Category Archives: Madwort Sax Quartet

A few new Quadraceratops gigs confirmed, plus MSQ tonight!

After neglecting the blog for a month or so, this is a quick post to announce some upcoming Quadraceratops gigs:

24th June at Jazz In The Round @ The Cockpit, Marylebone. I’m very excited about this one…

1st August at LUME, a(nother) brand new night that I’m setting up with my good friend the sax player Dee Byrne. The gig is upstairs at Hundred Crows Rising, near Angel, in a really nice room where we’ll be hosting great music every Thursday starting July 4th. Should be fun…I’ll do a proper post about LUME soon.

6th October at Jazz at the Union Chapel Bar, a new afternoon gig (3pm) run by the esteemed Mr Andrew Button of The Button Band. This will be the first EVER Quadraceratops afternoon gig!

And finally, just in case anyone reads this post straight after I finish writing it, a reminder that Madwort Sax Quartet is playing TONIGHT at Ryan’s Bar in Stoke Newington!


MSQ and Spill Kit

I’ve just heard that we have a Madwort Sax Quartet gig booked in for June 5th: a double bill with Chris Dowding’s band Spill Kit, at Ryan’s Bar in Stoke Newington. Get it in the diary! Should be a nice gig…

December 2012 gigs retrospective: MSQ on the road

I’ll continue this afternoon of cataloguing the end of 2012 with a look back to the Madwort Sax Quartet gigs in December. We left London behind and set off on a mini-tour of The Midlands and The North: not bad for the second thing the band ever did! Arguably, as it was a pair of gigs, this should be referred to as a series, but due to the travel involved I’m going to stick my neck out here and call it a mini-tour….

The first stop was Derby and Corey Mwamba‘s ‘One Note Sunday’ night at the Flowerpot. We played two sets to an extremely interested and appreciative audience. Again, it was a cool thing to have this happen at the band’s second ever gig. The idea with One Note Sunday is that people go along to hear something new…as in, not even something they’ve listened to online in advance to see if they like it, but something brand new to them. Risky tactics, you say! Yes. But, what it means from a performer’s perspective is that the people who show up are definitely going to be there to check out the music…and that feels great! We had a good gig there. The sign below was posted by the bar but was totally redundant.

Tom recorded the gig and filmed it. He’s posted a series of four videos on YouTube: the tracks are Shard, S (by Larry Ochs/Rova), Maps and Islands In The Green. Shard and Maps were new tunes that Tom wrote in time for the December gigs.

After Derby, we had a day off before travelling to Manchester to play at Efpi Records’ Freedom Principle night at Sandbar. It was nice to go back and play there again after the Quadraceratops gig for them in June, which was a lovely night. With the quartet, we shared the bill with the Anton Hunter trio. I have to say, perhaps egotistically, that my favourite part of this gig was when we combined the two bands and played some of my music! Anton had clocked that if we merged the two bands we would have a sort of hybrid almost-Quadraceratops septet and he suggested we did a couple of my tunes. With, well, basically no rehearsal. More risky tactics! I like to think of it as the Madanton Worthunter Quartrio. Four saxes, guitar, bass and drums! It was FUN, and pretty anarchic. There’s a video of it, and I’ll post it up here once I get my head around cutting the video into tracks….

Madwort Sax Quartet Mini Tour

I’m a bit out of touch with online stuff at the moment due to house moving chaos, so there will be more comprehensive posts to come soon, but in the mean time this is what’s coming up next week….

Madwort Sax Quartet Mini Tour!

Part One: The Midlands:

2nd December – One Note Sunday, The Flowerpot, Derby

Part Two: The North:

4th December –  Freedom Principle, Sandbar, Manchester

This will be lots of fun. We’ll be playing Tom Ward’s original music (including new stuff not even played at the band’s first gig!) and doing some group improv too. In Manchester we’re sharing the bill with the Anton Hunter Trio.

See you there!

