The Broken Orchestra on jazz influences, creating their live sound and perfect Sunday tunes

Ahead of their set as part of our New Sounds of Hull show at Hull Jazz Festival this July, we had a chat with Pat Dooner from The Broken Orchestra…

There are a real range of sounds and influences in your music, including elements of jazz. Who are the jazz artists who’ve influenced you over the years, and what is it that draws you to their music?

Jazz has always been a big influence on the music I’ve created. My initial foray into Jazz music came from listening to a lot of Hip-Hop when I was younger. Things like Nas-Illmatic, Pete Rock, Common, Gangstarr, Talib Kweli and Jay Dee sampled a lot of Jazz and Jazz influenced records. You eventually go and find the records that get sampled and find these beautiful creations that have been skilfully sampled and adapted by these producers and artists.

For me personally, what I love about Jazz is the underplaying for the benefit of feel and groove. Often when people think of Jazz, they think of a cacophony of instruments played at the selfish will of the player but it’s not like that at all. You have these incredible musicians and to hear them underplay so well live and on records excites me.

Some of the Jazz artists that have influenced me are Bill Evans, Ahmad Jamal, Roy Ayers, Bob James, John Coltrane. I’m also excited and influenced by a lot of modern artists and I love how Jazz creeps into a lot of very popular modern music. I particularly enjoy and am influenced by artists like Portico Quartet, Go-Go Penguin, Bonobo, Loyle Carner, Matthew Halsall, Origamibiro, Speech Debelle and The Cinematic Orchestra.

Listening to your tracks, there are lots of different layers of sound. Having started doing live shows last year, how do you translate your studio sound into a live experience? What’s the set up for a Broken Orchestra live show? 

A Broken Orchestra live show currently consists of Carl Conway-Davis triggering samples, sounds, loops, beats and bass. Tom Kay playing guitar (traditionally and also with varying effects and pedals), Emily Render handling nearly all vocals and myself Pat Dooner playing keys.

The Broken Orchestra

For years we’d struggled to find the right way to put forward live what we do in the studio but now it seems so obvious and natural. We pretty much set up for all eventualities, so we have as much gear as we need for the set on stage: keys, guitar, bass, cymbals, samples and vocals and we all just chip in as needed.

The idea is to that we all have our area to concentrate on, but if in a certain instrumental track Emily needs to play samples or bass then she will do. Similarly, I’ll move from keys to trigger sounds, samples if the track calls for it. With the exception of Tom, we’re all relatively limited in playing musical instruments but I think that works for what we do. Personally, I know that my limitation on keys prohibit me from overplaying and I think our tracks benefit from that.

You’ve just announced a series of gigs across the country – what else does 2018 hold for The Broken Orchestra?

The idea for 2018 is to gig, increase our fan base and create as much new music as possible.

We had an EP out earlier in the year (Blinded EP) to give us a focus and the plan is to have another 5-6 track EP ready for towards the end of summer.

Although we’re Hull-based, and proud of it, it has never been our intention to do the standard circuit of gigs around the area. We want to get out of the city, play different and interesting venues and meet new people and promoters. So far it appears to be going pretty well, with some great gigs here in Hull both at the Jazz Festival and at Hull Minster later in the year and some great out of town gigs too including Sheffield, Huddersfield, Manchester Jazz Festival and Newcastle.

We’re all big fans of lazy Sundays here, and we know you used to do the Sunday Soulscape podcast. If we asked you to soundtrack our perfect chilled Sunday, what three tracks would you open with?

That’s a great question. We loved presenting that show, and we were sad to stop doing it but time commitments got in the way. We used to DJ in old town Hull on a Sunday afternoon doing similar stuff and we really enjoyed doing that too. Ok, so three opening tracks… I’ll give you five instead:

  1. Pompidou– Portico Quartet
  2. Make a Smile For Me– Bill Withers
  3. Love & Hate– Michael Kiwanuka
  4. Walk The Same- Grey Reverend
  5. I Need A Win– Mammas Gun

We’re off to make a pot of coffee, put our feet up and listen to Pat’s Sunday selection. If you fancy catching The Broken Orchestra live, tickets are on sale now to see them plus The Dyr Sister and Revenu at Kardomah94 on Saturday 21 July. £7 (£5 for students and under-26s) from Hull Box Office online or on 01482 221113

Win tickets to see Robert Glasper this November!

Win tickets to see Robert Glasper Experiment in Hull this November!

As well as Hull 2017 UK City of Culture, it’s also Hull Jazz Festival’s 25th birthday next year and we’ve invited some incredible international artists to help us celebrate.

As we get ready for a big year in 2017 we’re updating our mailing list. We want to make sure you’re getting information about our shows in the way that works best for you.

It’s easy to join our mailing list. And if you’re already on our mailing list, it’s easy to check and update your details. Everyone who signs up to the mailing list or updates their details online will be entered into a prize draw to win two tickets to see Grammy Award winning Robert Glasper Experiment at Hull Truck Theatre on 18th November. 

