Tag Archives: Gary Crosby

BOOK NOW: Great trailer by Denys Baptiste and Lemn Sissay for NOW IS THE TIME

Great little trailer for Denys Baptiste’s new project, Now Is The Time that goes on tour next Saturday. Please share with your friends!

Denys is working for the very first time with the award-winning poet, Lemn Sissay whose projected video narration of specially commissioned poetry is integral to the live music performance. Take a look, let us know if you like it, and get booking! We think you’re going to enjoy this show! 

Video produced by Franklyn Lane Films

VIDEO: New Denys Baptiste project – NOW IS THE TIME – tribute to Dr Martin Luther King Jr

We popped into Denys Baptiste’s rehearsal to get a sneak preview of his new music for Now Is The Time. As you might expect, there are a lot of great, memorable tunes and the band sounds GRRRRREAT!!

‘Now Is The Time…’ for Denys Baptiste to rehearse for the Lively Up! Festival Tour

Denys Baptiste rehearsal

This weekend we attended Denys Baptiste‘s Now Is The Time…Let Freedom Ring! rehearsal in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London where this project will be presented in a month’s time. It was a great rehearsal – thanks to Southbank Centre’s production team for facilitating this – and, oh my, our audiences are certainly in for a treat with this one!

It was brilliant to see some of the musicians who played on Let Freedom Ring! back in 2003 – musicians like Giorgio Serci (guitar), Satin Singh (percussion), Jenny Adejayan (cello) and Omar Puente (violin) – now 10 years older and a good bit wiser! We also saw Jazz Jamaica’s trombonist, Harry Brown in the musical director’s chair for the first time on one of our projects (nice one, Hazza!).

Now Is The Time is Denys’ new suite in four movements that preludes Let Freedom Ring! There’s plenty of classic jazz, blues and gospel in there, plus some Afrobeat and some properly groovin’, funky elements as well. Denys certainly knows how to write great tunes – we’ve already started humming the piece after just one rehearsal. Can’t wait to hear Now Is The Time with the choirs. It’s going to be absolutely amazing!

Could this be another Denys Baptiste classic? Very possibly… ! Check out the tour dates and find out when you can hear this wonderful new music.

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).


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


Lively Up! Festival pre-launch a success


So, our Lively Up! Festival got off to a great start with a pre-launch talk on 20 September at the British Music Experience at the O2, London as part of the Seminal Albums series.


Our eminent panellists – Kevin Le GendreTony PlattGary Crosby and Brinsley Forde – offered new and interesting insights into Bob Marley and The Wailers’ Catch A Fire  and gave a glimpse of some of the music to come with an open rehearsal of the vocals section directed by Kevin Robinson.


Horror struck Gary for a minute when he opened the case of his beloved upright bass only to find the fingerboard had been damaged so he had to borrow a bass guitar from the BME! So check out this very rare photo indeed – Gary Crosby playing a bass guitar! Looks cool, huh, but still a bit weird without his upright bass! Thank goodness the upright was back in time for the first show in Nottingham! (Photos of the talk courtesy of Kelly Cobbing)


Here’s a nice post about the event by our friend, Paul Bradshaw (Ancient To Future – Beyond Chaser).


Excitement builds as Lively Up! Festival about to start


Lots of excitement in the Dune office as the kick off for our Lively Up! Festival looms ever closer. Just two days to go to the first clutch of shows. We’re starting in Nottingham, the city where the original Bob Marley and the Wailers Catch A Fire tour started!

A small posse of us are heading up to Nottingham today to launch the festival alongside the New Art Exchange’s fabulous I Is Another exhibition this evening (Thu 27 September), and then the festival starts in earnest on Friday in Nottingham with Catch A Fire  and Mango Spice at Royal Concert Hall, Parallel – A Tribute To Joe Harriott at Lakeside Arts, Steppin’ Over dance party at Nottingham Contemporary 

Meantime, check out the festival dates and hope to see you soon on one of these brilliant shows!



Living legends; living legacies – Part 2

Following on from Living Legends; Living Legacies – Part 1, here’s a bit of video footage of Gary Crosby and Nat Facey jamming on the jazz standard There Is No Great Love by Isham Jones on 6 August 2012 when they went to celebrate Jamaican Independence with Coleridge Goode and Peter Ind over at Coleridge’s house. 

