Alam Nathoo

'Sick solo man' - Quincy Jones

Website of jazz saxophonist Alam Nathoo, featuring news, music, video and live dates.

'Fours' Spotlight: Corrie Dick

'No man is an island'. This popular quote by John Donne holds a particular truth in my experience as a musician. Besides the obvious parallel in terms of performing in a group context, over the years I have been inspired, motivated, comforted and even dependent, on being a small part of one of many 'scenes' in London and beyond. Musicians learn from each other, practice and perform together, and also hang out together, discussing everything from politics to practice patterns and sharing music and experience. Thankfully in London there is an abundance of amazing, generous musicians, and the 'Fours' project is a series of recordings representing a fraction of the 'scene' I find myself drawn to. This week I turn the spotlight to...

Corrie Dick

I think I first played with Corrie at one of the sessions down at Oliver's in Greenwich, and I remember having a blast! Something I really like to do when calling a tune is to have someone just play into it, without a count-in or an indication of feel...just improvise into it and see what happens. Not everyone is always comfortable with it but I recall Corrie just diving straight in. He is such a fearless improviser that I knew right away (other than having heard him many times before) that I was going to enjoy playing with him. It's also clear to me how much he loves the drums and drumming in all its forms when listening to his sound at the kit, and his approach to timbre. This version of I Mean You features Corrie in full swing, from the groovy understated introduction to the explosive trading towards the end, coaxing every bit of tone out of the drums along the way:

Although it is highly unlikely that you will be unaware of Corrie's amazing talent and contributions to the jazz scene if you are reading this post, I feel as though I should highlight a couple of the fantastic projects he is involved in.

First and foremost, Corrie has a great, informative website that you should visit immediately and will save you from having to read any more of my ramblings: www.corriedick.com

Corrie is already an integral voice within the UK jazz both as performer, composer, band leader and Chaos Collective co-founder. Most recently he has recorded with bass superstar Jasper Hoiby's Fellow Creatures, trumpet sensation Laura Jurd's Dinosaur, and even his own highly acclaimed Impossible Things. All of these groups feature the cream of multiple generations of jazz musicians that have been active in the UK and beyond, and it is no surprise that Corrie finds himself among such talent, and active around the European circuit. Long may it continue. Here is Impossible Things to have a listen to.

Huge thanks to Corrie, as well as Tom and Nick, for their time, talent and tea-making skills. 'Fours' Vol. II is available now.

 

'Fours' Spotlight: Nick Jurd

'No man is an island'. This popular quote by John Donne holds a particular truth in my experience as a musician. Besides the obvious parallel in terms of performing in a group context, over the years I have been inspired, motivated, comforted and even dependent, on being a small part of one of many 'scenes' in London and beyond. Musicians learn from each other, practice and perform together, and also hang out together, discussing everything from politics to practice patterns and sharing music and experience. Thankfully in London there is an abundance of amazing, generous musicians, and the 'Fours' project is a series of recordings representing a fraction of the 'scene' I find myself drawn to. This week I turn the spotlight to...

Nick Jurd

'Gig hotline'

'Gig hotline'

There is no shortage of talent in the UK, and it's a real treat to get to hear so many incredible musicians perform in London. Nick, based in Birmingham, had an all too brief stint living in the capital and in that short time he quickly became one of my favorite bass players to call (sadly I didn't have enough gigs to fully take advantage of this). I often find there are some folk who I love to listen to but don't necessarily hook up well with when it comes to performing, but with Nick I found both to be true - his playing is right up my street as both listener and performer. He has the imagination to provide a looseness and space in the music whilst still taking care of business that gives a rhythmic freedom to an ensemble, being unafraid to break away from walking lines and switch to playing supportive counter-melodies. This in turn helps provide shape, and allowing ensemble intuition to dictate moments of tension and release. There are many moments of this throughout Vol. II of the Fours record, but as a quick example, I like the slipperiness to the quite up-tempo I Remember You, with Nick restraining from going into a power-walk until a good minute and a half in, eventually cooking up a storm for Tom's piano solo: 

Alas, London's loss is Birmingham's gain. Nick has been keeping himself very busy playing with some of the UK's most highly regarded artists in a variety of wide-ranging genres, including recording with cutting edge saxophonist/rapper/producer Soweto Kinch (check out the latest album Nonagram that Nick features on), contemporary soul/jazz outfit Trope (new record out next year, until then check this out), and several records with improviser extraordinaire Paul Dunmall.

