM (you can listen to his past programmes here) & Corey Mwamba, BBC Radio 3 played the album on their shows. Further reviews to come!
Robert Mitchell’s “The Rainbow Mountain/Can We Care” resounds in these strange times
Robert Mitchell released a new record, the long awaited piano solo live album “The Rainbow Mountain/Can We Care” in April on Depth of Field. While our lives are in upheaval, globally, and with live performances cancelled and the only outlet for the music and words online – Robert’s message has been in our view augmented by his miniature pieces and words from his poetry book “City of Sanctuary” appearing on social media and via Bandcamp.
Robert spoke to the award-wining BBC Radio 3 show “Freeness” and appeared in other local or internet radio programmes. The recent reviews include this one from UK Vibe and Imran Mirza saying that ‘The Rainbow Mountain / Can We Care’ is an intimate, bold and thoroughly enjoyable listen and the perfect display of Robert Mitchell’s genius.
Robert Mitchell to perform solo at Rochester International Jazz Festival - Made in the UK
Robert Mitchell will be part of the Made in the UK series, now in its 12th year, presenting the best of British Jazz to the American audience. We're thrilled that Robert will be presenting his piano solo recital to celebrate his new album, "Rainbow Mountain / Can We Care". During the concert, original, improvisation, left hand only music and some music by several legends of jazz and beyond will be performed.
Robert Mitchell releases new piano solo album in April 2020
Robert Mitchell releases a new CD, “The Rainbow Mountain/Can We Care" on Depth of Field. This is his 10th album and third, after “Equinox” (2006) and “The Glimpse”, piano solo recording. The album was recorded live at The Jazz Café, London in July 2018. While “The Glimpse” (2013, Whirlwind Recordings) focused on Mitchell’s fascination with a number of great pianists who have defined left hand only composition, teaching and performance, alongside left hand cultural connotations, “The Rainbow…” explores these ideas furthered by his experiences and music making since, in a live, long, improvised set.
The album is dedicated to the memory of Cecil Taylor.
Simultaneously, Robert will launch his second volume of poetry “City Of Sanctuary” (Recast Music Education). Carl Hyde took wonderful photos and did the artwork.
Robert will launch the CD and book at Hebden Bridge Piano Festival on 26th April and will gig in spring and summer (check our Gigs page.)
Photo by Carl Hyde
“Jazz 625 – for one night only” with Robert Mitchell as Musical Director wins Broadcast Award 2020!
The special show celebrating the now legendary TV programme Jazz 625, revived by the production company Somethin' Else for one night only received the highest accolade for the Music Programme at this year’s Broadcast Awards! We’re thrilled that Robert Mitchell was part of the team that created the show. Robert directed the musical side of the project as well as lead the house band that will feature special guests including Joshua Redman, Jean Toussaint, Jacqui Dankworth and Gregory Porter.
Here’s the happy team, including the producer and legendary jazz broadcaster Jez Nelson holding the award and the presenter Andi Oliver, centre. Robert Mitchell - first on the left.
Jazz 625 broadcast from 1964 to 1966 and featured classic performances from the likes of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Ronnie Scott and Cleo Laine. This one-night revival featured selections from the archive and the house band, with guests paying tribute to those who performed in the original series and included a new interview with Dame Cleo Laine reflecting on her performance on a classic edition of Jazz 625.
Phil Robson/Jed Levy Quartet in California, US
Summer ends in a very exciting way for us. We’re making a West Coast Connection this month as Phil Robson’s latest collaboration leads him to Northern California. Phil Robson/Jed Levy Quartet was first assembled for a successful tour of Europe in November 2018, culminating in a stellar performance that received critical acclaim at the London Jazz Festival. Phil & Jed’s collaboration continues and the band, co-led by the saxophone master who has been a NY stalwart who shares composer’s role with Phil, has been gaining momentum. Following their East Coast spring and summer concerts, including a riveting performance to a full house at the Birdland Theater, NY, the quartet makes their first outing to the West Coast. The quartet features Peter Slavov on bass and Billy Drummond on drums and they will stop by Yoshi’s, Oakland and The Sequoia Room, Fort Bragg for gigs, as well as lead a masterclass at Sonoma University.
The original music written by Phil & Jed is innovative and contemporary whilst drawing on the vast tradition of jazz, across the whole spectrum of styles. The concert has been picked by the jazz writer and critic Andrew Gilbert in East Bay Express as the week’s critic’s choice. How exciting is that!
Atom String Quartet in London as part of Third Stream series
Atom String Quartet are back in the UK and this time it’s thanks to our wonderful collaboration with the great educational organisation Tomorrow’s Warriors. Gary Crosby OBE devised a series of concerts and workshops where the exploration of classical and jazz musics becomes a creative adventure. The rich history of jazz and classical feeding into each other to forge a new path was first formalised by the music critic Gunther Schuller under the term ‘third stream’.We are very happy that Atom String Quartet are part of it, with a concert at Southbank Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hall on Tuesday 10th September and an open workshop on the day, as well as a creative masterclass and peer meeting with the TW ensemble String Ting.
In partnership with Tomorrow’s Warriors, a Southbank Centre event. The project is co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage from the Culture Promotion Fund.
Robert Mitchell is Musical Director as BBC Four revives the iconic 1960s BBC programme Jazz 625 for a special broadcast – live from Cheltenham during the Jazz Festival on 3rd May, 9pm
The special show will celebrate the now legendary TV programme Jazz 625 and capture both the “golden era” that the programme captured and the strength of the UK and US scenes intertwined – then and now. Robert Mitchell will direct the musical side of the project as well as lead the house band that will feature special guests including Joshua Redman, Jean Toussaint, Jacqui Dankworth and Gregory Porter.
The special BBC Four broadcast will be black and white and will be part of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival celebration. Here’s the short note on the legendary programme from the BBC website:
Jazz 625 broadcast from 1964 to 1966 and featured classic performances from the likes of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Ronnie Scott and Cleo Laine. This one-night revival will feature selections from the archive and the house band, with guests paying tribute to those who performed in the original series and includes a new interview with Dame Cleo Laine reflecting on her performance on a classic edition of Jazz 625.
The show is a Somethin’ Else production with Jez Nelson being the Executive Producer.
Phil Robson’s Quartet feat. Jed Levy finish their tour with a London Jazz Festival gig to great acclaim
Phil Robson brought his latest group to Europe in November and the quartet had a lot of fun at gigs. So did the audience! This American band features the great saxophonist Jed Levy who shares the composer's role with Phil on this occasion and the talents of Clarence Penn and Oli Hayhurst. In Barcelona the group featured Jason Brown on drums and in Berlin also Dave Whitford on bass.
The tour kicked off at Nova Jazz Cava in Barcelona/ Terrassa and ended with the London Jazz Festival performance at Pizza Express. Here’s a review of that gig from London Jazz News. The band also inspired a written account of the performance after their Wakefield Jazz gig.
Watch Phil Robson’s Quartet feat. Jed Levy live at Zig Zag Club, Berlin and Nova Jazz Cava, Terrassa
Phil Robson’s Quartet feat. Jed Levy November tour
We’re very excited about the European tour that starts in November. Phil Robson presents his new collaboration and new music, written especially for this tour. Phil has been an integral part of the New York scene since 2015. On this European tour, he brings his latest US band which features the great saxophonist Jed Levy who shares the composer's role with Phil on this occasion.
