Thursday, 11 December 2014

Michael Chillingworth writes down music and then plays it with his friends and it sounds very good

Michael Chillingworth is a powerful musician to see live, and he's been on the scene for some time - he appears in Rick Simpson's band Klammer (In fact, the first time I saw Chillingworth play was alongside Rick at a Guildhall jam session around 06/07 - I remember there was a microphone clipped onto his horn for some reason, and over the course of his solo had turned around enough times to end up thoroughly entangled in the lead).

The lineup says a lot about how great this band is:
  • Michael Chillingworth – Alto
  • Tom Challenger – Tenor
  • Josh Arcoleo – Tenor
  • George Crowley – Bass Clarinet
  • Ralph Wyld – Vibes
  • Sam Lasserson – Bass
  • Jon Scott – Drums
Familiar names, for sure - so I feel I should qualify: The more I write about this scene, the more you'll see that the same names, partnerships and sections coming up again and again. There's a strong sense of collective (even if the more formal collectives like Loop seem to have wained slightly) where these guys all chip in to play - and admire - each other's music. It's one of the things that makes this such an inspiring scene to write about - I genuinely feel like something great is happening and I want to capture it, and share it.

This septet are recording an album early next year - and judging by the performance I heard at the Oxford (Mike has since uploaded recordings - below!), this will have quite an impact on Jazz. It will hopefully draw some attention to the sort of mid-size ensemble writing/playing that shows how skilled and creative these guys are. Chillingworth is emblematic of this generation of jazz musician: a sculptor and architect with a keen sense of form, flow, colour and texture - he is surrounded by a community of generous, like-minded creative musicians all armed with ridiculous facility and a contagious sense of humour. The resulting music is exactly as great as it should be: