Category Archives: Ripsaw Catfish

Summer into Autumn

With multiple things to mention on here, I thought it was about time for a proper blog post rather than the usual snatched update. Sitting outside writing this on a warm but grey day, it really feels like we’re at the tipping point between Summer and Winter; a pretty nice place to be. Autumn is my favourite season and at this point in the year there’s always that feeling that we’re on the edge of it, about to dive in, start a new chapter. For me I think this is mainly a hangover from living in academic year mode for possibly too many years; but music seems to be structured the same way, with lots of people about to start their new seasons after taking a Summer break. There might not be much going on now, but things are about to happen….time to get a new pencil case! And so, with that in mind, this post will attempt to tie up the loose ends of my Summer activities and look forward to imminent Autumn ones.

Manchester Jazz Festival

The trip to Manchester with Madwort Sax Quartet (featuring last minute special guest Dee Byrne) was great fun. The gig was sold out – crazy! – and Tom’s music went down really well with the audience. The plan is to get a proper recording done this year, and I think we all felt inspired after the MJF gig to make it happen. Dee did an amazing job stepping in for Chris Williams at the last minute too. David McLenachan took some photos of us that show the gig’s lovely setting in the Portico Library:

MSQ in the portico 2 MSQ in the porticoTom’s blog post about the gig also features some tiny videos of the performance on Vine, taken by MJF.

That evening I was part of another gig at Soup Kitchen, as the UK leg of the Efpi/Onze Heures Onze collaboration. We played a set with all the French and UK musicians together, and then OXYD (Alexandre Herer’s band) played the second set. It was really nice to do the collaborative set live after meeting a couple of times in a rehearsal setting. There are a couple of videos of the set, taken by Jazz North, which I’ll post soon.

I also managed to catch a lot of other music while I was at the festival, with highlights including Rodrigo Constanzo’s DFScore performance, Dave Kane Quartet (with last minute special guest Nick Malcolm), and Craig Scott’s Lobotomy live show. Steve Mead’s programming at MJF is really great. He isn’t afraid to put on some totally out-there music, even in the main festival pavilion, and judging by all the packed-out gigs his audiences are clearly up for hearing it. If you ever want to go on holiday to a jazz festival, I’d say go to Manchester. The entry charges were really low too, so going to multiple performances didn’t break the bank. Inspirational stuff from a programming point of view, I thought.

Ripsaw Catfish ‘Shoaling’ live recordings

In a bid to try and get on top of some stuff I’ve been neglecting, I’ve finally got around to putting the Ripsaw Catfish ‘Shoaling’ recordings up online. This was our collaborative touring project last November/December, where Anton and I played five gigs around the UK with ad-hoc ‘shoals’ of local musicians. We wrote a set of small compositions (fragments really) and sent them around in advance, with the idea being that the shoal music would be ‘informed by, incorporating or ignoring’ these elements. The results were all completely different – obviously! Have a listen:

Ripsaw Catfish hasn’t had a very busy 2015 so far, although we’ve been playing together a lot in other projects, but we have a couple of things coming up in the Autumn: we’re playing in London at the Zero Wave Club on October 20th and in Birmingham at Fizzle on November 3rd. These will be straight-up, non-shoaling, duo gigs.

Autumn

As well as those Catfish gigs, Word of Moth and Sloth Racket will both re-emerge this Autumn. We’re playing a Word of Moth set at Lancaster Jazz Festival on 20th September as Seth is their artist in residence. Our first Moth festival outing! Before that, we’re appearing at Chris Dowding’s St Paul’s Sessions series in Marylebone on September 4th, sharing the bill with a solo set from the formidable John Butcher! Intense. It will be great to resurrect the Moth; after having a lot of fun doing the first gig in February, Dee and I have been so busy with LUME activities (mainly the tour) that the project has been on the back-burner. I’m writing some new music for it and can’t wait to get stuck in!

Sloth Racket are also out and about in September, playing at Jazz At The Oxford on September 21st. This is the first gig of George Crowley’s ‘Can Of Worms Presents’ series, so we’ll be sharing the bill with them which should be a blast! After that our next outing will be at London Jazz Festival in November, as part of LUME’s plans which haven’t been announced yet….not totally sure why, but I’m sure they will be soon. Anyway, it will be good! Sam Andreae is in Berlin until January, so having two Sloths gigs in that period is amazing.