The quartet features the great American drummer Clarence Penn and fantastic bassist Oli Hayhurst on the UK dates and Jason Brown in Barcelona and Berlin, with Dave Whitford in Berlin. The original music written by Phil & Jed is innovative & contemporary whilst drawing on the vast tradition of jazz, across the whole spectrum of styles. The emphasis is on strong melodies and grooves and the tunes are vehicles for improvisation, allowing each musician to bring their experience and to make them their own. This will be the very best musical melting pot.
The tour kicks off in a month, on 9 November in Barcelona/ Terrassa and ends with the London Jazz Festival performance at Pizza Express (check our Gigs page for details.)
Phil Robson’s Quartet feat. Jed Levy live at 55Bar in New York earlier this year
Robert Mitchell's Epiphany 3 hit the road with a tour to promote new digital EP
Robert Mitchell’s Epiphany 3 start their autumn tour in a week’s time at The Stables, Milton Keynes to promote a new EP “Epiphany”. The digital EP is released on 21 September on Depth of Field, and the launch concert follows on 26 September at London’s Pizza Express Jazz Club where the trio will be joined by special guest, Julien Lourau.
Robert Mitchell releases new EP & tours in autumn
Following the success of the LP “A Vigil For Justice, a Vigil For Peace” released last year, Robert Mitchell presents an EP entitled “Epiphany”, released on 21 September 2018 on Depth of Field. It features the excellent trio that is known from “A Vigil…”: Tom Mason on bass and Laurie Lowe on drums, as well as HKB Finn as narrator. This time it was also the ECM recording artist Miles Bould who produced the record and Spencer Cozens who recorded and mixed it at Steinway Recording Studios. Carl Hyde took wonderful photos and did the artwork.
“Epiphany” is a result of a very fruitful session which produced “A Vigil…”, however the tracks included in this EP have a more contemplative character than the LP which was a vivid commentary on the current times. With “Epiphany” Robert Mitchell touches on a more meditative mood, even if the pieces are upbeat. In fact, “Epiphany” is a poem, penned by Mitchell for those rare, but more direct connections to the infinite.
Here is what Robert Mitchell says about one of the tracks, “Le Theatre Des Bouffes du Nord”:
The first phrase of the melody jumped into this realm during a soundcheck at this fantastic and historic theatre in Paris. History seeping out of the walls, amazingly high ceiling, impressive and imposing seating layout and a superb piano meant this beginning was unexpected, but a pleasure to then develop. This was also less than a month after the attack at Le Bataclan ahead of what ended up being a magical show performing with the great vocalist Daymé Arocena.
Robert Mitchell’s Epiphany 3 (feat. Tom Mason & Saleem Raman) tours Sept – Nov (check our Gigs page .) EP launch gig is on 26 September at Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho and features special guest, the great saxophonist Julien Lourau.
Epiphany 3 feat. Julien Lourau live at Vorex Jazz Club Sept 2017
Robert Mitchell's stunning solo opening for Vijay Iyer Sextet
On Sunday 8 July Robert Mitchell opened with a piano solo set for the American pianist's sextet at London's Jazz Cafe. He performed a strong 35 minute continuous piece which apparently not just left the audience in awe, but also kept their (silent!) attention throughout! The opening set was spotted by the reviewers who noted that it was Proof that difficult music can work in the most unlikely of environments (John Lewis for The Guardian).
Having reviewed Vijay Iyer's gig, AJ Dehany devoted a whole separate piece to Robert's set saying that
The performance almost seemed to stand as a microcosm of Robert Mitchell’s diverse journey as a pianist and composer. We have followed him from the R'n'B-inflected songs of his group Panacea and his left-handed piano studies, Glimpse, through to the symphonic ambition of his choral work Invocation and the spiritual modernism of his recent trio and spoken word album A Vigil for Justice, A Vigil for Peace. You may be intrigued by this long-deferred embrace of the depths and breadths of longer form improvisation, and you may even be as moved, absorbed and driven to whoops of pleasure as people there so demonstratively were.
Robert Mitchell premieres his new piece Elegy (For The Unknown Leader) at Emulsion Festival
We’re very excited that Emulsion VI will be headlined by Robert Mitchell, who will perform a solo set on Friday 15th at the Gateway Education and Arts Centre in Shrewsbury and present a new piece the next day. Robert has been commissioned by Emulsion to write a piece for an ensemble which will be premiered on 16th June by the Emulsion Sinfonietta.
Robert says about the piece he composed:
Elegy (For The Unknown Leader) is a small sonic recognition of a feeling I am sure so many are familiar with. The more we uncover the history that has been hidden from us - it becomes more and more obvious that there is a large number of people - who have not been encouraged or have had not a chance to develop their talents in leadership. Particularly in politics - where we are in dire need of more inspiration. In the UK this should mean representation truly across the board - all cultures ages and faiths - and not so heavily dependant on wealth, connections and vain attempts to create an ‘amazing legacy’ - prematurely (and for the few). This piece is for them. It is for you. It is an honour to write for and have this premiered by the Emulsion Sinfonietta at this great young festival of new music. Thanks to the epic work of Trish Clowes and Tom Harrison who have founded and guided this great event for several years already.
Emulsion Sinfonietta this year are: Mandhira de Saram – violin; Trish Clowes – saxophones; Percy Pursglove (Friday)/Freddie Gavita (Saturday) – trumpet; Chris Montague – guitar; Melinda Maxwell – oboe/cor anglais; Max Welford – clarinets; Tom Harrison – saxophone; Louise McMonagle – cello; Calum Gourlay – bass; Catriona McDermid – bassoon; Ross Stanley -piano/Hammond organ; James Maddren – drums
It's been three years since Phil Robson's "The Cut Off Point"
Hard to believe, it's been three years today since the release of "The Cut Off Point", Phil Robson's fantastic album with his inimitable Organ Trio featuring Gene Calderazzo & Ross Stanley. Released on Whirlwind Recordings, the album not only received rave reviews, but also got so much love from the audience!
By turns funky, atmospheric and angular, it's consistently direct music that doesn't waste a note said Rob Adams. Indeed, the album, offering a smörgåsbord of exciting and imaginative compositions (All About Jazz) adds to the vast tradition of the organ trio tradition, pushing the envelope and bringing it to the 21st century (Bebop Spoken Here). Yet, as Adrian Pallant noted: Whilst comparisons with Lifetime or John McLaughlin's 1994 album, After the Rain with Joey DeFrancesco and Elvin Jones may seem inevitable, the vast majority of the music here owes little to these groups. Robson is his own man and this trio has successfully achieved what it set out to do, making for a very satisfying album indeed.
With the cover artwork and photos by Monika S. Jakubowska, perfectly rendering the super cool sound, this is our favourite project in Mo' Connections story and the band touring live was just killin'! We'd love some more of that.
Listen to the album promo clips here.
Mo' Connections at Jazzahead! Polish Night: Atom String Quartet showcase
Jazzahead! is always great fun, but this year it was special for us: our fabulous Atom String Quartet were part of the Polish Night showase and it was amazing! The audience reception was so wonderful, thank you! Here's a little souvenir from the meet up at the Polish stand. See you next year!
Happy International Jazz Day!
