Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with Arun Ghosh, to find out when Arun Ghosh is playing mjf 2018 click here. 

Name: ARUN GHOSH

Where are you/the band from? Manchester and London

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How did you get into music?

I’ve always loved music, and have been involved with it since I was 7. Like a lot of kids, I played the recorder at school…but I got pretty full on about it; I played it all the time, took it everywhere, and found that I could play by ear, improvise, play songs I liked and make up my own tunes. I could lose myself. I realised that I loved playing music for the people around me. That’s what I still do after all these years.

*Why did you form the band?

I put this music together to express myself, represent myself, show who I am. The music comes from everything I’ve grown up around; indie, dub, jungle, rave…and of course JAZZ. South-Asian music, World music, the blues. Classical music. New Orleans, Balkan style…know what I mean?

“All those are just labels; we all know that music is music.”

And so that’s what I’ve been composing, performing, recording these years. And I’ve brought together a multi-generational, multi-cultural crack team of fantastic musicians to do it. Men and women from all different musical traditions…., a new generation of musicians like Marli Wren (bass) and Chelsea Carmichael (tenor sax) both originally from Manchester. Then there’s Northern drum legend Dave Walsh, we’ve played together since 2002! They all know what I’m looking for, know how to play my music, they can make the grooves and my melodies make sense, they breathe life into it. It’s a joy to play together.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician? 

Being on stage and playing, improvising and freewheeling, getting into a heightened state through sound and energy. That’s what it’s all about. And I love those moments when I’m alone too, practising, composing, working things out…and sometimes, just sometimes, every now and then, those magical moments wherever you are, whoever you’re with, when something passes through you, and you’re at one with a higher consciousness, in communication with the Universe.

Who is your favourite band or artist?

Nina Simone. She’s the greatest, she’s timeless, the ultimate. A true communicator with her voice, instrument and spirit. She embodies everything that I believe is true, real and other-worldly. I could aim towards her and what she is, and accept that I couldn’t get near.

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?

Mike Hall, a great jazz educator who I had lessons with at the RNCM. He told me to start composing my own music; that’s how I would understand what jazz meant to me, and what I wanted to communicate. I took that advice right away, and kept on writing.

What does it mean to you to play at manchester jazz festival?

Manchester is my musical, cultural and spiritual HOME, and so it means a huge amount to me to come and play at manchester jazz festival. We’ll be playing stuff from my first album, Northern Namaste and my new album, but where are you really from? ; this is music that grew out of me, and my relationship to Manchester, and so it will be amazing to play it with the new line-up, in Albert Square, right in the heart of the city.

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that would like to follow in your steps?

I’d say keep out out of my way, I’m not dead yet.

To be honest, there’s an amazing new generation of musicians, doing fantastic things, making great things happen; they don’t need any advice from me!

Other than yourself, who are you looking forward to seeing at mjf 2018?

I think I’m looking forward to hearing Ashley Henry play for the first time, to hear his playing and see how the trio interacts, what they’re saying.

Would you like to add anything?

Thank you mjf for hosting us; Manchester, COME ON DOWN to Salon Perdu, it’s gonna be an amazing gig, a fresh line-up, special vibes, don’t miss it!

For the full Festival Programme click here.

Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with John Helliwell, to find out when John Helliwell is playing mjf 2018 click here.  

Name: John Helliwell

Name of the Band (if you’re in a band):  CRÈME ANGLAISE

Where are you/the band from? THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH WEST OF ENGLAND

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How did you get into music?  

BY HEARING MONTY SUNSHINE OF CHRIS BARBER’S JAZZ BAND PLAY “PETITE FLEUR” (BY SIDNEY BECHET) ON HIS CLARINET IN 1958

 

*Why did you form the band?

TO PLAY WITH MY FAVOURITE JAZZ MUSICIANS – MIKE WALKER, GETH GRIFFITH, STEVE GILBERT AND JOHN ELLIS.

 

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician?

GIVING PEOPLE PLEASURE.

 

What is the least enjoyable part of being a musician?  

WAITING TO HURRY UP AND TRAVEL.

 

Who is your favourite band or artist?  

TODAY, IT’S THE BRAD MEHLDAU TRIO.

 

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?

DON’T PLAY TWO NOTES WHEN ONE WILL DO.

 

What does it mean to you to play at manchester jazz festival?

WARM AND RECEPTIVE AUDIENCES, RAIN OR SHINE.

 

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that would like to follow in your steps?

REMEMBER THAT YOU’RE THERE TO ENTERTAIN.

 

What has been the most notable highlight of your career so far?

RECEIVING THE “CHEVALIER DE L’ORDRE DES ARTS ET DES LETTRES” FROM THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT.

 

Other than yourself, who are you looking forward to seeing at mjf 2018?

