BA (Hons) Popular Music student Toni Mcvey recently entered a worldwide competition for female drummers and was chosen by judges to be week 4 winner and subsequently entered to the final 24. At the end of the competition Toni was crowned Hit Like a Girl 2017 UK 18+ Champion. Toni has as a result received various great prizes from Zildjian, Roland, Vic Firth, Evans and many more. Toni says “I am so pleased with my progress in this Worldwide competition, and shocked! Hard work pays off and I would recommend all female drummers to enter in 2018. Hit like a girl is a great confidence booster and a great networking, contact building opportunity”.
Today we hosted the winner of the Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year award, bassist David Bowden and band in our studios for a session that featured the finest of young Scottish jazz (including our own alumnus the spectacular Ben MacDonald on guitar). Four stunning tracks were recorded under the supervision of Paul Ferguson and Haftor Medbøe with support from technical staff Rune Hansen and Craig Ainslie. Looking forward to hearing the finalised tracks and delighted to have worked with Jazz From Scotland on this exciting project.
In early February 2017 we were delighted to welcome drummer, educator, and author Gareth Dylan Smith, of The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, to present a handful of guest lectures to our students. His energy and enthusiasm for music and education was inspiring. He spoke with eloquence and empathy on Eudaimonia in music in a thought-provoking presentation that reminded us all of the importance of enjoying ourselves in our chosen vocations. The concepts he discussed are explored fully in his recent publication I Drum, Therefore I Am
Gareth has written a blog about the experience: Have a read: Edinburgh Napier University by Gareth Dylan Smith
‘Come The Revolution’ is a concept event exploring recent political and social issues with live music performances. It takes place on Wednesday 22nd March at The Voodoo Rooms (Ballroom) and all proceeds are going towards supporting The Lake of Stars Arts Festival in Malawi.
Tickets cost £7 (plus booking fee) in advance and £10 on the door and it is an 18+ event. For more info on the event including times, where to get tickets and the lineup, follow the event link below. It’s shaping up to be our biggest show yet – get along!
An incredible opportunity to learn from these contemporary masters of jazz. Jim Hart, Michael Janisch and Dave Smith share their immense knowledge and experience of composition and arrangement techniques as well as some tricks of the trade in jazz improvisation. The Trio will also take questions in a Q&A session.
– An unmissable opportunity for local jazz students and musicians.
The Cloudmakers Trio are playing two different gigs at The Jazz Bar on the 8th and 9th of March, both 8.30pm-11.30pm, £10/£8. For the second of their gigs, on the 9th, the Trio are joined by Austrian-born guitarist Hannes Riepler and French-based alto saxophonist Anton Tri Hoang for a collaboration that will see the band exploring their renown cataclysm of exciting rhythmical interplay paired with the two front line voices in what will surely result in their strongest program of original, genre-twisting music to date.
Under the leadership of the award-winning multi-instrumentalist Jim Hart (a founding member of London’s Loop Collective), Cloudmakers Trio represents the culmination of over a decade of musical growth between three of the finest musicians currently working on the international jazz, improvised and alternative music scenes. With their uncompromising approach, Cloudmakers Trio effortlessly marry the complex with accessibility, the improvised with composed, and showcase original music that lies somewhere between New York’s downtown sound and the modern European tradition. As a result their music defies easy category yet draws influence from a diverse range of traditions, featuring the under-exploited format of the vibraphone trio. While pushing the boundaries of what can be done with this instrumentation they remain devoted to in the moment risk taking, a deep groove and strong melodies.
£8/£6 – those attending the masterclass earn half price (£5) entry to the Cloudmakers ‘Five’ gig beginning at 8.30pm
[No advance tickets are available – cash paid upon entry]
A new five-day course developed specifically for vocalists, run alongside the Edinburgh Napier University Jazz Summer School at the University’s Merchiston Campus, providing an extensive introduction to singing jazz. We welcome singers age 16 and above of all abilities and experience. Through working together as a vocal ensemble and alone as soloists, students will develop their skills in vocal technique, performance, interpretation and approaches to improvisation, culminating in a concert at a city centre venue as part of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. Students are offered complimentary tickets to nightly selected concerts promoted by our Festival partners.
£300/£250 (concessions for under 18, student, unwaged and OAP)
For further information/booking contact Jessie Bates – jessiebates(at)gmail.com
Toni Mcvey was recently approached and offered a full endorsement by the British Drum Company. She met with Keith Keough (founder) and award winning master drum builder, in Stockport and was given a tour of the factory. The British Drum Company artists include Ian Matthews, Kasabian. Joe Donovan, Blossoms. Issac Holman, Slaves and many more. Toni says: “I feel honoured to be a British Drum Company Artist and to be part of such a lovely team.”
