Large Ensemble and 2019 round-up!

Realising that my last post was in January, I thought I’d better updated the millions of people who want to keep track of my music…

Firstly, my main achievement of 2019 was my successful participation in Sound and Music‘s New Voices programme.  This is an incredible scheme designed to help composers make changes to, and effect development within their work.  I used my time on the programme to translate my ideas that I’ve been developing with Fragments and other small groups to a larger setting.  Here’s a sample of what I did!

I’ll be releasing the full, hour-long performance before the end of the year so please subscribe to my YouTube channel to keep updated about that.

Also:

  • I toured a couple of times throughout the year with my quartet and we recorded our third album.  It’ll be released at some point in the new year.
  • Fragments released our first album (available on Bandcamp) on Northern Contemporary.  It has been describe as “stunning and impossible to ignore” by Big Beautiful Noise (although people are doing their best…), “an absorbing and compelling listening experience” by The Jazz Mann, and a “dense, imaginatively detailed and uncompromising diary of a virtuosic Improv group” by Jazzwise.
  • Imminently due for release, also on Northern Contemporary, is my piece Pale Blue Dot, recorded live at Jazz at the Lescar and with liners notes written by Jez Matthews.  You can actually already pick up a pre-release copy at the Lescar, Sheffield, on that brilliant Wednesday Jazz night.
  • In October I went on tour by myself, visiting different cities and playing with the brilliant local musicians the UK has to offer.  I performed in Birmingham, Glasgow, Keighley, London, Manchester, Norwich, Salford, Sheffield and Todmorden, with Mick Beck, Seth Bennett, Tony Bevan, Matthew Bourne, Olie Brice, Chris Dowding, Mark Hanslip, John Jasnoch, Dave Kane, Simon Prince, Cath Roberts, Alan Wilkinson and Andrew Woodhead!  I documented each gig and will be uploading to YouTube an extract from each gig every month next year, so please subscribe to my channel if you’re interested in hearing any of that!

I have loads of exciting things lined up for next year, but I’ll save that for another post!

JHQ winter tour and recording!

Next week my quartet will be out and about for the first time in quite a few months!  We’ve got some new material which I’m excited to try out.

22.01 Parrjazz @ Jacaranda Records, Liverpool
23.01 Jazz at the Lescar, Sheffield
24.01 Matt & Phred’s, Manchester

Click here for the Facebook event with more information.

We’ll then be recording a new album, the last one being almost three years old!  I can’t wait to get the new stuff out there!

There is quite a lot of exciting new things happening for me at the moment, but they deserve their own post – watch this space!

Pale Blue Dot

Here is an extract from our performance of my piece, ‘Pale Blue Dot’, at Jazz at the Lescar earlier this summer.  I’m currently booking in dates for the new year, so keep a look out for that.  Read more about the project here.

Incidentally, congratulations to Jez, Hannah, Rich and the team at Jazz at the Lescar for picking up the Parliamentary Jazz Award for best Jazz venue in the UK!  Fully deserved!

Also, my quartet will be doing a small run of dates in January then there will be a couple of other short tours dotted throughout the year.  There is also plans for another album to be released next year!

Fragments!

I have a lot of exciting things happening at the moment, one in particular is my piano trio with Adam Fairhall (piano) and Seth Bennett (double bass), Fragments.  I started this group about four years ago as a workshop band to explore different approaches to integrating Free Improvisation and composition and the work we’ve done has been hugely exciting for me.  It feels like we are only at the beginning and there are still many more ideas that we are currently working on that are yet to make a public appearance.

Here is a short extract from our concert at the Manchester Jazz Festival, 2017.

We are really pleased to be releasing our first album this summer on Northern Contemporary, so keep a look out for that.

2016

I wrote this post a month ago but never published it, so here it is…

I have lots of exciting things lined up for this year.  First off, my trio with Adam Fairhall and Seth Bennett (Fragments) have been signed to the Northern Contemporary record label.  We are also going away for a residential at the end of January for intense rehearsals, workshopping new ideas, getting drunk and playing Micro Machines on the Megadrive.

In February, my quartet will be embarking on a short week long tour of the UK.  We will be debuting a whole load of new material which explores some very different areas.  You can see us at Jazz at the Oxford (London), Jazz at the Spotted Dog (Birmingham), Matt & Phred’s (Manchester), the Caledonia (Liverpool), and Number 39 (Darwen) – check my calendar for details.

Towards the end of last year, we recorded a new album with Nat Birchall.  The line-up being Nat (saxes), Adam Fairhall (piano), Mick Bardon (double bass), Andy Hay (drums) and myself – two drummers!  It felt like a really special session and a track from it has already been played on Jamie Cullum’s BBC Radio 2 show.  We have a couple of exciting gigs in the diary too, one of which being a support slot for the Roy Hargrove Quintet.

Cath Roberts’s group, Sloth Racket, will be very active this year.  We recorded her album in November so that should be out soon.  We are taking it on tour in May (and potentially October too); check her website for details.

