Somewhere Else is my ninth album and is based on that feeling of that longing to be in another place that we all experience from time to time. For example, in my own case, I live in London, on the other side of the world from my family in Australia, and, while I very much enjoy living in London, I think about Australia every day. I am sure that many people must feel the same way about their family
This album features musicians from many countries including Britain, Italy, USA, Panama, Italy, India, China, and Australia, and the compositions manifest the influences of music from many parts of our world.
While it is clear that the violence and ignorance of nationalism and racism are as problematic as ever, the great majority of people just want to live in harmony with others, regardless of their nationality. Based on my practise of Nichiren Buddhism, the intention behind all of my music is to make a contribution to world peace, to create social harmony, and to enable the listener to escape the harsh realities of life for a little while, to rejuvenate them and give them the strength to win over the many challenges they face.
My music is jazz-based and is informed by my education at Berklee College Of Music but it’s actually much simpler than most modern jazz and features straightforward, memorable melodies and a clear and uncomplicated approach to rhythm and harmony. And while I love jazz and the unlimited, spontaneous self-expression of improvisation, I also worship at the shrine of the finely crafted three-minute pop song and my music is somewhere in between. I have no interest in making esoteric or “difficult” music, but aim to create music that extends a warm hand of friendship to all who hear it.
My band, featuring Bill Mudge(piano/keyboards), Neville Malcolm(bass guitar) and Dave De Rose(drums) is featured on most of the tracks and we play in an intimate, simple and direct way, solidly based around Dave’s unique approach to drumming, which draws equally on American funk/hip hop and the rhythms of Africa.
Two of the compositions, Somewhere Else and Fayah feature different bands and were recorded back in 2013 during the sessions for my previous album, Forbearance. They were left off Forbearance as they didn’t fit stylistically with the other tracks on the album, so I used them as the starting point for Somewhere Else.
The album begins with “Winds of West Africa”. This tune was inspired by a field recording I heard of a couple of Ghanaian musicians, a singer and a percussionist. The percussionist was playing a kind of James Brown funk groove and the singer was singing beautiful pentatonic phrases.I wrote down the ‘drumbeat’ and some of the vocal phrases and then I altered them, note by note until none of the original phrases remained but I had retained the feeling of the original song. Bill ,Neville and Dave lay the groove down with great finesse and simplicity, sounding somewhat reminiscent of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Thrust’-period rhythm section. Guest artist Bex Burch creates a fantastic Ghanaian village atmosphere with her gyil, a traditional marimba-like instrument.
2. “Katie” is a poignant tune I wrote for my then 21-year-old daughter who was going through the tremendous struggles that all young people face. I felt that I was powerless to help her so I wrote this composition to encourage her and to show her how much I love her. My band concept on this tune was very much influenced by delicate, sensitive approach of guitarist/composer John Abercrombie.
3. “Analyse”. The first time I heard this song on Thom Yorke’s album “The Eraser” I immediately fell in love with it. I loved the chords, the production, the groove but most of all I loved the melody. It reminded me of George Harrison’s Indian-influenced songs such as “Within you/without you” and I immediately knew it was a song I wanted to play with my band. The song has become a real favourite of our live set and always elicits cheers from the audience. In order to enhance the Indian flavour of the song I augmented the band with Jonathan Mayer on sitar and Mitel Purohit on tablas who added some serious curry powder to our sound. On this track I really get my rocks off on the guitar, throwing my usual melodic simplicity and restraint out of the window. The song closes out with an intimate, whispering bass clarinet solo from Graeme Blevins.
4. “Somewhere Else” At the time of writing I have been living in London, on the other side of the world from my family in Australia, for 23 years. As a result of this, my heart is often somewhere else. The song features an effortless statement of the melody and a searching, restless solo from the great Bennie Maupin on soprano saxophone.Bennie is complemented ably by one of Britain’s finest jazz violinists , Graham Clark.
