Alto saxophonist Lee Griffiths, originally from Northamptonshire, studied at Birmingham Conservatoire and is one of the organisers behind the Fizzle series of improvised and experimental music. He and Olivia Murphy will be taking over the running of the series from Andrew Woodhead later in the year.
Here, Lee introduces an upcoming series of three double bills at the Centrala arts space in Digbeth:
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Sunday 23 May
Our first session features a duo consisting of drummer Mark Sanders and guitarist Chris Sharkey, and a quartet led by saxophonist Bruce Coates with Sarah Farmer on violin, Trevor Lines on bass, and Lee Boyd Allatson on drums.
Sanders and Sharkey have recorded two well-regarded albums, The Orchid and The Wasp (on Bandcamp here) and Lines of Flight, and both are extremely enthusiastic about the partnership. Mark says: “I love this duo, I feel very free to play within any music language I feel like expressing in the moment, moving colours, textures and rhythms within Sharkey’s sound world. It’s like something I’ve wanted to do for years but never got the right context to do it. Beautiful.”
Coates’ quartet brings together players well versed in musical traditions, ranging from improv and folk to ska and jazz, to create a set of freely improvised music. Coates himself studied the saxophone with Paul Dunmall and composition with Gavin Bryars.
Sunday 20 June
Trumpeter Charlotte Keeffe leads a strong quartet with Moss Freed on guitar, Ashley John Long on bass and Will Glaser on drums. Keeffe is one of the most exciting young improvising trumpet players in the UK, and her music moves seamlessly between composition and improvisation. Playing alongside them is a duo with Shirley Smart on cello and James Arben on tenor sax, bass clarinet and flute.
Sunday 18 July
The third event features the trio Bobhowler with music that also moves fluidly between composition and improvisation. The unusual instrumentation of the trio sees Tom Mills on theremin, Alicia Gardener-Trejo on baritone sax and flute, and Andrew Woodhead on piano and electronics. The other group on this bill has three highly experienced improvisers in saxophonist Mike Beck, bassist Seth Bennett and drummer Paul Hession.
All these events have limited capacity and tickets are selling fast.