LUME plans

This is the first Autumn in a while where we won’t be launching into another season of weekly LUME gigs. We decided that the format needed shaking up and streamlining, and that we needed to take an extra-long Summer break, so September and October will be quiet on the LUME front. The ‘LUME Presents’ Vortex residency is starting up again on September 6th, so there will be a couple of gigs happening, but LUME proper will undergo a sort of re-launch in late November. We’ve put in a grant application and plans are underway, but we’re keeping it under our hats for now.  It’s been so nice to take time off and reflect on everything we’ve done in the last two and a bit years, to take stock and then think about what we want to do next. I feel like we’ve been working non-stop for the whole time (and actually, we are working now even though the gigs aren’t running), so this break from the gig routine is very welcome. LUME isn’t dead though….watch this space, all that stuff….we’ll be back!

Live At LUME album and LUME is 2 birthday gig…

Quick post about an exciting week coming up. Firstly, we’re releasing a compilation album called ‘Live At LUME’ to raise money for future LUME activities. All the tracks are recordings made at LUME gigs and donated by the artists. Alex Bonney also donated his time to tidy up and master the album – so although they’re bootlegs, they sound really great! Have a listen below and grab your copy from the Bandcamp page. It was another great excuse for me to do some linocut printmaking too – so there’s a handmade CD edition…

Also happening this week is LUME’s 2nd birthday party/gig! We’re decamping to Hundred Years Gallery on Thursday 9th July for a night of improvised music with a difference. See the (also handmade and involving linocut printmaking) flyer below…

LUME-is-2-e-flyer

Paris with Efpi and Ripsaw Catfish

I just got back from a great trip to Paris, as part of a collaboration between artists from Efpi Records and Onze Heures Onze Collective. It was organised by Jazz North, and this was the first leg of the exchange. Anton Hunter Trio, Ben Cottrell from Efpi and I travelled down to meet Julien Pontvianne and Alexandre Herer from OHO and play together. We had a nice session playing a combination of improvised music and some composed material that we’d all brought along, and then the following evening Anton’s trio played a set as part of Festival Onze Heures Onze.

It was a really interesting and inspiring few days, and I look forward to the second leg of the trip! This will be in August, when the OHO musicians will travel to the UK to perform with us at the Manchester Jazz Festival (where I will also be playing with Madwort Sax Quartet on the same day).

Onze Heure Onze Efpi photo (Stephanie K)Comedy group shot…(photo by Stephanie Knibbe)

OHOfest flyerThe festival flyer!

While we were in Paris, Anton and I managed to squeeze in a Ripsaw Catfish gig at Plateforme, a fantastic arts space run by another collective. This was made possible by Anton Mobin, who we met earlier this year when we shared the bill with him and Benedict Taylor at a Raw Tonk Records night. We had a great time: the gig was absolutely packed with an enthusiastic listening audience, and we were part of an eclectic programme with Crash Duo (Anton Mobin and Ayato) and Mariachi (aka the solo guitar project of Nina Garcia). Massive thanks to Anton M for making this happen: it was brilliant to be able to take advantage of our time in Paris with an extra date!

crash duo at plateformeCrash Duo…

mariachi at plateformeMariachi…

catfish at plateformeRipsaw Catfish!

This was possibly my first proper gig outside the UK and it was ace. Here’s to more music further afield in the future!

Happy 2015! And some gigs…

I’ve just updated my gigs page with some 2015 dates. Lots of fun stuff coming up, starting this Saturday 10th January, with the Raw Tonk Records in-store gig at the awesome tiny record shop Electric Knife in Kentish Town. Anton and I are playing a Ripsaw Catfish set, sharing the bill with Anton Mobin and Benedict Taylor, who also have an album out on Raw Tonk.

Notable things coming up in the first half of this year include the first outing of a new band, Sloth Racket, at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival on April 12th. The festival is happening at The Sage, Gateshead, and we’re sharing the bill with Rachel Musson, Julie Kjaer and Hannah Marshall as part of Jazz North East’s ‘Women Make Music’ series, supported by PRSF. Rachel and I are also giving a workshop on free improvisation

In late May/early June, Dee and I are striking out with our bands for ‘LUME On Tour’. Entropi and Quadraceratops will play double bills around the UK, giving us a chance at the same time to meet lots of other promoters as LUME. We have applied to Arts Council England’s Grants For The Arts scheme and also to the PRSF Open Funding scheme for this, so we’re crossing our fingers that we can make it all happen! Entropi will also be launching their debut album, on the F-IRE Presents label, on the London date of the tour (7th June at the Vortex).

All the dates are on my gigs page, so head over and see what I’m up to. Hope to see you out there somewhere!

