NB: This concert takes place at the Great Hall, Liverpool Hope University Creative Campus, 17 Shaw Street, Liverpool L6 1HP
Kit Downes - piano
Kit Downes is a BBC Jazz Award winning, Mercury Music Award nominated, solo recording artist for ECM Records who has toured the world with groups such as Squarepusher, Troyka, Empirical and Nostalgia 77, as well collaborative projects such ‘ENEMY’, ‘Vyamanikal’ and duo projects with Lucy Railton and Aidan O’Rourke.
In 2013 and 2015 he was nominated in the Rising Star category in Downbeat Magazine (US) (in piano and organ categories), and in 2014 won the 'Best Album Award' at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards. In 2015 Kit recorded his first album for ECM with Thomas Strønen’s Time is a Blind Guide. In 2014 he was asked by the Southbank Centre to write a new work for the opening festival of the recently refurbished Royal Festival Hall Organ. Then in 2015 he worked with Aldeburgh Music and Tom Challenger on a project called Vyamanikal - a series of recordings documenting extended techniques on various local church organs (often in various states of disrepair) - the project was later performed live at the Aldeburgh Festival as well as Manchester Jazz Festival and London Jazz Festival, as well as being made into a film. The same year he was asked by the Cologne Philharmonie to write a new work for their organ in 2016, and has performed original commissions by Shiva Feshareki for the Union Chapel Organ and St John at Hackney Organ.
He has previously been commissioned by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, The Royal Academy of Music, The Wellcome Trust, Darmstadt Organ Festival 2015, Folded Wing for BBC Radio 2, BBC Jazz on 3, Jazzwise Magazine, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, London Contemporary Music Festival, London Jazz Festival and Aldeburgh Music, as well as co-curating a music technology instillation at Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2016. He recently performed new works for Stavanger Organ Day 2017 at the Konserthus, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and the KoncertKirke Organ in Copenhagen, and has recorded a solo organ recording for the ECM label - released in January 2018 - his first solo album for ECM. He recorded and produced an album with folk singer Josienne Clarke for the Rough Trade label, and co-produced Benny Greb’s Moving Parts and Tre Voci’s latest record. Kit has also collaborated (on a range of acoustic and electronic instruments) with composers Matt Rogers and Mica Levi, electronic musician Leafcutter John, drummer Seb Rochford, filmmaker Ashley Pegg, artist Dave McKean, animator Lesley Barnes and geneticist Adam Rutherford.
Trevor Watts – saxophone
Stephen Grew – piano
Since the 1960's, saxophonist Trevor Watts has been at the forefront of many innovations within Jazz/World and Improvised Musical areas, both as a saxophone player, percussionist and composer. He is the only surviving founder member of the hugely influential Spontaneous Music Ensemble, and has through the years formed bands and collaborated with musicians as diverse as Don Cherry, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, Kent Carter, Rashied Ali, Steve Swallow, Bobby Bradford, Cyro Baptista and Stan Tracey. Currently his main artistic projects include a long-standing duo with pianist Veryan Weston, and work with the group Moire Music Drum Orchestra. He has performed internationally with both of these projects. Major Jazz Festival appearances include Womad, Glastonbury, San Francisco Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Freedom of the Plaza Festival July 4th in Washington DC, Singapore Arts Festival, Beijing & Shanghai Jazz Festivals, Berlin Jazz Fest, London Jazz Fest, Cervantino Festival, Mexico, New Zealand Festival of Arts, Wangaratta and Darling Harbour Festivals in Australia and many others. His latest solo saxophone CD Veracity was released to great acclaim in 2014.
Pianist Stephen Grew is one of Europe's most dedicated and imaginative pianists. His playing, free from the constraints of traditional harmonic, melodic and rhythmic structures, is a virtuosic tour -de -force of dynamic extremes, percussive effects and spontaneous atonal flourishes, by turn surprising, witty and breath-taking. In the mid-90s following a background in the visual and ceramic artists he decided to devote his full attention to music-making, producing tapes of solo piano music and promoting and supporting improvised music. In 1995 he formed his band Grew Trio which went on to tour Europe extensively. He has gone on to collaborate with some of the leading figures in free-improvised music including Pat Thomas, Paul Hession, Keith Tippett, Evan Parker and Clive Bell amongst many others.