Friday 26 January. 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 www.sivtickets.com/event/sheffieldjazz
Trish Clowes: sax; Chris Montague: guitar; Ross Stanley: keyboards; Tim Giles: drums
Saxophonist Trish Clowes returns with her new group project, My Iris, drawing inspiration from the concept of an iris opening and the kaleidoscopic range of sounds which the band are exploring. ‘An awesome foursome… With just four players, the variety of tone colour is quite remarkable and the playing…is impeccable’ …**** Dave Gelly, The Observer
My Iris is the latest ensemble project from saxophonist Trish Clowes. Well-known and acclaimed for her orchestral arrangements and work with string quartets, Clowes now explores smaller scale arrangements with equal confidence, her gifts for melody, form, improvisation and leadership coming further into the foreground. Clowes’ intricate compositions juxtapose startling melodies and ethereal whispers with gnarly lines and earthy grooves.
My Iris is a new quartet featuring the talents of Chris Montague (Troyka, Colin Towns, Benny Greb), Ross Stanley (Jim Mullen, Dennis Rollins, Will Vinson) and Tim Giles. Dave Gelly, jazz critic for The Observer, wrote that ‘with just four players, the variety of tone colour is quite remarkable and the playing…is impeccable’. Past appearances include Gateshead International Jazz Festival, EFG London Jazz Festival and broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and Radio Bremen (Germany).
Trish Clowes is a former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and has recorded four albums for London-based jazz label Basho Records. Her other activities include curating her own Emulsion series of cross-genre music festivals and performing with pianist Gareth Williams in the Glow Quartet. Trish has also worked extensively with larger ensembles, incorporating orchestras on her earlier albums ‘Tangent’ (2010) and ‘Pocket Compass’ (2014), and a string quartet on ‘and in the night-time she is there’ (2012). In December 2015, Trish won a BASCA British Composer Award for ‘The Fox, The Parakeet and The Chestnut’, her work for the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Trish Clowes was a long way even from being born when the “third stream” jazz/classical movement was in its heyday in the 1960s, with its purist-populist fights as to whether jazz could mean a thing if it hadn’t always got that swing.
But the tenaciously inquisitive British saxophonist/composer’s work often resembles the third stream in suggesting contemporary classical’s knotty melodies and fickle rhythms, while superimposing parallel worlds of jazz improvisation that can be seamlessly swing-like and sleek. The 21st-century difference is that melting contrasting styles into one is now a norm, not a shock, and audiences are open to the outcomes. At Soho’s Pizza Express Jazz Club, Clowes and her skilful quartet reworked the intricate music from last year’s My Iris album, but also unveiled darkly funky new work that bears an increasingly punchy resemblance to the music of the jazz-fusion band Weather Report.
Album pieces, including the brooding One Hour and the smoky tenor saxophone ballad Blue Calm, traversed a band sound that was noticeably more electronics-inflected and atmospherically dramatic than a year ago. Clowes’s tenderly Wayne Shorter-like soprano-sax tones floated above pianist Ross Stanley’s church-organ thunder and drummer James Maddren’s booming mallet patterns on One Hour, and she sped through a surefooted tenor-saxophone solo of agile top-end twists and juddering low tones against Chris Montague’s clanging, rockish guitar chords on the playfully staccato I Can’t Find My Other Brush. But the new works stole the set.
‘How much other contemporary music has such adventurous or eclectic intellectual horizons?’ – **** Matthew Wright, The Arts Desk
‘What’s going on in this band equates to some kind of magic’ – Ian Maund, Sandy Brown Jazz
‘My Iris is masterful musical wizardry and it sounds fascinating’ – Fiona Ord-Shrimpton, All About Jazz
‘…a cornucopia of musical riches’ – 5/5 Alan Musson, UK Vibe
‘Clowes’ most accessible, consistent and satisfying release so far’ **** Ian Mann, The Jazz Mann