Category Archives: Sloth Racket

Sloth Racket ‘Shapeshifters’ album and tour

The second Sloth Racket album ‘Shapeshifters’ is available to pre-order today, with albums shipping out and full release on 12th June (on Luminous). Recorded in October 2016 at Blueprint Studios in Salford, the album is made up of four new pieces that we developed over the course of our Autumn tour. Have a listen to a preview track and order your copy in advance from the Luminous Bandcamp site.

To launch the album we’re heading out on tour at the end of June, with support from Arts Council England. The tour takes us to some new places, perhaps the most exciting of which is the first ever edition of Listen! in Cambridge. Listen! is being set up by dedicated London jazz scene supporters Carol Garrison and Graham Lee, who have relocated to Cambridge and decided to get their hands dirty setting up a new outpost for adventurous music there. As well as Cambridge we’ll be playing in Bristol and Norwich for the first time, plus returning to Leeds and Brighton to play at Wharf Chambers and Safehouse. To start things off we’ll be doing a set on the Saturday of the second LUME Festival, which presumably you’ve already got your tickets for…

Here’s the tour itinerary, with links to more info on the gigs:

24th June London: IKLECTIK (LUME Festival)
26th June Leeds: Wharf Chambers (presented by Sproggits)
27th June Bristol: The Old England (presented by Pull The Strings)
28th June Brighton: The Verdict (presented by Safehouse)
29th June Norwich: York Tavern (presented by Plink Plonk)
30th June Cambridge: Unitarian Church (presented by Listen!)

See you out there!

 

New Sloth Racket video

Sloth Racket has a new video! Our good friend Ben Owen has made this great short film of us playing at a LUME gig at The Vortex in May this year. The piece we play is called ‘Shapeshifters’ and will appear on our second album, coming out in Summer 2017.

More videos of the band can be found on the Sloth Racket page. Also this month, some new nice words about the band have appeared online; from Dave Sumner on his latest Bird Is The Worm ‘This Is Jazz Today’ dispatch, and from Stewart Smith in his 2016 jazz/improv roundup on The Quietus. Thanks both!

Sloth Racket Autumn tour dates

After a fantastic time playing at Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival (see above video by Agata Urbaniak of us playing ‘Endgame’), Sloth Racket is heading out on the second half of our UK tour at the end of September. We’re starting with a London gig at IKLECTIK, before heading to Derby, Newcastle, Glasgow and Salford, supported by Arts Council England. We’re then sticking around in Manchester to record the band’s second album, for release next year. Here are the details:

28th September: London (IKLECTIK)
A London date to kick off the tour, with Colin Webster & Graham Dunning and Ti/om (Tim Fairhall and Tom Ward).
IKLECTIK Artlab, Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, SE1 7LG

29th September: Derby (Out Front)
Part of Corey Mwamba’s new gig series launched earlier this year.
The Blessington Carriage, 11-17 Chapel Street, Derby, DE1 3GU

2nd October: Newcastle (Jazz North East)
Jazz North East are actually responsible for this band’s formation! After our first ever performance as part of their programme at Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2015, we’re looking forward to playing for JNE in their HQ, the Bridge Hotel.
The Bridge Hotel, Castle Garth, Newcastle NE1 1RQ

3rd October: Glasgow (Old Hairdessers)
Sloth Racket’s first gig in Scotland! Jer Reid has organised this date for us, and he’ll be playing a set with Raymond MacDonald (sax), Catriona McKay (harp), Una MacGlone (bass) and Dougal Marwick (synths, electronics).
Old Hairdressers, 27 Renfield Lane, Glasgow, G2 6PH

5th October: Salford (Islington Mill)
Last date of the tour before we go into the studio to record in Manchester. With another band on the bill tbc.
Islington Mill, James Street, Salford, M3 5HW

See you out there!

sloths-autumn-tour-flyer-a6-for-print

Lancaster Jazz Festival Artist In Residence/Headline Artist

Some very exciting news for the Autumn: I’m going to be Artist In Residence at Lancaster Jazz Festival 2016! Their tireless artistic director and ace clarinettist Matt Robinson emailed me a few months ago to offer this fantastic (and terrifying) opportunity and obviously I had to say yes. The main focus of my Artist In Residence role will be to produce some new music, the performance of which will be the festival’s headline set on Saturday 17th September. So, not a very high pressure gig then…

I decided to assemble a large ensemble for the occasion, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s ended up as a ten-piece, and the line-up will be:

Julie Kjær flute & bass clarinet
Tom Ward flute & bass clarinet
Graham South trumpet
Tullis Rennie trombone
Dee Byrne alto sax
Sam Andreae tenor sax
Cath Roberts baritone sax
Anton Hunter guitar
Seth Bennett double bass
Johnny Hunter drums

The band is basically an expanded Sloth Racket, and I can’t wait to get started on putting the music together. More on this to follow….

The festival is happening over the weekend of the 16th-18th September, and the full programme will be announced soon (keep an eye on the festival website).

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Good times on the Sloth Racket tour!

The Sloth Racket May tour was a lovely run of gigs. It was great to have the chance to develop our existing music by playing it every night, as well as trying out some new compositions of mine (plus one by Sam Andreae!). Massive thanks to all the promoters who put us on: Andrew Woodhead at Fizzle (Birmingham); Jez Matthews and team from Jazz At The Lescar (Sheffield); Laura, Bill, Dave K and all at Fusebox (Leeds); Chris, Kerstin and all at Fuse Arts (Bradford); and Dee for being our host at LUME for the Vortex album launch gig in London. I’m also extremely grateful to Arts Council England for supporting our touring activities this year: roll on the October tour! I’ve collected together a few tour photos for the blog…

Sloths at Fizzle

Playing at Fizzle, Birmingham.

sloth pillow car

On the road to Sheffied with the tour sloth pillow…

leeds trio set

Laura Cole, Corey Mwamba and Seth ‘two sets’ Bennett, sharing the bill with us at Fusebox in Leeds.

hot beef

The Hot Beef Three, sharing the bill with us at Fuse in Bradford.

fuse faces

Backwards Fuse window faces in Bradford.

sloths at the vortex

The album launch gig at the Vortex!

raclette at the vortex

Raclette, who turned up on the first gig of the tour as self-appointed band mascot.

Sloth Racket album available to pre-order

Boom! After a phenomenal amount of admin, the Sloth Racket album ‘Triptych’ is out for pre-order today on our LUME spin-off label Luminous. I made a relatively silly video to draw your attention this fact:

You can reserve your copy today and get it on release day, 2nd May. The CD edition comes in a hand-printed sleeve with my linocut Sloth design…