There’s another new regular jazz night in Birmingham. This one is at Cogs Bar in Newhall Street and next Thursday 21 July guitarist Tobie Carpenter will be there with his organ trio. I caught up with Tobie via email and asked about his gig and another one that is coming up next week – in New York!
Q What attracts you to the organ trio format, and which are your favourite organ trios?
A Well as always for myself, and I think many jazz musicians, it’s the individual musicians and their playing which drew me to this project, rather than their instruments. I met Dave (Ingamells – drums) on a gig with Conor Chaplin and Nadim Teimoori last summer and was immediately drawn to the energy and subtlety in his playing. He then introduced me to Jamie (Safiruddin – organ) and I was really struck by how immediately comfortable, and fun it felt playing together.
To answer the question though – there is undoubtedly a unique quality to the organ trio sound. For me it has the perfect combination of ingredients to create the sound I want to make – it can be both hard swinging and tenderly melodic, and there’s always a sense of fun in the sound. I’ve always loved Wes Montgomery’so trios with Melvin Rhyne, also so many others, particularly Grant Green’s trio with Larry Young and Elvin Jones and more recently Peter Bernstein’s many organ trio outings, especially with Dr. Lonnie Smith. In fact, I’m going to be studying with Peter later this month,
Q What material can listeners at Cogs expect to hear?
A I’m dead excited for the Cogs Bar gig because we’ll be playing almost entirely brand new original music which I’ve been writing over the last two years. I’ve been working a lot on my writing and trying to connect my voice as a composer more closely with my improvising. The other project I write for, my Sextet The Lobbus, which readers can hear HERE, is a very different format and is largely through-composed.
In that project I’m dealing a lot with contrapuntal themes and a fairly dark atmosphere. This project is a conscious departure from that – while I am exploring some new (to me) harmonic concepts, I’m hoping that the main impression is the sound of three musicians having a good time. I feel like I explored the sound of misery pretty thoroughly on my last record and now I want to have a crack at the sound of, if not joy, something heading in that direction!
Q How did the New York gig come about, and do you and Alex future similar projects in the pipeline? Any other plans in the future?
A As well as gigging in London, I do some work coaching ensembles and facilitating workshops for musicians. At the end of July I’ll be doing some of this work with a fantastic company called All In Good Time alongside two great friends and superb musicians Jason Tebble and Fred Claridge in New York. I jumped at the opportunity to play with Alex Woods again, so we’ll be appearing at Club Bonafide on 24 July. Alex is an amazing musician and has, unsurprisingly, been having great success in the States. It’s going to be a real pleasure to play together again and alongside Marty Kenney (bass) and Philippe Lemm (drums) too. And I’ll have a chance to take some lessons with Peter Bernstein.
After the New York gig I’ll be mainly focusing on more work with the Organ Trio, as well as recording an album with Alicia Gardener-Trejo’s group Bobtail in August, but I think a return leg will definitely be in order when Alex is next in the UK.
- The Tobie Carpenter Organ Trio will be at Cogs Bar on Thursday 21 July at 9pm.
- Follow Tobie on Twitter – @tobiecarpenter
- And check out his website HERE.