International Jazz Day has become a fixture in the calendar now, worldwide. What a great initiative to bring people together under the unifying sign of jazz. We were thrilled that Robert Mitchell was part of that celebration as he performed in a duo with the great Courtney Pine on BBC television, closing Newsnight. Check the video here.
Mo' Connections at Jazzahead! Atom String Quartet showcase
We're thrilled to be part of the biggest industry gathering in Europe again this year, especially that this year Poland is the country in focus! Our Polish connection is strong and we're looking forward to the fabulous Atom String Quartet showcase on Thursday 19 April.
Let's connect, chat and get to know each other! We're going to be around the Polish stand quite a bit, too, so come along to find out what's new with Mo' Connections bands. We're working on tours for Phil Robson's new US band feat. Jed Levy, Robert Mitchell's Epiphany 3 & his new projects, including piano solo one and upcoming releases. We're looking forward to seeing our friends, meeting new, like-minded people and as always, making mo' connections!
Phil Robson forms new American band feat. Jed Levy
We're very excited about Phil Robson's new creative venture. Following his numerous UK/US collaborations over the years, including his trio with Billy Hart & James Genus, quartet with Dave Liebman or quintet feat. Mark Turner, Phil now has invited the saxophonist Jed Levy to make new music for this ensemble. The quartet features bassist Peter Slavov, known for his work with Joe Lovano or Quincy Jones and Rudy Royston, who's played with Bill Frisell, Greg Osby and John Patitucci, among many others. The original music written by Phil & Jed is innovative & contemporary whilst drawing on the the vast tradition of jazz, across the whole spectrum of styles. The emphasis is on strong melodies and grooves and the tunes are vehicles for improvisation, allowing each musician to bring their experience and to make them their own!
The band tours Europe in November.
31-12-2017, updated 17-01-2018
2017 was Robert Mitchell's year!
We started the year with the preview of Robert Mitchell's LP "A Vigil For Justice. A Vigil For Peace" in Poland. The audience welcomed the music and poetry with great joy and listened intently. Tomasz Pierchała of 12on14 Club in Warsaw wrote: We had to do with the highest art, where each element, be it sound or word seems to be non-interchangeable and irreplaceable; with artistic matter that’s so multi-faceted; with a scenario of the whole event and the language of the narration that balanced form and contents so phenomenally that we can rightly say that we took part in one of the best concerts that we’ve ever had on our stage.
The album, officially released on 15 September, on Robert's own label Dept Of Field has been getting great critical acclaim. Gilles Peterson called the album his best yet... Absolutely top quality jazz from one of the world’s finest.Chris Barber of Jazz Views said that the trio sparkle with a life-affirming effervescence. The eight tunes presented here showcase the trio at the very top of their game, with Mitchell charting a course that takes the listener on a voyage of discovery, in both musical and literary terms. (...) As a commentary on the times, this feels spot on, with its quest for an optimistic solution to troubling events. But more than this, it is a piece of jazz that is an ambitious and uplifting work of art.Reviewers naturally paid lots of attention to the music, but also to the special relationship of words to sounds on the recording. Mike Gates of Jazz Viewsnoted: (...) There is a connectedness, an interactive involvement that brings two art forms together in a cohesive and creative way.
One of the highlights of 2017 was Robert's BASCA nomination, for a tune on the LP. Following the album launch, Robert also published a poetry book, which contains the poems featured on the album, and more. It was officially launched at a London Jazz Festival concert, a special session of Jazz in the Round, run by Jez Nelson & Chris Philips. The album has been featured in quite a few Best Albums of 2017 lists, including UK Vibe, Jazz in Europe and Jazz FM, Jez Nelson's.
We were also very happy to read or listen to insightful interviews with Robert on the album, but it was also great to find out his thoughts of pianists he admires. The Dec/Jan issue of Jazzwise magazine, the anniversary "Monk" edition features Robert's reflections on the master's legacy and influence, and the Feb issue sees him talking about Gonzalo Rubalcaba's album "Rapsodia", in the Turning Point Section. Summing up - it was a great year. Here's to a very exciting New Year!
Robert Mitchell nominated for British Composer Award
We're thrilled to share the news that Robert Mitchell has been nominated for the British Composer Award. The nomination is for his piece "You Are My World" from the album "A Vigil for Justice. A Vigil for Peace". We are keeping fingers crossed for Robert, the Award Gala is on 7 December in the beautiful space of the British Museum.
Mo' Connections at European Jazz Conference in Ljubljana
For the second time Mo' Connections was part of the European Jazz Conference, organised by Europe Jazz Network and this time round hosted by Carkanjev Dom, a wonderful venue in Ljubljana, Slovenia between 21 - 24 September. The theme for this year's gathering was "What if..." and drew on the themes of migration, looking into one's cultural roots and tradition often in a situation when uprooted and found in a culturally different place - a very current theme in today's geopolitical state of the world. Three keynote speeches were delivered by musicians and their voice seemed most important in the various discussions that followed. Lebanese oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil described his experiences of war and change of regime in his homeland and told a story of his migration and fascination with modern music that informed his understanding of the traditional music of his own culture. Pianist Bojan Z talked about leaving home - former Yugoslavia - to work within a different, "Western" culture and how only prompted by his new French environment did he turn to his Balkan heritage. Rokia Traoré described the work of the
foundation she has started to enable musicians in her native Mali to find their identity and build
professional careers in their own country, in the politically difficult climate, to say the least. A very inspiring meeting and a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas and talk about music with people immersed in music for the love of it! We look forward to the next conference, this time round in Lisbon!"
See if you can spot Sabina in the crowd! (hint - peeking from behind and between the Chair Ros Rigby and Giambattista Tofoni of EJN ;)
Robert Mitchell launches his LP with Epiphany 3 & special guests
Robert Mitchell's Epiphany 3 launched the new album "A Vigil for Justice. A Vigil for Peace" at the Vortex Jazz Club in London on 15th September. The trio was joined by two special guests that made the evening exceptional: French saxophonist Julien Lourau and Japanese improvising dancer Masumi Endo . We were in awe how Masumi navigated the constrained space on the small stage gracing the perfomance with her expressive presence and charming the audience. The concert was also enhanced with art projections that compliment the poetry/spoken word element present on the album. Here is a video medley as a souvenir of that evening:
Mo' Connections go visual
Thrilled to share this video with some insight into what drives Sabina and the musical family that forms Mo' Connections!
Atom String Quartet's "Seifert" gaining critical acclaim
The new album from the explosive Atom String Quartet has had quite a few stunning reviews in their homeland so far, including a 5-star one from the leading jazz magazine in print "Jazz Forum", but now we're thrilled that there are great reviews in English that we can share with the international audience. Adam Baruch writes on his blog that the music is executed with the outmost care and sheer virtuosity, which easily explains the revered status of the quartet. Both individually and as an ensemble, Atom String Quartet are simply magnificent from start to finish. This album, in view of its challenges and rigorous outline, proves to be the quartet´s best recording to date as far as I am concerned. The limitations created by the repertoire turned out to be an asset and the quartet emerges victorious from the obvious challenge.
