New ACV Album – Out NOW!

New ACV Album – out now. Go and have a listen HERE!

(And then buy it?!)

On Busk, you’ll hear hints of Canterbury-style Prog rock, weightless free Improv, deep modal swing, and sensitive balladry, delivered by a group at the height of its powers. With all but one of the tunes written by Champion, it signals the next step in the emergence of not just a tough and maneuverable group-mind, but also a serious and focused compositional talent.

Formed in the North East of England by bassist and composer Andy Champion in 2009, the quintet ACV takes contemporary jazz as a starting point from which to branch out into more arcane territory. Busk is the quintet’s second album, the follow-up to their 2010 debut, Fail In Wood. Here, you’ll find the same hunger and enthusiasm that brought their debut to life – but you’ll also find a new-found confidence, a willingness to move beyond conventional structures and let the music move in whatever shapes it needs to.With pristine production by Chris Sharkey (genre-busting guitarist with trioVD and Acoustic Ladyland), Busk is the sound of a group coming of age, spreading its wings and preparing to soar. Now not even the sky is the limit.

Eyes Shut Tight – Splinter Jazz @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle – Sunday 10th March 2013

Eyes Shut Tight

Splinter @ The Bridge are hosting probably one of the best and most exciting trios around at the moment this Sunday, 10th March. Doors 7.30pm. Performance about 8.15pm

The latest top band of musicians, following the excellent Ant Law Quartet last week (just wait until you the videos – they are AMAZING) can be seen and heard for just SIX QUID.
(Sorry, no wheelchair access)

Check out the pedigree of these great musicians below.

“One of the best gigs I have ever seen!!!”

– Martin Powell, JATP Bradford.

“Rising bassist Paul Baxter has selected eight cuts of exploratory piano-based  jazz, forged in the company of keys master Johnny Tomlinson and the excellent skins and bronze of Kris Wright. ‘Evolution’ manages that often sought, yet rarely achieved balance of being sweetly melodic and sufficiently experimental to please both the improv cognescenti and those who prefer their small band jazz to maintain a mainstream appeal. ‘Time of Arrival’ is a wonderful example, scene-setting arpeggios leading with a warm-hearted sense of inevitability to closing expansive splashes of colour. A True Gem!”

– The Musician, Dec 2010.

Eyes Shut Tight

Johnny Tomlinson – Piano

Johnny Tomlinson is a composer; promoter; pianist and exiled southerner. He has performed with leading UK jazz musicians including Sir John Dankworth, Gerard Prescencer and Tina May. He graduated from Leeds College of Music in 2007 being awarded the Sam Hood Rosebowl for Jazz Piano and Friends’ Prize for Outstanding Performance.

Kristoffer Wright – Drums

Kristoffer started playing the Drums when he was eleven, after spending his teenage years playing in covers bands he started playing Orchestral percussion aged seventeen, joining the local Youth Orchestra and Brass Band. He went on to do a Jazz degree at Leeds College of Music where he pursued a joint principal study of Percussion and Drum Kit. Upon leaving College, Kristoffer freelanced as a Drummer, latin and orchestral percussionist playing at Jazz clubs, concerts and functions up and down the country, Highlights being Principal Timpani in the ‘Rite of Spring’ conducted by Peter Donohoe, York and Hull Jazz Festivals, and tours of Italy and Hungary. Kristoffer is currently playing with the James Hamilton Jazz Orchesta and the Threads Orchestra, with whom an album will be recorded in the summer. Kristoffer is also the  Drum Kit tutor at the University of Hull.


Paul Baxter – Double Bass and Compositions


Eyes Shut Tight over the last year, since their debut release ‘Evolution’, have been performing in and around Europe developing a real unique sound.<br /><br />
Paul feels that their 2011 release ‘The Thaw’ showcases this sound, which in his mind is like a mix of the 1960’s Keith Jarrett Trio with Paul Motian/ Charlie Haden and EST (with hints of Avishai).<br /><br />

Eyes Shut Tight

       “Paul Baxter’s Eyes Shut Tight has to be the most sophisticated and skillful group to play a support set at Wakefield Jazz.