I’m also excited about a new duo with Mark Hanslip (tenor sax), playing tunes and, of course, Free Improv; Adam Fairhall has started an organ trio with me and Dave Birchall (guitar), which will be the first time I’ve played properly with Dave and I’ve always enjoyed his playing so I’m looking forward to that; I have a really nice trio called In & Out Trio with Paul Baxter (double bass) and Stuart MacDonald (tenor sax) who will be touring in June, playing Jazz standards in a fashion more akin to the second Miles Davis Quintet; and also, I will be visiting France to play the Nantes Jazz festival, and a few other shows, in May with Misha Gray’s Prehistoric Jazz Quintet.

It’s going to be a good year!

The first Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival and some recording.

Last week was the first ever Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival organised by a great team of people led by Daniel Spicer.  It was an incredible line-up of musicians over two days, focusing on the more progressive Jazz.  Both days sold out.  It was a really special event to be a part of; performing with Corey Mwamba and Dave Kane in their trio, Yana, and just being surrounded by incredible musicians all day.  It was a bit intimidating arriving at the venue and running into brilliant drummers around every corner!

There was a great atmosphere and amazing music; I’m really looking forward to it again next year!

In other news, the monthly large ensemble residency at the Wonder Inn, the Manchester Jazz Collective, have just been into the studio to record.  It was a good session and I hope it’ll be available for people to listen to soon.  I’ve also been in the studio recording for Tom Thorp’s group, Mercury.  I enjoy playing music that’s very different to what I usually do, especially when it’s with lovely people!  Here’s a video of one of the tracks.

Paris and Parisians

Last week, Jazz North sent the Anton Hunter Trio to Paris along with Ben Cottrell and Cath Roberts for a cross-channel collaboration between Efpi Records and Onze Heures Onze.  We spent the first day with Julien Pontvianne and Alexandre Herer from OHO, improvising and playing around with various compositions that each of us brought along.  On the second day, I played at le Studio de l’Hermitage with Anton’s trio alongside three incredible musicians, Jozef Dumoulin (solo Rhodes and effects) and Donkey Monkey (Eve Risser and Yuko Oshima).

We were looked after so well whilst we were over there and everyone we met was really friendly and helpful.  I’m really looking forward to OHO’s visit to the UK this August where we’ll play together again at this year’s Manchester Jazz Festival.

Also, the two weeks before we went to France, I enjoyed playing a run of gigs around the North of England with the incredibly talented Paris-based guitarist/composer, and genuinely lovely person, Hugo Corbin.  It’s always great fun playing in his group, he writes good (and challenging…) music and is a great improviser too, I can’t wait to do it again in the future!

2015

During the second half the 2014, I did a lot of recording with various different groups and around Christmas, my inbox was flooded with various mixes of several of the projects.  It looks like it’s going to be an exciting year with many different albums all due to be released at some point.

The Spirit Farm (Slam) – Adam Fairhall (piano), Christophe de Bezenac (tenor sax), Corey Mwamba (vibes), Anton Hunter (guitar), Dave Kane (double bass), Johnny Hunter (drums)
Article XI (Efpi Records) – Anton Hunter (guitar), Graham South and Nick Walters (trumpet), Richard Foote and Seth Bennett (trombone), Mette Rasmussen (alto sax), Sam Andreae (tenor sax), Cath Roberts (baritone sax), Eero Tikkanen (double bass), Johnny Hunter (drums)
Johnny Hunter Quartet ‘WHILE WE STILL CAN’ (Efpi Records)- Graham South (trumpet), Ben Watte (tenor sax), Stewart Wilson (double bass), Johnny Hunter (drums)
Engine Room Favourites ‘BAD TIDINGS FROM SLACKWATER DRAG’ (Discus) – Martin Archer (sopranino, alto & baritone sax, bass recorder), Mick Beck (tenor sax & bassoon), Laura Cole (piano), Corey Mwamba (vibes), Graham Clark (violin), Seth Bennett (bass), Peter Fairclough, Walt Shaw, Johnny Hunter, Steve Dinsdale (percussion) – http://discus-music.co.uk/dis50cd.htm
Nat Birchall Quintet (Jazzman Records) – Nat Birchall (tenor & soprano sax), Adam Fairhall (piano), Tim Fairhall (double bass), Johnny Hunter (drums), Christian Weaver (percussion) with guest John Ellis (Hammond organ)
Fragments – Adam Fairhall (piano), Seth Bennett (double bass), Johnny Hunter (drums)
Marley Chingus/Misha Gray Quintet – Bob Whittaker (tenor sax), Misha Gray (piano), Hugo Harrison (double bass), Johnny Hunter (drums), Nick Walters (trumpet), Kyran Matthews (tenor sax)
Angie King – Angie King (vocals) with John King (guitar) and Matt Owens (double bass)
Martin Archer ‘GO HEAVY’ (Discus) – percussion quartet, string quartet, vocal quartet, with Philip Thomas (piano) and Simon Fell (double bass)

Also, there are plans for recording the next Skamel album, ‘C’EST UN SAFARI’, and I have the next three Johnny Hunter Quartet albums planned out which we have already started work on.  As well as these, I am going to be focussing on Fragments, with Adam Fairhall and Sethh Bennett, and a new trio with Sam Andreae and Dave Kane.  It’s going to be a good year!