In his 5-star review on All About Jazz, Ian Patterson praises the "passionate homage" to the composer and how the quartet approaches the pieces to firstly highlight Seifert as composer. The Atom String Quartet's empathy for Seifert's tunes is immediately evident from the infectious plucked-string groove, bold melodic attack and bluesy violin acrobatics of "Quasimodo"—a strong opening statement—the two violins dovetailing joyously over drone and groove to powerful effect.However, The ensemble playing is stunning throughout, sparks flying when the musicians tear free from the compositional frameworks. It's worth reading more about the album as well as Zbigniew Seifert, an interesting and important figure in jazz and the quartet hopes that their album serves that purpose, too. Patterson rightly concludes: Appropriately, Atom String Quartet's vital and adventurous arrangements bear the stamp of Seifert's musical personality while saying something new. The inspired and inspiringSeifertwill hopefully attract greater attention to Zbigniew Seifert's compositions whilst simultaneously underlining Atom String Quartet's credentials as one of contemporary music's most essential string quartets, regardless of genre.
Last minute news: In the September issue of Jazzwise magazine the album received a 4-star review from Selwyn Harris and high praise for world class quartet's forceful mix of jazz and classical improv. We're so pleased!
Changes on Mo' Connections roster: Robert Mitchell & Dominic J Marshall
As we're saying goodbye to Dominic J Marshall, with whom we were so happy to work through two of his albums and watched him grow over the past few years, we're also extending our collaboration with Robert Mitchell. So far we've worked on Robert's international projects and we now are proud to represent him both "at home", in the UK as well as internationally. This comes after a very prolific start of the year with Robert's tour in Poland with his new album and band Epiphany 3.
We're now working on the last tour for Dominic J Marshall as he brings both his UK and European bookings under one roof. Our last tour is a special one as we're bringing his Dutch band, feat. Jamie Peet & Glenn Gaddum thanks to the "Going Dutch" exchange scheme run by Dutch Performing Arts and Jazz Promotion Network. There's still time to register your interest for that supported tour in March/April 2018!
Robert Mitchell releases a new album on vinyl in September - already the talk of the town!
On 15th September 2017 Robert Mitchell will officially release his new project on vinyl and digital. "A Vigil For Justice. A Vigil For Peace" is an album encompassing music played solo and in a trio format (Robert's new exciting band Epiphany 3), spoken word with inspiration coming from beat poetry, hip hop and beyond. Both music and words are inspired by the rapid political change in atmosphere in recent times, against the backdrop of so much unrealised human potential and vast inequalities.
In “A Vigil For Justice, A Vigil For Peace” the composer addresses dissatisfaction with the political process, inequality and division, continued struggles for peace, migration, refocussing on the special talents that everyone possesses, long lasting love and a tribute to Debbie Purdey. The album is also an introduction to a larger work called “The Spirit Line”. You will find that the music inspired by freedom, groove, power, grace, symbiosis, Ubuntu, trust, love and loss contains - odd metre, latin influences, free form, funk, fusion, m-base Steinway piano, Vintage vibe, toy piano and Roland synth keyboards, acoustic, electric and electro acoustic bass - with touches of inside piano and drum machine. All of it is a brilliantly executed whole - Robert Mitchell's ninth album to date, produced by the ECM recording artist Miles Bould, released on Depth of Field label and features Laurie Lowe on drums, Tom Mason on electric, acoustic & Electro-Acoustic basses and Thami Hlabangana & HKB Finn as narrators.
There has already been buzz in the media about the upcoming release and we're thrilled that the album features in Jazz in Europe in July and the article has had some 6.5 thousand hits! Read the story here. Robert's new album also featured in Chris Philips' Blueprint programme on JazzFM and you can listen to it again here.
Album launch: 15th Sept, Vortex Jazz Club, London with special guests Julien Lourau on saxophone and Masumi Endo - dance improvisation.
All in all “A Vigil For Justice, A Vigil For Peace” is an album that deserves pride of place in any modern jazz enthusiasts collection (Jazz In Europe) Agreed! Plus, what a beautiful cover! Looking forward to the launch date and live gigs.
Atom String Quartet release a new album "Seifert" in May
On 27th May 2017 Atom String Quartet release their new album entitled “Seifert”, a celebration of music and spirit of Zbigniew Seifert, Polish jazz violin legend. Seifert (born Kraków 1946 - died Buffalo, US 1979), perhaps less known to the international general public, is one of the examples of “a musicians musician”. Sadly, his premature death at the age of 32 cut a promising and creative career too short.
Published by the Zbigniew Seifert Foundation, the album is the quartet’s first one to be dedicated solely to one composer. In 2017 the Foundation intends to release three more albums dedicated to the violinist, two containing archive recordings, some never released, and Mateusz Smoczyński’s solo album, as Mateusz in the 2016 Seifert Competition winner.
Here's what the band says about the album:
In the general mind of jazz fans, Zbigniew Seifert is mostly a virtuoso of the violin. Hardly any attention is paid to his compositions that nonetheless were as much decisive for the characteristic “Seifertian” style of his music as his mastery of the instrument.
As the Atom String Quartet we decided to refresh the memory of the Maestro’s works that were originally intended for a jazz combo. They were filtered through the musical language of a jazz string quartet, which seems close to the values professed by the composer. Both the way how Seifert played and what he composed prove how important he found introduction of elements characteristic of jazz music to the classical performance.
Dominic J Marshall's album "The Triolithic" nominated for Edison Award
Thrilling news - Dominic's latest CD, released last September (Challenge Records) has just been nominated for Edison Award (Jazz/World category)! The Dutch prize is awarded for outstanding achievements in the music industry and it's Dominic's second nomination, first was for his "Spirit Speech" album . It is one of the oldest music awards in the world, with nearly 60 years of history. Congratulations to Dominic, we're keeping our fingers crossed.
"The Triolithic" is Dominic's fourth album and recorded using two trio line-ups he's been working with regularly, Dutch and British as well as a special guest Lars Dietrich on sax. The album got **** review from Jazzwise and was included in the magazine's top 20 list of the albums of 2016. A most recent account of the CD experience by UK Vibe is here.
Mo' Connections team up with Silesian Jazz Orchestra in a new partnership
We are very happy that we have recently gained a new partner, a fabulous Australian-Polish connection, Silesian Jazz Orchestra led by Sigmund Lindner. The Orchestra is a contemporary Big Band based in Wrocław, Poland in the Silesia region, specialising in contemporary jazz arrangements, but not distancing themselves from conventional instrumental and vocal genres. The SJO artists are all selected elite accomplished professional jazz musicians from Silesia, surrounding regions as well as performers from abroad.
Sigmund "Ziggy" Lindner's connection to Poland (also through his heritage) was strenghtened when he studied under Krzysztof Penderecki. In the recent years he has been sharing his life between Poland and Australia, where he's been an accomplished conductor, instrumentalist and composer.
We look forward to working with Ziggy on musical projects and highly recommend the Orchestra - do let us know if you'd like to find out more! In the meantime, check out the ensemble's website for music and more info on players. Watch this space for more news!
Robert Mitchell's Epiphany 3 in Poland
Robert Mitchell introduced his new project and new band, Epiphany 3 feat. Tom Mason & Saleem Raman for the first time outside the UK. We had a ball gigging in three cities, Poznań, Lublin & Warsaw. Great audience and fab atmosphere. It was a thrill to see some wonderful jazzers, including Paweł Brodowski of Jazz Forum magazine, but also musicians who enjoyed the musical occasion - lovely to have met Artur Dutkiewicz and caught up with Marek Napiórkowski! We think that the account of the last gig at Warsaw's 12on14 Club (which just the night we were there was announced Best Jazz Club in Poland by the Jazz Forum readers!) aptly sums up the musical adventure: We had to do with the highest art, where each element, be it sound or word seems to be non-interchangeable and irreplaceable; with artistic matter that’s so multi-faceted; with a scenario of the whole event and the language of the narration that balanced form and contents so phenomenally that we can rightly say that we took part in one of the best concerts that we’ve ever had on our stage Tomasz Pierchała.