Students are warmly invited to a master class by Trio HLK at 13:00 in the Masters Studio (live room) on Wednesday 30th November. Spaces are limited – first come, first served.
Trio HLK is the union of three distinct, forward thinking musical personalities.
At the centre sits drum and percussion virtuoso Richard Kass. He is a powerful, polyrhythmic engine whose multi-limbic facility affords him a wealth of textures and multiple layers of expression, unimaginable (and certainly unplayable) for most drummers. He executes rhythms at more than one tempo simultaneously, which often draws comparison to electronica and computer generated music. The standard drumset is augmented with numerous bells and chimes, hugely expanding the range of sounds.
Guitarist Ant Law plays a bespoke extended range electric guitar with 8 strings and a variety of effects, creating ambience and sonorities. This, the only electric instrument in the ensemble, provides a contrast to the acoustic elements from the piano and drums. He is known mostly as a jazz musician, but his interests and musicianship spread further and wider than that, and influences from heavy metal and elsewhere shine through at times.
At the helm sits classical pianist and composition mastermind Richard Harrold. From a young age Harrold was immersed totally in contemporary classical music. This led him to study composition in London (at the Royal Academy of Music) and in New York (at the Yale School of Music). His approach encompasses recomposition and decomposition as much as pure composition itself. His harmonic realm is the border between tonality and atonality, and there is a strong sense of rhythmic and melodic development throughout his writing.
A belief in the high art of improvisation and intrigue with the infinite art and science of rhythm is what brings H, L and K together. Together they address ambitious improvisational frameworks which often resemble contemporary classical music more than jazz. Their music features dense, complex rhythms and textures, and virtuosic improvisation. Their pieces are strewn with temporal distortions, modulations, implied modulations, rhythmic tricks, and harmonic ambiguities. Whilst they reference a huge and disparate range of styles, their sound distils these styles, unifying them with a unique instrumentation and fearless approach. Audiences and critics inevitably confuse the meeting point of the composed and the improvised, an effect achieved by countless hours the band has spent practising together. The resulting music operates on a number of levels, making it accessible and cerebral. Trio HLK’s music sounds genuinely fresh, and genuinely new.
Pronto Mama (featuring two Edinburgh Napier music graduates) require funding for the promotion, mixing and mastering of their debut album ‘Any Joy’ – scheduled for release in May 2017. The record has been licensed by Glasgow Indie label ‘Electric Honey’.
The album is a locational recording which took place between Ballater, Loch Fyne, Bellshill & Coatbridge. It was engineered by a longtime friend of the band, Paul Winton of North Road Studios.
The recording process thus far has been completely self funded via performance fees, royalty payments and personal contributions from the band members. The funding is essential for the band to release ‘Any Joy’ to as wide and diverse an audience as possible.
The Motion Poets (featuring Second-Year students: Jonah Stead, Morgan Smith, Euan Lyons and Struan Nelson) are performing at a student organised event this Sunday at the Voodoo Rooms alongside a range of other acts.
G.Kurtag. Selection of pieces from Jatekok (Games)
F.Liszt. Liebestraume Nr.3 and Sonetto 123 del petrarca
C.Debussy. Three Preludes from Book 1:
Des pas sur la neige
Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest
La Fille aux cheveux de lin
P.Boulez. Douze Notations
Lauryna began her piano studies in Vilnius, Lithuania at the M. K. Ciurlionis School of Arts, studying with Jurate Karosaite. She began to give public recitals at a very early age and by the time she was fifteen had already accumulated many prizes and honours in various piano competitions, including prestigious national awards from the Czech Republic and Lithuania. She graduated from the Vilnius Conservatoire in 1998 after having studied with Professor Birute Vainiunaite.
Since graduating, she has given many recitals internationally as a piano soloist, chamber musician and as an accompanist. Some of her most memorable concerts include performing Vainiunas’ Piano Concerto with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Lithuania in 1991; in 1997, playing the Schumann Piano Quintet with the Vilnius Quartet as part of the Young Talents of Lithuania season: and in 1998 performing the Tchaikovsky First Concerto with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Lithuania in the Philharmonic Hall in Vilnius. Since completing her undergraduate studies she has attended many international piano masterclasses, including with Pi-Hsien Chen, Dimitri Alexeev and Martino Tirimo.
Lauryna moved to Scotland in 1998 and won the Scholarship for Accompaniment from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) for two successive years. In 2000 she entered the Conservatoire to study for her Master of Music Performance and graduated in 2003 having studied with Fali Pavri. In 2001 she won the Governors’ Recital Prize for Piano.
