FEATURE: Kim Macari on Ingrid Jensen and the Orpheus Project (UK dates May 26- June 5) #IWD2016 / @womensday / #InternationalWomensDay

Ingrid Jensen at Coney Island
Photo credit: Angela Jimenez

Kim Macari, trumpet player and Director of the Apollo Jazz Network has organized UK tour dates for Canadian trumpeter INGRID JENSEN and the UK musicians of the Orpheus Project. Kim writes about the background, the NORVOL promoter network, and about the work that has gone into preparing this tour:

It is currently 10 weeks until I go to pick up Ingrid Jensen from Heathrow. This is a project we've been talking about for over 2 years now and one I dedicated most of 2015 to making it happen, so it's kind of surreal that it's almost here.

My career is split between performing and for want of a better term, work in the jazz industry. I've been helping to promote live jazz at HEART in Leeds for 4 years now and through that, I became a member of NORVOL Jazz – a network of jazz promoters in the North of England (which has something extraordinary like 500 years of live jazz promoter experience within in its membership – I contribute 0.8% to that figure). We received a small grant to provide professional development training to promoters in 2012 and when that ended, we started talking about what we did next. We wanted to do something ambitious that promoted joined up thinking and collaboration amongst promoters and to develop something that had real long-term prospects.

The idea behind the Orpheus Project is that we create an infrastructure for touring live jazz in the North of England and then work with partner organisations across the UK to ensure maximum benefit for the whole scene. It can be very difficult for musicians to set up international performing opportunities and it can also be difficult for single clubs to take on international acts because of the costs involved. In this project promoters get together and vote on artists they'd like to see play in the UK and then we can provide artists with a 5-7 date tour over 10-14 day period. Musicians widen their networks and make contacts they can use later; promoters get to programme adventurously.

It's a particular joy that the first artist to be featured is Ingrid Jensen. I first saw Ingrid play when I was 14 years old. She performed and recorded with Tommy Smith and SNJO playing Miles Ahead. Since then, she's been a huge inspiration to me as a musician. Her work as a soloist with Maria Schneider and Darcy James Argue helped me to define the type of player I wanted to be during the final year of my degree. In 2013, I was able to study with her in New York and since then I've been pleased to call her a friend. She is an extraordinary woman and I cannot wait to have her here, performing in small intimate venues and working with great musicians.

It's also been fun to work alongside my fellow LcoM alumnus, Phil Meadows, on a project with Ingrid and the Engines Orchestra. She'll perform with Engines Orchestra to close her tour at Ronnie Scott's and we are currently working on the orchestrations for that gig.

I can trace the origins of this project back many years as I thought about artists I loved and how I wished they would play near me. Then it was just 2 years worth of discussions, a year of project development and funding applications and then a year running the project. Excessive? Possibly. Worth it? Absolutely.

Tour Details:

Ingrid Jensen, Jez Franks, Andy Champion, Tim Giles

May 26th – Black Swan Venue, Newcastle
May 28th – HEART, Leeds (ft. Jamil Sheriff)
May 29th – Ingrid guests with Leeds Jazz Orchestra, Seven Arts Leeds
June 1st – The Cask, Scarborough Jazz
June 3rd – Wakefield Jazz
June 5th – Ronnie Scott's, London (Quartet & Engines Orchestra)

LINK : Orpheus Jazz website

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