5. “Fayah” is an afrobeat song co-written with and sung by my good friend Gregg Kofi Brown, singer with the legendary Osibisa. The song features the drumming of the great Billy Cobham and a great electric piano solo and horn charts by Grant Windsor. It’s a fun, optomistic song featuring amazing musicianship and a relentless groove.
6. “Blue Boy" I always wanted to write a tune with a classic 6/8 feel along the lines of James Brown’s “It’s a man’s world”. This tune is my attempt to convey the sadness I sometimes experienced as a little boy when I felt misunderstood and lonely. I am sure every child feels like that from time to time. Bassist Neville Malcolm has a great flair for melodic improvisation and this song is a great showcase for his ‘singing’ bass style. The band plays powerfully but in a very simple, direct way that climaxes in a huge build up towards the end of the track.
7. “Ride the camel” is cheerful, upbeat tune that always receives a great reception from the audience. The Middle Eastern flavour of the composition is enhanced by Stuart Hall’s fantastic statement of the melody on the oud.
8. “A tree in the desert" was inspired by a photograph of The Ténéré Tree ,which was a solitary acacia that was once considered the most isolated tree on Earth, the only one for over 250 miles. Dave de Rose lays down a beautifully lop-sided “African swing” groove and Graeme Blevins’ soothing bass clarinet solo is followed by an eloquent, sparkling solo from Bill Mudge.
9. After listening to and enjoying very much some of the intriguing electronic music of master pianist/keyboardist Steve Hamilton, I asked him to do an electronic arrangement of Katie as a companion piece to the earlier version(track 2). This surprisingly slow tempo version allows the listener to really ‘taste’ the flavour of each note and chord, bringing out the drama and poignancy of the composition. Steve’s fine arrangement makes a dramatic and compelling closing statement for the album.
I hope you enjoy this album and that it takes you on a journey to Somewhere Else.
Guitarist, composer and Sting sideman Carl Orr was kind enough to write a five-star review of my Sting book this week. It was great to see the book get a ‘thumbs up’ from Carl, who I respect. greatly as a musician and have seen perform a couple of times when performing Sting’s The Last Ship during its initial tour, including the inaugural performance at Northern Stage on March 12 2018. Carl played some magnificent guitar that evening, so I was interested to find out more about him.
When looking at his backstory, it is obvious Carl has a fantastic pedigree. Born in Newcastle, growing up Australia, then moving to London in the early ‘90s, by which time his CV was already very impressive, having studied at Berklee College of Music and worked with many name jazz musicians – including Billy Cobham.
Since moving to London, he has released six solo albums, which are incredibly eclectic stylistically. Although broadly falling into the ‘jazz’ category, his music can be placed within the genre’s tradition by engaging with influences ranging from that of The Brecker Bros (‘Swamp Thing’), later Miles Davies (‘Still Life’), to more traditional jazz (Deep Down), to his most recent album and the main subject of this post – Somewhere Else (2019)
After spending time listening to it this week, I would say his Something Else album takes the listener on a journey of escapism, both in terms of the imaginary landscapes of tracks such as ‘Katie‘ (written for his daughter) and ‘Somewhere Else‘ (which reminds me of Tim Garland’s recent work, depicting the North East of England – listen to ‘Lady of the North‘), to the more ‘place centred’ textures of tracks such as ‘Analyse‘ (a Radiohead cover), ‘Fayah‘, and ‘Ride the Camel‘, which have more specific semiological relationships with India, Africa and ‘the Middle East’ respectively, due to the purposeful use of musical textures related to those regions (‘Ride the Camel’ features my old guitar teacher Stuart Hall).
