Alan Wakeman – a tribute to himself

Posted by on Mar 14, 2022

Alan Wakeman – a tribute to himself

Alan Wakeman is so unassuming that one can lose sight of what a creative presence he is and has been for many years on the British jazz scene. Fortunately other people have contrived to bring him into the spotlight where he richly deserves to be.  In this ‘tribute to himself’,  his groundbreaking recordings for BBC Jazz Workshop (1969) and Jazz In Britain (1979) are the focus.  They were re-issued in 2020 on Gearbox Records and have won a fistful of encomiums, not least featuring in the Critics’ Polls of New York City Jazz Record and Jazzwise magazines. Chaturanga Suite Now Alan has assembled a high-powered band to take this music out on the road.  The band comprises some of the original performers and others of the calibre required to do the music justice.  Henry Lowther (trumpet) and Art Themen (saxophone), John Horler (piano) and Paul Nieman (trombone) are the veterans.  Asif Sirkis (drums), Arnie Somogyi (bass), Peter Whyman (clarinet) and Miguel Gorodi (trumpet) complete the ensemble, billed as Alan Wakeman’s Octet. Dates so far include Ronnie Scott’s (May 8th), Exeter Phoenix (May 10th), Birmingham Jazz Festival (May 13th) and Dorking Watermill (May 17th). We at Interplay wish Alan the very best for the tour and are booking our seats right now to experience this unique and very British jazz live in person....

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Kenilworth gets on its feet

Posted by on Sep 21, 2021

Kenilworth got on its feet on Saturday night when Interplay appeared in party mood. With balmy temperatures, the rain mercifully scarce and a comfortably relaxed crowd in Talisman Square we were all of one mind – to groove! Venezuelan pianist Edgar Macias, sitting in for Neil Hunter, brought a truly authentic touch to our Latin set. Not only that, his vocal rendition of ‘Chan Chan’ was really romantic, according to at least one female audience member! As the gig coincided with the 25th anniversary of the great Buena Vista Social Club recordings this was very timely indeed. Our other guest was trumpeter Carol Whitworth, standing in for trombonist Richard Baker, and herself from Kenilworth. Carol’s initially cool playing got hotter and hotter as the night went on, especially on funkier numbers like ‘Memphis Shout’. Interplay stalwarts Alan Wakeman (saxes and flute) and Dave Balen (drums and percussion) were in fine form too, whether on the Latin repertoire or some of the band’s more off-the-wall numbers like ‘Norbert Dentressangle’ and ‘No Trouble’. Thanks very much to Kenilworth Arts Festival for having us, and we look forward to making the Square move again at a future festival! Bohemia After Dark? No its...

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Interplay for Kenilworth Arts Festival

Posted by on Sep 4, 2021

Interplay for Kenilworth Arts Festival

Interplay will be appearing at Kenilworth Arts Festival on Saturday 18th September at 7.30pm. This is an outdoor gig so the emphasis is very much on lively, groove-filled music to get you moving – in your seat or on your feet! After our long lay-off we are delighted to be appearing in the Warwick district again. This follows our highly enjoyable outing at All Saints Church Leamington in August. Check out the gig details here. Information about Kenilworth Arts Festival is here. Dress warmly...

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Looking Forward to Live Music?

Posted by on Jul 20, 2020

Looking Forward to Live Music?

Are you looking forward to live music again? Who isn’t! Please take this very short survey to help us plan for returning to live music. It will take less than 5 minutes, and there’s a free prize draw too… https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PBMQQBV

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New video – ‘Pearly Light’.

Posted by on Oct 8, 2019

New video – ‘Pearly Light’.

Our new video – ‘Pearly Light’ – is now up to watch! It’s been a while since we videoed ourselves. This track is a lucky combination of some super shots by photographer Mark Ludbrook (@sportsshots) and some live recording, both caught while we were at Chesterfield Jazz Club in March 2019....

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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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