PREVIEW: Andrew Bain's Player Piano with Mike Walker, Gwilym Simcock, Steve Watts and Iain Dixon (CBSO Centre - 18th October)

Andrew Bain / photo from

Drummer ANDREW BAIN's latest jazz project "Player Piano" has its premiere this Sunday 18th October at CBSO Centre in Birmingham, at 8pm. It is a combined tribute to British jazz and to the first novel of Kurt Vonnegut. Andrew writes:

I am very happy to tell you about my latest jazz project featuring Mike Walker on guitar, Gwilym Simcock on piano, Iain Dixon on saxophone, and Steve Watts on double bass.. We will be playing a combination of original music by the band members, and music by some late and greatly missed British jazz composers.

As a recently appointed Senior Lecturer in jazz at the Birmingham Conservatoire, I have made a concerted effort to showcase like-minded musicians in the city, in order to - in some small way - enhance the scene. Alongside trumpeter and composer Percy Pursglove, we play a weekly residency at Pure Bar in the centre of Birmingham, where we showcase great local musicians alongside visiting tutors and guest artists resident in college. So far we have featured Mike Williams, Martin Speake, Hans Koller, George Colligan, Francois Theberge, and Jeff Ballard, to name a few, with our regular bass players, Mark Hodgson, Arnie Somogyi and Nick Jurd. I hope you agree we are punching above our weight!

My Player Piano project is the first of three that will form the basis of my practice-based PhD into spontaneous composition and the modes of communication during jazz improvisation here at Birmingham City University. Whilst focusing on British jazz in this first concert - with an all British band - I hope to research the sensibilities of the group with a view to documenting like-minded behaviour, while reflecting on the nature of creating improvised jazz music.

My next project - happening in November 2016 - will feature good friends Jon Irabagon on saxophones, Mike Janisch on the double bass, alongside international superstar of piano (and pocket trumpet) George Colligan. Both projects will be generously supported by Prof. Tim Wall and the research team at BCU, and I am very grateful for that support.

As an artistic director for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland, I have directed the band featuring Mike Walker as soloist in 2008 playing all repertoire from his album Madhouse And The Whole Thing There. On the back of that success, Mike was invited again to play a new selection of repertoire alongside his longtime collaborator, Iain Dixon on saxophone and clarinet. I have worked alongside Steve Watts in a variety of settings over the years, notably as a member of Jacqui Dankworth’s band from 2007-2008, and Gwilym Simcock and myself have talked about playing together for some time.

It is the first jazz concert in my own name for quite a while and I am looking forward to exploring new repertoire with some old friends. I am very excited all of this has come together and hope this is the first of many performances.

Player Piano details and tickets
Andrew Bain's website
Player Piano is in association with Birmingham City University and Jazz research at BCU

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