Compositions aside, it is also noticeably that Orr is a ‘special guitarist’, who if I was to describe his work in one word— it would be TASTE. This is something that no amount of musical training can manifest. As with all of his work, Carl performs equally as proficiently on acoustic as he does on electric and although he can ‘shred’ (listen to the Cobham track above), he is also capable of ‘playing the spaces’ by manifesting a ‘less is more’ idiolect. One of the first things one notices when listening to his music, is that he appears to place a lot of emphasis on melody—both in terms of his compositions and his guitar playing and by doing this, he engages with the listener on many levels—be it from simply ‘singing the tune’, to marvelling at the technical proficiency and competency of his artistry, to being ‘lost’ in textures, melodies, rhythms and timbres of tracks such as the title track – ‘Somewhere Else’. Indeed I challenge anyone reading this post to listen to this track and while doing so – just consider the places it takes you – open fields, across oceans, through wooded landscapes, looking at ones home from a distance – they are all possible. Once the Covid19 pandemic is out of the way and public gatherings are possible again, I would love to see this guy perform his own material live, which I am sure will bring some of these imaginary landscapes even closer – fantastic!
Paul Carr, Sting Biographer paulcarr.org
Musicians that perform on SOMEWHERE ELSE
Bill Mudge’ piano, organ and Rhodes - Bill is originally from Lymington in Hampshire, and based in London since 2008. He has worked with many leading artists and musicians, most recently playing Hammond Organ for jazz vocalist Sara Dowling on her album 'Two Sides of Sara'. In 2017 he toured Europe playing Hammond with The James Hunter Six.
Neville Malcolm bass guitar – is one of the most in-demand bass players in the London. Known as ‘Level-Neville’, he is an understated star on both acoustic and electric bass, combining an earthy, soulful feel with effortless technical ability.
Coming from a background in Gospel music, Neville started out playing organ and guitar, switching to bass as he developed an ever greater interest in jazz and other music.
Turning professional in the early ‘90s, he worked with Philip Bent and Steve Williamson and became part of London’s Acid Jazz scene.
He has since performed all over the world and recorded with Billy Cobham, Gabrielle, Tom Jones, Alex Wilson, Nathan Haynes, Marlene Shaw, Dave Valentin and Jack DeJohnette, Incognito and Us3.
Dave De Rose drums
Drummer, Bass player, Educator, Producer, Composer & Engineer, Dave De Rose is based in London,UK. Since moving to the UK from Rome in 1996 he has integrated into the London music scene making waves live and on record with many well known & most interesting projects as well as self-releasing 8 records under his own name.
He performs live & in the studio, co-writes, co-produces & mixes recordings of projects he is a core member of :
Agile Experiments, The Day Goes, Pokus, Electric Jalaba, Flying Ibex, Harlequiin, Point X, Gufo, Embla, modern Cypriot Rembetika's Trio Tekke.
Other artists he has worked with over the years include Moloko, Mark Ronson, Mulatu Astatke, Jamie Cullum, Rokia Traore, Roisin Murphy, Beth Orton, Corinne Bailey Rae, Scroobius Pip, Eska, Andreya Triana, Native Dancer, Post Office, Reel People, Kaidi Thatham and Mark De-Clive Lowe.
Bex Burch - gyil on “Winds Of West Africa” and “Fayah”
Bex Burch is percussionist specialising in the Dagaare xylophone or Gyil. Following a series of chance encournters and a keen interest inin groove based music / minimalism Burch was invited to be the apprentice to master Ghanaian xylophonist Thomas Segkura and lived in Dagaare Ghana making and playing Gyilli for 3 years. On passing out of the apprenticeship, she was given the name ‘Vula Viel’, meaning Good is Good and shared the name with her own group on returning to UK.
As a performer on percussion and Gyil, with Vula Viel Bex has performed in venues and festivals including Cafe OTO, Purcell Room Royal Festival Hall, and Latitude festival and released the acclaimed album Good is Good in 2015.
January 25th sees the release of sophomore album, 'Do Not Be Afraid'. Vula Viel have confirmed performances of music from Do Not Be Afraid at Cafe OTO, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, WOMAD and live on BBC3 Music Planet.
As a composer, Bex was selected from hundreds of applications to become one of Sound and Music’s first New Voices and continues to develop her unique voice on both for Vula Viel and further afield.
