Category Archives: Sloth Racket

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…

Sloths video and frog poster

I’ve had a bunch of video footage from Sloth Racket gigs (thanks Anton!) kicking around for a while, but haven’t had a chance to do anything with it. Now, finally, I’ve posted the first video up online, from our gig at LUME (when we were still at Long White Cloud) in April.

Also hidden in the depths of my computer was this cool poster from our gig at the Kazimier Garden in Liverpool in July. It was a great gig with a lovely crowd, and we were really well looked after by Joel the organiser and DJ. I don’t know who designed the poster, but I love this frog!

sloth-racket-poster-v2

Some Sloth Racket live recordings

I thought it would be nice to post up some Sloth Racket tracks, as this band is my main focus at the moment. The album is being mixed next week (woop!) and the plan is that it will be released in May, but in the mean time here we are at LUME, Long White Cloud earlier this year…

A nice chilled December (after a mad November!)

The last few weeks have been pretty packed for me, with some really nice gigs around the place. Ripsaw Catfish returned to Birmingham and played at a lovely and busy Fizzle night (good work Andrew Woodhead!), I played a trio set with Seth Bennett and Andrew Lisle for the first time, and LUME took over the Barbican freestage for an afternoon as part of London Jazz Festival. Sloth Racket appeared at the LUME LJF gig, fresh from the excellent Limefield Studio in Manchester where we recorded our first album – the takes of which I’m listening through now…plus I went to Leeds and Sheffield, depping on bari with Beats & Pieces Big Band. It’s all been a bit mad!

December is looking a bit more chilled out at the moment, which is really nice. Our new tiny LUME label, Luminous, is releasing its first album (‘Interference Patterns’ by Deemer) on 7th December, and we’re launching it on the 6th at the Vortex. We’ll also be running another dice-and-hat gig at Hundred Years Gallery on the 17th. Before that, Ripsaw Catfish continue our accidental ‘city a month’ series by playing at Safehouse in Brighton on the 16th. I’m working on lots of plans for 2016 over the next few weeks too, so watch this space for (hopefully more frequent) updates.

Peter Woodman took some great photos of our LUME afternoon at the Barbican: here’s one of Sloth Racket, complete with Dee standing on the (awesome) LUME merch stall, and Gina Southgate painting us as we play…

sloths at the barbican