Peruse the rest of Nick's impressive discography including records with guitarist Alex Haines and drummer Jonathan Silk, along with news etc at his website: nickjurd.com 

I would like to thank Nick, as well as Tom and Corrie, for their time, craft and friendship in making 'Fours' Vol. II. Purchase on bandcamp here.

'Fours' Spotlight: Tom Hewson

'No man is an island'. This popular quote by John Donne holds a particular truth in my experience as a musician. Besides the obvious parallel in terms of performing in a group context, over the years I have been inspired, motivated, comforted and even dependent, on being a small part of one of many 'scenes' in London and beyond. Musicians learn from each other, practice and perform together, and also hang out together, discussing everything from politics to practice patterns and sharing music and experience. Thankfully in London there is an abundance of amazing, generous musicians, and the 'Fours' project is a series of recordings representing a fraction of the 'scene' I find myself drawn to. This week I turn the spotlight to...

Tom Hewson

Tom and I first really connected musically playing duo, having discovered a shared love of the Tony Bennett/Bill Evans recordings as well as John Taylor's work as both performer and composer. It wasn't long until Tom was introducing me to the amazing body of work by Keith Jarrett's European quartet, bringing along transcriptions of some of the compositions for us to work through. Soon we were regularly experimenting with playing in the duo context and writing some of our own music to try out, and I felt that this, along with some deeply insightful coaching from the fantastic Nick Weldon, really improved my own musical understanding, as well as helping the pair of us to gel as performers.

Since then we have collaborated on all sorts, including performing in each others projects and co-founding a trio with one of my favorite drummers/humans Peter Ibbetson, which we are hoping to revive as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Tom plays a blinder on my 'Quintet' record, and we also recorded an EP together titled 'Aubade', which I believe was one of Tom's earlier forays into the murky waters of mixing/production. Having followed his progress over the years, working with the likes of BARLI, I gave him the task of mixing the whole of the 'Fours' record, involving 3 bands over 18 tracks, which I am so happy with and grateful for.

Besides being able to deal with pretty much anything you throw at him musically, however complex, Tom has a wonderful sensitivity and keen imagination. On all three recordings we have made together, there are moments where I have merely suggested a mood, or an 'atmosphere' of sorts in an improvised section, and Tom has managed to interpret this vague direction and create something beautiful, purposeful and imaginative each time. My favorite example of this on the record is 'My Funny Valentine', where Tom, Nick and Corrie all combine to create an atmospheric performance that ranges from heartbreak to heart-warming.

Tom has already released a couple of stunning records, both met with critical acclaim. One is with his amazing trio 'Treehouse' featuring Lewis Wright on Vibraphone and Calum Gorlay on double bass, and the other a solo piano recording entitled 'Slightly Peculiar'. Both of these fantastic accomplishments, along with lots of other musical goings on, can be found at Tom's website:

www.tomhewson.com

Check it out!

 

I'd like to thank Tom once again for his musical and technical prowess alongside Nick Jurd and Corrie Dick on Vol. II of the 'Fours' record. Listen to 'Fours' Vol. II here. Available to Buy/Stream now.

'Fours' Spotlight: Dave Ingamells

'No man is an island'. This popular quote by John Donne holds a particular truth in my experience as a musician. Besides the obvious parallel in terms of performing in a group context, over the years I have been inspired, motivated, comforted and even dependent, on being a small part of one of many 'scenes' in London and beyond. Musicians learn from each other, practice and perform together, and also hang out together, discussing everything from politics to practice patterns and sharing music and experience. Thankfully in London there is an abundance of amazing, generous musicians, and the 'Fours' project is a series of recordings representing a fraction of the 'scene' I find myself drawn to. This week I turn the spotlight to...