A nice gig in North London; a nice gig in South London

So, the surprise gig mini-cluster happened and it was a lot of fun. Here follows a brief writeup with the obligatory grainy phone photos.

The Madwort Sax Quartet gig at the Salisbury on Sunday came out of the blue, when another band had to drop out. With only a few days to go we found ourselves on the bill with the Euan Palmer Quartet, who were coming down from Birmingham for the gig. Tom called a rehearsal on Sunday afternoon, then we all ate a Thai curry and headed up to the venue. I was a little bit concerned about audience numbers, as we’d only had a couple of days to roll out the aggressive marketing campaign (I even attempted a group text – accidentally sent it twice), but actually I needn’t have worried because there was a nice turnout. The Salisbury gig seems to have a regular crowd now (people were saying that our gig was a typical one in terms of numbers), and it was great to play to a room of ‘randoms’ along with some of our friends who’d come to check out the band. The set went well and the audience seemed to be into Tom’s music. The group definitely works in a live context, which is good to know (!) – and this was without straying into the realm of group improv. We found that we’d internalised all the tunes from the recording in July – they were definitely still ‘in there’ after a month off. All in all, a successful debut I reckon! Tom seemed really pleased.Next up was last night’s Quadraceratops SE Collective gig at the Amersham Arms, down in New Cross. I had originally planned to have some new material ready for this gig, but didn’t manage to finish anything in time. It ended up being a good thing though, in a way, as we spent some rehearsal time the day before working on opening out the existing tunes. Again, I was worried we might play to an empty room, but was proven happily wrong for a second time! There was a very friendly little crowd complete with load clapping and whooping, and the band seemed to go down really well. I even had some ego-boosting compliments about the writing afterwards. The SE Collective guys are a lovely bunch and the back room at the Amersham, usually pretty huge, becomes a nice intimate venue thanks to a velvety jazz curtain. Also, the sound on stage was great, without any mics. Best gig so far I think, and gig number four. Here’s Kitty Ward’s photo of us, our music helpfully illuminated by the atmospheric and homely stage lamp…Luke and Dave are there too; you just can’t see them.

I’m in the middle of sorting out the next few Quadraceratops gigs, so I should have something to post up about one of them soon. I’m also going to be getting down to work on some new tunes, to extend the set and give us a bit of flexibility. Nice as our adopted Zappa tune is (‘Blessed Relief’), it would be good to have two full sets of my own stuff. So. Onwards!


Sax quartet goes into the studio…

I spent Monday and Tuesday this week recording with Tom Ward’s sax quartet (which might be called ‘The Madwort Saxophone Quartet’). The session was at House of Strange, a fantastical studio run by Ash Gardner, complete with extra-colourful wall art and a full costume department….although, sadly, the only two photos I took feature neither of these elements.

Tom had seven original tunes ready to record, so the two days was plenty of time to get stuck in. We even had time to record some group improvisations, which was a first for the band and something that will definitely be featuring in future activities. It was a heavy two days of playing for me on baritone sax, with several takes of each tune plus rehearsing, but I had a great time and felt like I could have gone for another day by the end.

Tom is currently listening through the many hours of music we produced, and will be putting it all together into some kind of record. Originally this was going to be a short EP, but with the amount we ended up getting done, who knows….

Some more sounds from the sax quartet, and a general update…

Tom’s sax quartet rehearsed again last week, so I thought I’d post up some more tracks. His tunes are sounding lovely I think! There’s more sax quartet happening later this week, and some recording and gigging coming up in the next few months.

In other band news, Quadraceratops have a bunch of rehearsals coming up too, and we’re looking forward to the Forge gig on 24th May. It would be great to see you there! Grab your slightly cheaper ticket by buying it on the Forge website.

The Magic Trio will be convening next week to get working on our set ready for our debut gig in June, start plotting more magical activity for later in the year, decide who should get chopped in half, etc.

While all this is going on, I’m also working on some library music and enjoying meeting up each month with a new composition collective made up of some college friends. Busy busy…