Author Archives: tomorrowswarriors

About tomorrowswarriors

We champion, develop and promote the most diverse community of gifted and talented jazz musicians in the UK. Our programmes are open to all, though we have a special focus on young people from the African diaspora and girls. We are proud to be a resident at Southbank Centre, London, an Associate Artist at Rich Mix, London and a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England.

ONE LOVE: Review of CATCH A FIRE by Stephen Graham

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Gold medal for the first review out of the blocks goes to the lovely Stephen Graham, with pics by Roger Thomas. (Thanks for coming Stephen and Roger – was great to see you!)

With over 110 people on the stage of the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London last night the Jazz Jamaica All Stars, Urban Soul Orchestra and Voicelab with special guest Brinsley Forde celebrated 50 years of Jamaican independence in some style with a themed concert based on Bob Marley and the Wailers’ 1973 classic album Catch a Fire.  Read on…

 

CATCH A FIRE London Show A Complete TRIUMPH at Southbank Centre!

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WOWWWWW! Last night’s sold out Catch A Fire show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at Southbank Centre went off the Richter Scale of AWESOMENESS! 

‘Completely triumphant’ is how the venue described it!

We’re all still buzzing from the vibe. As ever, Brinsley Forde was FABULOUS and the guys and gals of Jazz Jamaica All Stars and Urban Soul Orchestra were OUTSTANDING! The 75-voice VoiceLab Choir was just INCREDIBLE thanks to the MAGNIFICENT direction of Mark de-Lisser.

What a FANTASTIC audience, everyone dancing and smiling. We can’t find words for it so here are some of the messages left for us on the walls of the QEH foyer by members of the audience:

 

Pure Joy x

Great atmosphere with a dream band. Had the time of my life. Many thanks x

Amazing. Proud to be Jamaican. Happy Birthday Jamaica.

A Wonderful concept. So much History, Stories and Song in tonight’s show. The playing was Immense. More More Please !! Loved it so much.

From Trenchtown to the Southbank. THIS IS CREATIVITY. You lifted my soul mind and body ( in that order) Thank you all + keep going!

This was truly a fantastic experience. Just what the good doctor ordered. Well done Guys.

Catch a Fire! Catch it while you can. It’s great!!

Wish Queen Elizabeth was here. She wuda got up and SKANKED! Thank you. JJ.

Well done guys. You have done Jamaica proud!

Thanks so much to all who supported this show, especially our volunteers – Ijeoma, James and Will and all our wonderful Lively Up! Festival team.

Desperate man grapples with Jazz Jamaica leader outside @SouthbankCentre for ticket to @LivelyUpFest Catch A Fire show!

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It’s no use…even Gary Crosby, Jazz Jamaica’s esteemed band leader, doesn’t have any spare tickets for the COMPLETELY SOLD OUT Catch A Fire show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre next Wednesday (24 Oct) with Brinsley Forde, Urban Soul Orchestra and the amazing 70+voice VoiceLab choir!

However, you can still get to see this fabulous show at:

 

Fri 26 Oct  LEEDS  Leeds Town Hall  0113 224 3801 

 Wed 31 Oct  LEICESTER  De Montfort Hall  0116 233 3111 (with the fabulous Amika Choir!!)

Fri 02 Nov  EDINBURGH  Usher Hall  0131 228 1155 (last night of the tour – PAR-TAYYYY!)

 

 

VIDEO: Nu Civilisation Orchestra – Joe Harriott Tribute at St George’s, Bristol

Some footage of the Nu Civilisation Orchestra’s gig at St George’s, Bristol on 10 October as part of the Lively Up! Festival. If ever you thought you were scared of ‘free form’ jazz, this set should allay your fears as it provides an completely accessible entry point to this area of jazz. As MD Peter Edwards mentioned at the Nottingham show a couple of weeks earlier, Joe Harriott created some truly beautiful and sublime music that merits investigation. And he’s right. It’s not scary!

About the show, Peter says:

“My newly commissioned arrangements feature music from Joe Harriott’s groundbreaking albumsFree Form (1961) and Abstract (1963). The performance also includes the work of visual artist Emma Godebska who has produced a wonderful series of paintings based on the band’s interpretation of Harriott’s music. Projected on a screen are Emma’s works in various stages of development whilst the band creates its own sonic improvised art pieces, making the show a truly multi-dimensional experience.”

Go see it! It’s on tomorrow (20 Oct) at RNCM Theatre in Manchester, and at the Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London on 17 November.

 

 

 

 

VIDEO: Catch A Fire LIVE at Birmingham Town Hall

Here’s some footage from the Catch A Fire show in Birmingham with Jazz Jamaica All Stars, Brinsley Forde and Urban Soul Orchestra, made all the more special with the addition of the soulful Birmingham Town Hall Gospel Choir. They were AMAZING!

