Pete Oxley & Nicolas Meier: Album ‘Mercurial Indigo’. Tour (incl. Ronnie Scott’s, 24 May)

Bettina Chakerov writes:

Pete Oxley & Nic Meier at The Spin @ The Old Fire Station. Photo by Jutta Walcher

The Oxley-Meier Guitar Project has just released its fifth album, ‘Mercurial Indigo’ (MGPCD026) and is currently on a national tour performing music from the album. As is normal for the two co-leaders, they have shared the writing duties equally across the ten originals, pieces which can be played in either a duo format, or in their quartet with long-standing band-members Raph Mizraki (acoustic and electric basses) and Paul Cavaciuti (drums).

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The vast majority of this 17-date tour (link below) features the full band with highlights including the NCEM (York), Peggy’s Skylight (Nottingham), The Spin (Oxford) and Ronnie Scott’s (on the 24th May).

Pete Oxley explained to me how he felt the new album had developed from this partnership’s previous recordings: 

“Before we began writing this set of pieces, we talked together a great deal about what our fifth album should be, stylistically, instrumentally and personnel-wise. We considered using different guests, writing together (in a ‘Lennon-McCartney’ way) and other ideas – which all came to naught when we returned again and again to the notion that what we have established together so far, still has a fruitful potential ahead. Thus, we set out to write an album for the band, employing similar musical devices to our two previous recordings, but with an eye to tightening up the melodies, the forms and the harmonic structures in order to bring a more immediate impact to the listener with each piece.

Pete Oxley & Nic Meier at The Spin @ The Old Fire Station. Photo by Jutta Walcher

“As I like to do, I took myself off somewhere to write my half of the album; in this case, overlooking the sea in Lyme Regis. I took a bunch of guitars, a keyboard, some manuscript paper and a computer with Sibelius…and just got on with it! I find that the sea – whatever its behaviour – is endlessly fascinating and stimulating for the imagination.

“Nick tends to write ‘as and when’, using his travels to various parts of the world as inspiration – particularly his many sojourns to Turkey. Nick’s assimilation of the idioms of middle eastern music have become something of a signature sound to our group; he has truly mastered the fretless guitar and the glissentar (based on the oud) with a deep understanding of the arabic Makams (scales).

“I feel that one of the biggest successes of the album is that each piece really does have its own individual character: we have layered various guitars in places, using such guitars as acoustic and electric 12-strings; 11-string fretless; E-bow and sitar guitar. However, by having recorded with the band, initially ‘live’, we have arrived at a consistent, identifiable ‘group sound’”.

The group is out and about now, having just played seven West country dates to kick off the tour (link below). Although they can’t ‘layer’ the guitars as is possible in the studio situation, their sound can range from the most subtle to the broadest of textures. By using between 8 and 10 guitars on any given gig, the permutations are such that no two pieces have the same guitar combinations, resulting in a gig’s-worth of ever-changing sonic colours. 

With the virtuosic rhythm section of Mizraki and Cavaciuti (the former who is also a percussionist (and has a solo percussion spot during the show), The Oxley-Meier Guitar Project is a band with a unique sound encompassing the genres of jazz, world, classical music and rock. 


Categories: Feature/Interview, Preview

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