The freewheeling compositions for Evolution (their debut CD) leave plenty of space for pianist Johnny Tomlinson to move out and express his improvising talent.    Kris Wright varies from a time-keeping groove to a clattering drive with ease and Paul himself provides a foundation and a further accomplished solo voice.”

– Chris De Saram, Wakefield Jazz, 2010.

“The Allsorts” – this sunday 24th feb – jazz night at splinter @ the bridge

Another night to look forward to at jazz night at Splinter@ The Bridge Hotel this Sunday when we host Katie Patterson – awarded Jazz Yorkshire Young Musician of the Year in 2012 – and her band The Allsorts.  Katie, a drummer and composer, hails from Nova Scotia. She has  many musical interests and you can read her bio HERE, and The Allsorts website is HERE

Here is her interview from Jazz Yorkshire. We hope you can make it to The Bridge Hotel on Sunday. Doors 7.30pm. Entry £6. Sorry, no wheel chair access.

The Friday Interview: Katie Patterson

Described as “hugely energetic and technically flawless”, drummer and bandleader Katie Patterson hasn’t stopped for breath since graduating from LCM in 2011. As well as her own projects, The Steely Dan Big Band and The Allsorts, gigging around the country, she is also involved in music education through Live Music Now and as a private teacher. Jazz Yorkshire caught up with Katie to discuss education, jazz in the North and The Allsorts…

Tell us about your group, The Allsorts.

The Allsorts is basically my creative outlet. I try to stay away from labels because I want to be able to write anything I hear for the band and play it. I like to play around with ideas of purposeful improvisation – as a band we are collectively trying to make the listeners feel something specific, or picture something in their minds. We do this as a unit, which is something typical of my compositions and arrangements. We’ve had some great gigs recently, playing at HX7, Seven Arts, Wakefield Jazz and others. We have an EP in the works, a few tracks are ready to go and we will be recording a few more soon. I’ve got some exciting plans of collaborations in the future with other musicians, and maybe some chefs too, who knows!

So, aside from your work as a performer, you’re also involved in music education. How do  you approach teaching – do you have a method?

I really enjoy teaching.I love being forced to think of things in different ways and approach it from different angles. Everyone learns in a different way so I’m constantly assessing the way my students learn and how they pick up on things, why they found it easy or difficult and then I can reflect that in the way I approach the
subject. I think it’s very important that the content is delivered in the right way, and of the appropriate quality but also I try and guide my students in becoming aware of the process of learning themselves, so that they can grow and develop on their own.

You’ve lived in the UK since 2008. What do you like about the jazz scene in Yorkshire – what makes it stand out?

For me, I feel that there is a freshness from current students at LCM and recent alumni. People are
putting projects together and trying new things, and it all has a certain vibrant, maybe even reckless youthful edge to it. Added to the mix are the people that have stuck around for a while. When these groups meet, in a musical sense, I find it exciting and I think the players here are open to this mix. The other thing that
excites me here is that people aren’t afraid to approach venues and put on their own music nights. I like the idea of taking things into our own hands and initiating a change, not just sitting around doing nothing.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

I’m very excited about a new Australian group, Hiatus Kaiyote classifying themselves as Future Soul music. I’ve never heard any writing quite like it, such incredible ideas (plus some kickin’ grooves!). Also I really like Lianne La Havas, I’m so glad she’s getting some big recognition. Paul McCandless’ album Heresay is something I can never get enough of – I would love to be able to write like that someday. I have Donald Fagen’s new album, Sunken Condos which is great, perhaps some new material there for my Steely Dan Big Band! Also Tingsek, a Swedish singer/songwriter.

Where can we hear you play next?

You can hear me with The Allsorts in Darlington on Sunday 10 Feb from 6pm at Darlington Forum for only £3. On 24th Feb we are at Splinter at The Bridge Hotel in Newcastle, and on 21st March we will be playing at the Priestley Bar in the basement of The New Bradford Playhouse in Bradford.


