Universal Connection – Martin Speake (sax), Hans Koller (piano), Anders Christensen (bass) and Anders Mogensen (drums) – are set to embark on a tour of 10 concert venues around England between 2-12 March, which follows on from their album, “Universal Language“. Preview by Charles Rees.
The list of international musicians previously brought over to the UK by saxophonist and composer Martin Speake is impressive. From Paul Motian and Bobo Stenson to Ethan Iverson and Jorge Rossy. Speake continues this trend in 2022, bringing two internationally recognised Danish musicians, bassist Anders Christensen and drummer Anders Mogensen to England for a quartet tour with German-born, London-based pianist Hans Koller (funded by Arts Council England).
The quartet recorded an album in early 2020, entitled Universal Language, under the name “Universal Connection”. Though the typical follow-up tour was delayed by the ensuing pandemic and its restrictions, ten dates have finally been set for March 2022 (listed below).
Martin Speake says of this quartet: “It has been a long wait to play together again, after our gigs and the recording of Universal Language in Denmark; after the world changed. We are finally on the road in March. We will play new music of mine and further develop our improvising skills together for UK audiences.”
The common thread for Martin Speake and Anders Christensen is the fact that they both worked extensively with Paul Motian. Christensen is now based back in Copenhagen, and has since performed with Tom Harrell, Lee Konitz and Joe Lovano. He and drummer Anders Mogensen have worked together as a celebrated Danish rhythm team throughout the years, being part of some of the most groundbreaking bands in Scandinavia. Mogensen is also a busy sideman, touring and recording with Jerry Bergonzi, Tim Hagans and Walt Weiskopf among others.
Hans Koller has toured with Phil Woods, Bill Frisell and Dave Liebman and many others. He is also a celebrated composer/arranger and has had his music performed by several of Europe’s leading radio bands, notably the NDR and the WDR. He currently heads up the jazz course at Trinity Laban, where Martin Speake is a member of the faculty. As well as being colleagues, the two have performed extensively together through the last two decades, one such project bringing them together with bassist Anders Christensen during his 10-year stay in London.
Universal Connection 2022 tour dates:
2 March: The Bristol Music Club
3 March: SoundCellar, Poole
4 March: Crookes Social Club, Sheffield
5 March: Stoller Hall, Manchester
6 March: Chapel Arts, Cheltenham
7 March: Oliver’s Jazz Bar, Greenwich / Daytime masterclass, Trinity Laban
8 March: Bedford’s Bar, Norwich
9 March: Fleece Jazz, Colchester
11 March: 1000 Trades, Birmingham
12 March: Vortex Jazz Club
LINKS: Martin Speake’s website