PREVIEW/ INTERVIEW: Max Luthert. CD Orbital (Launch at Pizza Express Jazz Club, 20th October)

Max Luthert. Photo credit: Steve Pringle

Bassist Max Luthert's debut album 'Orbital' will be released on Whirlwind Recordngs on 27th October. The launch gig is at Pizza Express Jazz Club on 20th October. Max Luthert explains the background in this email interview:

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LondonJazzNews: When did you start playing the bass? What originally drew you to the instrument?

Max Luthert: I started off on bass guitar when I was 14. I was thinking of playing either the guitar or bass and there were already a few guitarists at my school and my music teacher suggested that I should play bass. I then decided when I was around 18 that I'd like to play the double bass. At the time, I was listening to a lot more acoustic jazz and felt that that was the sound I was hearing more and more so I went on Ebay, ordered a £300 double bass and went from there.

LJN: You are known for your work with Partikel? Which other collaborations stand out and why?

ML: Partikel is a band that I have an awful lot of fun playing in and it's great to be associated with that group as it has definitely had a huge impact on how I play today but I would have to say that working with Zara McFarlane's group and Benet McLean's Quartet have also had a massively positive effect on me as a musician.

Working with Zara for the last 3 years has been incredible as I've been able to go to some amazing places, work with musicians who I see as close friends and play music that really stretches me in ways I haven't played before.

Playing with Benet is great too as he really drills the band to make sure we're as comfortable as possible and is constantly seeking to perfect his music and the sets we play so it's really inspiring to be working with him. He's also a monstrous musician too which helps keep me honest!

LJN: Working with Zara McFarlane must have taken you to some interesting places...

ML: Playing at North Sea Jazz Festival this year with Zara has got to be the most high profile gig I've done to date as well as one of the most enjoyable times too. To play there was an awesome experience and it was also great to be able to see so many of my heroes just hanging out in the festival as well as the hotel and jam afterwards. I managed to have a quick chat with John Patitucci on the shuttle from the airplane to the terminal at Gatwick - which was lovely!

LJN: Who performs in your group for this debut album? Why did you choose these musicians?

ML: On the CD are Gareth Lockrane, Duncan Eagles, Séb Pipe, Matt Robinson and Dave Hamblett.

My strongest musical connection is with Duncan Eagles so it was a no-brainer to ask him whether he'd like to be involved and I'd done a fair bit of playing with Matt and Dave within the last couple of years in various ensembles leading up to the recording and enjoyed those occasions a lot, they also have a great connection with each other and was keen to have that on the recording.

I hadn't worked too much with Séb Pipe before we went into the studio but we had done a couple of things together and we're into similar bands and musicians so I had a pretty clear idea what he'd bring to the group. I was keen to do something different with my group and not go down the classic quartet/quintet route so I decided that I'd like to write for a sextet and then to keep it different again I thought that flute would be a fun way to augment the band so I got in touch with Gareth Lockrane to see whether he'd be interested in playing on the CD as he's a consummate musician and sounds incredible in any musical situation.

LJN: Can you explain two or three tracks from the album and where the track names come from? What is the inspiration behind the album title?

ML: I was reading a lot at the time I was writing the music and one that had a strong bearing on some of the track names was Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas and the tracks The Edgewall and the title track Orbital are both taken from there.

The Orbital in Consider Phlebas is a huge circular structure that is inhabited like any other planet and this idea was really interesting to me and I could see parallels in that I see some elements of music in cycles and that musically we create sounds and shapes within these cycles so it felt fitting to have that name as the title of the album.

Album launch: 20 October at Pizza Express Jazz Club - BOOKINGS 

Album release Monday 27 October - Whirlwind Recordings website

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