In addition to her interest in works from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods, she is also actively involved in introducing audiences to new works by composers from around the world. In 2006 she performed the UK’s first portrait concert of the music of Aldo Clementi, along with the flautist Roberto Fabbriciani during the Sonic Fusion Festival in Edinburgh. Other world and UK premieres include works by Ennio Morricone, Yuri Kasparov, Eduardo Miranda, Graciela Paraskevaidis and Senderovas.
Early in 2006, Lauryna became a founder member of the Research Ensemble, a new ensemble located within the Higher Education sector in Scotland, to foster and develop new repertoire, but also to work collaboratively on new research projects beyond the “traditional” boundaries of music. Besides her work as a performer, she continues to be in demand as a teacher and accompanist for various institutions, including the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the University of Salford and the Royal Northern College of Music.
Lauryna recently began working with Nicholas Ashton as a piano duo entitled Re:Sono, and they have played together at the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool Hope and Salford, and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. They are planning a CD recording of new works for two pianos in 2017.
4th year vocal students will be performing at the Jazz Bar this sunday, alongside instrumentalists on the program, to raise funds that will contribute to costs for their final exams. Each of the vocalists has been challenged to write an original piece for their set, debuting new material alongside favourite covers. The night promises to showcase diversity of style and a breadth of talent.
We bid a sad farewell to Bill Kyle, proprietor and promoter at The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh who passed away suddenly on Monday 31st October, 2016. In doing so, we express our deepest felt gratitude for a man who embodied all that is good in music. A tireless enthusiast with unparalleled depth of knowledge of both international and local music scenes, Bill’s warmth of spirit and generosity cemented him as the very best of friends to the music department at Edinburgh Napier University.
Over the past decade, as well as providing a venue for exams and student performances, Bill nurtured countless students and alumni by providing a platform and a community from which to develop their musical skills and develop their careers. It is the community that Bill created that is perhaps his greatest legacy – a community built through a dogged belief in its importance to the wellbeing of the music that he loved, and one built on unstinting belief in those that were a part of it.
We are proud to have counted Bill Kyle as a friend to the department and our students from both BA and BMus programmes and offer our deepest condolences to those he leaves behind.
On the 16th – 17th July 2016, Edinburgh Napier University in association with Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival ran a two-day conference examining the past 50 years of jazz from Europe. The conference welcomed esteemed speakers from academia, practice and industry from all around the world. Proceedings were filmed and are also available as podcasts from both the conference website or iTunes. We hope that the panel discussions, interview and keynote speech provide both stimulating insight and inspiration.
2nd year students Jonah Stead, Morgan Smith, Euan Lyons and Struan Nelson will be supporting Dephi at the Three Sisters on September 29th. Their band, The Motion Poets, has recently posted their first demo track One Too Many. Also on the bill will be first year student Gus Harrower. This event is organised by Electric Red Events and tickets are available here.
For one night Oxfam and Sneaky Pete’s are coming together to raise money through the power of music in an effort to end poverty across the globe. All ticket proceeds will be going directly to the causes that Oxfam currently aides.
Becky Cole (second year student on the BA Popular Music Program) has organised this one off event at Sneaky Pete’s in aide of Oxfam. The event will feature performances from composers on the programme; Ruth Gillies and Liam Stuart. Oxjam is an annual music festival in aide of Oxfam which takes place every October. It’s made up of hundreds of events happening across the UK, all organised by volunteers like Becky.
Medbøe/Eriksen/Halle play music from their album, The Space Between (Losen Records LOS 151-2)
Friday 9th September: Stirling Tolbooth – 8:00
Saturday 10th September: Islay Jazz Festival – 12:00
Sunday 11th September: The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh – 15:00
Sunday 11th September: Whigham’s Wine Bar (with special guests) – 20:00
Guitar student Ross Campbell, soon to enter his final year of studies on the BA Popular Music programme, made his Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival debut this year playing with Bryan Carter. His recent vlog shares his experience and includes footage of his duet with Bryan Carter (at 2.20 minutes).
Hot on the heels of this weekends conference; Continental Drift: 50 Years of Jazz from Europe, the jazz summer school is set to encourage it’s participants in finding their own voice as practitioners of jazz in contemporary Europe. As Dave intimated in his introductory talk this morning “we want you to make this music relevant to you today”.
The conference will feature a variety of presentations, performances, and panel discussions as a means to stimulate discussion around the development of jazz in Europe and consider the future of jazz in the region.