|Steven Delannoye (left), Ben Bryden (right)|
Scottish-born, New York-based tenor saxophonist Ben Brydenʼs band Bright Noise is about to be on tour in Belgium and the UK. For the London date which closes the tour they will be in a double bill reunion at the Con Cellar Bar on Friday November 7th with fellow Scot and bandleader Euan Burton, who will be opening a UK tour with his Occurrences quartet. Nicky Schrire recently interviewed her fellow Manhattan School of Music alumnus:
LondonJazz News: Can you tell us a bit about how Bright Noise came to be and how would you describe the band’s musical landscape?
Ben Bryden: The band started the way a lot of groups that come out of music schools do – myself and fellow tenor player Steven Delannoye hung out a lot, would set up sessions and try out new music before grabbing a beer afterwards. For me it was a chance to distill everything that had been thrown at us in the jazz masters course at Manhattan School of Music in the previous week. Eventually it solidified into a band, originally with fellow students Desmond White on bass, Tim Basom on guitar and Dustin Kaufman on drums. I think the musical landscape of the band owes a lot to those early sessions, and especially the tunes that began life as homework for teachers such as David Liebman, Phil Markowitz and Garry Dial.
LJN: In the period since you graduated in 2011, the band members of Bright Noise have scattered. However, you’ve still toured internationally several years in succession and the band remains in spirit despite players (like Ben Wendel, Reinier Baas and Will Vinson and Chris Lightcap) being substituted. Do you like the flexibility of the band in incorporating different players?
BB: This is one of my favourite things about being in New York – all those musicians you listen to, transcribe, attempt to emulate; many of them live here too. And if they’re in town and available and you ask them to do a gig, often they are delighted to do it. So when Steven went back to Belgium, we had a ready-made band and I saw it as a chance to invite some of my favourite horn players, like Will and Ben, to guest with the group. And that’s what makes it fun – you can play a tune that you’ve been playing for five years, but with a new voice in the band, it can go in a completely new direction. On this particular tour we’ll play with Dutchman Reinier Baas, who was also a part of those early sessions at Manhattan School of Music. Partly it’s a chance to catch up with an old friend, but also Reinier’s brand of ‘More Socially Relevant Jazz Music’ fits perfectly with the indie rock influences that have been shaping my music more recently.
LJN:. What have been some of your highlights leading and touring with Bright Noise?
BB: The personal highlight was launching the Bright Noise EP in New York in 2012 at one of my favourite venues, Cornelia Street Café where we had Ben Wendel and Chris Lightcap guesting with the band. Getting to play at a storied venue with your favourite musicians, you can’t ask for much more. But if you asked the other guys what the highlight of touring with Bright Noise is, the hands-down winner will always be getting to benefit from my Dad’s cooking when we’re in Dumfries!
LJN: Your performance at Con Cellar will end your Belgium/UK tour. Is London just another tour date…?
BB: Being from Scotland and having studied in Birmingham, the other dates on the UK leg of the tour (Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow) feature familiar venues with many familiar faces. But growing up in the UK, London always filled me with a kind of wide-eyed awe. Though I’ve been in New York for five years, I have never lived in nor had the chance to play widely in London, so the prospect of a gig there rekindles that childhood ambition and excitement a little. To do it at the Con is even more special. For me, it is a vanguard of new music in London, it always features musicians I admire and it’s integral to the recent history of the London jazz scene.
LJN: The first Bright Noise EP (released in 2011) has strong melodic content. Is there a new recording in the works?
BB: A new Bright Noise record is something we always talk about when we play together, but the scattered nature of the band seems to prevent that from happening. However, on this tour I’ll be debuting some new arrangements of music by the beloved poet and songwriter (and fellow Scot) Ivor Cutler that will form a new quartet album early next year. I’ve always found his melodies to be very simple, yet extremely memorable and sing-able, and that’s the most important part of composition for me – you can have all sorts of crazy harmonic and rhythmic ideas, but if you have a strong melody, anyone can relate to the music.
Ben Brydenʼs Bright Noise:
Ben Bryden – tenor saxophone
Steven Delannoye – tenor saxophone
Reinier Baas – guitar
Martijn Vanbuel – bass
Martin Krümmling – drums
Full tour calendar:
28th October – Hot Club de Gand, Groentenmarkt, Ghent (B)
31st October – The Factory, Nieuwstraat 10, Tielt (B)
2nd November – De Hopper, Stoomstraat, Antwerp (B)
2nd November – Cafe Roskam, rue de Flandre, Brussels (B)
4th November – The Spotted Dog, Birmingham (9pm)(UK)
5th November – The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh (UK)
6th November – Glasgow Art Club, Glasgow (UK)
7th November – Jazz at the Con, London (9pm) (UK)