Past projects

Favourite Animals (2016 – 2018)Dee Byrne (alto sax), Sam Andreae (tenor sax), Tom Ward (flute/bass clarinet), Julie Kjær (flute/bass clarinet), Graham South (trumpet), Tullis Rennie (trombone), Cath Roberts (baritone sax), Anton Hunter (guitar), Seth Bennett (bass), Johnny Hunter (drums).

Favourite Animals was an expanded Sloth Racket lineup assembled for an Artist in Residence commission at Lancaster Jazz Festival 2016. The ensemble toured in a double bill with Anton Hunter’s Article XI in December 2017 and released an album, supported by 90 brilliant crowdfunder backers, on Luminous:

‘Lurching between riff and abstraction…maintains an elegant balance between emergent melody and the wilder activity at its fringes’  (The Wire)

‘Startling moments of altered perspective’  (Bandcamp Daily)

‘Gritty and anarchic…Favourite Animals confirms Roberts’ talent as a composer and Luminous as a label to watch’  (Jazzwise)

Quadraceratops (2011-2015)

11393278_660238307443109_7444546590074974771_nQuadraceratops played regularly from 2011 to 2015, releasing an album on Efpi Records in 2014. The lineup changed over time, but across the whole period the members were:

Cath Roberts – alto saxophone, compositions
Tom Ward – tenor saxophone
Nick Walters/Henry Spencer – trumpet
Magnus Dearness – trombone
Dave O’Brien/Kit Massey – keyboards
Jason Simpson/Dave O’Brien – bass
Olly Blackman/Luke Christie – drums

‘Seven tightly argued compositions. […] The writing for the four horns…is a cut above, with intricate interplay and voicings that echo the late Kenny Wheeler’s subtle complexities.’ *** – Mike Hobart, Financial Times

‘Names such as Kenny Wheeler and Mike Gibbs com[e] to mind…a very promising addition to the new scene.’ *** – Jazzwise

‘Quadraceratops can rattle the rafters with the best of them.’ **** – Bruce Lindsay, All About Jazz

‘On the evidence of [the] seven Roberts originals here, she’s a blossoming presence among the UK’s big-ensemble jazz composers, capable of a similar early-career impact to that of Django Bates in the 1980s. […] She’s one to watch.’ *** – John Fordham, The Guardian

‘Cath Roberts is an emerging talent and Quadraceratops represents an outstanding début. This is a musician and a band that we will doubtless be hearing a lot more of.’ **** – The Jazz Mann

‘A very impressive debut…a great album.’ – Sandy Brown Jazz

‘Listening to Quadraceratops makes me think of Loose Tubes somehow…there’s an individuality in the writing for the closely arranged horns that recalls the freshness of Django Bates and co.’ *** – Marlbank

‘Cath Roberts has woven an intriguingly personal mix of musical styles into a very fine debut album that leaves me wanting to hear her again.’ – Jazz Views

quad session shot b&wImages: Live in Manchester as part of ‘LUME On Tour’ in Summer 2015 by Dee Byrne, recording our debut album in Spring 2014 by Alex Bonney.

Word Of Moth (2014 – 2017)

A LUME quartet project comprising Dee Byrne (alto sax), Cath Roberts (baritone sax), Seth Bennett (bass), and Tom Greenhalgh/Johnny Hunter (drums). The group’s ‘spontaneous group explorations and tightly-scored, big-booted riffs’ were praised by Daniel Spicer in the Wire magazine after their appearance at LUME Festival in Summer 2016. They also performed at Lancaster Jazz Festival in 2015 and Jazzwerkstatt Bern festival, Switzerland, in 2017.

Photo: Tom Ward.

Saxoctopus (2014)

A cautionary lesson on the dangers of social media, this eight-saxophone behemoth underwent the transformation from Twitter joke to actual band in 2014 when Corey Mwamba offered them a gig in Derby. The group also appered twice at the Vortex in London. It played original compositions by its members, as well as being a vehicle for exploring graphic scores and guided group improvisation. The lineup:

Julie Kjaer alto
Oliver Dover/Mette Rasmussen  alto
Dee Byrne  alto
Rachel Musson  tenor
Tom Ward  tenor
Sam Andreae  tenor
Cath Roberts  baritone
Colin Webster  baritone

The 2015 album on Raw Tonk Records:

Collisions (2013)

A cross-genre monthly night co-run with Dan Paton under the promoter name ‘In League With Robots’, Collisions happened in the basement of the Albany near Great Portland Street in central London. Gigs we put on in 2013 (three posters by Ricky Day, one by Cath):

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