Jonathan Mayer (sitar on “Analyse)
Son of the late Kolkata composer John Mayer, Jonathan began his musical training at the early age of 5 with Violin, Piano & Composition. He started his initial training under the western sitarist Clem Alford who was a disciple of Sachindra Nath Saha, Senia Gharana. Later he studied Imdadkhani Gharana technical proficiency under Ustad Wajahat Khan for a short while and finally settled in to the Senia Veen-kar Gharana under the extremely knowledgeable maestro the late Pandit Subroto Roychowdhury.
Jonathan Mayer studied composition from his father who studied violin with Phillipe Sandre in Calcutta, music theory with Melhi Mehta in Bombay, Indian theory with Sanathan Mukerjee and composition from Matyas Sether. Jonathan later studied composition from Andrew Downes at the Birmingham Conservatoire where he gained a B.Mus (Hons) at the Birmingham Conservatoire studying both sitar and composition. Because of his ability to read western notation he has performed in a variety of genres and so far his career has seen him play with artists such as Dave Stewart, The Bingham String Quartet, Kathryn Tickell, Kumar Bose, Kuljit Bhamra, Erich Gruenburg, Rohan De Sarem, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra, Kenny Wheeler, The Orlando Consort, John Wilson, Bombay Dub Orchestra, Future Sounds of London, Sarah Brightman, I Musici Fiamminghi Orchestra,and Sir Paul McCartney.
Jonathan has composed extensively for many genres including jazz, fusion, Indian & symphonic writing. His works have been performed and commissioned by The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra, Docklands Sinfonia, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra, Erich Gruenburg, Joji Hattori, and his father’s band Indo-Jazz Fusions. Jonathan can be heard on many soundtracks & films including Sarah Brightmans’ Eden, Kevin Spaceys’ Beyond the sea, Indian Summer (Channel 4), Victoria & Abdul (where he can be seen on film) and Salty. Jonathan is also co-founder of First Hand Records Ltd.
Jonathan has performed all over the world including, France, Germany, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Australia, America, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and two very successful tours in India (including a performance at The Dover Lane Music Conference) as well as a number of performances for the BBC in the UK.
Mitel Purohit (tablas on “Analyse”)
Mitel is currently one of the most sought after Tabla percussionists in the UK.
His rigorous training in the Benaras style of Tabla twinned with his passion for world music, are evident in his expression and versatility. Accompanying the likes of Jagjit Singh, Rahat Fate Ali Khan and Pandits Rajan Sajan Mishra and performing at the personal invitation of the legendary Sir Paul Mccartney, Mitel’s diary reads likes a who’s who of musical glitterati!
Graeme Blevins bass clarinet on “Analyse” and “A Tree In The Desert”, tenor saxophone on “Fayah”
London-based Saxophonist/Music Producer, Graeme Blevins loves good music of all styles, forging a career that involves performance and recording at the highest levels of Jazz, pop, and classical music.
Whether it's performing with Kylie Minogue in front of thousands of people, or under his own name a small Jazz club, Graeme has quickly established himself as one of the most electrifying performers in Europe.
Born in Western Australia, Graeme studied at the West Australian Conservatorium of music, keeping busy with both jazz and classical disciplines, graduating with the Wylie Scholarship for "Most Outstanding Graduate".
After a brief sabbatical in New York, studying with Chris Potter and Seamus Blake, Graeme relocated to London to enjoy a larger music scene.
The last few years have seen Graeme complete a 2 year World Tour with Kylie Minogue including the recording of a live album ("Live in New York") and a DVD at the O2 Arena in London. He recorded and toured Phil Collins' most recent album "Going Back" which also featured a DVD recording in New York at the "Roseland" Ballroom.
All the while juggling the heavy touring schedule with the "Kyle Eastwood Band"(Clint's bass playing son), with whom he has recorded and performed with since 2006. Graeme featured in 2, "Double Tenor" gigs, featured alongside New York Heavyweights, Mark Turner and Joel Frahm.
