There is a workshop at 3pm hosted by Engine Room Favourites in advance of their evening performance.
This event is a co-promotion with Jazz North East.
Doors 7:30pm : £8 entry (£6 concessions): Music starts 8.15pm : There is no wheelchair access to this venue.The Bridge Hotel
T: 0191 232 6400
BACKGROUND (Martin Archer interviewed by Jonny Drury)
I never really quite understood why the music, which for convenience we may call jazz, ever stopped moving in a straight time line. I mean, if you listen to the earliest available recordings, move forward via New Orleans, Swing, Bebop, Hard Bop, Modal, Time-no-changes, Free Jazz, and on into the music made by the AACM school in the 1970s and 1980s, then it seems obvious to me that you’re hearing a continuum in which each new generation added to the discoveries of the previous one. The music didn’t get “better” or “more sophisticated”, it’s all good (or at least it can be), but it certainly did develop.
So maybe it’s just impossible to develop the music any further and still call it jazz. That seems to be what happened as the music took a sidestep in the 1980s. Free jazz increasingly became a free improvised music which was ever less reliant on jazz feel and technique. Other jazz players moved into more rock influenced structures. Maybe it was natural this had to happen – certainly a very similar thing happened to pop music in the same period.
So what’s different now? Well, it seems like many of the current jazz generation have rejected the regressive model of the 1980s and 1990s, and have started playing whatever the heck they want, and some of it is very good. So it was time to pick up the ruler, put one end at 1989 and the other at 2013, and draw a straight line, and then follow it.
If Engine Room Favourites is lucky, and works hard, we might just draw that line a little further forward into the future.
Martin Archer – Sopranino, alto, baritone saxophones, bass clarinet, bass recorder
Mick Beck – Tenor saxophone, bassoon
Graham Clark – Violin
Laura Cole – Piano and Fender piano
Corey Mwamba – Vibraphone
Seth Bennett – Double bass
Peter Fairclough – Drums and percussion
Johnny Hunter – Drums and percussion
Walt Shaw – Percussion
Steve Dinsdale – Percussion
The band was formed in 2012, after a Sheffield gig initially intended as a one off, at which Martin played solo reeds with three of the percussionists. The idea for this gig – that the percussionists should follow a detailed score, while Martin played a variety of themes and improvisations in an order which was not predetermined – seemed like an idea worth developing with a larger group. This is exactly what we did as the first CD “Blue Meat, Black Diesel and Engine Room Favourites” was created over the following months with a group of players many of whom are bandleaders and composers in their own right. Structurally some of the music played by the live band continues to follow the initial model, with the percussionists inhabiting one layer of activity while the other players improvise with material which forms a second layer, with interactions left to chance. The outcome is that no two performances of some of these pieces will ever have even the same structure, let along the same detail of the improvised solos. Of course, some of the music is structurally more conventional. We like a good cover version as much as the next player, and we’ve made some textural pieces too whose structure is more transparent to the naked ear.
The band aesthetic harks back to Archer’s earliest experience in creative music, as a follower of the AACM school of music pioneered by Art Ensemble of Chicago, Leo Smith, and Anthony Braxton. This is a style which has never been really followed up by European musicians, nevertheless it remains the model for Archer’s contributions to jazz based music. Archer has said “the appeal of this style to me is that it remains considered, spacious and open, without sacrificing any of the improvisational heat and energy which places its exponent players firmly in the avantgarde tradition. And crucially, it never disconnects from its own past, in particular the blues, no matter how high falutin’ it gets”.
Engine Room Favourites are not postmodernists, not retro stylists, but instead keep their eyes and ears firmly on a forward path jazz might have taken in the next period, but never quite did.
Following an early career with 1980s jazz punk pell mellers Bass Tone Trap, followed by the fondly remembered and widely gigged Hornweb Sax Quartet, Martin disappeared into the recording studio for 15 years in 1994, from where he produced a series of highly acclaimed albums for his own Discus imprint. In recent years, as well as forging a three album creative partnership with veteran vocalist Julie Tippetts, Martin currently works with avant rock groups Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere and Combat Astronomy, 40 voice experimental music choir Juxtavoices, minimalist improv to nu-jazz laptop duo Inclusion Principle, and most recently Engine Room Favourites, in which Martin revisits his AACM roots.
Accomplished soloist to big band leader, Beck combines intensity, humour, and musicality to bridge pure improvisation and free jazz. His bassoonery is unique, tenor playing powerful, whistles inputs striking. His solo CD, Life Echoes is one of the deepest explorations of all his instruments. Mick was recently featured in Jonny Drury’s biog film “Rather Different”.
Graham has been improvising on the violin since the mid-seventies, and has played with all kinds of extraordinary musicians, including Graham Massey, Andy Sheppard, Keith Tippett, Daevid Allen, Gong, Ravi, Jah Wobble, Mark Feldman, Lamb, Elbow, Stephen Fretwell, Stephen Grew, and Jean Claude Vannier. Now, it is Martin Archer’s turn.
Pianist/composer Laura Cole began playing the piano at the age of seven. Laura later joined the Sheffield Jazz Workshops, going on to do a BA in Jazz at Middlesex University, for which she obtained a First. Laura is the bandleader for contemporary jazz/folk sextet Metamorphic and also runs an improvising big band with bassist Seth Bennett.
I work using sound, both on my own and with other creative people. I try to express the many aspects of life, both real and imaginary, to anyone who will listen
Seth Bennett is a Double Bassist, Improviser and Composer based in Bradford. He is active on the Northern Improvisation scene, as well as touring nationally and internationally. Regular bands include 7 Hertz, Nut Club, The Mary Hampton Cotillion and Mick Beck’s Tunes Ahoy. He is also co-leader of the Bennett-Cole Orchestra.
Peter Whittingham Award winner, Peter Fairclough, has played and/or recorded with Keith Tippett, Mike Westbrook, Ute Lemper, John Harle, The Bournemouth Sinfonietta, The Matrix Ensemble, Peter King and many others. He has 5 CD releases of his own; Shepherd Wheel, Wild Silk, Imago (both with Keith Tippett), Permission and Momentarily.
Johnny comes from a background of both Avant-Garde and more mainstream Jazz. He plays a wide range of music round the North of England, from Dub/Reggae to Free Improvisation via Sanders/Coltrane inspired Modal Jazz. Johnny is also composer and band-leader for the Reggae group, ‘Skamel’, and his “chord-less” quartet.” – johnnyhuntermusic.com
Walt Shaw is a percussionist immersed in free improvisation, experimental music and collaborations with other disciplines, contemporary dance and live art. He has performed throughout the UK, and in France, Germany and Bosnia. He plays with SCHH, Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere, Birmingham Improvisers Orchestra, Mwamba / Shaw duo, Mahood and Engine Room Favourites.
Following a colourful apprenticeship on the London indie circuit, Steve Dinsdale has played Keyboards and Drums in UK space rock outfit Radio Massacre International for the best part of 20 years. He has contributed to over 30 albums in this band’s name. He is also a founding member of Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere alongside Martin Archer.