Stan Sulzmann in focus

Stan Sulzmann

Stan Sulzmann is featured in BBC Radio 3 Jazz Line-Up, and has also explained to us the background behind what will be one of the key gigs of British jazz in the London Jazz Festival


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On a computer near you for the next seven days is the marvellous all-star Jazz Line-Up session recorded in the BBC’s Maida Vale studios FOLLOW THIS LINK (it starts with 3 mins 30 seconds of really annoying trails for other Radio 3 programmes).

The programme starts with NEON Quartet (Stan with pianist Kit Downes, vibraphonist  Jim Hart and drummer Tim Giles).

In the second set this quartet is joined by Kenny Wheeler, guitarist Mike Walker, James Allsopp (on bass clarinet) and bassist  Dave Whitford.

The level of playing, of listening in this group is something exceptional.

2) LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL – BIG BAND GIG (Sunday November 13th, Spice of Life, 7pm)
Stan Sulzmann has been arranging tunes written by fellow musicians and collaborators for big band. It’s an open-ended project, but the process of broadenting, deepening, dignifying these compositions is something really worthwhile project. The big band is full of top-flight musicians (provisional personnel list below)

It started with two compositions and has grown. The first two, Stan writes to me, were

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1) I arranged ‘Alfredo’ by John Parricelli (from his Quartet CD) some years ago – it’s a great tune we used to play together at the old Vortex.

2) John Taylor asked me to arrange ‘Between Moons’ for him. – it’s beautiful tune from his ‘Insight’ CD

(It then occurred to me , writes Stan Sulzmann, that it would be nice to carry on the idea of arranging British Jazz musicians tunes that I love. it could be an infinite project – – – and a good excuse to play them all! )

3) I heard Kate Williams play ‘Disparity’ last year at Ealing Jazz Fest with her trio and thought that would make a good Big Band Piece.

4) Im an enormous fan of Iain Ballamy’s tunes and arranged ‘ReCedar’ from his Anoraks CD.

5 ) ‘Westerley’ is such a great tune and so typical of Nikki Iles that I just had to do it.

6) I arranged my own piece ‘Chu Chu’ from the first Neon CD Here To There…. cos’ I like it !

7) Ive just finished ‘Clockmaker’ by Mike Walker which I played with him at the old Vortex and with Printmakers when I depped for Mark Lockheart a while back. So this will be played first time at the Spice Of Life.

The other pieces apart from Clockmaker were played at the Guildhall earlier this year with the college band. We will also be playing a few older pieces of mine to complete the program including :

8) ‘Taking A Chance On Love’ my arrangement in 5/4 from my 60th Birthday gig at the Royal Academy of Music that Nick Smart kindly organized for me.

9) ‘Jack Stix’ from my Jigsaw CD on Basho

10)‘The Thrill Is Gone’ from the Big Band cd ‘Birthdays Birthdays’ on Paul Clarvis Village Life label .

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There will be other, more visible gigs in the festival, but I don’t believe there will be a gig which gets closer to the heart of UK jazz. It is to be hoped that this project eventually gets a hearing on a bigger stage .

Provisional list of the Stan Sulzmann Big Band for Spice of Life, November 13th-

Trumpets: Derek Watkins, Henry lowther, George Hogg, Freddie Gavita

Trombones: Andy Wood, Mark Bassey, Robbie Harvey, Sarah Williams.

Saxes: Martin Hathaway, Mike Chillingworth, Josh Arcoleo, Pete Hurt, James Allsop

Vibes: Jim Hart

Guitar: Alex Munk

Piano: Nikki Iles

Drums: Tim Giles

Bass: Dave Whitford

Conductor: Nick Smart

Book at spicejazz.co.uk

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3 replies »

  1. You're not wrong, Jack; hopefully gigs and articles like this mean that for the general public it'll be more like what you say, and less of a 'Who's he?!?'

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