Robert, Tom & Saleem also did workshops at the Faculty of Music, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin - the students loved the stories on "living the jazz life" that came up in the Q&A session afterwards! We certainly enjoyed being invited to the jam session after the gig - what a joy to see young people get together regularly to jam. We had a ball.
Photo by Przemek Nowak, produktart.studio - "Zamek", Poznań, 22.01.2017
Kicking of 2017 with Robert Mitchell's Epiphany 3's tour in Poland
Robert Mitchell introduces his new project and new band, Epiphany 3 feat. Tom Mason & Saleem Raman for the first time outside the UK and he does so in Poland. We're thrilled to be gigging in three cities, Poznań, Lublin & Warsaw (check the Gigs page for details). The trio will be also teaching at the Faculty of Music, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin.
The music the band is presenting is a new project from Robert, where he furthers his musical concepts developed in the monumental "Invocation" and presents music played solo and in a piano trio as well as spoken word and beat-poets & hip hop inspired poetry. Ever a thinker and writer, the composer addresses with his pieces and texts dissatisfaction with the political process, inequality and division, continued struggles for peace, migration, refocussing on the special talents that everyone possesses, long lasting love and a tribute to the brilliant Debbie Purdey. The music has been inspired by freedom, groove, power, grace, symbiosis, Ubuntu, trust, love, loss and contains odd metre, latin influences, free form, funk, fusion, m-base Steinway piano, Vintage vibe, toy piano and Roland synth keyboards, acoustic, electric and electro acoustic bass - with touches of inside piano and drum machine. In other words - expect surprises! With this project Robert introduces a larger work called “The Spirit Line”.
The year's coming to an end - we're saying goodbye to 2016 with a success of Dominic J Marshall's new CD and looking forward to kicking off 2017 with Robert Mitchell's new band premiering their new material in Poland in January 2017!
Hasn't 2016 passed too quickly? It ends for us with great joy coming from the success of Dominic J Marshall's new album which made it to Jazzwise magazine's list of top abums of the year and we look forward to 2017 as it brings a new project from Robert Mitchell, who will be presenting his new band and brand new music for the first time outside the UK in Poland.
Dominic J Marshall Trio toured the UK with their new album in June - lovely memories of the tour & gig at London's Hideaway below. We're so happy that "The Triolithic" was listed as one of the albums of the year in Jazzwise magazine - it also got a 4 stars review in the Dec/Jan issue and we so agree with Selwyn Harris' conclusion that "With all the headlines about Glasper and Kamasi, it's time to make some room for an ultra-hip yet jazz-schooled Brit doing his own challenging version of hip hop and electronica-charged, soulful cosmic jazz."
Phil Robson's Organ Trio toured twice this year, in March and recently in November, presenting quite a few new tunes and surprises and finishing the string of gigs with a London Jazz Festival performance - the band sounds just thrilling, they swing, they groove, they rock, they are in perfect sync, they surprise you and keep you on your toes, what a trio! We are so proud that we've been with the band since their birth and we are hungry for more music.
We are looking forward to the New Year and a new band and new music from Robert Mitchell. For the first time we are bringing Robert's beautiful music and this time also words and concepts to Poland. Three cities in January will hear some of his latest compositions from a totally new band Robert Mitchell's Epiphany 3 feat. Tom Mason & Saleem Raman for the first time outside the UK! How cool is that :)
Atom String Quartet made their UK debut at Manchester Jazz Festival (and they did fab!) and also played at London's Pizza Express Jazz Club. The gig was broadcast live, so we had more than a full house on the night! We are also very happy that we were part of the MJF this year as they received the Europe Jazz Network award for Adventurous Programming - we feel partly responsible for that adventurous part. Love to our partners at MJF, excellent promoters and just lovely people.
We had a great year of gigs with Juliet Kelly who especially made us smile with a special programme for women, about women and by women on the International Women's Day (8th March) at the Vortex. The band was a girls, band, naturally, featuring Tori Freestone & Alcyona Mick.
Here's to a Happy New Year! Thanks for being with us in 2016 and see you at gigs in 2017!
Visiting National Forum of Music in Wrocław, Poland on the occasion of the European Jazz Conference 2016& prior to Robert Mitchell's "Invocation" performance at the venue in January 2017!
What a spectacular venue! We are very pleased to have been part of the EJN Conference this year. The theme for discussion and thought was "listening" which incited some interesting conversations. We particularly enjoyed the keynote speeches by Danilo Perez and Georgina Born. Danilo talked in such an inspiring way about music for social change and working with local communities, giving the Panama Jazz Festival as an example. Georgina explored the changing habits (and technology) of listening in public and private spaces as well as institutionalised forms of music reception and how that influences our work as music professionals. The annual conference is a great opportunity to see some of our friends, including festival organisers, programmers, agents, managers and to make mo' connections. We enjoyed the exchanges of experiences and all the inspiring conversations - thank you!
We also enjoyed the varied selection of Polish bands showcasing in the evenings. You can read a wonderful account of the musical aspects of the conference by Keving Le Gendre in Jazzwise magazine. We absolutely agree with Kevin's oppinion!
It is our absolute joy that we're bringing Robert Mitchell's Panacea to the beautiful hall of the NFM to perform Robert's spectacular jazz chamber piece "Invocation" on 21st January 2017. We are looking forward to our collaboration with the NFM Choir and string orchestra.
The busy foyer of NFM - bringing to mind the form of a piano & keys, of course.
Mateusz Smoczyński of Atom String Quartet wins the International Zbigniew Seifert Jazz Violin Competition!
Congratulations to Mateusz for winning this presitgious award! Zbigniew Seifert was a very important figure on Polish and international jazz scene whose untimely death was a huge loss to the jazz world. His innovative and gripping style also won both musicians' and listeners' hearts. He was naturally very much admired by his collaborators and the few albums he recorded, (including the last one, "Passion", featuring Jack DeJohnette (dr), John Scofield (g), Eddie Gomez (b), Richie Beirach (p), and Nana Vasconcelos (pr)), are amongst the most inspiring to date.
The competition established in Seifert's name is open to musicians representing different musical styles, techniques of performance and types of compositions. We're also pleased that Mary James reported the competition for London Jazz News - read Mary's impressions here! She also gives another ASQ member due credit - Krzysztof Lenczowski (cello), was a semi-finalist in this year's competition. He's done fantastically and we are just chuffed to see both of the "Atoms" do so well in such competitive environment. Bravo!
The winners were awarded special concert prizes andMateusz will soon perfom:
with Stephan Braun in Hamburg on 20 November in co-operation with the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation and Jazz Federation Hamburg.
Mateusz Smoczyński - Concert in 2017 as a part of Emanacje Festival funded by The Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music.
