Here is my monthly look at what is coming up at Manchester’s finest jazz venue The Band on the Wall. April kicks off with another visit from jazz royalty as the Sun Ra Arkestra, directed by Marshall Allen, arrive from Saturn for another visit on Sunday 2nd.
Chris Potter is a world-class soloist, accomplished composer and formidable bandleader, Down Beat called him “One of the most studied (and copied) saxophonists on the planet” while Jazz Times identified him as “a figure of international renown.” Dave Liebman called him simply “one of the best musicians around,” and Down Beat in voted him second only to tenor sax great Sonny Rollins in the magazine’s 2008 Readers Poll. A potent improvisor and the youngest musician ever to win Denmark’s Jazzpar Prize, Potter’s impressive discography includes 15 albums as a leader and sideman appearances on over 100 albums. He has performed or recorded with many of the leading names in jazz, including Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, John Scofield, the Mingus Big Band, Jim Hall, Paul Motian, Dave Douglas, Ray Brown and many others. As part of the Jazz Directors Series, Potter is performing on 13th April with the Inner City Ensemble, an evolving group of the UK’s most promising emerging professional musicians.
The following night sees a performance from Stuff, a Belgium-based five-piece who masterfully cross the border between broken hip-hop, future electronics and jazz-influenced funk. A renowned live act, Stuff were the first European band to be invited to perform a Boiler Room session. Their eponymous debut album has received fantastic praise, leading Belgian music magazine HUMO said “best record of the year”. Phill Tagart from BBC 1 played numerous tracks in his show stating “this is what I imagine Flying Lotus’ band to be like”. Gilles Peterson upon first listen, fell in love with the band and said “it’s a really exciting time for music, with groups coming through like Stuff.” Comparable acts include Weather Report, Shobaleader One, The Comet is Coming, Binkbeats, and The Physics House Band
18th April features Myele Manzanza. The son of a Congolese master percussionist, New Zealand-born Myele Manzanza first gained international attention as one third of NZ soul act, Electric Wire Hustle. After six years of performing, recording and touring with the band that he formed, he left in 2013 in order to release his solo debut, ‘One’. By this time Myele had become an in-demand musician, culminating in 2014 when he joined dance music pioneer Theo Parrish as the drummer of his live outfit The Unit. As a drummer and a sideman he continues to tour internationally and collaborate with a broad range of artists including Mark de Clive-Lowe, First Word label-mate Ross McHenry, Sorceress, Amp Fiddler, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Marcus Strickland, Recloose, Jordan Rakei and most recently joining Australian contemporary dance company, KAGE, in their forthcoming dance and drum based performance Out Of Earshot. His roots in jazz and African rhythm, (as well as his childhood love of hip hop and dance music) bring a uniquely diverse take to his music.
In between music from the above there are a range of brand new jazz releases…..
- Chris Potter Underground Orchestra – Lament – Imaginary Cities
- Aki Takase and David Murray – A Very Long Letter – Cherry Sakura
- Cameron Graves – Satania Our Solar System – Planetary Prince
- Aki Rissanen, Robin Verheyen, Markku Ounaskari – Riverly Reflections (On Scriabin Prelude Op. 13 No. 1) – Songs for Solstice
- John Abercrombie Quartet – Tears – Up and Coming
- Chris Potter Underground Orchestra – Firefly – Imaginary Cities
- Justin Walter – Following – Unseen Forces
- Noah Preminger – The 99 Percent – Meditations on Freedom
- Myele Manzanza – Freedom of Movement – Freedom of Movement
- Chris Potter Underground Orchestra – Shadow Self – Imaginary Cities
- Stuff – Ahfreaq – Stuff
- Sun Ra Arkestra – Angels and Demons at Play – Live at the Band on the Wall