Category Archives: News

‘Shapeshifters’ album reviews round-up

Reviews of the new Sloth Racket album have been emerging since it came out in June, so this is a round-up of what people have been writing about our second release.

In printed words, we had a good reception from Daniel Spicer in Jazzwise:

Also in print was this nice review from Stewart Smith in The Wire magazine:

The blogosphere was also into the album. From the UK we had very positive (and extensive!) writeups:

Dalston Sound‘For all the restraint on display this is meaty, powerful music, thoughtful and multi-dimensional with no lacunae and no navel-gazing. And Roberts’s authorial stamp is strong, so Sloth Racket are shaping up as one of the most distinctive groups to emerge from the current UK Jazz/improv nexus.’

The Jazz Mann: ‘This is a group that is willing to stretch itself and take musical risks. Many of the musicians have previously played together in other line ups and this is reflected by a shared sense of adventure and a cohesive and collective group dynamic.’

Sandy Brown Jazz: ‘Sloth Racket’s second album Shapeshifters is well worth enquiry.  It literally sharpens up on the creative edge of improvisation.’

Further afield, the album was reviewed by Op Duvel (in Dutch) and Musiczoom (in Italian).

Big thanks to all the reviewers for their support of the record!

Namazu

The second Ripsaw Catfish album ‘Namazu’ is available to pre-order from Raw Tonk Records now – with the CDs shipping out on 17th March. Recorded over two gigs at Cafe Oto (for Match & Fuse Festival last October) and IKLECTIK (for LUME’s LJF triple-bill special last November), it’s a nice record of where we’re at with the duo, nearly three years after our first release ‘For The Benefit Of The Tape’. The excellent artwork is by Colin Webster. Namazu is a giant catfish from Japanese mythology, responsible for earthquakes but usually restrained by a stone to its head…


We’re playing a cluster of Ripsaw Catfish gigs as part of the Five Years of Raw Tonk celebrations: Pletterij, Haarlem, NL (17th March); De Singer, Rijkevorsel, BE (18th March); De Ruimte, Amsterdam, NL (19th March); Hundred Years Gallery, London (25th March); St Margarets Church, Manchester (26th March); and at a venue tbc, Oslo, NO (2nd April). We’re also appearing at Thinking/Not Thinking Festival on 8th April at New River Studios, London.

Madwort Sax Quartet album available to pre-order

It’s out there! Well, almost. The Madwort Sax Quartet album is available to pre-order from Efpi Records now:


We’re touring to celebrate the release: catch us at Jazz North East, Bridge Hotel, Newcastle (12 February)Plink Plonk, York Tavern, Norwich (1 March); A Little Bit Of Nothing, Derby (2nd March); IKLECTIK, London (5 March) and The Wonder Inn, Manchester (6 March).

Word Of Moth action in February

Word Of Moth (complete with new drummer Johnny Hunter) has lots of stuff planned for this year, starting with a flurry of activity in February. We’re appearing at the first LUME Lab gig on 8th February at IKLECTIK, presenting new music that we’ve been working on. Then we’re heading into the studio to record an album, before heading to Wolverhampton on 17th February to play at Jazz At The Arena. After that, we’re off to Bern, Switzerland to play for Jazzwerkstatt at their tenth anniversary festival! It’s all happening….

First incarnation of the LUMEkestra

Anton Hunter has posted a video of the LUMEkestra playing his composition ‘LUME Kestrel’. The gig was at IKLECTIK or 14th November, as part of our special LUME triple bill show for the London Jazz Festival. As well as Anton’s piece we played compositions by Paulo Duarte, Tom Ward, Martin Pyne and Dave Kane. It was a lot of fun, and the ensemble will definitely appear again in 2017: its mission is to create a space for the composers around LUME to experiment with writing for large groups.

I was quite pleased with my flyer for this gig too:

lumekestra-poster

Recordings from Lancaster Jazz Festival 2016 Artist in Residence gig

Lancaster Jazz Festival have released the live recording of my large ensemble gig for them in September. It’s available to stream and download from Bandcamp, with the proceeds being split between fundraising for the next LJF commission and helping me to finance a studio recording with the group (which has been inadvertently named ‘Favourite Animals’). Have a listen…

Lancaster Jazz Festival Artist in Residence: photo blog

I had a fantastic time as Artist in Residence at Lancaster Jazz Festival this September. What a great festival – and what a brilliant opportunity to offer artists. The headline performance with my ten-piece band was recorded, and should be available to hear soon, but in the mean time here are a few photos from the project.

fullband

Anton’s panorama of the whole group in rehearsal (minus himself!). Click to enlarge.

lancaster-banners

Festival banners with my face on….quite a weird experience!

soundcheck

Soundchecking at the Dukes…
audienceThe audience awaits!

large-ensemble-on-stage

On stage: you can just about see the whole band in this shot…

lancaster-hat-speaks-shredCutting loose after the gig with festival director Matt Robinson at the Lancaster edition of ‘The Hat Speaks’ late night improv session.

The residency was a perfect way to start a new project. Massive thanks to Matt, Dave and the team for making it happen! I’m now keen to do more with the group in 2017, so watch this space….