Atom String Quartet part of the EJN awarded Manchester Jazz Festival
Congratulations to Manchester International Jazz Festival for receiving the European Jazz Network Award this year for Adventurous Programming. The festival is the first UK promoter to receive the award from the organisation. We're very happy that the Polish band we represent, Atom String Quartet - the only Polish string quartet to play jazz! - is part of this year's programme.
This year's MJF theme is Re-Think Jazz. The festival's done a great job reaching out not just to jazz fans, but those who might think that they know what jazz is and it isn’t for them, We hope that ASQ's performance will be an exciting offer for those who will take the leap and try to find out what atomic jazz is all about! Read more in Jazzwise Mag's News section here.
The concert takes place in the iconic festival venue, St Ann's Church, Thursday 28th July, 1:15pm. See you there!
Oran Etkin named "Rising Star" in the Downbeat Magazine's Critics Poll!
The award-winning and critically acclaimed American clarinettist Oran Etkin features in this year's Critics Poll, issued every year by the magazine (this year for the 64th time!) - in the Rising Star - Clarinet category. We are very proud to be working with Oran and congratulate him on this occasion (he has been a Start to us anyway;). Check the full list of musicians here.
Earlier this year Oran was interviewed by the magazine and talked about his relationship with the instrument and the inspiration behind his latest album "What's New? Re-Imagining Benny Goodman". Read it here.
Atom String Quartet in the UK for the first time!
The award-winning and critically acclaimed Polish band will play at Pizza Express Jazz Club in London on 27th July, as an exclusive preview to their Manchester International Jazz Festival gig and UK debut on 28th July.
As Stephen Graham notes in his recent review/post on the band and their CD "atomSPHERE": Deadly serious music that is not too severe and makes you switch your brain on from the default smartphone-frazzled setting to really vibrate Marlbank.net
ASQ are an extremely original ensemble playing music which can’t be pigeonholed. Drawing on both classical and folk tradition, they successfully meld these melodic & rhythmic influences with jazz idiom in their original compositions to create a truly intriguing and unique experience. Simply a must live! Check the UK dates in the Gigs section.
Listen to this special performance of Witold Lutosławski's Etude no 1, with Branford Marsalis & Mino Cinelu to see how classical and jazz worlds meet in a perfect unity! Scorll down for a News item on ASQ's latest CD for more music.
Oran Etkin premiers his Timbalooloo TV - broadcast on Jazz Day 2016!
Oran Etkin has just launched a new Online Mini-Series for children called Timbalooloo TV and it will be premiered this week for International Jazz Day, being screened worldwide at schools, orphanages and other places where kids can participate through UNESCO & Thelonious Monk Institute and their 195 partner countries!
Oran is very happy that this year the series is going to be part of the special celebrations on 30th April: "JazzDay's central message is peace through music and I'm very happy they chose this new video series as their way to reach the youngest amongst us this year."
Last year Oran ran his Timbalooloo workshops as part of the Jazz Day's official programme and a very special guest popped by - Wayne Shorter! Stay tuned for more - soon there will be videos in French, Japanese & Chinese.
Atom String Quartet nominated for Fryderyk Award & named Best Acoustic Band of 2015!
Thrilled to share some news on Atom String Quartet who have recently been named the Best Acoustic Band of 2015 in readers poll of jazz magazine "Jazz Forum"! The quartet's new album "atomSPHERE" has been nominated for the Polish Music Industry Award "Fryderyk" in two categories: Album of the Year and Jazz Artist of the Year. Congratulations! Keep checking our pages for more exciting news, soon to be revealed.
Phil Robson's new ventures in New York and UK tour
Phil Robson has recently made a move over the ocean to New York and much as we miss him here in the UK, we are so happy that he's re-connected with his musical friends there and has been making his mark on the US scene! Phil is bringing his band Icicle Architects feat. Donny McCaslin, James Genus & Adam Nussbaum to Brooklyn's most hip venue, Shapeshifter Lab on 30th March 2016.
Read more in our Gigs section and get ready for Phil Robson's Organ Trio's tour in Britain, starting 3rd March!
Oran Etkin in Downbeat Magazine
We are very pleased to read a feature on Oran Etkin in Downbeat Magazine's Players section this month. Check it out and find out more about the story behind Re-Imagining Benny Goodman project and that of Oran's childhood leading into finding clarinet and his musical voice!
New album from Atom String Quartet and a series of concerts feat. Branford Marsalis
Atom String Quartet has recently released a new, highly anticipated album "atomSPHERE". The double CD release features original compositions by the quartet members and arrangements of Witold Lutosławski's "Two Piano Suites" and Zbigniew Seifert's "Passion". In October, the quartet was awarded a prestigious "Mateusze" award by Polish Radio Programme 3. Atoms will soon be performing in a series of concerts alongsine a stellar line-up, including Anna Maria Jopek and featuring Branford Marsalis. We can't wait to the results of that collaboration!
London Jazz Festival memories - Kairos 4tet feat. Marc O'Reilly & Emilia Martensson
Thanks to Steven Cropper, who is not only a jazz afficionado, but also a great live photographer, we can share the memories of this year's London Jazz Festival performance by Kairos 4tet. You can see more photos on Steven's website. As you can see, the band performed with special guests, the very lyrical Marc O'Reilley who flew over from Ireland especially for this gig and the wonderful Emilia Martensson, almost the 5th band member! The duties on piano and double bass were performed by the talented Elliot Galvin and Conor Chaplin. The band let the audience in on some of the secrets of the new music they have just written (and recorded). We look forward to the new album, out in autumn 2016!
Kevin Le Gendre wrote about the gig on Jazzwise Magazine's webiste "With an excellent band and songbook at his disposal the talented Mr Waldman has the perfect vehicle to move Kairos forward as a live act."
So on to the next live gig - 28th Nov at RNCM, Manchester, see you there!
New album from Atom String Quartet and a series of concerts feat. Branford Marsalis
Atom String Quartet has recently released a new, highly anticipated album "atomSPHERE". The double CD release features original compositions by the quartet members and arrangements of Witold Lutosławski's "Two Piano Suites" and Zbigniew Seifert's "Passion". In October, the quartet was awarded a prestigious "Mateusze" award by Polish Radio Programme 3. Atoms will soon be performing in a series of concerts alongsine a stellar line-up, including Anna Maria Jopek and featuring Branford Marsalis. We can't wait to the results of that collaboration!
New season's upon us... looking back at some of the summer festivals' memorable moments
Summer festivals are always fun and we look forward to them, especially during cold winter nights... We especially love when they take us to unusual or exotic places! Mo' Connections musicians toured extensively, including Poland, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and beyond. Some of the summer adventures got captured by local TV & radio stations, check out the footage from Ubud Village Jazz Festival in Bali of Oran Etkin's presentation of his new project "What's New? Re- Imagining Benny Goodman" and an interview with Dominic J Marshall at North Sea Jazz Festival:
Oran Etkin's new CD "What's New? Re-Imagining Benny Goodman" pre-release date on iTunes marks the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the "Swing Era"
Oran Etkin's new project celebrates the music and spirit of Benny Goodman's famous quartet with Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa. The album will be released this autumn, but the pre-release date on iTunes marks the 80th anniversary of Goodman’s famous concert at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles on 21st August, 1935, a show cited by historians as the beginning of the Swing Era. Oran Etkin celebrates the spirit of Goodmans music and innovation in the recording on which he's joined by Sullivan Fortner,recent winner of the American Piano Association’s Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz, on piano;Steve Nelsonon vibes;Matt Wilsonon drums; and guest vocalist, Charenee Wade. The upcoming dates include Dizzy's Coca-Cola Club, Jazz at Lincoln Centre, New York, double bill dates with the NDR Orchestra and two dates at London's Pizza Express Jazz Club, 30 Nov/1 Dec, among others.
