PREVIEW: Eirik Tofte Match&Fuse Orchestra (Match&Fuse Festival, Oct 2-4)

In less than a month the Match&Fuse 3 day jazz festival will kick off at the Vortex, following on from the festival's success in Oslo and Rome. The festival promotes British and European bands who implement the free improvisatory approach of jazz in an open musical context, in which different musics are combined and flourish alongside one another. Rachel Maby interviewed festival director Dave Morecroft. They talked about the final night event in memory of Match&Fuse's dynamic and much-missed Norwegian partner Eirik Tofte. Rachel began by asking Dave about the festival's aims and objectives:

“Pushing experimental, innovative and creative music in a collaborative setting is central to everything we do in ‘Match & Fuse’…there’s always an emphasis on creating new music together.” says Morecroft.

The festival is as much a performance platform as it is a meeting ground for the artists and festival goers. At the heart of Match&Fuse is the desire to develop links between British and foreign artists. Over the three-day festival, bands from nine different European countries will perform at iconic East London venues: the Vortex, Café Oto and Rich Mix.

The last night of the festival will showcase a live improvisatory performance of 20 to 25 of the performing artists in the ‘Eirik Tofte Match&Fuse Orchestra’, conducted by Morecroft. The band will begin its performance at Café Oto, continue in promenade fashion to Gillett Square across the road, ending at the Vortex. This performance will be dedicated to the memory of the recently deceased Norwegian collaborator of the festival, Eirik Tofte.

With little or no more rehearsal than the day itself, Morecroft will determine the trajectory of the piece through symbols associated with ‘sound painting’ live composition technique. The musicians’ improvisation determines the musical direction he chooses to take. Nothing has been preconceived and nothing can be predetermined. I ask Morecroft his reasons for choosing sound painting as an appropriate composition form for the ensemble.

“The great thing about sound painting is you can learn 15 symbols, and already you’ve got 15 x 15 combinations…There’s loads of variation within that and it doesn’t have to be complicated... The symbols almost become a bridge to access the music. You can play very strange and weird music and challenging music, because you’re showing the audience what’s going on with a symbol…It just gives them a tiny gesture that makes them listen to that sound in a different way.” – Morecroft.

Morecroft hopes to continue the band in future Match&Fuse festivals, and develop the sound painting technique in his own work and future performances with the orchestra. It is this element of the unexpected in this festival that creates its intriguing appeal. As an audience member you can expect to be challenged, surprised and immersed in the improvisatory experience associated with each night of the festival.

With affordable ticket prices at £12 for each of the  three nights and a full festival pass for £24, it’s a risk worth taking.

Match & Fuse runs from October 2-4. It is supported by the PRS For Music Foundation
Rachel Maby writes abut jazz at

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