PREVIEW: Patchwork Jazz Orchestra (Friday 15th April, ‘The Others’ Stoke Newington, 9pm)

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra at the Forge in 2015

PATCHWORK JAZZ ORCHESTRA follows on in a lineage of collectively run London bands, with proud antecedents such as Loose Tubes and the F-Ire Collective. An important stage in the new band's development comes to fruition this Friday, as they host their first 'Patchwork night.'  In addition to the orchestra itself, the night will also feature Perhaps Contraption and the DJ duo 'Still Moving DJs'. SCOTT CHAPMAN explains:

This is very exciting week for all of us in the Patchwork Jazz Orchestra as on Friday 15th April we will be hosting our first ever 'Patchwork' night.

It seems not long ago at all that a few of us were entertaining ourselves with the idea of forming a big band, back in early 2014. Since then we've written some brand new original music, launched the orchestra at the London Jazz Festival, played abroad in Italy and also at some other great venues such as Kings Place and the Vortex, and most recently won ourselves the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award.

I'm fairly certain none of this would have happened with only one person behind the band, and I think we're all realising and appreciating this more and more as time goes on. The collaborative nature of the orchestra is without a doubt one of its strongest assets, and is what the band thrives on.

When seventeen people split the workload of writing new music, co-ordinating gigs and rehearsals, managing an online presence, designing a website and posters, and even simply generating new ideas, the process of managing and developing a creative project on this scale benefits hugely from the different skill sets and influences we all have.

It's also most probably why we are on the verge of this exciting new phase of 'Patchwork' events. The beginnings of this were happening in Autumn 2015, when we started to think how we might be able to perform at some other venues rather than the usual jazz clubs and other spaces in London where big bands can play (of which there aren't a great deal). It soon emerged that putting on our own gig somewhere alternative was looking like a good option to start with. With the 2015 Peter Whittingham Award application deadline approaching, we applied, auditioned and submitted a plan about series of events bringing together a variety of different entertainment and acts within the creative arts in one place, alongside a set of music from the Patchwork Jazz Orchestra.

We thought big and thankfully it paid off – the panel liked our idea, our figures added up and we were granted the £5000 funding from the award. A few months of hard work and planning later, we are on the verge of hosting our first ever 'Patchwork' night this Friday at 'The Others' in Stoke Newington!

We're all hugely excited about this. Not only will it be a great night but it also represents a lot of what we stand for. Our initial reason for creating the orchestra was to have a vehicle for which we could write large ensemble music. That has been a great success so far, but the other part of our ethos as an orchestra is reframing big band music in an effort keep it current with today's generation, and also for people who perhaps might not listen to jazz or choose to go and to see a jazz gig. Through 'Patchwork' we would love to be able to recreate the vibe of the 1930s and 40s - a time where big band music was what people would dance to at public events - but in a way that is relevant and accessible to all today, particularly the younger generation. We’d like people to see this event as a party or mini festival, where there is a bit of something for everyone with a few surprises thrown in!

Setting up 'Patchwork' has been an ambitious undertaking, and probably more so than we imagined. However, thanks to the efforts of many people in the band, this Friday's launch party is all set to a really great night. The main acts we have performing are prog-punk marching band 'Perhaps Contraption', plus live percussion and DJ duo 'Still Moving DJs', with other entertainment throughout the night and of course the Patchwork Jazz Orchestra themselves. Don't miss out and get yourself a ticket now while you still can!

LINK: : Patchwork Jazz Orchestra website/ tickets for Friday
Henning Bolte's Feature on European Large Ensembles
Perhaps Contraption in a cablecar at the Suedtirol Festival

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