Christine Tobin sings Cohen at Ladies Jazz Festival and features on the CD compilation
Christine Tobin performs in Gdynia, Poland at Ladies Jazz Festival on Sunday 12th July. The festival celebrates female jazz talent and attracts the cream of the world jazz - this year the line-up includes Dianne Reeves and Candy Dulfer. The festival also publishes a compilation CDto commemorate the series and Christine's rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hey, That's no way to say Goodbye" features on vol. 9 - and it premiers today!
Exciting News: new addition to Mo' Connections roster: Atom String Quartet!
We're pleased to announce that we'll be representing the fabulous Polish jazz string ensemble in the UK. Atom String Quartet have quickly become one of the most talked about jazz ensembles and since 2011 when their album „Fade In” received the Polish phonographic industry award „Fryderyk”, in the category of Jazz Debut of the Year they've been going from strength to strength. The quartet's second album „Places” (2012) was awarded „Fryderyk” for Jazz Album of the Year andthey continue to receive accolades, are in high demand and have toured worldwide. Atom Sting Quartet played at BerlinerJazztage, Jazz Baltica, Festival Veranos de la Villa Madrid, Jazz Jamboree, Ethno Jazz Festival or Solidarity of Arts, among others. Most recently Atom String Quartet took Bermen, Germany by storm with their JazzAhead! showcase. The quartet performed with Bobby McFerrin, Gil Goldstein and Urszula Dudziak at the Solidarity of Arts festival and have collaborated & recorded with many more jazz musicians, Paolo Fresu, Lars Danielsson, Krzysztof Herdzin, Aga Zaryan, Christian von Kaphengst, Rupert Stamm and Leszek Możdżer included.
"The Atoms" are: Dawid Lubowicz and Mateusz Smoczyski (violinists), Michał Zaborski (viola) and Krzysztof Lenczowski (cello).
Watch this space for more info and tune in to our Facebook and Twitter channels for updates!
Mo' Connections go into a partnerhip with Belgian pianist Jef Neve's Management
Mo’ Connections, a UK booking agency and project management and Silverbyrd Management for the Belgian pianist and composer of international recognition Jef Neve are pleased to announce a collaborative relationship which they like to call “a creative partnership”.
Jef Neve, hailed as “the new Toots Thielemans of Belgium” (Volkskrant, NL, Febr. 2015), has become a standard for high class albums and projects in his home country, but also across Europe and his reputation is rapidly spreading over the rest of the world. His popularity started with the award-winning Jef Neve Trio, which toured all over the world, and continues as a solo performer, with successful tours from Chile to China, from Canada to Kenya. Over the years Jef has collaborated with many inspiring people, José James, Richard Galliano and Jamie Cullum, included. He also composes a lot of music for theatre, film and TV as well as classical piano music.
Sabina Czajkowska of Mo’ Connections is proud to be working with Robert Mitchell, a pianist and composer of an exceptional talent and scope of artistic activity on his large-scale projects, a choral/jazz one - “Invocation” (which features his groundbreaking ensemble Panacea) and a unique left hand piano festival “Leftitude” included. Robert is a Steinway Artist, has toured to 40 countries, released 8 albums, and worked in over 100 projects - with such artists as Steve Coleman, the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Shaun Escoffery, Courtney Pine, Greg Osby, and Soweto Kinch. Common areas of interest and potential opportunities of collaboration make this form of a partnership a promising and exciting prospect for both parties.
Mo’ Connections will be honoured to become an “ambassador” or first point of touch for UK promoters and potential collaborators in the country. Pieter Kindt of Silverbyrd Management will share his experience and expertise in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Please get in touch to find out more about the musicians and their projects!
Phil Robson's "The Cut Off Point" CD released - reviews & promo video
Phil Robson's latest baby - an organ trio tradition inspired CD "The Cut Off Point" has been released and is available now. We're thrilled to share some of the enthusiastic reviews that have appeared so far. Phil Robson's compositions (but one track by David Liebman) come to life thanks to the incredibly tight band featuring Ross Stanley and Gene Calderazzo. As John Fordham said in his review: "This is vibrant contemporary jazz made by three resourceful improvisers." More on the CD can be read on the All About Jazz, AP Jazz and Bebop Spoken Here websites and in the May issue of Jazzwise magazine. "The Cut Off Point" also features in The Guardian Playlist!
Check out the video to find out more about the music and history behind the recording:
But first and foremost - come to a live gig to find out for yourself! CD launch live date is 6th June at the Vortex Jazz Club in London. See other dates coming uphere.
Oran Etkin at the International Jazz Day in Paris on 30th April
30th April is a special day in the jazz world - designated by UNESCO as International Jazz Day! It is a celebration of the very spirit of jazz - bringing people together, giving them a universal language to communicate and to encourage dialogues between cultures. Paris is the Global Host City in 2015 and there's lots happening around the French capital - check the full programme here. We're thrilled that this year Oran Etkin, our fantastic musician and a great educator is playing a special Timbalooloo show for kids this Thursday 10:30am at the Conservatoire (CRR) for International Jazz Day followed by Marcus Miller and then Wayne Shorter! Wherever you are in the world, join in the celebrations and spread the joy!
Mo' Connections at JazzAhead! in Bremen, Germany 24th-26th April
We're looking forward to the biggest trade fair for jazz business in Europe, JazzAhead! Mo' Connections are going to present their international roster, including Phil Robson and his projects, Oran Etkin and his both adult and kids shows, Robert Mitchell and his incredible project for jazz ensemble and choir as well as Dominic J Marshall Trio and the unique Dutch/UK line-up that the trio sports. We'll be thrilled to chat to the lovely people there who do indeed love the music and we're waiting for you to pop by the British Stand where we'll be based B17 in Hall 6. Both Phil & Oran will be there will us, so it's a partcularly exciting oportunity to meet the fantastic players in person. See you there, let's connect at JazzaAhead!
Juliet Kelly's upcoming album "Spellbound Stories" cover revealed - album launch 18 June!
We've been looking forward to Juliet Kelly's new album. Not only because it's been a while since her last one, but also because the new music has been such a delight at live gigs! It's a collection of songs she wrote inspired by some of her favourite novels. Great tunes, great stories and wonderful inspiration coming from the music and words. The album will be launched at London's Pizza Express Jazz Club on 18th June. The CD is now available for pre-order and you can read all the interesting stuff here, for example where and how the inspiration for "Spellbound Stories" came and how a naked man was involved in the process!
Oran Etkin's "Gathering Light" nominated for Independent Music Awards
We're thrilled to share some great news: Oran Etkin has been nominated for the 14th Independent Music Awards for his Gathering Light album (Motéma Music)! In the past his CDs "Wake Up, Clarinet!" and "Kelenia" both won IMA awards. IMA is an influential awards programme for independent artists and releases and it supports non-mainstream creativity. Read more about it here.
Fans can cast their votes for a special award - The Vox Pop Jukebox, so please do check this out. Congratulations to Oran!
