2018 highlights so far + upcoming gigs

Dee Byrne

Credit: Carl Hyde

I felt moved to share some of the cool experiences I’ve had in the first half of 2018. Looking back, I got to play with a wide variety of ensembles, which has taken me to some interesting places (both geographically and creatively).

In March I was super lucky to go on a mini tour of Mexico with Amy Lives. We played three dates in Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City. The group features original members of the Amy Winehouse band, with an aim to continue sharing Amy’s much loved music with the world in an authentic and progressive way. It was a fantastic experience to meet so many warm and open-hearted people. Our gig in Mexico City (photo below) was sold out!!

Straight after returning from Mexico, I went to Paris to perform at Easter Sounds Festival with Brit Funk legends Atmosfear. The group led by bassist Lester Bachelor was a major player in the first Brit Funk wave back in the 80’s, notably with the worldwide hit ‘Dancing In Outer Space’. Easter Sounds Festival was an eclectic mix of DJs, live bands and jazz dancers of all generations – including the amazing Jazzcotech dancers. An inspiring few days!

In April I performed with the large ensemble Beats and Pieces, at their Jazzahead showcase in Bremen. This was the first time I’ve played with the band, and the circumstances were quite unusual: The regular first altoist Ollie Dover had a dental emergency and couldn’t play the gig. Luckily I was at Jazzahead as a participant (my fourth year in a row), so they asked me if I could jump in. Only problem is I didn’t have my saxophone and (more worryingly) I didn’t have my mouthpiece, which is very personal and specific to each sax player. But… through a stroke of luck, the guitarist Anton Hunter was doing a Sloth Racket gig with my good friend Cath Roberts in London the night before. Cath gave him a bag of mouthpieces, ligatures and reeds to fly out with the next morning. One mouthpiece, ligature and reed combination worked with Ollie’s sax. The gig went well! I’m also joining them for their 10th anniversary gig at Manchester Jazz Festival on 27th July.

Beats and Pieces

I really enjoyed doing a bunch of improvised duo gigs with my LUME partner in crime Cath Roberts. In March we played at Soundling Festival run by Megan Steinberg, April at Bråk (a monthly improv series at Water Into Beer in Brockley run by Cath, Tom Ward and Colin Webster) and in May we kicked off a new monthly improv night ‘Creations’ run by cellist Shirley Smart at the Green Note in Camden. We’ve got a few more duo gigs coming up later on in the year… we’re playing at a Raw Tonk event – curated by label boss Colin Webster – at Hundred Years Gallery on 9th September and at Linear Obsessional Live in Brockley on 30th September.

Dee Byrne and Cath Roberts

Playing a late set at Pizza Express with Soul Immigrants in May was lots of fun. I’ve been involved with this band for over 10 years, and I still love the gritty, earthy vibe – something that is the mark of a long running band. SI goes out as a trio most of the time these days, but they invited me to come back and guest with them on a few gigs recently. These were all located in London’s Soho: The Spice of Life, Ronnie Scotts Upstairs Bar and then Pizza Express to end this series of gigs. We’ll be returning to Ronnie Scotts Upstairs bar for another night of unbridled groove on 4th November!

Soul Immigrants at Spice of Life

In June I played with the fabulous Nerija at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. I was depping for Cassie Kinoshi, who is a great saxophonist and composer. The gig was in the impressive new foyer at RWCMD in front of a packed audience. We played quite a few new tunes from their upcoming album. I enjoyed the fact that there was plenty of space to improvise!

Nerija at RWCMD

Later on in June I played at Supersonic Festival in Birmingham with Bombyx Mori, an electronics/improvising sax and guitar duo with Ed Riches. We played on a stage curated by Ideas of Noise, which is a new adventurous festival run by Andrew Woodhead and Sarah Farmer. Ed and I have played together in many different musical ensembles and as a duo a few times in the past. It was great to revisit the duo format whilst using electronics, which always adds an element of unpredictability/excitement to the experience.

Dee Byrne and Ed Riches

In the beginning of July I played with a new quartet featuring Johnny Hunter, Chris Sharkey and Mick Bardon at NQ JAZZ, a great original jazz night in Manchester run by Kyran Matthews and Emily Burkhardt. The group played post rock influenced original compositions by Johnny, with a large dose of electronics and improv. Chris brought along his recording equipment, so we managed to capture the madness and will hopefully expose more audiences to this music in the near future!

IMG_3781

I’m pleased to say that my quintet Entropi has a cluster of gigs in October. In the quintet I am joined by Andre Canniere (trumpet), Rebecca Nash (keys), Olie Brice (double bass) and Matt Fisher (drums). On Thursday 4th October we are performing at Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival launch at the Verdict Jazz Club. The next day, Friday 5th, we’re playing at a Match & Fuse curated late session at The Vortex (double bill with Northern band Voronoi). On 13th October we’re playing at Marsden Jazz Festival. That performance will be recorded live and broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Now programme. We’ll be playing some new material, which will make its way onto our third album due to be released on Whirlwind at some point in the near(ish) future.