Graeme was a member of the "Delta Saxophone Quartet" from 2006-2008, with whom he recorded "Dedicated to you" in tribute to the "Soft Machine".
Other Artists Graeme has Performed or Recorded with include "Simply Red", "Metro Area",, "Craig David", "Martha Reeves", "Charlie Hunter", "Guy Barker" "Manu Katche", "Dominic Miller" "Joey Negro", "Kelly Rowland", The "Royal Philharmonic Orchestra", "Till Bronner", "James Taylor Quartet", "Matt Bianco", Colin Towns, Bobby Watson, and many more.
Bennie Maupin soprano saxophone on “Somewhere Else”
As well as being a band leader and composer of the highest order, woodwind master Bennie Maupin is known for his participation in Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi sextet and Headhunters band, and for performing on Miles Davis's seminal fusion record, Bitches Brew. Maupin has collaborated with Horace Silver, Roy Haynes, Woody Shaw, Lee Morgan and many others and is featured extensively in the recent in the recent Lee Morgan documentary “I called him Morgan” .
Graham Clark(violin on “Somewhere Else”)
Graham started working as a jazz violinist in 1982 in Bristol with Tim Richards and Andy Sheppard, went to London in '85, working with Phil Lee, Brian Godding, then Keith Tippett. He spent a lot of time busking in the Tube. There were always other projects. Then he began working with Daevid Allen and Gong in '88, doing many tours and plenty of recording. He has played at Glastonbury festival with Steve Hillage, and System 7. Other work has included Radio 3 broadcasts, with Mark Feldman, and Graham Massey's Toolshed. He moved to Buxton in 96, and worked with Elbow and Lamb in the nineties, and continues to play in various small jazz groups.
Grant Windsor - keyboards on “Somewhere Else” and “Fayah” and horn arrangement on “Fayah”
Grant Windsor is a pianist, composer, arranger, conductor and producer from Perth, Western Australia now residing in Melbourne after ten years in London.
He has worked alongside many great artists over the years such as:
Jose James, Clare Teal, Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum, Garou, Bilal, Sir Michael Parkinson, Ty, Plan B, Stephanie Mckay, Benji B, Emily King, Taylor Mcferrin, Matthew Herbert Big Band, Nailah Porter, Badmarsh and Shri, BBC Big Band, Sophie Solomon, Carole King, Pee Wee Ellis, Joe Bataan, Wretch 32, Russell Watson, Dionne Bromfield, Olly Murs, Pino Palladino, Femi Temowo, Marius De Vries, Lizz Wright and Jean Toussaint.
As a Composer, Grant has been commissioned to write orchestral works such as State of Union for the West Australian Composers Ensemble featuring the Joe Chindamo Trio; Lacrimosa, a rework of Mozarts’ Lacrimosa from the Mozart Requiem for Orchestra and Jazz Quartet; and The Memoriam Concerto, a concerto for electric bass and orchestra featuring the James Morrison scholarship winner Dane Alderson.
Windsor has received a number of accolades, 5 WAMI awards including best jazz composition, Young Citizen of the Year and the APRA Professional Development Award for Jazz Composition. This is a national scholarship which was used for Grant to study with Jim McNeely, Sam Yahel (New York) Russell Ferrante and Michel Colombier (Los Angeles).
Grant is also trained conductor and has worked with the nationally acclaimed 20th Century Music
Ensemble “The Collective” which has performed and recorded for bodies such as the ABC and the University of Western Australia performing works from composers such as Lindsay Vickery, Ross Edwards, Cathy Travers and Graham Collier.
Grant has also conducted the BBC Big Band (UK), The West Australian Composer Ensemble (WAYJO), The Deviation String Ensemble (UK), and more recently the BBC2 Radio Leeds Big Band.As a producer Grant has worked with a number of artists. More recently he completed production on Clare Teals latest release Hey Ho which went to No.1 in the iTunes Jazz charts. Chasing Cars, the follow up single also went to No.1 in Hong Kong in early 2012. Recent collaborations as a writer/sideman include tracks for the new Jose James record No Beginning, No End on Blue Note records. Since this Grant has just begun producing a new collaboration with soloist trumpet player Alison Balsom.
