Dave Morecroft writes about his pick of the JazzBall series at the Vortex, in which musicians specially selected for each fixture will improvise over live TV coverage of World Cup games:
This year’s JazzBall at the Vortex is truly a mouth-watering prospect for me, combining my two passions in life. I have been (for my sins) a season ticket holder at Reading FC for 5 years, coincidentally around the same time I started getting in to jazz.
I’ll definitely be checking out the 27th June game at 3pm. The winning combination of Chris Batchelor and Oren Marshall shone through Chris’ last release, Big Air, and I’m particularly excited about these two pitted against the fire and thunder of Dave Smith on drums. I’ve not heard trombonist Ashley Slater much, but am interested to see what melodic and harmonic concoctions he will weave with Hans Koller (piano/keyboard)and the multi-talented Stuart Hall, who both use such wonderful language in their playing – I’m particularly taken back to when I saw the Hans Koller Big Band last year at LJF for this point.
I think the merging of these six formidable improvisers will result in the most intriguing JazzBall gig – the slightly unusual instrumentation and colourful personalities of each player is a tantalising prospect, and a must-see gig in the Vortex programme.
As for my own JazzBall – Italy v Paraguay on June 14th – I’ve brought together musicians from varied backgrounds.
Our JazzBall is called Better Get Hit in Yo’ Goal. I’m extremely proud of the pun, and so decided that the spirit of Mingus shall prevail through the evening. There will be the wealth of experience within improvisation from Gail Brand (trombone) meeting the youthful enthusiasm of myself (piano), Tom Challenger (sax) and Josh Blackmore (drums), accompanied by the intricate playing of Alex Roth (guitar) and Dave Manington (bass).
We’ve been training hard in the heat to get used to the South African altitude and climate. But we will also have a tricky problem: Tom is refusing as a matter of deeply-held principle to play for Italy.
Saturday June 12- England v USA 7.30pm kick off – free
Paul Clarvis /Chris Biscoe / Henry Lowther / Sonia Slany/ Alcyona Mick/ Robbie Robson
Monday 14, 7.30pm Italy v Paraguay- £6
Gail Brand (trombone), Tom Challenger (sax), Alex Roth (guitar), Dave Morecroft (piano), Dave Mannington (bass) and Josh Blackmore (drums).
Wednesday 16, 7.30pm South Africa vs Uruguay.£6
South Africa: Zhenya Strigalev, Dave O’brien and Nick Ramm
Uruguay: Andres Ticino, Guillermo Hill and Paul Taylor
Wednesday 23, 3.00pm £6 Estonia v England.
Chris Dowding (trumpet), James Marsh (sax), Ed Hiller (drums) and Zac Gvirtzman (piano) – all members of Tactile Bestiary.
Saturday 26, 3.00pm – £6
Steve Noble (drums)
John Edwards (bass) & Alex Ward (guitar)
Orphy Robinson (percussion), Shabaka Hutchings (sax / clarinet)
& Oren Marshall (tuba)
Sunday 27, 3.00pm kick off – £6
Chris Batchelor (trumpet), Ashley Slater (trombone), Oren Marshall (tuba), Stuart Hall (guitar /violin), Hans Koller (piano/keys) and Dave Smith (drums).