Category Archives: Sloth Racket

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!

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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!

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