DAVE HOLLAND/ ZAKIR HUSSAIN/ CHRIS POTTER – CHRIS IS ONE OF THE TITANS OF TODAY’S SAXOPHONISTS.

For the full Festival Programme click here.

 

Glastonbury announced their 2019 legends slot this week, so we thought we’d highlight the legends coming to Manchester this summer for #mjf2018.

 

Starting with the Cross Current Trio on Saturday 21 July – featuring three living legends of jazz: Dave Holland, Zakir Hussain and Chris Potter who have shared the stage with the likes of Miles Davis, George Harrison, Herbie Hancock and Van Morrison to name a few.

Grab your tickets here. 

 

 

 

Supertramp legend John Helliwell will bring his group Crème Anglaise to the Salon Perdu stage on Sunday 22 July, for a collection of blues, pop and jazz hits that have inspired him over the years.

Grab your tickets here. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ll be returning to the RNCM Concert Hall for a second time On Friday 27 July with the vast vocal talent of Norma Winstone, accompanied by Klaus Gesing, Glauco Venier and dynamic Manchester-based South African cellist Abel Selaocoe.

Grab your tickets here.

For the full Festival programme click here.

Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with Andchuck, to find out when Andchuck are playing mjf 2018 click here.  

Name: Gabriel Alexander, Jack March and Tom Chapman

Name of the Band: Andchuck

Where are you, the band from? The band is based in Manchester

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How did you get into music?

G: I played piano from the age of 5 but discovered the drums when my mum forced me to get a drum lesson.

J: I’ve been obsessed with music and sound in general as far back as I can remember

T: I loved listening to music from a very young age and desperately wanted to be part of creating it.

 *Why did you form the band?

G: We were all looking for a band like andchuck to be a part of and so it just happened pretty naturally

J: We all wanted to be playing original instrumental music and having met at RNCM it felt very natural

T: We met at college and immediately discovered that we had very similar influences and ideals of what we want from music.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician? 

G: Playing music with other musicians

J: I really enjoy it when people completely surprise me when we’re improvising together.

T: Getting to do the thing you love the most for your career

What is the least enjoyable part of being a musician?

G: There isn’t one really… I guess job insecurity?

J: Carrying heavy gear

T: Don’t think there is one!

Who is your favourite band or artist?

G: Changes almost weekly! At the moment, Avishai Cohen Trio

J: Julian Lage and Bill Frisell are two of my favourites

T: Esbjorn Svensson Trio

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?

G: Concentrate and listen!

J: Its only music!

T: Listen

What does it mean to you to play at manchester jazz festival?

G: Means a huge amount as it’s such a prestigious festival but it also feels like home!

J: It’s amazing! Having grown up in Manchester, playing at mjf has always been a big goal of mine

T: It means a great deal. I love the festival and there are some amazing artists playing in this year.

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that would like to follow in your steps?

G: Enjoy yourself and play as much music as you can!

J: Just be yourself and don’t be afraid to break the rules

T: Enjoy the journey of learning to play music.

What has been the most notable highlight of your career so far?

G: Getting selected for the Jazz North Introduces scheme was amazing.

J: Being selected for jazz north introduces with the band?

T: Getting to play some of the best venues around Manchester with Andchuck has been great!

Other than yourself, who are you looking forward to seeing at mjf 2018?

G: J Frisco (the other band selected for jazz north introduces!), Cross Currents Trio and Skeltr!

J: Cross Current Trio

T: Everyone! It’s a great line up this year

Would you like to add anything?

J: I’m really looking forward to playing at mjf hearing loads of great bands.

For the full Festival Programme click here.

 

 

Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with Alexander Bone, to find out when Alexander Bone is playing mjf 2018 click here. 

Name: Alexander Bone

Name of the Band (if you’re in a band): Cheshire Youth Music For Life Big Band ft Alexander Bone

Where are you/the band from? The band is based in Cheshire! I’m from Darlington, & I lived in Manchester for 6 years whilst at Chethams School of Music

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How did you get into music?

Both my parents are musicians and I heard music around the house all the time growing up. I couldn’t resist wanting to get involved.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician? 

My favourite part of being a musician is when you can change people in a positive way though the music. Whether it’s making them dance, or perhaps feel more reflective or confident, whatever the emotion really. If I manage to communicate with people, then I’m happy!

This is specially humbling when it’s your own music.

What is the least enjoyable part of being a musician?

What’s not to enjoy? 😊

Who is your favourite band or artist?

I’m afraid there’s too many to put down to one… but I’ve recently been enjoying music by the producer Robotaki, the band KNOWER & rediscovering one of my favourite British jazz bands Polar Bear.

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?

As cliché as it is, to trust your ears and hearts over your brain.

What does it mean to you to play at manchester jazz festival?

It’s always a huge pleasure to be part of MJF and I’m so happy to be returning this year! It’s a festival that brings so much exciting contemporary music to one of my favourite cities!