Shoaling, Saxoctopus and trio gig

Right then. After a flurry of Quadraceratops activity for LJF, it’s time to put the alto sax back in its case and get the baritone out for the rest of the year! Here’s what the end of 2014 looks like for me…

Ripsaw Catfish: Shoaling tour

Anton and I kicked off our collaborative tour last week, in the form of a totally off-the-hook encounter with Corey Mwamba, Dave Kane and Joshua Blackmore at LUME. We had a great time playing with them and it was a combination of people I’d love to get together again. We have high hopes for the rest of the Shoaling tour now. The dates and the shoals are:

29th November – Open Circuit, Parish Rooms, Ulverston. With Shaun Blezard.

30th November – Blank Canvas, Liverpool. With Mark Hanslip and Johnny Hunter.

13th December – Cafe Bar Marzano’s, Norwich. With Chris Dowding’s brass ensemble ‘Brass Monkeys’.

17th December – The Scope, Brighton. With The Static Memories.

Saxoctopus returns…

In between Shoaling dates, the eight-saxophone monster Saxoctopus is rearing its head for two gigs. We’re playing at the last ‘LUME Presents’ gig of the year at the Vortex, on Sunday 7th December in a double bill with the excellent Alphabets (Hannah Marshall, Nick Malcolm and Lauren Kinsella). Then on Tuesday 9th December we head to Derby to play at Corey Mwamba’s new series ‘The Family Album’. This will be fun….

Trio with Olie Brice and Corey Mwamba

With the octopus safely back in its tank (?), I’ll head directly to Daniel Thompson’s Foley Street concert series for the second meeting of the trio with Corey and Olie. The first one was very enjoyable indeed, so it will be really nice to do it again!

Hope to see you out there somewhere…

The London Jazz Festival is upon us!

It’s that time of year again, and I’ve got a few things coming up in the London Jazz Festival. They are:

18th, 19th and 20th November: a three night LUME festival special! I’m playing on the 18th (with Ripsaw Catfish) and the 20th (with Quadraceratops) plus referee-ing the Deemer/duck-rabbit double bill on the 19th. More info on the LUME blog post, and there are advance tickets on sale for all three gigs too.

23rd November: Quadraceratops are playing at the BBC Jazz On 3 festival edition of ‘Jazz In The Round’, at the Clore Ballroom, Southbank Centre. We’re kicking off the four-band bill at 2pm. This will be fun! It’s also being recorded for Radio 3, and will be broadcast at 11pm on Monday 8 December.

In between all that I’ll be trying to catch everyone else’s amazing gigs. See you out there!

NB: The Ripsaw Catfish gig is also the first night of our ‘Shoaling’ tour. We’re heading off around the UK in November and December, collaborating with lots of different improvisers. There’s some more info on the Sound And Music project page, and here’s a handy flyer.

shoaling flyer

 

‘For The Benefit Of The Tape’ available from Raw Tonk!

The Ripsaw Catfish album ‘For The Benefit Of The Tape’ is now available to stream and pre-order from Raw Tonk Records! Have a listen:

Anton and I are now looking forward to getting stuck into our next Catfish project, a collaborative tour called ‘Shoaling’. We’ll be playing with lots of musicians around the UK starting November 18th….more info (and flyer!) on this to come soon.

Ripsaw Catfish on Raw Tonk

Quick post to say that a Ripsaw Catfish release is on its way! ‘For The Benefit Of The Tape’ will be out on Colin Webster’s excellent Raw Tonk Records on November 3rd. I’ve done some seriously lo-fi artwork for the sleeve (see below) and Angela Guyton has designed a fantastic band logo which I’ll post soon (it only exists as a stamp at the moment, ready to be applied to the sleeves I’m about to make!). More on this to follow…

10689966_913944841952220_1890273787804163855_n

 

Ripsaw Catfish in Leeds

Quick post about an upcoming gig this Friday, 4th July. Ripsaw Catfish are heading to Leeds to play at Fusebox. It will be our first time at this long-running night – the programme is always fantastic so it was really nice to be asked. We will be in a double bill with Backyard Chassis, a trio of Adam Fairhall, Johnny Hunter and Corey Mwamba…very much looking forward to hearing them!

In other Catfish news, we did a recording last weekend in Sam’s Basement, Macclesfield, so hopefully that will see the light of day in the next few months. We’re also working on putting our ‘Shoaling’ tour together for late November/early December, and I’ll post about that once it’s all sorted. In the mean time, here’s a recording from our February gig at Fizzle (at the Lamp Tarvern) in Birmingham. See you in Leeds!