Incoming tour action!


21/02/18, Doors at 8

Jazz at the Lescar

The Lescar Hotel

Sharrowvale Road

Sheffield, S11 8ZF

23/02/18, Doors at 8


Listen Cambridge,

Unitarian Church,

5 Emmanuel Road



Jazz at the Peer Hat,

Faraday Street,


M1 1BE

At the moment, all energy is devoted to preparing for the What Love tour, three gigs around England playing the music of Charles Mingus, rearranged and recontextualised to fit the current practice of seven of my favourite improvisers (and me). The idea for the tour came about through excitement at the idea of playing Mingus' music, as well as his compostitions. Mingus was always resolute that his musicians "play themselves" - illustrated even in his tune titles - "If Charlie Parker Were a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats". Over the course of several long drives home from gigs, the idea to make a band playing Mingus repertoire in the vernacular of this group of my contemporaries became more exciting and more developed, until I hatched this plan. Eight musicians who come from jazz, love and play the music, but are also looking to move forward through free improvisation, and a musical dialect that is distinctly their own; a twenty-first century European version of twentieth century American music. To that end, I gathered this monstrous band:

Ollie Dover is a longstanding colleague, and a stunning improviser, on a variety of instruments - clarinet, bass clarinet, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones - and has made a deep study of Eric Dolphy's (a key Mingus collaborator) work, as well as digging into the British improvisation legacy and various other musical traditions, not least Turkish and Greek clarinet music, his current preoccupation. He plays in Leeds skronkfest Shatner's Bassoon, as well as my trio Nut Club, and the Beats and Pieces big band, as well as doing lots of freelance work.

Simon Prince is a fantastic flautist and saxophonist from Oldham. He brings deep knowledge of the work of Eric Dolphy and fiery passionate playing, as well as exceptional virtuosity on the flute. Criminally underexposed, Simon is the North West's best kept secret, a secret I am determined to expose.

Cath Roberts is a composer, bandleader and baritone saxophonist from London. I've had the great pleasure of working with her in numerous bands, her quintetSloth Racket, a co-operative band Word of Moth, her big bandFavourite Animals, and a duo we do together. She brings lots of radical compositional ideas to the project, as well as exceptional dexterity and musicality on the baritone, an instrument she flies around as if it were a penny whistle. 

Kim Macari Stone-Lonergan is a trumpet player from Fife, currently living in London. She has her feet firmly planted in contemporary jazz practice, and is using that foundation to explore both jazz and free improvisation, an approach well illustrated by her most recent release Deep Tide Quartet, which has been garnering rave reviews far and wide.

George Murray is a trombonist based in Shipley, West Yorkshire. I first got to know him when he was in Glasgow, involved in the Glasgow Improviser's Orchestra and Daniel Padden's One Ensemble, both bands experimenting with steering improvisation through the use of scores. When he moved to Shipley, we started playing together, recording as the Vulliamy Murray Bennett trio, and doing various free gigs. 

Adam Fairhall is a pianist, composer and educator based in Alsager, Cheshire. His interests span early jazz and stride piano, the work of Monk and Bud Powell, through Cecil Taylor and on to contemporary improvisers. In addition to the fact that I already enjoy a fruitful musical relationship with him, primarily in the piano trio Fragments, these interests made him perfect for this project; a musician who truly understands the entire tradition, and is intent on pushing it forward.

Drummer Johnny Hunter and I play together a great deal, in three of his bands, several of Cath Roberts' bands, Laura Cole's Metamorphic, and various improvising ensembles. He's a fascinating composer, and a superb musician, again, with one foot firmly planted in the jazz tradition, and the other moving forwards.

photo; Magdalena Szymanska

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Seth Bennett