PREVIEW/ FEATURE: Olie Brice Quintet tour (May 24th June- 9th)

The Olie Brice Quintet at the Vortex
L-R: Mike Fletcher, Alex Bonney, George Crowley
Olie Brice, Jeff Williams

Bassist Olie Brice is about to embark on a tour with his quintet. Starting at the Spotted Dog in Digbeth in Birmingham next Tuesday May 24th, they will play nine gigs in ten days, culminating in a homecoming gig at the Vortex on June 2nd. Olie writes:

The line-up of the quintet about to set off on tour is Alex Bonney on cornet, Mike Fletcher on alto sax (and maybe some C-melody), George Crowley on tenor sax and the great Jeff Williams on drums. I'm really delighted with this group – I've been through a few permutations of this project, all of which have been fun, but this is definitely the best yet. None of the musicians should need introducing to regular readers of LondonJazz News – all of them are among the most exciting improvisers on the scene.

  -Alex Bonney has been in more incarnations of my bands than anyone else – I love his sense of melody and his capacity to be completely free while always lyrical.

- George Crowley must be one of the busiest saxophonists around, as well as playing a vital role running two of the best regular gigs for this music in London. He brings a great tone and serious roots in the jazz tenor tradition while sounding just as great playing free as he does playing standards and original compositions.

- Jeff Williams is one of the greatest jazz drummers in the world – he has been a hero of mine for much longer than I've been playing with him, and it's an absolute joy and honour to have him in the band.

- Mike Fletcher originally joined the band as a one-off dep, but it was such fun having him involved that I asked him to join properly. One of my favourite musicians to play with, I couldn't be happier to have added him to the mix.

I've written a set of new material for this tour, which we'll be recording shortly afterwards. There's quite a range of influences and approaches in the music – we play melodies drawn from Jewish liturgical music I experienced as a child, completely freely improvised sections, an old and rarely played standard, some graphic scores, rhythmic transcriptions of some of my favourite poets, and much more besides. I think the whole thing comes together in a personal whole though, rather than a cut-and-paste mishmash! I wrote a blog article about going into more depth into my composing and influences, especially the Jewish influence (see link below)

The tour has been made a lot more straight-forward by the generous support of Arts Council England –  thanks to them and to Corey Mwamba, Cath Roberts and Dee Byrne for their help with my application.


24/05/16 – The Spotted Dog, Birmingham
25/05/26 – Dempsey’s, Cardiff
26/05/16 – Soundcellar, Poole
27/05/16 – Fusebox, Leeds
29/05/16 – Future Inns, Bristol (afternoon gig, 4.30pm, with special guest Nick Malcolm)
30/05/16 – The Wonder Inn, Manchester
31/05/16 – Jazz Café, Newcastle
01/06/16 – The Lescar, Sheffield
02/06/16 – The Vortex, London

LINK: Olie Brice writes about his composing, and about influences
Olie Brice's website including a recent interview with Peter Bacon

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