Dave Ingamells

I first met Dave through my good friend and super talented trombonist Tom White, who would often get me on a regular gig he had at The Dove on Broadway Market. I had never heard him or seen him at any of the usual muso haunts, jam sessions etc but I could immediately see why Tom was booking him! I find myself to be somewhat reliant on drummers kicking me up the backside (musically), as I tend to look to them as first port of call for inspiration when I'm improvising, and I found that Dave has such a freedom within the pulse that he really keeps me on my toes. Hearing him play reminds me a bit of Jack DeJohnette, with multiple layers of time going on whilst retaining a deep groove, offering many rhythmic 'gears' to shift through. It can be really exciting, and sometimes feels like getting caught in a whirlwind!

Added to this freedom and virtuosity, Dave also has a great deal of sensitivity and textural awareness, allowing some great moments of contrast. On the Fours recording, I really liked his (and the rest of the band's) controlled build on Stella over the entire duration of the performance, conjuring up a storm by the final 16 bars:

Unsurprisingly, Tom White and I are not the only band leaders to take notice of Dave's talents. Over the years he has become increasingly in demand as word spreads, and is now performing in a myriad of musical styles, contexts and venues, including 3 different groups at this years EFG London Jazz Festival. Definitely worth looking out for when perusing the gig listings. Below is a video of Dave in action and sounding particularly burning, recording rising trumpet star Henry Spencer's album with his band 'Juncture':

Dave will be featured in 3 performances at this years EFG London Jazz Festival:

Saturday 12th November with Nick Costley-White at London Iklectik - More Info

Saturday 12th November with Helena Kay at Barbican Freestage - More Info

Tuesday 15th November with Kate Williams at 606 Club - More Info

I am thankful to Dave for his performance featuring alongside Tom Farmer and Hannes Riepler on Vol. I of the 'Fours' record. Listen to 'Fours Vol. I' here. Available now.

'Fours' Spotlight: Tom Farmer

'No man is an island'. This popular quote by John Donne holds a particular truth in my experience as a musician. Besides the obvious parallel in terms of performing in a group context, over the years I have been inspired, motivated, comforted and even dependent, on being a small part of one of many 'scenes' in London and beyond. Musicians learn from each other, practice and perform together, and also hang out together, discussing everything from politics to practice patterns and sharing music and experience. Thankfully in London there is an abundance of amazing, generous musicians, and the 'Fours' project is a series of recordings representing a fraction of the 'scene' I find myself drawn to. This week I turn the spotlight to...

Tom Farmer

Tom taking a moment during the 'Fours' recording.

Tom taking a moment during the 'Fours' recording.

I've had the pleasure of knowing Tom since we were just starting out at Guildhall. I have learnt a lot with, because of, and from Tom since then and it pleases me greatly to see him go from strength to strength in such an eclectic range of settings. It is no surprise. Tom's passion for music was obvious when we were at college, often dragging me to 5+ gigs and jam sessions a week, and his inquisitive mind and broad tastes apparent as he would explain his transcriptions of Vijay Iyer or Kurt Rosenwinkel in between sharing his enthusiasm for recordings of Ahmed Jamal or Nat King Cole, to name but a few. It is no wonder that he has gone on to be a quarter of the award winning quartet Empirical, one of the most consummate and progressive jazz quartets in the country, and become an in demand sideman for acts as varied as Dice Factory, Ant Law, Anoushka Shankar, Big Screen Trio, Joe Stilgoe, Anthony Strong etc.
Personally the thing I love about performing with Tom is his servitude to the music at all times, helped by a deep and wide understanding coupled with impeccable decision making. He is also an incredibly melodic and succinct soloist. Check out his solo on 'We See' from the 'Fours' record where he switches from melodic fragments to a more textural walk, and back again, arriving at some great memorable phrases.

If you haven't had the chance to hear Empirical, I strongly recommend that you do so. Here is a video as a taster of what to expect, with Tom et al discussing their latest album 'Connection'

 

Tom will be performing with Empirical at the EDF London Jazz Festival 2016 on Thursday 17th November at Kings Place. Click here for details and tickets.

