|Andersson/Pringle/Banner/Pereira (in that order)|
Pianist MARK PRINGLE is back briefly in his home country for a tour as part of a European quartet. He spoke to Editor-at-Large Peter Bacon.
LondonJazz News: You’ve got about a bit since finishing your Birmingham Conservatoire course… Give us a brief resumé of your travels – and where are you now?
Mark Pringle: I did a master’s programme through the University of Arts Berlin called EUJAM (European Jazz Master), which took me to Berlin, Copenhagen and Amsterdam for around six months each, before returning to Berlin to finish. Now that my studies are over I am staying in Berlin.
LJN: I’m assuming you have travelled musically too since recording your album A Moveable Feast (REVIEW) two years ago. How would you describe your musical development over the last two years?
MP: Yes, each new city and school opened up my perspective in a different way. The free improv scene in Copenhagen was a big inspiration while I was there, and I found myself mostly involved with that side of things. Amsterdam was a great place to work on approaches to rhythm found in different world musics, as well as study with one of my favourite pianists, Harmen Fraanje. Berlin is a perfect mix of everything I would say… I find myself from day to day improvising freely, playing standards and writing my own music which sits somewhere between those worlds. The best thing about the master’s was connecting with so many musicians from all over Europe and beyond. That continues to be my most important source of inspiration.
LJN: This is a truly European band – tell us about the members, and what it was that drew you to their playing…
MP: I originally met João Lopes Pereira and Tobias Andersson on Erasmus exchange in Paris in 2013, and James Banner I knew beforehand from Birmingham Conservatoire. João is a drummer from Portugal and one of the most talented musicians I have encountered anywhere, with a special touch and natural feel for swing. He is incomparable in my opinion in the young European generation. Tobias is a guitarist from Sweden, a really lyrical and mature player with a strong emphasis on sound and space, something I’m always inspired by. James is a double bassist from the UK also based in Berlin and my oldest musical associate, who combines great sensitivity with a powerful sound and feel for time. Each contributes something unique to the group sound, and all are a joy to work with as musicians and friends.
LJN: You all contribute compositions to the band – is there an over-arching ethos? How would you describe the music to those who haven’t heard it?
MP: The over-arching idea was to bring together some of my favourite players from across Europe to make a band and explore our shared and contrasting influences, each contributing compositions and seeing where we could take them. Following a try-out gig in Berlin, you can expect to hear simple melodies overlaying undercurrents of driving swing, with a harmonic palette that draws on Scandinavian folk music, Paul Motian and Béla Bartók (to name just a few).
LJN: Might you add a London gig? If our readers can’t get to hear you in live performance, is there anything for them? Recordings, etc?
MP: A London date is in the pipeline! To be confirmed soon. Otherwise there is video of the group here:
LJN: What does the future hold?
MP: The future holds plenty of activity in Berlin whilst trying to keep different bits going around Europe… I’ll touch base with friends in Lisbon and San Sebastián to play this summer, before returning to the UK for Conscia Jazz Festival with Tom Syson, who I’ll also be recording with soon in Berlin. Expect to hear more from the collaborative trio Nighthawks in the new year, and lastly I’m really looking forward to some December tour dates in the UK and Finland with Hayden Prosser’s Tether, alongside great musicians Otis Sandsjö and Max Santner.
The Andersson/Pringle/Banner/Pereira tour takes in 29 September, The Bebop Club, Bristol; 1 October, Bocabar, Glastonbury; 3 October, The Spotted Dog, Birmingham; 7 October, The Jazz Cafe, Newcastle; 8 October, The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh; 9 October, The Wonder Inn, Manchester; 13 October, The Red Lion, Birmingham. More tbc.
LINK: Mark Pringle’s website