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that would like to follow in your steps?

I’d say simply to stay focused on what you want to achieve to take you to the next level. If you want to have a career in music, you can do it with hard work!

What has been the most notable highlight of your career so far?

In 2015 I was incredibly fortunate to perform on the Last Night of the Proms with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. They broadcast one of my pieces live to BBC Two which was very surreal!

For the full Festival Programme click here.

Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with Sound of Thieves, to find out when Sound of Thieves are playing mjf 2018 click here.

Name: Jan Bures

Name of the Band (if you’re in a band): Sound Of Thieves

Where are you/the band from? Manchester

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How did you get into music?

I’ve been around music ever since I can remember! My mum is a classical musician, so I’ve been listening to her play before I could even speak. I then went to a music school in Poland, where I studied cello, as well as music theory. The rest just went from there!

*Why did you form the band?

I believe music is most fun when shared with others. Phoebe and I just clicked musically, and nearly four years on it is only getting more and more fun.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician? 

Every performance is a special moment! There is nothing quite like being on stage, and connecting with other people through music. It really feels that at those moments time stands still, yet after it is over it seems like it was all a flash.

What is the least enjoyable part of being a musician?

Performing music comes with some very intense emotional highs, and sometimes it is tough to then adjust to just normal days.  Sometimes A LOT can happen in a few days, followed by a week or two of, well, not much. It is easy then to forget about everything you’ve done, and start worrying about not doing enough.

Who is your favourite band or artist?

Two artists that have been very inspirational to us in the recent years have been Kimbra, a singer from New Zealnd, and DubFX, an artist from Australia. Kimbra has a very specific tone and style, which we find really unique, and she is not afraid to challenge herself as well as her audience with the music that she performs. DubFX is an artist who started his career as a street-performer, and went on to travel the world for years, growing a huge devoted fanbase. Both are very inspiring individuals!

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?

I’ve received a lot of really important advice over the years, and it is difficult to simply pick one piece. However, all of the advice when put together and filtered through, boils down to “Be yourself, because no one else can do what you can do!”

What does it mean to you to play at manchester jazz festival?

I personally find it a huge honour to be invited to perform at such an iconic festival. Just looking at this year’s artist roster is jaw-dropping, and to see our name amongst others is really exciting!

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that would like to follow in your steps?

Work hard, believe in yourself, and be kind! Focus on yourself, what can go wrong, really…:) Take lots and lots of little steps to get where you want to go, instead of waiting for that one huge jump!

What has been the most notable highlight of your career so far?

Performing last year at the opening of the Manchester International Festival in Picadilly Gardens was truly an incredible experience. After going home that evening, we’ve watched the event back on BBC, and were really overwhelmed by having been a part of it all!

Other than yourself, who are you looking forward to seeing at mjf 2018?

I love brass bands, so I am definitely looking forward to the Broken Brass Ensemble and the Llareggub Brass Band!

Would you like to add anything?

Come see us at the Festival Square on the 21st of July!

For the full Festival Programme click here.

Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with Namvula, to find out when Namvula is playing mjf 2018 click here.

Name: Namvula

Name of the Band (if you’re in a band): Namvula

Where are you/the band from? Zambia / UK

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How did you get into music?

I’ve been writing songs since I was an early teenager, and playing various instruments (not superbly!) since childhood, so the career is an extension of that

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician?

Having a great performance that strikes audiences emotionally, touring to new places, discovering new types of food (yep, I’m a foodie!)

What is the least enjoyable part of being a musician?

The admin. Snooze!

Who is your favourite band or artist?

Too many to list here, but great loves are Cassandra Wilson, Nina Simone, Andy Palacio, Moses Sumney

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?

Some people will like your music, some people won’t. Just keep making the music you like.

What does it mean to you to play at manchester jazz festival?

It’s great to be back – the last time we had such great vibes from the audience, I hope for more this year around!

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that would like to follow in your steps?

Stay in love with your craft

What has been the most notable highlight of your career so far?

Recording my second album at seven months pregnant! Maybe not an accolade, but finding my way around all the gear with my belly was definitely notable!

Other than yourself, who are you looking forward to seeing at mjf 2018?

The Hackney Colliery Band, that are playing just after us. I’ve not yet had the pleasure, so I really look forward to that one!

For the full Festival Programme click here.

 

Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with Rob Luft, to find out when Elina Duni & Rob Luft are playing mjf 2018 click here.

Name: Rob Luft

Name of the Band (if you’re in a band): Elina Duni & Rob Luft Duo

Where are you/the band from?

I am from London. Elina is from Tirana, Albania, but lives in Zurich, Switzerland.

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How did you get into music?

I came to the guitar via my step-father, who plays in a & rock’n’roll covers band!

*Why did you form the band?