 There are 3 simple steps to enter the competition:

  1. Go to www.jnight.org and click on the sign up button at the top right of the home page
  1. Fill out the simple form (NB: if you’re already on our mailing list, check that the contact details we have are up to date)
  1. Type the code 25in17 in the box at the bottom of the form to enter our prize draw

 

Northern Line – a thrilling journey into the unknown!

So, another great Jazz Festival over with lots of happy memories of great performers, but I really want to give a big brilliant thanks to the Northern Line bands – New York Brass Band, Unfurl, Dread Supreme and Zoe Gilby Quartet. What incredible talent we have living and working in the North and if you add the amazing 20-piece Abstract Orchestra, who played an absolute storming set at Fruit, plus Chiedu Oraka and Deez Kid, that will bring the total to 48 northern artists who graced our Hull Jazz Festival stage this summer! And all to sell-out audiences too!

Northern Line is the brain child of Jazz North, the development agency founded by J-Night, Jazz Yorkshire and Manchester Jazz Festival to give a platform to the hugely talented young performers that we have living in our region. We want to make sure that they do not have to leave the area to travel down to London, Paris or New York to be appreciated back in their own backyard. It was really rewarding to see our audiences lapping up such diverse and brilliant music – from the New Orleans sounds of a dirty brass band, through to the completely unique, only in Yorkshire Hip Hop Big Band – from Arabian influenced trance through the American songbook and original material of Zoe Gilby and finally the mighty dread ska jazz of Dread Supreme, led by Manchester’s finest Trevor Roots.

At J-Night we love to keep our influences broad and vital. Our audience lap it all up and we are committed to bringing more from Jazz North’s stable of incredibly talented artists. In November we welcome the amazing gypsy jazz violinist (and Hull born to boot!) Matt Holborn who will be joining a line-up that includes our youngest ever band Artephis, a forward-looking contemporary jazz quintet comprising musicians from the Royal Northern College of Music. Since its formation a year ago, Artephis has been distilling influences – including the Miles Davis and Christian Scott Quintets, Robert Glasper, Hiatus Kaiyote and Pat Metheny – refining an eclectic sound of its own that takes a jazz quintet line-up in innovative directions. They were recently announced as the Jazz North Introduces act for 2015-16.

Our Yellow Bus stage at Freedom Festival in September offers the chance to see the Bugalu Foundation, creating the fresh new sound of Barrio Funk and Latin Soul, plus another chance to see the amazing Trevor Roots with Dread Supreme.

We want audiences to be as brave as our artists. Don’t wait to be told by others who you should be watching – take an adventure trip to new musical areas that you may not have imagined existed. You won’t be disappointed!

 

Gary Crosby reflects on Coltrane’s A Love Supreme

In 1993 J-Night booked a band called Jazz Jamaica, who were beginning to create a storm with their infectious mixture of jazz and ska, to headline the Jazz Festival. So began a partnership with Dune Music Tomorrow’s Warriors and its M.D. Gary Crosby OBE that has lasted for over 20 years. Rarely a year goes past without a visit from one of their amazing stable of bands and artists and J-Night has presented all of their major projects in a relationship that has lasted 22 years! So what have we got for you this year? We asked Gary Crosby to outline his next project for Hull:

“ 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the only live performance by John Coltrane of his everlasting classic, A Love Supreme. I feel honoured to have been invited to perform this monumental piece on Saturday 25 July at 3pm at Hull Truck with my quartet, which features my long-time friend and musical sparring partner, Denys Baptiste. Completing the rhythm section are the great Rod Youngs on drums and rising star pianist, Joe Armon-Jones, a graduate of Tomorrow’s Warriors’ Young Artist Development Programme.

I first discovered Coltrane’s A Love Supreme in about 1977, and it has to be said that this classic jazz album had an instant and profound effect on me.

It was apparent to me that this was a personal piece of work – a spiritual albeit very public declaration by Coltrane that his life as a musician was now a seamless (at one) dedication with his faith in God. Here was a man who was rising out of his personal problems, including a long struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.

It’s about ten years ago that I started playing A Love Supreme with Denys Baptiste (and I’ve only ever performed this work with Denys on saxophone). This is a rare piece and, in fact, we have only played it about 7-8 times. However the way we play Coltrane is engrained in our consciousness. We try to keep the spontaneity, and are mindful about how and when we rehearse. In fact we only ‘rehearsed’ the piece before we had to perform it for the very first time all those years ago, and every other time since then, we command up our energies, get into the mindset and play the set in the sound check before the live performance. In doing so we try to keep a collective purity, a kind of naturalness if you like.

However A Love Supreme is one of the world’s sacred canons, and we certainly will not abuse the composer’s intention. As musicians, we want to learn from the piece each time we undertake the work. It’s our absolute duty to play it as Coltrane intended, for example in the case of the bass solo in the movement, Resolution, it really does not need anything from me (or any musician) to be heard as a great piece of art. The work is awesome and awe-inspiring.

