Sebastian Scotney spoke to Gary Alesbrook about his gig (with The Duval Project) at Pizza Express Dean Street on the 8th February.
LondonJazz: Who Is The Duval Project?
Gary Alesbrook: Myself: trumpet/flugelhorn, Marie Lister: vocals, Danny Cox: drums, Andy Nowak: keys, Richie Blake: bass
LJ: How long has The Duval Project been going?
GA: It started off as an instrumental project in early 2010 and Danny, Richie and Andy have been with me from the beginning. I truly believe this is one of the best rhythm sections around and I can’t imagine having anyone else behind me. Last year we found a gem of a vocalist and Marie has been with us ever since. She gives us a perfect balance between jazz and soul.
LJ: What’s your background and where do you come from?
GA: I’m a jazz trumpet player hailing from sunny Plymouth. Up until studying jazz at Leeds College of Music, I primarily had a classical background. I started playing on the session circuit straight after college and I’d say this gave me quite a broad taste in music.
LJ: Who are your main influences?
GA: I mainly play flugelhorn in the project and love players like Clark Terry, Chet Baker, Gerard Precencer and Till Bronner. However, musically i listen to everything from Count Basie to Warren Zevon to Busta Rhymes. The Duval Project is heavily influenced by my time playing with the late Lynden David Hall and Raphael Saadiq. It’s music based in jazz but with a heavy neo-soul influence.
LJ: What have been some of your favourite moments for the band over the last few months?
GA: Last month we supported Roy Ayers at the Jazz Café, we were so excited to be supporting such a legend! We’ve been invited over to New York so, fingers crossed we can get some funds together to do it all again!
Our E.P was released in November last year and somehow we managed to catch the ears of Grammy Winning recording engineer Russell Elevado in New York. Russell mixes artists such as Roy Hargrove and D’angelo so i was very excited he was interested in mixing and producing our debut E.P.
LondonJazz: Are you looking forward to your début at Pizza Express?
Gary Alesbrook: We’re definitely looking forward to coming back to London as we were so well received at the Jazz Café and we’re ready to branch out from our local gigs in Bristol. I’ve always wanted to play Pizza Express but never really had the right kind of project. I’m so proud of this band and can’t wait to play there.
The Pizza Express gig will coincide with the release of two live tracks recorded at the end of last year featuring a song from the E.P and one from the live set. We recorded two tracks in a club underneath Bristol Temple Meads train station! I wanted to do something slightly different and we had strings with us too. The tracks sound beautiful and i can’t wait to get them out.
You can listen to The Duval Project book tickets for the Pizza Express gig via the links below:
The Duval Project Facebook page
Twitter : @DuvalProject