Preview – "Celebrating Saberton" at the Vortex and at GSMD Silk Street (and Tribute by Martin Speake)

Pete Saberton. Photo credit: Garry Corbett

Two gigs – at the Vortex on 13th October and Guildhall School (Silk Street) on Friday 18th October will exclusively feature the music of Pete Saberton, and both will be shared by the London Jazz Orchestra and the Guildhall Jazz Band, directed by Scott Stroman.

Scott Stroman writes:

All the top LJO players will be there, donating their services to make it possible to record all of Pete’s music. It’s a great benefits-all project, as the Guildhall students get the benefit of learning (and also recording) this great music (we want to pass it to the next generation, after all), and the LJO are provided the opportunity to make the recording. For the audience it will be a thrilling couple of gigs.

The Guildhall band are well into rehearsal and they are going to give the LJO a run for their money!

London Jazz Orchestra Website.

Martin Speake has written this tribute:

Pete Saberton was a pure artist: He was one of the most unsung jazz musicians that I have come across. Not unsung by musicians of his generation–but ignored by the jazz media, jazz establishment, jazz festivals and most promoters, because he was unfashionable or didn’t have the right image. There are unsung others, but something put Pete out there on his own (with others of his generation, such as his close musical and personal friend Pete Hurt or Dick Pearce). Musicians of his generation and mine knew how good he was but there is a lack of awareness by subsequent generations.

One reason for this is the lack of recordings of his own music. There is a great trio recording called Rich Core with bassist Fred Baker and drummer Tony Levin, with one tune of his; but mainly this is a collection of standard songs. It does highlight his improvising in this realm, but it makes me sad there is very little available of his own music. He also seemed to run away from the idea of hustling for a gig, from the jazz media, fashion, posing for a photo or anything that was not honest and true to him.

It was difficult to get him to talk about music, especially before or after a gig; I have a feeling that he felt that it would destroy the mystery. However, when I interviewed him I gleamed some insight into this unique man: (interview HERE).

Ironically his music was completely of our time, contemporary. I always think of it as a mixture of Stravinsky and Weather Report, which I know were just two of his many influences. However, this is simplistic, and his unique language in improvising and composing set him apart from these obvious references into something more personal. Pete had a personal voice, equal (but different) to John Taylor (an influence on Pete), with a deep understanding of rhythmic possibilities in composition and improvising and a great awareness of how to use the wide range of harmonic possibilities from the classical music he loved. His humour was also reflected in his music and improvising. I was privileged that he arranged two of my compositions for the London Jazz Orchestra and made them his own while still keeping the essence of my own music.

Thanks Pete. We all miss you.

Several tributes to Pete Saberton are on our previous post

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