Massive apologies for the portrait format and the occasional wobble. It was just such a magical experience being in the room with Coleridge, Peter, Gary and Nat, and beautiful to see these two living legends casting an approving eye over the comparative ‘freshers’, that all thoughts as to which way round to hold the iPhone went completely out of the window! Hopefully the lack of cinematography skills won’t detract from the wonderful music and vibe!



Living legends; living legacies – Part 1


On 6 August, the trio of bass players, Coleridge Goode, Peter Ind and Gary Crosby – affectionately known as the Lords Of The Lower Frequencies – came together with their partners at the home of Mr Goode to toast 50 years of Jamaican Independence.

Those who know Gary well will know how much he loves and respects these two gentlemen and how keen he is to ensure the young musicians he mentors through his Tomorrow’s Warriors Young Artist Development Programme access the heroes and heroines who have inspired him throughout his career as a bassist and band leader.

With the forthcoming premiere of the Nu Civilisation Orchestra’s Lively Up! Festival commission, Parallel: A Tribute To Joe Harriott, in which Tomorrow’s Warriors alumnus and Empirical alto sax star, Nathaniel Facey features, Gary thought it an apt moment to invite his mentee to join the party so he could hear first hand from Coleridge – the last surviving member of the Joe Harriott Quintet – about Harriott, the man and his music.  

Here’s how Nathaniel described his Visit To The Goode Residence. Also check out the video of Gary and Nathaniel in an impromptu jam session at Coleridge’s house!


Something Special

I have actually met Mr Goode before, briefly after a short performance I did for BBC Jazz Line-up. It is always humbling and a privilege to meet an elder statesman but in this particular case there is an extra something special for me as Coleridge George Emerson Goode was born on the 29th of November 1914 in Kingston, Jamaica from whence came my family.

My Granddad came to England in 1955 from my immediate ancestral home, Jamaica and over the course of the next decade brought the rest of my family, including my pops over too. I have always been massively interested in hearing about those early days from my parents and grandparents. There were of course big challenges and many struggles they had to face and I’ve always wanted to know as much as I can about our history, so when Gary Crosby initially told me ‘We need to go see Mr Goode…’ needless to say, I was very excited. Here is a genuine Jamaican legend with so much rich and incredible life experience volumes can and have now been written about him.

Getting emotional

Every opportunity to draw from the well of great wisdom drawn from deep years of experience is a blessing, so when I stepped foot inside Mr Goode’s house for the first time (saw him sat like a wise old sage in his chair from behind, which I confess had me a bit emotional), greeted him and reintroduced myself I really wasn’t even sure where to start. Of course we had to toast to 50 years of Jamaican Independence (and ruling, owning and dominating the athletics world too – Bolt, Blake, Weir, Frasier Pryce… nuff Respect!).

Itchy fingers

My visit was made even more special by the presence of Mr Peter Ind, another great bassist with many amazing tales to tell from his own very richly blessed history.  Not two minutes in and we’re talking about Bird (Charlie Parker), which always excites me, so to hear Pete talking about jamming with the great man and describe his incredible sound had my imagination going and my fingers itching to play my saxophone.

Bootlegs and Big Smiles

I couldn’t help but ask Mr Goode if he had any bootleg recordings of our fellow Jamaican the great Joe Harriot, and he was pleased to oblige me. We sat in Mr Goode’s own personal space and got stuck into listening to some recordings of Coleridge playing with Joe in Michael Garrick’s band, all of which were new to me. It saddens me that this body of work has not received the exposure it warrants because there are some really beautiful ideas documented on albums that deserve a proper re-release. My ears instantly picked up as Joe Harriot enters on Alto. His sound is cutting but pure and full of warmth that few alto players ever get near. Mr Goode sounds almost Percy Heath-like to my ears at times. He plays with a real sophisticated and swinging feel that has me bobbing my head in approval the whole way through. This music felt good to listen to and Coleridge and myself acknowledged it with big smiles.