Giovanni Pallotti acoustic bass on “Somewhere Else” is an Italian bassist, composer and producer. He has performed with Jeff Beck, Maneskin, Marco Mengoni, Francesca Michielin, Giovanni Truppi, Paola Turci, Antonello Venditti, Venerus, Viito, etc.He played bass guitar on Jeff Beck’s “Loud Hailer” album
Mark Fletcher drums on “Somewhere Else”by Adam Garrie
Long before I could verbally communicate, music was the consummate lingua franca of my life. Whilst I endeavoured to learn as much as I could about any instrument I could wrap my ears round, percussion always had a special place in my heart and it was for that reason that I studied the drums at an early age. I was draw to percussion for reasons that run counterintuitive to the perceived musical orthodoxies. Whilst many connote percussion with the ideas of pulse, beat and tempo, these musical concepts were of secondary interest to me in my continuing fascination with the potential of percussion. For me, the apogee of percussive innovation is contributing and enhancing melody and harmony. Rhythm is an intrinsic function innate to any skilled musician. It is not so much a sonic force as an invisible hand. Melody and harmony as a means of contrast are sonic forces whether composed, spontaneous or a combination of the two. A percussionist who is able to use his instruments to move, shape, challenge and drive melody and harmony is a gifted percussionist. Those who can’t are mere technicians at the best of times.
This is why Mark Fletcher is my favourite contemporary drummer. His ensemble playing is filled with drama, it is never static. Like the great master drummers of African music, Fletcher’s styles have linear narrative. This sense of purpose makes him the ultimate ensemble player as he is able to inspire other plays to contribute and commit themselves to this narrative. Anyone can be told where various chords are on a piano or guitar. Likewise anyone could learn the basic rudiments of modern drumming, but to strive beyond this is what music ought to be about. As Fletcher himself often says ‘music is art and art is not a sport’.
Perhaps more than any other musicians, percussionists must be the most ‘multi-lingual’ in terms of having the ability to perform across wide ranging musical idioms. This is something Mark Fletcher does with a deceptive ease. The internationally renowned alto saxophonist Peter King said of Fletcher, ‘He can play in any style and he can play the fuck out of all of them’. It is this versatility combined with a sense of melody, drama and purpose that has won Fletcher praise from a variety of musicians. Shortly before his untimely death Joe Zawinul said that he wanted to play with Fletcher. He has received praise from fellow drummers, Elvin Jones, Bernard Purdie, Gary Husband and Chris Dave. James Moody, Cedar Walton, Mark Murphy, John Etheridge and Michel Legrand invited Fletcher into their ensembles over the years and spoke highly of him throughout the decades.
Playing in ensembles as diverse as Soft Machine and Hatfield and The North on one hand and Ian Shaw’s laurelled vocal quartets on the other, Mark Fletcher continues to be one of the most sought out yet emotionally original figures in the London music scene. Above all though, Fletcher’s most special musical relationship was that which he formed with the late Ronnie Scott. Scott was an inspirational figure for Fletcher during his first days in London and it was because of this that Scott invited Fletcher to be the drummer in the final quintet Scott led before his tragic death in 1996.
In 2011, Fletcher decided to follow in the footsteps of Scott and form his own band, Fletch’s Brew which would go on to play regular gigs at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London’s Soho. Fletcher formed the band with an aim to surround himself with musicians who shared his philosophy that the stage is a place for passion and experimentation and above all for sonic intrigue.
In 2014, Fletch’s Brew released 39 & 47, their debut album. It is a concept album which spans many musical styles from free-jazz, to groovy fusion, jazz based hip-hop, jazz-rock and vocal jazz. Fletch’s Brew continues to be at the epicentre of Mark Fletcher’s creative output.
