Gig Details

Friday 13 April. 20:00 – 22:30.

At Crookes Social Club

Full £15, Concessions £12, Student with NUS card £8, 15 – 18 year olds £3, Under 15s Free. Advance tickets from

Jon Irabagon: sax; George Colligan piano; Michael Janisch: bass; Andrew Bain: drums  

 Following on from their highly successful 2016 UK tour, drummer/composer/bandleader Andrew Bain’s stellar international quartet return to release his debut album as a leader.  “This is an outstanding band with seemingly bottomless reserves of energy and excitement and a strong concept driving the leader – the upcoming recording session should yield some explosive results.” …Jazzwise Magazine 2016 


New routes in musical exploration are at the heart of drummer Andrew Bain’s episodic suite, Embodied Hope – a project featuring George Colligan on piano (Jack DeJohnette, Cassandra Wilson), Jon Irabagon on saxophone (Dave Douglas, Tom Harrell) and Michael Janisch on bass (Lee Konitz, Kurt Elling).’

An influential percussionist and educator based in Birmingham, England (and a first-call sideman both in the UK and the States), Taking jazz as a metaphor for positive change in the world, and based on seven aspects – listening, surprise, accompaniment, practice, responsibility, trust and, ultimately, hope – this work is defined both by its distinct flexibility of expression and the quartet’s ongoing appraisal of what it progressively achieves.

Andrew Bain explains that, rather than counting himself as a composer, he’s a writer of music for improvisers: “Like all good music written with improvisation in mind, Embodied Hope starts with an idea and a vibe, as well as melodies, chord sequences, solo sections and as many boundaries as I want to provide. But apart from that, it’s all in flux and very much up to the band, even in terms of suite order, solo order, etc. I trust these guys with where they take things – an experimental journey evolving on the road, night after night”.

The approach is melodic and full of singable melodies originally conceived at the piano. Recorded on the twelfth day of a two-week tour of workshops, masterclasses and performances, the session presented its own challenge – after all, how is it possible for improvisers to decide on the definitive version of a constantly evolving work? But it’s precisely that captured moment in time from which the sparks of originality fly, whether through Jon Irabagon’s rapid sax invention in feverishly-swinging ‘Practise’, George Colligan’s typically artful Steely Dan quote in the solid groove of ‘Responsibility’ or a theme-tune-like amiability woven into ‘Trust’.

“The best music that I play is with musicians I really trust”, says Bain. “Not that it’s cosy and we all know what we’re going to do, but that we’re comfortable to push each other, over and over, with every performance. When you’re in that space, there are so many things the music could be… and that’s as good as it gets”.

 Live review highlights from the tour:

 “A stellar international quartet …Andrew Bain is a truly transatlantic talent, dividing his time between Manhattan and Birmingham UK, with an impressive list of musical and educational attainments behind him. Tonight he’s here with his all-American quartet to showcase a brand new opus, underpinned by some weighty philosophical ideas borrowed from a book entitled The Fierce Urgency Of Now that links ideas of musical improvisation to struggles for social change. ‘Fierce Urgency’ is a perfect description of the opening number – an extended, surgingly romantic rubatowith George Colligan‘s rippling piano and Bain’s restless drumming maintaining an exhausting intensity, exhorting Jon Irabagon‘s saxophone to ever greater heights over Michael Janisch‘s resonant bowed bass. It’s a mixture of the free and the lyrical that recalls Jarrett’s American quartet of the 1970s. Then there’s a typically wide-ranging solo excursion from Janisch, from which emerges a staccato 7/8 line, that doesn’t seem to truly settle until the band hit a fat 4/4 swing and Colligan takes off on a solo of seemingly limitless power and inventiveness. Irabagon shows why he’s been constantly topping polls in the US – unfazed by the fastest tempo, slightly ahead of the beat, he can deliver a torrent of the most contemporary language, but tempers it with an attractive mellowness lurking within his diamond-hard, centered tone”… Jazzwise  Magazine


“This was a concert full of riches. The quartet had recorded the work the previous day, and the album will be well-worth watching out for And in his current UK/US quartet, Bain has musicians who are indeed well worth listening to: pianist George Colligan, tenor saxophonist Jon Irabagon and bassist Michael Janisch. All four players have worked in New York, and Irabagon is still based there. While studying and performing in the Big Apple, Bain appeared with artists including Wynton Marsalis and Randy Brecker, while Colligan has worked with a great range of names including DeJohnette and Larry Grenadier. Minnesota-born Janisch has long been based in the UK, running Whirlwind Records and leading his own excellent band. Irabagon is a fast-rising star whose playing seamlessly bridges the worlds of free improvising and straight-ahead blowing..”..The Jazz Breakfast



“The band in full flight sounded genuinely transported… Breathtaking stuff…High energy drummer Andrew Bain‘s quartet were stellar individually – George Colligan conjuring miraculously grand sounds from the venue’s less than top notch piano, John Irabagon absolutely world class on tenor, Michael Janisch digging deep on bass. Collectively, they were working at a level often aspired to, rarely achieved. And the band in full flight sounded genuinely transported more than once”.– Mainly Jazz in Bristol