PREVIEW: Brass Mask (Launch of LIVE (Babel), Rich Mix, 30th March)

Tom Challenger (left) and the members of Brass Mask on tour

BRASS MASK will be at London’s Rich Mix on the 30th of March, to celebrate the release of their second LP – ‘LIVE'( Babel). Tom Challenger explains the background to the album and the launch:

Although I’m super excited to have the music finally out there, the busines of  leading a (now) nine-piece band is difficult – there are many challenges, not least the cost constraints of touring a large ensemble at this time. Even getting the band together can be a feat in itself – all of us have other commitments – musical or otherwise.

However, when we are together, the dynamic is strong, and the difficulties seem to be unimportant. Since we’ve started, the music has changed (I think) considerably, and I believe this to be not only because of the settling of personalities within the group, but also everyone’s inherent energy, intent and adaptability.

In the summer last year we went to the mountains of Suedtirol (South Tyrol) in Northern Italy, thanks largely to the efforts of Kit Downes and Ruth Goller. (Alison Bentley’s write-up is here). During the week we played several concerts, some very bizarre and spectacular. What came from the trip was a new ensemble freedom, a new emphasis and focus on new found elements within the music.


 The new album ‘LIVE’ is a testament to this way of the band interacting and working. Recorded at the Servant Jazz Quarters is a thumping set – captured brilliantly by Alex Bonney. I’ve added a lot of production, so that the album is kind of unique in a way. Many live albums are just that – a recorded concert (I don’t mind this!). However, for the purpose of this record I wanted to do something slightly different.

Onwards! The album will be released officially at the end of April, and the Launch gig will also feature a solo show from UK drummer Charles Hayward, as well as a DJ set from Hello Skinny.

Brass Mask.Photo credit: Ben Lamdin

This summer will see the music grow more and more – taking inspiration from a variety of sources (Haitian RaRa, Mardi Gras Indians, Long form composition and Improvisation, Sabar Music, as well as the use of synthesis and studio techniques), a new set of music is taking shape in an exciting way – look out for it in 2017.

In the mean time, we hope to share our music with you next week at Rich Mix!

Brass Mask are:

Tom Challenger, George Crowley – Saxophones
Nathaniel Cross – Trombone
Rory Simmons, Alex Bonney – Trumpets
Theon Cross – Tuba
Dan Nicholls – Keyboards
Jon Scott, John Blease – Drums/Percussion

LINKS: Rich Mix tickets
CD Review –Spy Boy

Categories: miscellaneous

Leave a Reply