PREVIEW: Kit Downes and Tom Challenger. Loop Collective Night at Jazz in the Round - Cockpit Theatre. 30th June

Wedding Music Cover


Tom Challenger writes about the appearance of Wedding Music the duo with Kit Downes, which will be part of the Jazz in the Round programme at the Cockpit Theatre on Monday June 30th:

Almost 2 years after first entering into Huddersfield University's St Paul's Church to develop and record what would become 'Wedding Music', Kit Downes (Organs) and I (Saxophone) will appear at a special performance on the 30th of June at the Cockpit Theatre that will be recorded and broadcast by the team from Jazz on 3.

After formally (and in low-key way) releasing our album last year, we marked its availability by launching at London's Cafe Oto. As the album was recorded in a big church, and using a very special concert organ, there was the immediate problem of how we were to replicate the sheer size and sonic force of that instrument and room in a relatively small club (Cafe OTO doesn't have a church organ...). After revising the music a little, and with Kit experimenting with a 2 hammond organ setup we felt that we had something that was going to be as powerful as the original.

We have spent the year simultaneously performing both versions of 'Wedding Music'. This has included performances at the 'Pull Out The Stops' festival in the Royal Festival Hall, and also for the  London Contemporary Music Festival. In this instance, we will be bringing the Hammond-version of 'Wedding Music' to Jazz in the Round at The Cockpit Theatre. We Look forward to performing the music in this environment - having the immersive set up associated with this venue will definitely display the music in a different light!

Whilst the Hammond Organ version of Wedding Music doesn't affect the way that I - as a saxophonist - approach playing, it certainly affects the way we have approached playing our music together. There's great scope to explore the lower passages of the compositions so that one can hear the growl and subtle overtones of the B3 and Leslie Speaker combined. I personally really enjoy playing with a Hammond in duo: up until now I've always played in ensembles (such as my first group 'Ma') that have BOTH Hammond and Drum set - here I get to improvise and play with with all of the nuances that the Hammond can generate.

On the same bill (curated by Jazz on 3 and The Loop Collective), there will also be Rory Simmons' Monocled Man as well as a rare solo set by Dan Nicholls.

The 3 piece Monocled Man features Rory Simmons (Trumpet), Chris Montague (Guitar) and Jon Scott (Drums). After releasing their début album 'Southern Drawl' on Whirlwind Records, this promises to be a great time to catch them. I'm very familiar with all three of the musicians: it's great to see how Chris and Jon approach playing Rory's music. Monocled Man will be performing a slightly longer set on the evening.

The solo act for the evening will be a set devised by keyboardist Dan Nicholls. Having been appointed to a Jerwood Foundation Jazzlines fellowship, Dan embarked on a period of designing and making his very own Kalimba (Thumb Piano). Here, he will use this very instrument as live source material for a number of sonic explorations also utilising a number of electronic effects. Dan is one of the most inventive voices on the scene here - this will surely be fascinating to see.

The event is hosted by Jez Nelson on the 30th of June at The Cockpit Theatre, will be recorded by Jazz on 3. All bands are members of The Loop Collective

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