Folk-inspired jazz from Tony Woods group
An evening of eloquent, melodic, folk-inspired jazz from the Tony Woods Project is in store at Jazz Hastings’ April concert, as Julian Norridge explains.
The Tony Woods Project, who have been touring for some 20 years, have been described by one critic as “one of the most interesting and thoughtful groups on the British jazz scene.”
A saxophonist and flautist, Tony Woods was born along the coast in Southampton and grew up in Chilworth Old Village, where he started playing folk music with his father at the age of five.
After graduating at Keele University, he studied jazz at Leeds College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music. He has performed at the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room, Ronnie Scott’s Club and the Pizza Express Jazz Club.
He started the Tony Woods Project in the mid-1990s. Since then the band have released three critically acclaimed albums featuring Tony’s original, folk-inspired compositions – melodic, quirky and uplifting – as well as exciting solos from every member of the band.
One aspect of the music is the way collective improvisations (reminiscent of early forms of jazz where the instrumentalists weaved their lines around each other) are incorporated into bigger structures.
The band’s unusual line-up features guitar virtuoso Mike Outram, who has recorded more than 30 CDs and toured all over Europe. He also teaches guitar at several music colleges, including the Royal Academy of Music. On drums will be Milo Fell, who has been described in the jazz press as “a musician who plays drums rather than a drummer”.
On vibes is long-time associate Robert Millett, who trained at the Royal College of Music as a percussionist and has played with the Ballet Rambert and the English National Touring Opera as well as leading jazz bands. Andy Hamill , who has played with legends such as Annie Ross and Nitinh Sawhnie, will be on bass.
All of them play with wonderful group empathy and respect for each other and the music. As one critic put it, they offer “magical atmospheres, vivid instrumental playing, a wonderful sense of ensemble improvisation and a poignant sense of theme running through the tracks; light, shadow, wind and sea.”
Sounds perfect for Hastings.
Tony Woods Project Jazz Hastings April session, Tuesday 4 April , East Hastings Sea Angling Association (on The Stade behind the lifeboat station). Doors open at 7.45pm for an 8.30 start, tickets £10 on the door.
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