Leam Jazz gig is off.

Posted by on Jul 17, 2019

Just announced – Leamington Rugby Club, home of Leam Jazz, is unavailable tomorrow. Some drastic and previously unannounced maintenance means the Clubhouse is unusable for a few days. More details here. Many apologies to our audience – hopefully another date can be rescheduled soon.

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Harping On About Alina…

Posted by on May 10, 2019

Harping On About Alina…

Pardon me for harping on about Alina (Bzhezhinska) and Tony (Kofi), but our concert with them on Sunday 5th May was too good to let it simply disappear into ‘past events’. We knew Tony of course – Neil and I had both worked with him before. Alina and the harp as an instrument were much less familiar, although preceded by her fulsome reputation. We listened to her music, went to see her perform, and dusted off our Alice Coltrane CDs. Tony and Alina kindly agreed to play some Interplay tunes as well as bringing their own material. I proposed numbers that might suit a Coltrane-inspired programme. ‘Gratitude’, ‘Spanish Step’, ‘Slow Flame’ and ‘Rising on Thermals’ all made the cut with McCoy Tyner’s ‘Contemplation’, leaving me with the delightful task of re-arranging them for the expanded line-up. We rehearsed the new charts and studied Alina’s parts, some of which were a few notes with one-line instructions. They would depend entirely on our finding the right feel on the night. On the afternoon before the gig we worked through the whole programme – and were delighted to find there was a natural sympathy between us. Alina was clear about what she wanted and we were happy to provide it. Tony’s virtuosity in the front line seemed to throw Alan and Richard’s abilities into sharper relief, not leave them in the shade. Before the concert Alina, prompted by Matthew Wright from In The Moment, talked engagingly and humorously about her musical development and growing engagement with jazz. It is integral to In The Moment’s approach to offer insights into the music alongside its performance, and the audience enjoyed Alina’s openness and honesty. Then came the concert. Alina and Tony set out their stall with the opening sequence; ‘Wisdom Eye’ and ‘Blue Nile’ by Alice Coltrane, and Alina’s tenderly hopeful tune ‘Spero’. We supported them in our characteristic way, with Dave’s percussion in particular laying out textures and colours differing from their usual arrangements, and to which Tony and Alina readily responded. Several Interplay tunes followed, memorable for me especially for Tony’s storming solo on ‘Gratitude’, before the first set culminated with a moody and muscular ‘Dahomey Dance’. A different vibe opened the second set: Dorothy Ashby’s bright Soul-Jazz anthem ‘Action Line’, featuring electric bass and Alan’s flute. Alina then gave an ethereal aura to ‘Rising On Thermals’, sensitively accompanied by Neil with...

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Interplay – 10 years together!

Posted by on Apr 3, 2019

Interplay – 10 years together!

Interplay Jazz Group – 10 years Together Creating Music! In our fast-moving world it can be hard to find something that has been allowed enough time to mature and develop.  Interplay is a band that has taken that time, reaching our current state of evolution through a journey of ten years. The band brings together the talents and experience of five exceptional musicians, each fuelled by diverse musical influences. Together we work on performing largely original material to make it our own.  Alan Wakeman, (saxes, flute), and Richard Baker (trombone) form an unusual and well-balanced front line. Coming from very different starting points and bringing contrasting styles they have evolved a close musical understanding.  Neil Hunter (keyboard), Adrian Litvinoff (basses) and Dave Balen (drums, percussion) weave together all kinds of dynamics – assertive, fluid, spacious and energetic, as the music requires.  All the band are striking and expressive soloists. The tunes, mainly by bassist and leader Adrian Litvinoff, provide hugely varied settings for the band’s invention and spontaneity.  He says “It is a serious privilege to have had these guys’ attention, musicianship and support over such a long period.  It means I can draw on our mutual understanding to produce music that reflects each individual’s creativity, and also aim for musical realms that more temporary bands are unlikely to reach”. From Village Hall to Concert Hall Also striking about Interplay is the range of audiences we have encountered over the years. In Jazz clubs, concert rooms and festivals, sure, but we have also played in churches, village halls, community centres, even the occasional stately home!  We love playing to people who are enthusiastic and knowledgable about jazz, of course, but there is a different vibe and job to do when the audience has no real idea what they are going to hear.  It’s our chance to help them savour something completely new! We try to do so without compromising the music in any way, and we find that people appreciate and respond to that. In recent years we have had the good fortune to perform in memorable concerts with some great guest artists. These include Claude Deppa, John Etheridge, Norma Winstone and Annie Whitehead, and thanks for this are mainly due to In The Moment, a voluntary promotions group based in Adrian’s home town, Leamington Spa.  In May 2019 the band is appearing there with Alina Bzhezhinska and Tony...

