Trish Clowes’ My Iris
Fri 22 01 2021 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Trish Clowes’ My Iris
At Crookes Social Club, 8-11pm
Trish Clowes: sax
Chris Montague: guitar
Ross Stanley: piano & Hammond organ
James Maddren: drums
Saxophonist Trish Clowes returns with her band ‘My Iris’, drawing inspiration from the concept of an iris opening and the kaleidoscopic range of sounds which the band are exploring. Following on from the band’s two acclaimed studio albums, Trish released a digital download-only live album in 2020 to equally strong reviews. Expect thought provoking music – an exhilarating mix of brooding tunes with driving grooves, distinctive melodies and inventive shifts in tempo. ‘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, she now explores smaller scale arrangements with equal confidence, her gifts for melody, form, improvisation and leadership coming further into the foreground. Her intricate compositions juxtapose startling melodies and ethereal whispers with gnarly lines and earthy grooves. This intense and thrilling band represents the front rank of the contemporary UK jazz scene. Lauded for her imaginative approach to improvisation and composition, she provides her bandmates with a unique platform for individual expression, delivering driving grooves and lingering melodic lines, seamlessly morphing between earthy restlessness and futuristic dreamscapes.
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music Trish Clowes is a former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and is now a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She 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 2015, Trish won a BASCA British Composer Award for ‘The Fox, The Parakeet and The Chestnut’, her work for the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Following the acclaimed self-titled debut album in 2017, the second My Iris album ‘Ninety Degrees Gravity’ was released in 2019 alongside Clowes’ first music video, for the track ‘Abbott & Costello’. A live download only album was released in 2020. Live highlights have included performing in the USA as part of the Made In The UK series at the Rochester International Jazz Festival, Toronto International Jazz Festival, supporting Avishai Cohen at the EFG London Jazz Festival and broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and Radio Bremen (Germany).
John Fordham (The Guardian) **** Review of My Iris gig at Pizza Express Jazz Club, London, January 2018:
“Clowes and her skilful quartet combined the intricacies of their current My Iris album with exhilarating and darkly funky new work that recalls the work of Weather Report. 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 sett. Reverberating multiphonic tenor-sax chords introduced Listening Les in a dark and ghostly dream, but it turned into an exhilarating mix of organ-powered funk, fast-walking swing, and bursts of free-jazz spikiness. Eric’s Tune (dedicated to Weather Report drummer Eric Gravatt) shifted from a gently cajoling tenor opening to a churning, tightly meshed jazz-fusion hustle that showed just how upfront and urgent Clowes’s sometimes rather studious music is becoming. It’s a fascinating development in her work, and its repeated outings in the current tour can only refine it.”
“Strong compositions brilliantly interpreted” – 4* for ‘My Iris Live’ – Ian Patterson, All About Jazz
“Clowes’ most accessible, consistent and satisfying release so far” **** Ian Mann, The Jazz Mann review of My Iris album
“There is a balance between the players and a stylistic openness in the material, which shifts stealthily between a grounded, melodic accessability and airy abstraction.” Kevin le Gendre, Jazzwise, 4* for ‘Ninety Degrees Gravity’
“Listen and then listen again, if only to remind yourself that this beautiful other worlds really does exist.” Fiona Talkington on ‘Ninety Degrees Gravity’
Ross Stanley is a pianist and organist who was was awarded an organ scholarship to Marlborough College and studied for his music degree at Trinity College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in the USA. Ross’s musical skills have kept him in high demand, playing with jazz names such as Dennis Rollins, Guy Barker, Michael Janisch, Liane Carroll, Stan Sulzman, Steve Arguelles, John Paracelli, Bobby Wellins, Clark Tracey, as well as being a regular member of the Jim Mullen Organ Trio, the Mark McKnight Organ Quartet and Jacqui Dankworth’s band. Ross has also toured with Steve Howe Trio, Deodato and has recorded for Goldie, US3, Trevor Horn and Simply Red among others.
Chris Montague is widely recognised for his skills as a guitarist and composer. As a founder member of Troyka he has garnered a reputation for his distinctive approach to the guitar and has gained much acclaim for his contribution to many contemporary recordings. Chris’ new trio ‘Warmer than Blood’ with Kit Downes on piano and Ruth Goller on bass released its debut album in 2020 on Whirlwind recordings. He was born in Gateshead and began playing guitar at an early age. Some of the musicians and bands Chris has worked with have included; Troyka, Squarepusher, Benny Greb’s Moving Parts, Janek Gwizdala, Monocled Man, Charlie Watts, Django Bates, Shinya Fukumori, BJ Cole, Colin Town’s Blue Touch Paper, Nick Smart’s Trogon, Trish Clowe’s Tangent and My Iris.
James studied jazz percussion at the Royal Academy of Music, with Trevor Tomkins and Martin France as his drum tutors, graduating in 2009 with a 1st class degree. Today he is one of the most in-demand drummers on the jazz scene playing with many artists and ensembles, including the Gwilym Simcock Trio, Kit Downes Trio, Marc Copland/Stan Sulzman Quartet, Julian Arguelles Quartet, Ivo Neame Quartet, Martin Speake Quartet, Satori and Phronesis.
Full – £16
Over 60s, disabled and unemployed – £14
Student with NUS card – £9
15 – 17 year olds – £4
Under 15s – Free
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