Manchester Jazz Festival, an event unlike any other on the jazz festival circuit, has announced not one but two new commissions to premiere at this years festival 13 – 21 July 2012.
MJF originals, the festival scheme that pioneers new work, will produce Sound Games, the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Pete Moser, and Songs of the Caged Bird, a new song cycle by composer-pianist George King, featuring arguably Manchester’s finest jazz vocalist Doreen Edwards.
The commissions give a voice to top North West artists, offering a unique opportunity and actively encouraging creative innovation.
In 2012 MJF celebrates 17 years of musical mystery and risk, and 3 years ago launched the MJF originals scheme to support talented musician-composers with something original to say. The commissions give a voice to top North West artists, offering a unique opportunity and actively encouraging creative innovation.
Inspired by 2012 as Olympic year, Sound Games will involve improvisations, songs and compositions stimulated directly by athletic movements and moments. “I love music that is a response to a context where the music is making things happen” says Pete. “Improvisation is at the heart of what I do, and I thought there was huge potential in actually working with athletes to discover where the two worlds met.” Pete (also notably the Fastest-One-Man-Band-In-The-World), will bring together a team of 8 leading jazz improvisers to help turn observations into music. “I want listeners to be exhilarated by the same excitement and adrenaline you might get from attending a football match or competitive event, not knowing how the music is going to end up!” Produced in collaboration with More Music Morecambe, Sound Games will be staged in the Festival Pavilion and is sure to be playful, visual and fun.
Songs of the Caged Bird is a song cycle for jazz singer, an unusual and under-explored format, based on poems and speeches from the US civil rights period: “I want the message to be optimistic…the challenge for me will be to create a single piece from the work of various authors and make it sound like a cohesive whole” says George. A renowned jazz pianist, George is also recognised for his contemporary classical compositions, which have been featured on BBC Radio 3 and performed across Europe and the US. “It’s a privilege, knowing the calibre of the musicians we have in Manchester, to be asked to create a major work for MJF and perform it in my home city.” Songs of the Caged Bird, will also feature a string octet from Manchester Camerata, with whom MJF are delighted to be collaborating, and be performed at the RNCM.
MJF’s artistic director Steve Mead says “These two fascinating and contrasting projects embody the spirit and range of new work we want to help create through MJF originals”
MJF are delighted with the success of the unique originals scheme, with commissions becoming highlights of the festival programme and must see events with audiences. Last year’s pianist composer Adam Fairhall is currently celebrating the release of his piece The Imaginary Delta on CD with Slam Records, the UK jazz and improvised music specialists. Jazzwise reviewer Chris Ackerley nominated Adam’s MJF originals work as his gig of 2011.