Meantime, we’re looking forward with great excitement to the rest of the Catch A Fire shows and to catching the fire of the VoiceLab choir in London and the Amika Choir in Leicester. Check the Festival Dates page for details!

 

CATCH A FIRE – Sensational shows in Southampton + (SOLD OUT!) Birmingham

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Thanks to everyone who came to Jazz Jamaica All Stars’ sensational SOLD OUT Lively Up! Festival show at Birmingham Town Hall with Brinsley Forde and Urban Soul Orchestra on 13 October and to our also sensational show at Guildhall Southampton on 12 October. Both gigs were storming and the Town Hall Gospel Choir in Birmingham made the fire of Catch A Fire burn even brighter. 

There are just three more opportunities to catch the fire of Catch A Fire (as London on 24 October is already completely sold out).

Anyone in Brum who couldn’t get a ticket should try Leicester (De Montfort Hall – 31 October) as there are still some tickets available at the moment. 

Anyone further north can try Leeds (Town Hall – 26 Oct) or – if you’re very far north – Edinburgh (Usher Hall – 2 Nov)

Hope to see you soon, and thanks for supporting the shows!

 

 

REVIEW: Mainly Jazz-Bristol – Nu Civilisation Orchestra – Joe Harriott Tribute

Lovely review by Jon Turney on the Mainly Jazz in Bristol blog of our Nu Civilisation Orchestra concert on 10 October at St George’s Hall, Bristol (what a beautiful venue).

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Joe Harriott died (way too young) just under 40 years ago, and since then has mainly existed in that jazz limbo of semi-legendary figures who did remarkable things but were not truly appreciated in their lifetime, nor much listened to afterwards. This Nu Civilisation Orchestra (NCO) project ought to change that.

Harriott is best remembered for a more or less simultaneous discovery of the possibilities of breaking out of set harmonic frameworks often described as akin to what Ornette Coleman’s early quartets were opening ears to around the same time. His two recordings in this vein – Free Form and Abstract – are the inspiration for a suite of pieces from the orchestra. NCO is one of the many projects inspired by the admirable Gary Crosby, and is led by pianist, arranger and composer Peter Edwards. He’s studied Harriott’s stuff, and scaled it up from the original quintet presentation (sax, trumpet and rhythm section) to an 11-piece orchestra.

It works brilliantly, I think, partly because Harriott’s originals – despite the forbidding titles – are accessible, full of melody, but also come with intriguing twists and turns which lend themselves well to orchestral elaboration. As Brian Morton and Richard Cooke say in the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, “by later standards, Harriott’s experiments seem cautious”. He was never really an outside player, in the sense current in the mid-60s avant-garde. From this distance, his pieces sound like someone extremely talented taking trouble to avoid hard bop cliches while still incorporating plenty of blues, along with elements from his native Jamaica.

That all seems a very natural blend now, but worthwhile cultural production is never natural – it has to be worked at. And the writing, arranging and rehearsing here must have been an immense amount of work. We heard a 90 minute set, after a warm-up featuring the rough-and-ready charm of the Bristol Reggae Orchestra, and it placed some demands on the concentration toward the end as the music was so consistently rich and rewarding. (Video backdrop of some Jackson-Pollock style action painting was a distraction, mainly – too obvious a link with “free-form”, perhaps?)

The musical rewards came partly from the skill in orchestration, and from the new pieces Edwards has written to sit alongside Harriott’s compositions, partly from the fine playing. Byron Wallen and Nathaniel Facey stood out, as you’d expect, along with the leader. Will Gibson on flute and clarinet also shone, but the entire band nailed the (lengthy) book of complex arrangements and made them sing.

All in all, the only worthwhile kind of jazz tribute: not retread, reinvention.

More dates:

The Harriott set is just one of the goodies on offer as part of the Lively Up! Festival celebrating Jamaican independence 50 years ago. It is being presented again at RNCM in Manchester on Oct 20th, and during the London Jazz Festival on Nov 17th.

See this and other articles at the Mainly Jazz in Bristol

 

BBC MUSIC REVIEW: Nu Civilisation Orchestra – Joe Harriott Tribute

Fab review by Neil McKim for BBC Music Magazine of the Nu Civilisation Orchestra concert – Parallel: A Tribute To Joe Harriott at St George’s Bristol on 10 October, and opening support, Bristol Reggae Orchestra.

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Courtesy of Classical-music.com – The Official website of BBC Music Magazine. Originally published 12 October 2012.