We formed our duo project in order to play jazz & folk songs from across Europe & to fuse our love of ancient traditional songs with jazz music.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician? 

Aside from playing with loads of other incredible musicians, the travelling part is pretty incredible. Elina & myself were lucky enough to tour in Chile a few months back which was astonishingly beautiful!

What is the least enjoyable part of being a musician?

Perhaps the travelling as well! Haha. I think the long car journeys, train journeys, plane journeys (& delays such as the one I’m enduring right now) are pretty horrendous!

Who is your favourite band or artist?

Myself & Elina are both huge fans of Bill Frisell’s music & also we love Radiohead!

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?

Mancunian guitarist Mike Walker has given me many great nuggets of wisdom over the years, but I’m not sure if I can reduce any of it to one sentence!

What does it mean to you to play at manchester jazz festival?

It should be lovely. My father’s family are all from South Manchester, so it’s a bit of a homecoming feeling!

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that would like to follow in your steps?

I suppose that you never know who you’re going to meet & when, so take every opportunity that you get. Keep playing, listening & writing new music & try to stay inspired to create.

What has been the most notable highlight of your career so far?

I have had many great opportunities over the past 5 or so years, but playing with the legendary big band Loose Tubes for their revival concerts in 2015 at Ronnie Scott’s was pretty unbeatable!!

Other than yourself, who are you looking forward to seeing at mjf 2018?

I would really like to catch Dave Holland’s gig with Zakir Hussain & Chris Potter.

For the full Festival Programme click here.

Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with Beats & Pieces, to find out when Beats & Pieces are playing mjf 2018 click here. 

Name: Ben Cottrell

Name of the Band (if you’re in a band): Beats & Pieces Big Band

Where are you/the band from? Manchester

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How did you get into music?

I got a little toy keyboard for Christmas one year when I must have been 6 or 7, from there I nagged my parents for piano lessons during which I was always encouraged to write my own music – then my primary school offered instrumental lessons so I started playing clarinet too, then saxophone when I went to secondary school and onto RNCM studying saxophone after that. Music was always playing around the house when I was a kid, so I guess that must have influenced me showing an interest in it

*Why did you form the band?

I was playing in big bands at RNCM and University of Manchester but a lot of the programmes were the classic repertoire stuff, which is obviously great music and fun to play but I was interested in more contemporary things. I was going to lots of rock/indie gigs in Manchester at the time, then discovered Acoustic Ladyland who were doing similar things to the rock/punk bands I was into, but with a saxophone at the front and with more sophisticated harmonic/rhythmic ideas. So then I realised that all sorts of music could be influences on a jazz composer, and decided to try writing things myself; decided that a big band would be my vehicle of choice (I figured there was loads of potential in using big band instruments but in rock band ways – horn section at 100% to sound like a Marshall stack for example). Got some of my favourite musicians together who I thought would get along musically and socially, initially just to play through my first two charts – 10 years later here we are…

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician? 

Touring and gigs – nothing like going out on the road with your friends, then standing in front of them on stage night after night while they put all their effort into playing your music. Makes all of the admin faff worth it

What is the least enjoyable part of being a musician?

All the admin faff… Certainly running a big band, there’s lots of emailing/calling/texting round musicians, writing funding applications, doing budgets (and trying somehow to make things add up) which can very easily distract from actually doing artistic things

Who is your favourite band or artist?

If I had to name one, it’s a massive cliché but probably Radiohead. Could also mention Bowie, Beach Boys, Björk…

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?

Figure out what it is you want to do and then do it

What does it mean to you to play at manchester jazz festival?

mjf has always been a special festival to me and the band. Steve and the team have been incredibly kind to us collectively and individually over the years in terms of offering their time and expertise whenever we’ve needed advice, as well as opportunities to perform and do things that we wouldn’t be able to do without their involvement – for example Beats & Pieces’ first ever gig at mjf 2008, and mjf originals commissions for myself in 2016 and our guitarist Anton Hunter in 2014

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that would like to follow in your steps?

Work hard, don’t stop

What has been the most notable highlight of your career so far?

I think winning the European Young Artists’ Jazz Award in Burghausen, Germany in 2011 made us all realise that people outside of our friendship group and outside of Manchester like and value what we’re doing, which gave us loads of confidence. Then in terms of gigs, our sold-out gig at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam in November 2017 at the end of biggest UK/EU tour to date was very special.

Other than yourself, who are you looking forward to seeing at mjf 2018?

Esther Swift – she’s an amazing musician and I’m really looking forward to hearing her new project! The mjf originals commissions are always highlights of the festival for me, I think mjf’s emphasis on commissioning and enabling new projects is vital to the Manchester/NW/UK scene and is one of the reasons why it’s such a special festival

Would you like to add anything?

Think that’s it!

For the full Festival Programme click here.