It’s really important that the audience engages with Supreme from a pure live perspective. Forty minutes of an intensified and meditative experience. It surely takes you over and elevates the mind and spirit. There’s no choice – you have to take the piece seriously, audiences and musicians alike, but never allow the weight of its meaning and significance to scare you because the rewards are so great. Before we play, I like to ask tacit permission from the audience to give us 45 minutes of their unadulterated time and attention also to allow my Quartet to transport them to another zone, through an immensely hypnotic score – to recapture that spirit that Coltrane shared all those years ago. For me A Love Supreme is pure inspiration.

Pure genius. Whether you are religious or not, it’s revealing to be allowed to share in the visceral statement that Coltrane is making – his service to God. The music/concept came to him by some sort of osmosis, apparently. Coltrane congregated all the elements in one day and, with that, he left us a great piece of work that in a thousand years we will be still be listening to, one that unites humans at the spiritual level – a work that unites musicians across genres. Whether you are religious or not, people all over the work respect what Coltrane did. Not everybody ‘gets’ jazz, but back then in 1965, hippies, folk and progressive rock musicians, accepted this as one the great universal musical statements for the ages.

A Love Supreme is “for music fans, not just jazz fans. For people across musical boundaries and cultures — for Carlos Santana, Bono, Joni Mitchell, Steve Reich, Bootsy Collins, Gil Scott-Heron — hearing A Love Supreme was a revelation” Arun Rath, npr.

Come and hear us play A Love Supreme live. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Peace and love.

Gary Crosby

Hull Jazz Festival headline programme

J-Night announce the 2012 Hull Jazz Festival headline programme.
Top international artists come to Hull to celebrate Festival’s 20th anniversary.

The 20th Hull Jazz Festival takes place between 20th and 29th July and welcomes an incredibly diverse range of artists from across the world to the city including legendary American star Bobby Watson, who will play the 20th anniversary festival concert in a double header with Abram Wilson’s Running the Flame septet that features Pete King and Jean Toussaint on the 29th July at Hull Truck Theatre.

Bobby Watson joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. He stayed with the Jazz Messengers from 1977 to 1981, eventually becoming the musical director for the group. After completing his tenure as a Jazz Messenger, Watson became a much-sought after musician, working along the way with many notable musicians, including: drummers Max Roach and Louis Hayes fellow saxophonists George Coleman and Branford Marsalis, Sam Rivers and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. His Jazz All Stars will include American pianist Bruce Barth from the Mingus Big Band, Canadian Duncan Hopkins and Irish drummer Stephen Keogh.

Also headlining in Hull will be Jazz Jamaica, in a special Jamaican 50th performance of Tighten Up! featuring Jamaican Lovers Rock star Myrna Hague July 28 at Truck Theatre.

New Orleans clarinetist Evan Christopher’s Django a la Creole, fusing the gypsy jazz of Reinhardt with the syncopations of New Orleans and the Creole style of the Caribbean, will open the Festival on July 20 at Truck Theatre.

Nigerian faaji queen Funmi Olawumi will lead the 18 piece Yoruba Women Choir in a special festival concert that will feature local Hull community choirs on July 22 at Truck Theatre.

Other artists coming to the Festival include Irish BBC vocalist of the year Christine Tobin singing the songs of Leonard Cohen in A Thousand Kisses Deep featuring guitarist Phil Robson and Dave Whitford on July 21 at Truck and Lyn Acton’s Bossa Revista, celebrating the songs of Horace Jobim.

A major feature of this year’s 20th anniversary festival will be Freedom Chorus does Jazz! a two day event for 120 local singers, led by Jilly Jarman, culminating in a performance with the Yoruba Womens Choir on July 22.

The Festival will be centred on Hull Truck and Pave Café Bar and full details will be available from Easter at www.hulljazzfestival.co.uk and tickets will be available from the Festival box office at Hull Truck Theatre 01482 323628

Further press information from J-Night 01904 466527

Hull Jazz Festival 2012 day by day

Friday 20 July 7.45pm Django a la Creole Truck
Saturday 21 July 7.45pm Christine Tobin Truck
Sunday 22 July 2pm Michael Cretu Trio Pave
Sunday 22 July 7.4pm Yoruban Women’s Choir Truck
Monday 23 July 8pm Bossa Revista Truck
Tuesday 24 July 8pm Jazz Jam Pave
Wednesday 25 July 8.30pm Eclectic 4 Goodfellowship
Thursday 26 July 8pm Owl Ensemble Pave
Saturday 28 July Jazz 7.45pm Jamaica Truck
Sunday 29 July 2pm Abram Wilson’s Jazz Junior Warriors Truck
Sunday 29 July 2pm The Give A Little Love Jazz Orchestra Pave
Sunday 29 July 5pm Abram Wilson Running the Flame Truck
Sunday 29 July 8.30pm Bobby Watson International All Stars