Explore from the band at empiricalmusic.com

I am pleased and grateful that Tom performs on 'Fours' Vol. I alongside Hannes Riepler and Dave Ingamells

'Fours' Spotlight: Hannes Riepler

'No man is an island'. This popular quote by John Donne holds a particular truth in my experience as a musician. Besides the obvious parallel in terms of performing in a group context, over the years I have been inspired, motivated, comforted and even dependent, on being a small part of one of many 'scenes' in London and beyond. Musicians learn from each other, practice and perform together, and also hang out together, discussing everything from politics to practice patterns and sharing music and experience. Thankfully in London there is an abundance of amazing, generous musicians, and the 'Fours' project is a series of recordings representing a fraction of the 'scene' I find myself drawn to. This week I turn the spotlight to...

Hannes Riepler

A publicity shot for Hannes' debut album The Brave

A publicity shot for Hannes' debut album The Brave

I first met Hannes about 10 years ago at Uncle Sam's (now The Haggerston) when he had just moved to London. We soon became good friends and started performing regularly in all sorts of contexts, including each others originals bands, and it is a sign of his ability and good nature that within a year he seemed to know everyone!

Hannes is what I like to describe as a 'complete guitarist'. His clarity, strength of time, chord voicings and comping make performing in even a duo setting feel comfortable and 'full'. I also love that his style/sound, much like his writing, has become very personal and identifiable over the years. In the following track from 'Fours' Vol. I, it is really great to hear Hannes' tasteful decision making in action, instinctively knowing when to fill or leave space, state or suggest time, or just let a chord ring.

Many London folk will already know of Hannes, if not from his own excellent group (check out 'Wild Life' feat. Chris Cheek, Oli Hayhurst and James Maddren on Jellymould Jazz), then probably from the jam session he leads at the Vortex Downstairs Bar on Sunday evenings. This jam session feels like home to me, and I would argue is consistently one of the highest caliber sessions around - a real hub for 'the scene', and somewhere I have forged so many new personal and musical relationships.

Check out Hannes' website to find out more about some of the other projects he is involved in around the UK and abroad: http://www.hannesriepler.com

Hannes will be performing at the EFG London Jazz Festival on Saturday 12th November at The Vortex with Dutch saxophonist Jasper Blom. http://www.efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk/events/info/julie-sassoon-hannes-riepler-jasper-blom

I am very grateful that Hannes features on 'Fours' Vol. I alongside Tom Farmer and David Ingamells.

'Fours' Vol I Out Now

'Fours' is a series of recordings featuring three different quartets, spread across three albums

I am pleased to announce that Vol. I, featuring Hannes Riepler, Tom Farmer and Dave Ingamells is available now at alamnathoo.bandcamp.com

In four weeks time Vol. II is due for release on 07/11/16, and Vol. III four weeks later on 05/12/16. You can pre-order both now and get access to two preview tracks.

Vol. II features Tom Hewson, Nick Jurd and Corrie Dick.

Vol. III features Ant Law, Mick Coady and Will Glaser.

In between release dates I will be sharing weekly articles on each of the incredible musicians that performed on these recordings. If you would like to stay up to date and have these features and album releases delivered directly to you, please subscribe to the mailing list here.

If you are new to Bandcamp, it is a wonderful artist-friendly, sustainable, organic etc, way of buying and listening to music, offering lossless quality downloads and streaming facilities via the website or smartphone app. They also accept debit card payments now in addition to paypal, which is nice.

I hope you enjoy the music, and watch this space for more 'Fours' features and recordings.

Good intentions continued

Flirting with the idea of semi-regularly posting lo-fi recordings with the intention of having some online accountability for my development, whilst also sharing recent performances with anyone that might be interested. Lets see how long it lasts! This one was from a recent jam session I was hosting at Oliver's in Greenwich:

Welcome to my new internet home!

Hello, thanks for visiting my new website. This page will be where I post about projects I am involved in and general rants & ramblings, so stay tuned! Please have a look around and do let me know if there are any bits that don't work properly or are difficult to navigate.