Entropi (Entropi:Voronoi double bill 5th October - Match and Fuse) Credit Carl Hyde

Credit: Carl Hyde

In November I’m going to be involved in a ridiculously exciting project for EFG London Jazz festival, more on that soon! In December, plans are coming together for a cluster of activity with Cath Roberts’ ten piece ensemble, Favourite Animals, including a London date at City University. LUME is hatching plans for 2018/19: A new workshop series is under development as well as some cool happenings for 2019. Watch this space…

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

 

AUTUMN/WINTER 2017

I’m really excited to be involved in some great music-making in November/December! Here is the lowdown on what’s coming up:

On Monday 13th November it’s the EFG London Jazz Festival special edition of a new weekly jam session I’m hosting called ‘CHIFA Mondays Get Down’ at pioneering Peruvian restaurant Ceviche Old St. This regular Monday night session is inspired by the fusion cuisine and impromptu musical get downs at Lima’s Chinatown and Chifa restaurants. On Monday 13th the house band will be Dave O’Brien on keyboard, Will Harris on double bass (depping for Huw V Williams) and Simon Roth on drums. Entry is free, but you can book a table.

CHIFA MONDAY_0829_sm

I’ll be bringing my quintet ENTROPI to Pizza Express, Dean Street on Wednesday 15th November for a free lunchtime concert as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. I’ll be joined by Andre Canniere (trumpet), Rebecca Nash (keyboard), Olie Brice (double bass) and Matt Fisher (drums). We released our second album Moment Frozen on Whirlwind Recordings in September and have been touring the new album throughout the Autumn. This performance is free entry, but diners can book a table.   Join us for… ‘An intense muscular jazz voyage.’ ★★★★ The Guardian

Entropi Pizza Express 15th Nov LJF

I’m excited to involved in the first ever JAZZLONDONLIVE pop-up monthly residency kicking off at 7pm on Wednesday 15th November at The Library, St Martin’s Lane. Fresh from our lunchtime gig at Pizza Express, myself and Rebecca Nash will be playing an hour set with a mixture of ENTROPI compositions from New Era and Moment Frozen plus new arrangements of our favourite tunes. Get your tickets!

On Thursday 16th November I’m really looking forward to playing with Madwort Sax Quartet at Efpi festival in Manchester. Tom Ward’s compositions are inspired by ‘numerology and the movement of the planet earth through space, Steve Coleman, pioneering saxophone quartet ROVA, Tim Berne, and transcriptions of bird song.’  Tickets for Efpi Festival can be bought direct from their website.

Efpi Festival

LUME is back for an EFG London Jazz Festival special performance on Sunday 19th November with a UK/Swiss sextet: LUME Meets Jazzwerkstatt Bern. Cath Roberts (baritone sax), Seth Bennett (double bass), Johnny Hunter (drums) and me (alto sax) will be joined by Swiss musicians Oli Kuster (keys) and Simon Petermann (trombone/electronics) to play a support set for Scandic power/improv trio The Thing at Rich Mix. Get your tickets from the Rich Mix website. Thanks to Serious and The Swiss Cultural Fund for making this gig possible! Read more about the background to this Swiss collaboration on the LUME website.

LUME UK/Swiss collab

Our performance at Jazzwerkstatt Festival in February

On Wednesday 22nd November I’m really pleased to return to the Cambridge Jazz Festival with ENTROPI for the second year running in a double bill with Phil Meadows Project in the incredible setting of the Zoology Museum. We’ll be playing beneath the Museum’s 70ft long finback whale skeleton (see below) – a suitably epic setting for the band! Tickets are available from the Cambridge Jazz Festival website.

Whale

The last date of ENTROPI‘s tour is at The York Tavern in Norwich on Friday 24th November. We’ll be playing a double bill with trumpeter Chris Dowding’s band Brass Monkeys. Music starts at 8pm and it’s £7 on the door.

Friday 1st December: LUME is at Hundred Years Gallery for a double bill with Sloth Racket and a winter edition of The Hat Speaks, our dice-and-hat improv session. We’ve got a great pool of players coming to join in, so it promises to be a blast! Find out more on the LUME website. Doors 7.30pm, music starts at 8pm. Entry: one Bank of England note.

the-hat-speaks-graphic

Tuesday 5th – Sunday 10th December I’m embarking on a double-bill large ensemble tour with Cath Roberts’ Favourite Animals and Anton Hunter’s Article XI. Favourite Animals recorded its debut album in August and after a successful crowd funder, the album is now mixed, mastered and pressed, ready for release on Luminous Label (LUME’s own label). Find out more about the tour on the project website.

large ensemble tour

 

Thanks for reading this and I hope to see you out there!!