Robson, Ross & Ratzo hit the road with their new album The Cut Off Point!
Phil Robson, Ross Stanley & Gene Calderazzo (yes, we guarantee it's them behind the masks;) will be promoting their new CD in June, with a few dates outside this exclusive tour. The album will be released on 18th May on Whirlwind Recordings.
Listen to the album preview here and make sure you don't miss the rare occasion to see the band live!
5th June - Birmingham Jazz @ The Red Lion, Birmingham
6th June - Vortex Jazz Club, London - ALBUM LAUNCH
7th June - Herts Jazz Club @ Campus West, Hawthorne Theatre, Welwyn Garden City
a warm-up, pre-release date: Con Cellar Jazz in Camden, London 1st May
12th July - Swanage Jazz Festival
Dominic J Marshall Trio live review by Ian Mann
It was a busy weekend for the band. On Saturday 22nd Feb Dominic, Sam Vicary & Sam Gardner played at the Hive, in Shrewsbury, thanks to the lovely people at Shrewsbury Jazz Network. The gig was fantastically (and in detail!) reviewed by Ian Mann - read it here. On Sunday the trio had their debut performance at London's Pizza Express. Many thanks to the appreciative audience on both dates! In case you can't see the band live (two more dates this week), you can tune in to London Jazz Radio and listen to Chris Hodgkins' show Jazz Then and Now as he's playing Dominic's music this and following week! Thanks, Chris!
Phil Robson's new album "The Cut Off Point" release date announced - 18th May
The new album of Phil's latest project as a leader, the organ trio with Ross Stanley & Gene Calderazzo will be released on Whirlwind Recordings on 18th May. It's certainly a date to put in your diary. An exclusive tour will follow. Read more about the new Whirlwind release here and listen to the album preview here.
Photos of the band for the new project were taken by Monika S Jakubowska - we love them to bits! Wait for more to be revealed.
Phil Robson nominated for Parliamentary Jazz Awards!
Phil Robson, our wonderful musician and friend has been nominated for Parliamentary Jazz Awards in Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year category. Well deserved and very timely: Phil's been very busy with both his fab band Partisans and his Trio - gigging and recording and the new album of the trio will be released in May. Not to mention he's been in demand as a sideman and soloist with other bands. Partisans as a band have been nominated twice: Jazz Ensemble and Album of the Year. Congratulations!
What's great about Parliamentary Jazz Awards is that the nominations are shortlisted by a Specialist Panel following an online vote through Jazz Services website, so it's the audience and the jazz community and fans that have their say! Read more about the Parliamentary Jazz Awards here and check the news section of Jazzwise magazine for more info. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony at the House of Commons on 10th March.
Phil Robson's Organ Trio new album preview clips!
Hugely anticipated Phil Robson's Organ Trio's recording can be previewed here. The forthcoming album entitled 'The Cut Off Point' will be released in the summer of 2015 on Whirlwind Recordings. Check the Gigs page for tour and festival dates. Promoters, reviewers, please get in touch for more info and to listen to the album exclusively before its release date.
Research & Communications services from Mo' Connections
We all know how difficult (and time-consuming!) it is to make yourself known to the promoters, venues, festivals and all those people that we want to find out about our music. It's important to get your message across and to the right people, timely and in a way that will attract their attention so that you can connect. Mo' Connections can help you with that. We provide research & communications services: we can research particular organisations and people in the sector for you to target and/or give you a helping hand with e-marketing using our vast database and recognisable design of our e-flyers. Get in touch to find out more!
Secret Life of a Jazz Diva - Juliet Kelly's new blog
Juliet Kelly lets us in on the secrets of a Jazz Diva in her new blog and newsletter where she will be sharing some behind the scenes snippets, photos, her favourite things and much more! Sign up for the newsletter and to get lots of other free stuff, including a free download of her song here. This is an exciting time as Juliet is releasing her new album soon - so it's a one of a kind occasion to gain insight into the process!
Dominic J Marshall Trio at Bimhuis, Amsterdam - video & review plus upcoming UK dates
Here's a great souvenir of the January gig of the trio (Dutch line-up) at Bimhuis in Amsterdam. The review that followed is available here. Dominic was named the best soloist at the Dutch Jazz Competition 2014 and has earned great recognition in The Netherlands. This is why it's a rare treat to catch the band in the UK (feat. Sam Vicary and Sam Gardner), so make sure you don't miss the upcoming dates: 21 Feb - The Hive, Shrewsbury, 22 Feb - Pizza Express, London, 25 Feb - The Basement, Brighton, 28 Feb - The Tithe Barn, Nailsea.
9 Jan - ATOM STRING QUARTET showcases his Re-Imagining Benny Goodman project at NY Winter JazzFest
This coming Friday 9th January ATOM STRING QUARTET and his band will be presenting Oran's latest project, Re-Imagining Benny Goodman during NY Winter Jazzfest. Honoring the spirit of daring innovation that Goodman had with his 1930s quartet with Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa & Teddy Wilson, Oran & the band featuring Matthew Wilson, Sullivan Fortner & Steve Nelson plus special guests present their own, unique take on Benny Goodman's music and bring it to the twenty first century. Join the band at the Players Theatre, 115 Macdougal Street, New York on 9th January for a taste of the upcoming album, out in September 2015. The release is timed with the 80th anniversary of the 1935 Palomar Ballroom concert that kicked off the Swing Era! A video of the performance at New York's, Dizzy's Club can be found here.
Happy New Year!
May 2015 be filled with lots of live jazz! We are looking forward to the New Year as Mo' Connections' musicians treat us to recorded music this year too. New CDs from Phil Robson's Organ Trio and Juliet Kelly are coming up in spring/summer and from Kairos 4tet and ATOM STRING QUARTET in autumn. We hope for Mo' occasions to meet, talk and listen to music in 2015, Happy New Year!
Kairos 4tet make the top 5 concerts of 2014 on Marlbank.net!
Kairos 4tet's gig at the Pizza Express in July was named one of the "five gigs that hit the spot this year" on Marlbank. This was a performance with the lovely Emilia Martensson as guest singer which we loved to bits!
Mo' Connections welcome a new addition to the roster, Oran Etkin & his projects
Mo' Connections is proud to be working with Dominic Alldis Trio
Robert Mitchell's "Invocation" at London Jazz Festival 2014 reviewed by Peter Quinn
Juliet Kelly's Family All-Stars & Robert Mitchell's "Invocation" at London Jazz Festival
Sun 23 Nov at 2:00pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre
Dominic J Marshall Trio performance in Bristol reviewed
Juliet Kelly will be releasing her "Spellbound Stories" CD next spring
Duologue remixes Kairos 4tet’s “Narrowboat Man” – and it’s killin’!
It doesn’t happen often in the jazz world, but when it does, it’s usually fun and exciting news, musically. London electronica/guitar band Duologue took “Narrowboat Man”, a tune from Kairos 4tet’s latest and highly acclaimed album “Everything We Hold” on an adventurous mixing trip. The result is great and we like it! (so does Kairos)
Phil Robson’s Organ Trio have recorded their new album!
Phil, Ross & Gene had a fantastically productive session at the wonderful Eastcote Studios. It was great to watch them at work – such energy, such rapport! Love the music, love the sound. This is the CD everybody will be talking about in 2015.