November/December gigs

Super excited to be involved in a bunch of really cool gigs this month!

First up, this Friday 9th November I’m playing at the legendary Con Cellar Bar in Camden with my quintet Entropi. Over the years I’ve enjoyed attending the Con to hear exciting cutting-edge music! We’ll be sharing the bill with excellent Birmingham-based drummer/composer Jonathan Silk and his group Forj.

My quintet has had a bunch of really nice gigs in October, we played at Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival on the 4th, Vortex on the 5th and Marsden Jazz Festival on the 13th. The performance at Marsden was recorded by BBC Radio 3 and will be broadcast on Jazz Now on Christmas Eve – something to enjoy while sipping on your mulled wine (or maybe you’ll need something stronger!)

ENTROPI autumn 2018 poster

On 13th November I’m playing an improvised duo set with my long time collaborator Cath Roberts at Noizemaschin, Amersham Arms, New Cross. This monthly noise and experimental music night is run by Sam Gillies and Daniel James Ross. It’s a cool concept where eight 10 minute solo/duo sets overlap with each other, making space for some great spontaneous meetings. I’ve performed at this night before and really enjoyed not only playing, but listening to the flow between the musicians. My last duo gig with Cath was at Linear Obsessional Live, an event put on by Richard Sanderson. He described our duo as: ‘a near telepathic unit’ – I think I might have to agree!! 

Cath Duo at Linear Obsessional Live

Photo credit: Mark Pringle

I can not wait for 16th November when I’ll be performing at the opening night of the EFG London Jazz Festival in Ethan Iverson London residency (part 1): Raising Hell with Henry Purcell at Kings Place. Joined by a ridiculous line-up of Brigitte Beraha, Kim Macari, Cath Roberts, Mandhira De Saram and Olie Brice. Ethan talks about his upcoming three-day residency in his blog Do The Math. This is going to be an absolute riot! 

On 20th November I’ll be playing at Huw V Williams’ night Shelf Life at Aces and Eights, Tufnell Park. This third edition of Shelf Life falls during the London Jazz Festival week and will feature an improvised set with musicians who’ve been interviewed on Improvised Music Agenda, Huw’s podcast. He’s done 16 interviews to date – I am on the first ever episode : )

The legendary Jazzcotech dancers present Focus On Jazz at The Bear Club, Luton on 23rd November, where they are featuring Brit Funk outfit Atmosfear. Coming from a groove based and funk background myself, I absolutely love playing with this HEAVY crew of top musicians, including vibes man Orphy Robinson. Check out bandleader Lester Bachelor’s interview with Gilles Peterson on BBC Radio 6 Music in October.

Plus…. in December:

On 6th December: Now It Can Be Told, a new quartet with myself Johnny Hunter, Chris Sharkey and Mick Bardon performs at Wharf Chambers, Leeds. The ensemble navigates its way through Johnny’s post rock inspired compositions adding a large dose of improvisation (and effects!) This will be our third gig. Plans for recording are in the pipeline, and we may even venture south for a gig or two in 2019!

Cath Roberts’ 10 piece ensemble Favourite Animals plays at London City University on Monday 10th December. The project started life when Cath was artist in residence at Lancaster Jazz Festival in 2016. Last year we recorded an album in August, which is out on Luminous (LUME’s tiny label) and toured in December. It will be great to play in this ensemble again. The event is free to attend, but you need to book a place!

Favourite-Animals-by-Oliver-Dover-1024x671

Photo credit: Oliver Dover

I am extremely happy to have been recently awarded funding from the second round of Arts Council’s brand new Developing Your Creative Practice grant. ‘Exploring writing for different line-ups’ will be a 12 month project composing and developing new music for four ensembles. Watch this space!

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!

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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!