Seeing snow for the first time

In between listening to songs I asked Mr Goode about his initial experiences coming over to the UK. He spoke warmly of coming over to Glasgow, Scotland and immediately climbing the biggest hill he could find in order to see snow for the first time! Then there are some of his greatest recording moments including playing with Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, but his favourite musical experiences are playing with Joe and we returned to some deep listening to those recordings. 

Music speaks louder than words

Charlie Parker said that: ‘Music speaks louder than words’ and I feel we shared a great many moments of depth and clarity purely through listening. Coleridge certainly feels everything he hears and the prevailing spirit of joy and warmth in those recordings of him with Joe Harriot certainly left me feeling really positive whilst also giving me many ideas for the future.

It was a blessed day where the deepest lessons on focus, conviction and strength of spirit were there without a need to exchange too many words. How beautiful music truly is, and how lovely it was, and is, to continue to grow with the knowledge of the legacy of Joe Harriott and my mate Mr Coleridge Goode.

I look forward to the next visit and some deeper listening!     

Nathaniel Facey

August 2012

Watch a short video of Nathaniel and Gary Crosby jamming ‘There Is No Greater Love’ for Coleridge and Peter Ind at The Goodes’ house.

New events added to Lively Up! Festival programme

We’ve added two new events to our festival schedule as a result of new associations forged through our Lively Up! Festival programme:

The British Music Experience at the O2:

Seminal Albums: CATCH A FIRE – Impact and Legacy

20 September | 7.30pm

 Tony Platt (Engineer on Catch A Fire), Gary Crosby OBE (Jazz Jamaica/Dune Music), Brinsley Forde (Aswad) and Kevin Le Gendre (Journalist)

OPEN VOCAL REHEARSAL: Jazz Jamaica All Stars Vocalists with Brinsley Forde, Gary Crosby, and Jason Yarde

Bob Marley and The Wailers’ 1973 album Catch a Fire is considered one of the top albums of all time. It established The Wailers as international superstars and introduced reggae to the university ‘rock listening’ crowd who were inspired by the socially aware lyrics, militant tone and optimistic view of a future free from oppression. It was the spark that ignited a revolution, a global Rasta revolution. This evening’s speakers look back on the making of Catch A Fire, and explore its impact and legacy on the music scene and the wider society. Read more…

***Lively Up Nugget*** As well as working on Bob Marley and The Wailers’ Catch A Fire album produced by Island Records boss Chris Blackwell, top sound engineer Tony Platt also recorded and mixed Jazz Jamaica All Stars’ album Massive produced by Dune label and Jazz Jamaica founder, Gary Crosby. Have a listen here.

And, for fans of visual arts, a feast for the eyes can be found in the not-to-be-missed exhibition at New Art Exchange, Nottingham: 

Exhibition:  I IS ANOTHER

28 September – 8 December

Launch Event: Thursday 27 September 2012

In 2012 the small island nation that has gained notoriety disproportionate to its size celebrates the 50th anniversary of independence. At this time it seems poignant to call for an independence of critical thought with regard to the island’s rich artistic community, often invisible to the rest of the world beyond the recording studio or stage, or dismissed as objects of tourist fancy. Read more…


Video: Catch A Fire trailer with Brinsley Forde, Gary Crosby + Jason Yarde

Check out this short Catch A Fire trailer we made with our featured vocalist, reggae star Brinsley Forde, Gary Crosby (founder and leader of Jazz Jamaica) and Jason Yarde who is busily preparing some deep and fabulous big band arrangements for the forthcoming shows by Jazz Jamaica All Stars, Urban Soul Orchestra and, of course, Brinsley on vocals.

The actual concert features a 30-musician massive with full rhythm section, horns and reeds sections, strings sections, and backing vocalists (our take on the wonderful I-Threes!) so, for the moment, this is just a taster. 

Listen to the 20-piece Jazz Jamaica All Stars on their album Massive (Dune Records DUNECD06).

Then imagine this sound enlarged by 33% with strings, lead and backing vocals performing tracks from Catch A Fire…truly MASSIVE!

We’d love to know what you think so do feel free to leave a comment! We’ll be posting up the full lineup for you shortly. Enjoy!