Birmingham saxophonist, composer and bandleader Mike Fletcher doesn’t get to roll out his jazz orchestra nearly often enough, but he’ll be doing that in mid-April and the concert will feature a new work written specially for him and his band by composer Anna Meredith.
Meredith is a composer of great versatility, as shown by the fact that her music has been broadcast by the BBC on all its radio stations barring the sport ones and the world service. Her music has been performed at the Last Night Of The Proms and during Prada fashion campaigns.
She says: “I love the sound of a big-band line up and was bowled over by the incredible virtuosity of Mike Fletcher’s ensemble. I’m planning to explore short, focused ideas in a devised/collaborative way with the band to create a series of Studies for Big Band showcasing small ideas maxed out for this brilliant, shiny sound.”
Fletcher’s band includes saxophonist Tom Challenger, trumpeter Nick Malcolm, pianist Dan Nicholl’s and a whole host of familiar faces from the Birmingham jazz scene.
Of his JO, Mike says: “This instrumentation gives me a good degree of flexibility as both a composer and director/performer. With the smaller sections there remain sufficient voices to facilitate rich full band voicings, yet with an increased degree of agility when we are all improvising together.
“It was very important for me when selecting the particular musicians that each one be fluent in both the traditional and free idioms, as my music moves between the two. The choice of sax players is also important; between us we have a wide palette of woodwind (flutes and clarinets).”
You can hear the Mike Fletcher Jazz Orchestra playing Anna Meredith’s Studies for Big Band and lots of other music on Saturday 16 April in the Adrian Boult Hall at Birmingham Conservatoire (and let’s treasure this lovely little concert hall while we can before the wrecker’s ball hits it in a matter of months).
- More details of this THSH Jazzlines concert/commission, presented as part of the Rhythm Changes jazz conference programme, together with online booking are here.
- Read what Tony Dudley-Evans has to say about Mike Fletcher here.