This month I’m part of Seth Bennett’s ‘What Love’ project; three gigs for a brand new group, interpreting/responding to the music of Charles Mingus. Also playing in the ensemble will be Kim Macari (trumpet), Ollie Dover (alto saxophone and bass clarinet), George Murray (trombone), Adam Fairhall (piano), Johnny Hunter (drums) and of course Seth on bass. Each member of the band will bring an arrangement of a Mingus composition (or their own Mingus-inspired new composition). It should be good fun! You can catch us in Sheffield, Cambridge and Manchester. See the flyer below for dates and venues…Update: now with rehearsal video….
It’s almost out there! Today I shipped out albums to all the crowdfunder backers, and pre-orders are up on the Bandcamp site. The release date is 4th December, so if you order a copy between now and then, it should drop onto your doormat on the day. Even though we only recorded this in August, I feel like I’ve been working on it for a really long time, so it’s good to get it over the line. The first track is streaming online now:
Next up, it’s all hands on deck as we finish the last of the logistics ready for the double bill Article XI/Favourite Animals UK tour. Here’s the flyer again – come out and see us if we’re in your town…
A Sloth Racket live album ‘See The Looks On The Faces’ is coming out this month on the excellent Tombed Visions label. David McLean, who runs the label, approached me earlier this year and we came up with a plan to record the summer tour with a view to putting something together. The resulting album features music from our gigs in Cambridge (at Listen!) and Norwich (at Plink Plonk), expertly captured by our own Anton Hunter, who brought his recording set up on tour. David was keen to present two versions of a composition, and so ‘Edges’ appears twice on the album – but in very different forms…
To support the release we’re playing in Manchester, Canterbury and London. Come along – and grab yourself one of the limited edition Tombed Visions cassettes while you’re at it! Check out the poster below for all the info.
Favourite Animals is heading out this December on a double bill tour with Anton Hunter’s Article XI. The two ensembles share several members, so we thought it would be fun to take them out together! We have four dates around the Midlands and the North, with both bands releasing albums around the same time. The tour is supported by Arts Council England and The Fenton Arts Trust.
The second Sloth Racket album ‘Shapeshifters’ is available to pre-order today, with albums shipping out and full release on 12th June (on Luminous). Recorded in October 2016 at Blueprint Studios in Salford, the album is made up of four new pieces that we developed over the course of our Autumn tour. Have a listen to a preview track and order your copy in advance from the Luminous Bandcamp site.
To launch the album we’re heading out on tour at the end of June, with support from Arts Council England. The tour takes us to some new places, perhaps the most exciting of which is the first ever edition of Listen! in Cambridge. Listen! is being set up by dedicated London jazz scene supporters Carol Garrison and Graham Lee, who have relocated to Cambridge and decided to get their hands dirty setting up a new outpost for adventurous music there. As well as Cambridge we’ll be playing in Bristol and Norwich for the first time, plus returning to Leeds and Brighton to play at Wharf Chambers and Safehouse. To start things off we’ll be doing a set on the Saturday of the second LUME Festival, which presumably you’ve already got your tickets for…
Here’s the tour itinerary, with links to more info on the gigs:
24th June London: IKLECTIK (LUME Festival)
26th June Leeds: Wharf Chambers (presented by Sproggits)
27th June Bristol: The Old England (presented by Pull The Strings)
28th June Brighton: The Verdict (presented by Safehouse)
29th June Norwich: York Tavern (presented by Plink Plonk)
30th June Cambridge: Unitarian Church (presented by Listen!)
See you out there!
I’m back from a few days in Belgium and Holland with Ripsaw Catfish, on the Raw Tonk Records fifth birthday mini tour of the Lowlands. The touring party was three duos: Colin Webster and Andrew Lisle; Graham Dunning and Dirk Serries and Ripsaw Catfish. We were away for three nights, playing at Pletterij in Haarlem, De Singer in Rijkevorsel and De Ruimte in Amsterdam. Colin brought the entire Raw Tonk catalogue, which made for a formidable merch table. 23 releases! It didn’t stay looking like this for long though, as the Haarlem audience snapped up a sizeable chunk of the stock on the first night…
Each night we changed the running order: it was interesting to compare the three gigs as whole evenings, as well as each duo’s changing music. In particular, Graham and Dirk had never played together before, and it was fascinating to hear them create their music together for the first few times. I hope there will be more to come. The Pletterij date (which was reviewed by the Opduvel blog) coincided with the release of our second Ripsaw Catfish album on Raw Tonk, ‘Namazu’, so that gig became our album launch. It opened with a blasting set from Colin and Andrew:
Video and audio from these gigs are on their way: all three were recorded so I’m looking forward to listening again. Rob Braken took this photo of our set, also at Pletterij:
I can’t find any decent quality photos from our second gig, at De Singer in Rijkevorsel, but it was a lovely evening (reviewed on Peter Prong’s blog). I was struck by the great hospitality at all the gigs and the friendly audiences! At De Ruimte in Amsterdam, where Anton and I also played last year, the room is at the top of an old ‘traffic tower’, with views across the city. Despite the amount of glass, it still manages to feel really cosy:
A massive shout out to Dirk, who drove us around in a van each day from our base in Rijkevorsel (where he lives). The Simpel & Goe B&B where we stayed, incidentally, was excellent! Colin took a selfie of the gang on our way to have dinner before the gig at De Singer:
The Raw Tonk fifth birthday celebrations continue over the next couple of weeks. You can catch the Raw Tonk Festival at Hundred Years Gallery in London on 25th March (tickets), The Old Bank in Manchester on 26th March (tickets), and a Raw Tonk triple bill at Cappelens Forslag in Oslo on 2nd April.
First two photos by Dirk, last two by Colin, middle one by Rob Brakel.
This month, Colin Webster’s mighty Raw Tonk label is celebrating its fifth birthday with a burst of activity – including lots of live dates for Ripsaw Catfish! First up is the Raw Tonk Lowlands Tour this weekend. We’re heading to Haarlem, Rijkevorsel and Amsterdam as part of a cluster of three duos:
After that there’s some brief down-time before the Raw Tonk Festival hits London and Manchester. For these gigs Anton and I will be playing trio sets with Dee Byrne for the first time:
And then to top it all off, we’re heading to Oslo on the first weekend of April for a triple bill of Ripsaw Catfish, Tom Ward/Andrew Lisle and KTHXBYE at Cappelens Forslag.
Happy birthday Raw Tonk – amazing work Colin!!
It’s out there! Well, almost. The Madwort Sax Quartet album is available to pre-order from Efpi Records now:
We’re touring to celebrate the release: catch us at Jazz North East, Bridge Hotel, Newcastle (12 February); Plink Plonk, York Tavern, Norwich (1 March); A Little Bit Of Nothing, Derby (2nd March); IKLECTIK, London (5 March) and The Wonder Inn, Manchester (6 March).
Sloth Racket has a new video! Our good friend Ben Owen has made this great short film of us playing at a LUME gig at The Vortex in May this year. The piece we play is called ‘Shapeshifters’ and will appear on our second album, coming out in Summer 2017.
More videos of the band can be found on the Sloth Racket page. Also this month, some new nice words about the band have appeared online; from Dave Sumner on his latest Bird Is The Worm ‘This Is Jazz Today’ dispatch, and from Stewart Smith in his 2016 jazz/improv roundup on The Quietus. Thanks both!