Gregg Kofi Brown vocals on “Fayah”
American musician Gregg Kofi Brown served as a singer and guitarist for the African group Osibisa for over two decades before issuing his first solo effort in 2005. While Osibisa made a name for themselves as pioneers in the combination of rock, African, and Caribbean music, Brown went in a more Afro-jazz direction for June 2005's Together as One. He brought along some friends for the album with collaborations that included Sting, Des'ree, Gabrielle, Stanley Jordan, and Billy Cobham, among others. Besides Osibisa, Brown has also recorded with Youssou N'dour, Chaka Demus & Pliers, and Benjamin Zephaniah.
Jasmine Nelson backing vocals on “Fayah”
A former WAAPA Jazz Honours graduate, Melbourne-based Jasmine lived in London from 2006 to 2014 – performing, writing music, and gigging in various European music venues.Jasmine was a semi-finalist in the prestigious Montreux Jazz Voice Festival competition in 2006; she was awarded 2nd place in Brussels the same year in the Brussels Jazz Voice Competition; and in 2013 Jasmine was awarded 3rd place in the highly acclaimed Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition with her song, ‘Keep Her Close’, which is featured on her “Hercules” album.
Steve Pearce bass on “Fayah”
The amazing Steve Pearce has played with Van Morrison, Everything But The Girl, Bryan Ferry, Kelly Clarkson, Alison Moyet, Hamish Stewart, The Ronnie Scott’s Big Band, etc.etc.etc.
Joao Caetano percussion on “Fayah”
Percussionist Joao Caetano has been a member of Incognito for ten years and has recently released his first album “Rhythm And Fado”
Freddie Gavita trumpet on “Fayah”
Winner of the British Jazz Awards “Best Trumpet of 2017,” Freddie has cemented his place as a leading light on the British Jazz scene. With the release of his debut album “Transient” in April 2017, his star is certainly on the rise. He is a member of the Ronnie Scott’s Club Quintet and jazz-rock outfit Fletch’s Brew as well as being a band leader in his own right. A fearless improviser, “he solos with fluent authority, his tone ranging from the warmly conversational to the eloquently strident.” A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, he rose to prominence through the John Dankworth Orchestra, and has been a member of the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra for ten years. He has appeared as soloist with the BBC Big Band, twice at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, and brought Roger Michell’s 2013 film “Le Week-end” to life with his inimitable muted trumpet stylings. Freddie has played with, among others, Peter Erskine, Joe Locke, John Hendricks, Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzmann, Tim Garland, Jon Faddis, Gregory Porter, Curtis Stigers, Paloma Faith, Jess Glynne, Seth McFarlane and Dionne Warwick. Freddie has composed and arranged extensively, including Alexander Stewart’s masterpiece “I Thought About You” and the stunning “Beloved” commissioned by Calum Au for his 2012 release “Something’s Coming.”
Nichol Thomson trombone on “Fayah”
Nichol is a highly sought after trombonist - his list of who's he's worked with proves the point! He's played with major artists and bands including Incognito, Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Robbie Williams, Grace Jones, Paloma Faith, Omar, Groovejam, Moloko, Duffy, Beverley Knight, Hope Collective, Mutya Buena, Sugababes, Sharleen Spiteri, Boyzone, Brand New Heavies, Olly Murs, INXS, Mel C, Jamie Cullum, Annie Lennox, The Drifters... the list goes on.
Billy Cobham drums on “Fayah”
Born in Colón, Panama, Cobham moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York, when he was three. His father worked as a hospital statistician during the week and played piano on weekends. Cobham started on drums at age four and joined his father four years later. When he was fourteen, he got his first drum kit as a gift after being accepted to The High School of Music & Art in New York City. He was drafted in 1965, and for the next three years he played with a U.S. Army band.
After his discharge, he became a member of Horace Silver's quintet. He played an early model electric drum kit given to him by Tama Drums. He was a house drummer for Atlantic Records and a session musician for CTI and Kudu, appearing on the albums White Rabbit by George Benson, Sunflower by Milt Jackson, and Soul Box by Grover Washington Jr.