A NIGHT OF JAMAICAN JAZZ

 A Radio 3 jazz presenter Geoffrey Smith wrote in the magazine last year that ‘Maybe 2012 will be Joe Harriott’s year’ – following the timely release of a CD box set, celebrating the career of this often overlooked, but extremely gifted, saxophone player from Kingston, Jamaica, who settled in Britain in the 1950s and died in 1973. Harriott’s diverse career took in established jazz forms, writing for the likes of trombonist Chris Barber, [Spotify link] to his own ‘free form’ jazz experiments and the later ‘Indo-Jazz’ crossover LPs with John Mayer. It’s tragic that he died so young, aged just 44.

And the interest is growing. Joe Harriott’s music is currently being showcased in concerts across the country, as part of the Lively UP! Festival, which marks 50 years since Jamaican independence. 

I went along to the Bristol leg of the celebrations, hosted by St George’s earlier this week. The first half, delivered by The Bristol Reggae Orchestra, a (going on) 30-piece band with strings, brass, woodwind and a pulsing rhythm section, definitely set the scene. The band drifted through tunes ranging from Nat King Cole to reggae hits by Freddie MacGregor and Delroy Wilson. And this feel-good community band had people dancing and swaying in the aisles of this converted church. 

By way of contrast, the second half showcased two of Joe Harriott’s ‘free form’ jazz albums from the early 1960s, ‘Free Form’ and ‘Abstract’, which had been expertly re-arranged by pianist Peter Edwards – from the original five-piece to an 11-piece line-up. The band, the Nu Civilisation Orchestra has some excellent UK jazz talent, including trumpeter Byron Wallen and alto saxist Nathaniel Facey in its ranks. And introducing the programme, Edwards explained how Harriott saw the sounds of ‘free form’ jazz as ‘equivalent to brush strokes on a painting’. To illustrate this, a screen behind the band showed film footage of visual artist Emma Godebska, creating paintings, while it played. 

The result was fascinating and genuinely illuminating, as we were treated to the challenging soundscape of Harriott’s ‘free form’ jazz. And this was no safe option for some of the audience. The arrangements moved from tumbling bebop, plunging into shuddering grooves and at times squawking cacophony, interspaced with calypso, blues, swing and myriad influences – with all concerned demonstrating why they are at the top of their field. 

At the start of the concert, Lively UP!’s executive director Janine Irons, announced: ‘We’re going to be celebrating the great Joe Harriott – a great musician that a lot of people don’t really know about.’ I certainly learnt a lot about Harriott’s ‘free form’ jazz and I hope that this project triggers future performances of his wider output and re-releases of some of his great records, such as the incredibly rare Hum Dono (1969). 

There’s another chance to catch A Tribute to Joe Harriott in Manchester at the RNCM Theatre on Saturday 20 October.

 

 

 

CATCH A FIRE – London Show is SOLD OUT!

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If you haven’t already bought your ticket to see Jazz Jamaica All Stars with Brinsley Forde, Urban Soul Orchestra and the massive Voicelab choir, we have bad news as the show has now completely SOLD OUT – two weeks before the gig!

Tickets are still available for the following shows, but Usain Bolt Yourself and go get your tickets fast!

 

Fri

12-Oct

Southampton

Guildhall

Jazz Jamaica All Stars/Urban Soul Orch/Brinsley Forde | Catch a Fire

Sat

13-Oct

Birmingham

Birmingham Town Hall

Jazz Jamaica All Stars/Urban Soul Orch/Brinsley Forde | Catch a Fire

Fri

26-Oct

Leeds

Leeds Town Hall

Jazz Jamaica All Stars/Urban Soul Orch/Brinsley Forde | Catch a Fire

Wed

31-Oct

Leicester

De Montfort Hall

Jazz Jamaica All Stars/Urban Soul Orch/Brinsley Forde | Catch a Fire

Fri

2-Nov

Edinburgh

Usher hall

Jazz Jamaica All Stars/Urban Soul Orch/Brinsley Forde | Catch a Fire

 

TONIGHT – BRISTOL St Georges Hall – Nu Civilisation Orchestra & Bristol Reggae Orchestra

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TONIGHT   

Wed 10 Oct | 8.00pm 

BRISTOL 

St George’s Hall

 

Box Office 0845 40 24 001

  

Don’t miss…PARALLEL – Where Music Meets Art

 

Come along to see a classy, highly accessible tribute to Jamaican  saxophonist, Joe Harriott by the increasingly popular Nu Civilisation Orchestra conducted by Peter Edwards with extraordinary art by Emma Godebska  + SUPPORT: Bristol Reggae Orchestra

 

Usain Bolt Yourself and go get your ticket!