Leading UK jazz saxophonist Courtney Pine and the newly minted Jazz Warriors collective join for the high-powered and intense Afropeans live show at Town Hall Birmingham on 26 March 2009.
With a restyled line-up that includes Shabaka Hutchins (reeds), Omar Puente (violin), Alex Wilson (piano) and Jason Yarde (musical director) amongst others, the cross generation Jazz Warriors return with the same energetic spirit that defined their 1986 debut, Out of One Many People Come.
Reinventing the relationships between funk, reggae and jazz with the 2008 live album Afropeans, the extraordinary ensemble push musical originality to new levels, yet embracing the work and styles of luminaries such as Charles Mingus, David Murray and John Coltrane.
A collection of diverse influences including Latin piano work, West African percussion and classic Caribbean steel pan melodies, the Afropeans project is more than just an assembly of sounds and an arrangement of thoughts.
Recorded in one straight session with no retakes or overdubs and performed to mark the bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slavery Act, the raw, exciting sound is a huge celebration of Black British musicianship today, defined by the following description by Courtney Pine:
Afropeans: to be part of African descent and to exist in Europe, culturally, spiritually or in this case, musically.
The Jazz Warriors make a bold statement with an uplifting and accessible attitude that embraces the rich heritage of African-Caribbean music – this is a rare opportunity to see the cream of UK jazz talent in an intimate setting.
Courtney Pine, Chris Storr, Colin Graham, Mark Crown, Trevor Edwards, Jason Yarde, Shabaka Hutchings, Omar Puente, Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Alex Wilson, Samuel Dubois, Darren Taylor, Robert Fordjour, Donald Gamble.
2009 sees the 50th anniversary of legendary US record label Motown. To celebrate, Town Hall Birmingham presents Motorcity Roots with Jazz Jamaica – a very special evening of classic Detroit soul with an upbeat Caribbean twist on 17 April.
Jazz Jamaica, ska group extraordinaire, is made up of leading figures from the UK jazz, reggae and funk scenes, and plays feel good music with serious bass rhythms, a bold brass section, and irresistable mento and rocksteady melodies alongside stunning jazz solos.
Led by original Jazz Warrior member and bassist Gary Crosby, the world-class line-up includes
New Orleans trumpeter Abram Wilson, MOBO award winning saxophonist Denys Baptiste and top UK Latin pianist and Jazz Warrior member Alex Wilson.
Formed in 1991, the raucously vivacious dance band went on to win the Best Band category in the 2002 BBC Jazz Awards, Ensemble of the Year in the 2006 Parliamentary Jazz Awards and secure their place as leading skazz (ska and jazz fusion) artists with fourth album Motorcity Roots (Dune 2006).
With an overwhelming feel good reggae flavour to soul and RnB hits such as Tears of a Clown, You Keep Me Hangin’ On, Dancing in the Streets, Easy, and What’s Goin’ On, the evening concert at Town Hall Birmingham will be a fantastic celebration of the unique Motown sound.
Founded in 1957 by Berry Gordy, the Motown record label shot to international fame with artists such as Smokey Robinson, Stevie wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Jackson 5 and The Temptations playing important parts in its success.
Jazz Jamaica Motorcity Roots line-up:
Gary Crosby, Abram Wilson, Denys Baptiste, Alex Wilson, Harry Brown, and Rod Youngs, with Zara McFarlane, Baby Sol and J’Nay on vocals.
The exhibition The Story of the Supremes runs from 21 Feb to 7 June at Birmingham’s Waterhall