Jazz Yorkshire – The Friday Interview – Andy Champion

The Friday Interview: Andy Champion

Andy with band ACV

Bassist, composer and band-leader Andy Champion is one of the leading figures in the North-East jazz scene, and his reputation and performing experience have led to national and international recognition. He is a prime example of a professional jazz musician today – as well as being sought after as a player in a range of different contexts (big bands like Voice of The North, duos with vocalist wife Zoe Gilby, improv. collaborations with Chris Sharkey and of course his own band, ACV), he is also active as a teacher and as a promoter, running Splinter@The Bridge in Newcastle. Andy spoke to Jazz Yorkshire about ACV, music he’s been listening to and his plans for 2013…

Your group, ACV, has been selected as one of the groups in the Northern Line scheme for Jazz North. Tell us about that group.

I formed ACV in 2009 initially just to rehearse a couple of ideas I’d been messing around with. When I first picked up the bass guitar as a kid I started writing my own tunes, but as I got older I found myself only playing other people’s music. I suppose that’s quite common for a lot of bass players but I figured it was time to get creative again. I didn’t have a particular ‘sound’ in mind for the band at first, I just knew who I wanted to work with – Graeme Wilson – saxes, Paul Edis – keyboards, Mark Williams – guitar and Adrian Tilbrook – drums. They’re all fantastic musicians who are willing to play anything I throw at them.
The group’s sound obviously draws from my influences, mainly contemporary jazz, prog rock and free improv, but the way the guys interpret the music puts a whole different spin on it. And although there’s lots of odd time signatures going on, the music is not complex for the sake of being so. The emphasis is really on strong melodies and grooves.
What are your plans musically for 2013?
The new ACV album ‘Busk’ is coming out sometime in April and there’ll be some gigs around the UK to support it, including the album launch at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival on April 6th.
Also at GIJF, I’ll be performing Ian Carr’s ‘Northumbrian Sketches’ with Henry Lowther, Tim Whitehead and the Northern Sinfonia Strings which I’m very excited about.
I recently recorded a new album with my wife, vocalist Zoe Gilby, which will be released later this year and at the other end of the spectrum there are plans to tour with an Anglo/French group called Sonsale which is funded by the Jazz Shuttle scheme.
As well as being a performer, you are also a promoter. What was behind your decision to get involved in that side of jazz?
That all came about by accident really. Paul Edis started a jazz night at a small venue in Newcastle a few years ago and I would occasionally play there and help out. Then there was a problem with the venue and I think Paul also became too busy with his PhD amongst other things so the whole thing just came to an end. Adrian Tilbrook and myself discussed the idea of doing something similar to keep the small scene that had developed going so we started ‘Splinter’ at The Bridge Hotel. It then became difficult for Adrian to make the 100 mile round trip every week so it was left to myself and Zoe to run. It started as somewhere for North East based musicians to play original music but we now feature a lot of touring bands from all over the UK. Sometimes it can be frustrating when the audience numbers are low but its always worth it for the quality of music we get.We’re now coming into our fourth year and I’m still really enjoying it….surprisingly!
What sort of music are you listening to at the moment – do you have a current favourite artist or album?
I’ve been a huge fan of Kate Bush for years and I’m really into her latest album ’50 Words for Snow’. She never fails to come up with something completely original.
In more of a “jazz” vein I’ve been listening to the new album by Corey Mwamba, Dave Kane & Joshua Blackmore – ‘Don’t Overthink It’. They’re amazing musicians and I regard Corey as one of the most unique creators and instigators of original music on the British jazz scene today. And a thoroughly nice chap!
Other than that there’s always a bit of John Zorn, Tim Berne, Albert Ayler, Mingus etc, Gentle Giant or some other 70’s prog being played. And when the energy levels are low I’ll whack on a bit of Slayer!
Aside from ACV, what else are you involved in?
I regularly write and gig with Zoe Gilby and her quartet and we also have a voice/bass duo which seems to go down very well wherever we play, including a recent gig in front of 200 kids in a school in Finland!
I’m also involved in a new all acoustic improvising group called ‘Batteries’ which features Chris Sharkey, Corey Mwamba and Mark Sanders and I’m hoping we’ll do a lot more with that. And for something completely different I play electric bass for Soul/Funk group Smoove & Turrell who are in the process of writing and recording their third album. I like to try and keep it varied.

Where can we hear you next?

I’ll be playing with the Graeme Wilson Quartet at the Cluny in Newcastle on Feb 26th.
There’s also a few dates with Smoove & Turrell coming up over the next couple of months and then out on the road with ACV throughout April. You can check those dates at