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Double bubble! Tony Kofi joins Alina Bzhezhinska for Interplay gig.

Posted by on Feb 28, 2019

Double bubble! Tony Kofi joins Alina Bzhezhinska for Interplay gig.

We are very excited to confirm not one but two guest artists for IJD 2019! Alina Bzhezhinska, the acclaimed harpist, is coming with the marvellous saxophonist Tony Kofi. Their recent album ‘Inspiration’ has been a fantastic success as a tribute to Alice and John Coltrane  and a showcase for Alina’s unique sound and style on the harp. Now based in London, Ukrainian Alina Bzhezhinska is an internationally renowned, exciting and accomplished harpist. She has performed with leading classical and jazz musicians and her critically acclaimed Quartet, with saxophonist Tony Kofi, led the 80th Birthday celebrations for Alice Coltrane around the UK in 2017. Their appearance at the EFG London Jazz Festival in a special triple bill featuring Denys Baptiste and Pharoah Sanders – ‘A Concert for Alice and John’ – was nominated for Best Live Experience of the Year at the 2018 Jazz FM Awards. The Quartet’s album, Inspiration, was released in June 2018. “I set myself on a mission to tell Alice and John Coltrane’s story in my own words, through my own interpretation of their music and my compositions,” explains Alina. Having ‘cut his teeth’ in the “Jazz Warriors” of the early 90’s, award-winning saxophonist Tony Kofi is well established on the international jazz scene. He has worked with many leading bands and artists including The World Saxophone Quartet, Donald Byrd, Abdullah Ibrahim, The David Murray Big Band, Ornette Coleman and Jazz Jamaica. His fluent and fiery hard-bop playing is constantly in demand and his recent projects include A Portait of Cannonball Adderley and Tony Kofi & The Organisation. This combination will give Interplay some challenges, as well as opportunities to explore the sound qualities of the harp. At the same time the three horn front line will create a richer ensemble and bring some added excitement. The tunes will be by Alina and other composers as well as from Adrian’s repertoire. Alina will give a short informal Q & A session at 6.30pm prior to the concert. Admission to the talk is free. We are also trying a different venue this time. Victoria House is a period mansion close to the centre of Leamington. It is easily reached, fully accessible and with a friendly atmosphere. Details of the gig including ticket availability are here....

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Annie Whitehead for International Jazz Day

Posted by on Mar 4, 2018

Annie Whitehead for International Jazz Day

Annie Whitehead is to be Interplay’s special guest for In The Moment’s International Jazz Day concert, on April 29th this year. A truly individual trombonist, Annie has worked with top international and UK jazz ensembles. She also has an enviable portfolio of partnerships in other genres including with Robert Wyatt, Joan Armatrading, Elvis Costello and Charlie Watts. Annie has a special affinity it for African Jazz, and that will feature within the concert programme. There will also be some two-trombone action with Interplay’s Richard Baker, who describes himself as a big fan of Annie’s playing. As if that isn’t enough, the evening will also feature the marvellous Coventry singer Letitia George. Letitia has had an enormous impact at in The Moment’s Blues Revues last year, and now we are really looking forward to welcoming her into the world of jazz. For details of the gig and booking information look...

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Alan Wakeman – another ‘milestone’!

Posted by on Oct 27, 2017

Interplay saxophonist Alan Wakeman recently reached a milestone birthday this year. Matthew D. Wright has written about his considerable track record and his continuing contribution to jazz, and this appraisal appeared recently in Jazzwise Magazine. http://www.jazzwisemagazine.com/breaking-news/14735-westbrook-and-wakeman-line-up-with-the-uncommon-orchestra-for-a-bigger-show               Many Happy Returns...

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2017 Vocalist of the Year – Norma Winstone

Posted by on Apr 29, 2017

2017 Vocalist of the Year – Norma Winstone

Renowned jazz singer Norma Winstone, who is Interplay’s guest on May 1st, has just won another accolade – 2017 Vocalist of the Year – in the Jazz FM Awards. Norma maintains a full schedule in this country and abroad, between Nikki Iles’ Printmakers and her own international trio, besides a huge range of other projects. We are really privileged to have her, and will have to be absolutely on our mettle! Tickets are still available online at time of writing from Wegottickets, and there will be a limited number at the door. The concert starts at 7.30pm in the Restaurant in the Park, Jephson’s Gardens. See our events page for further...

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