Cobham started the jazz rock group Dreams with Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, and John Abercrombie. He moved further into jazz fusion when he toured with Miles Davis and recorded Davis's albums Bitches Brew and A Tribute to Jack Johnson. In 1971, he and guitarist John McLaughlin left Davis to start the Mahavishnu Orchestra, another group that fused rock, funk, and jazz. Cobham toured extensively from 1971 to 1973 with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, which released two studio albums, The Inner Mounting Flame (1971) and Birds of Fire (1973), and one live album, Between Nothingness & Eternity (1973). The studio versions of songs on the live album were released on The Lost Trident Sessions (1999).
Cobham's debut album, Spectrum (1973), surprised him and his record company when it reached No. 1 on the Billboard magazine Jazz Albums chart and No. 26 on the Top 200 Albums chart.
In 1980, he worked with Jack Bruce in Jack Bruce & Friends. On October 30, 1980, he joined the Grateful Dead during the band's concert at Radio City Music Hall. He performed a long drum solo session with the band's two percussionists, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, also known as the Rhythm Devils. In 1981, Billy Cobham's Glass Menagerie was formed with Michał Urbaniak on violin and EWI, Gil Goldstein on piano, Tim Landers on bass, and Mike Stern on guitar. Dean Brown replaced Stern when he left to play with Miles Davis. Glass Menagerie released two albums for Elektra Musician.
In 1984, he played in the band Bobby and the Midnites, a side project for Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, with Bobby Cochran and Kenny Gradney, and recorded the album Where the Beat Meets the Street.
In 1994, he joined an all-star cast Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and the results appeared on the album Stanley Clarke, Larry Carlton, Billy Cobham, Najee and Deron Johnson Live at the Greek. The concert was predominantly Clarke's music, but all the musicians contributed material.
In 2006, Cobham released Drum 'n' Voice 2, a return to the 1970s jazz-funk sound, with guests including Brian Auger, Guy Barker, Jeff Berlin, Frank Gambale, Jan Hammer, Mike Lindup, Buddy Miles, Dominic Miller, Airto Moreira, John Patitucci, and the band Novecento. The album was produced and arranged by Pino and Lino Nicolosi for Nicolosi Productions. In 2009, he released Drum 'n Voice 3. Guests included Alex Acuña, Brian Auger, George Duke, Chaka Khan, Bob Mintzer, Novecento, John Scofield, and Gino Vannelli.
In December 2011, Cobham began teaching drums online at the Billy Cobham School of Drums, a school in the ArtistWorks Drum Academy.
Cobham moved to Switzerland in 1985.
Stuart Hall (oud and electric sitar on “Ride The Camel”)
Has had the good fortune to play music with his musical heroes Django Bates, Steve Arguelles, Hermeto Pascoal and Paul Clarvis.
Has two fantastic children
Works at Guildhall School of Music and Dance
Owns too many instruments
Steve Hamilton keyboardsand arranging on “Katie(Reprise)” has worked with Ray Charles, Billy Cobham, Gary Burton, Eddi Reader, John Scofield, Peter Erskine,Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Noel McKoy, Percy Sledge, Peter King, Guy Barker, The Real Thing, Rick Astley, Youth (producer), Vanessa Mae, Vincent Herring,Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson,Bill Bruford, Larry Coryell, Martin Taylor,Jean Toussaint ,Tony Remy, Soweto Kinch, Virgil Donati, Marco Minneman,Tim Garland, Don Paterson, Stan Sultzman ,Salena Jones, Steven Gately, Jane Horrock, Tommy Smith, Julian Arguelles, Colin Steele, Kurt Elling, Benny Golson,Alvin Batiste, Richard Niles, Carl Orr, George Garzone, Donny McCaslin, Antonio Sanchez, Rio Kawasaki, Paul Booth,Ryan Quigley, Pat Kane, Ian Carr, Neil Ardley, John Marshall ,Gretchen Parlato…….