I’ll start by setting the scene.
A morning about 18 months ago I was walking from Walthamstow tube station on my way to meet and play a few tunes with Olie Brice, a bass player who I had been aware of for a while by this point but had only recently met. This was our first time playing together after having decided we shared many common ideas about music.
Anyway, en route I received a call from Tony Dudley-Evans, who wanted to know about the bands I was involved in. I explained to him my present circumstances, adding that if things went well then this could well develop into a new project as the addition of a drummer was on the horizon too.
Some time passes.
I have a new trio with Olie and Jeff Williams. We are playing original compositions that I have been working on with different formations for a number of years and I’m feeling that this could be the start of something. If only we had some gigs to get the ball rolling…
Cue another call from Tony congratulating me on being selected by THSH as an ECHO Rising Star. The ensuing explanation revealed to me that ECHO is the European Concert Halls Association, a network of…well…concert halls, that every year organises a tour of said halls for artists selected by its members. The programme is largely focused on chamber music but recently a jazz artist has been added to the roster too. This year was THSH’s turn and they had chosen me.
Skip forward in time and we have an album, Vuelta, ready for official release in January and the first concert is imminent.
Needless to say this is a fantastic opportunity for any musician, and yet more so a fairly adventurous jazz soloist. Some of the venues we have on the list are BOZAR in Brussels, L’Auditori in Barcelona and, of course, the Barbican in London. These are the types of venue that you normally have to be Wayne Shorter to play so getting to present my own music in such a setting it likely to be a once in a lifetime experience.
The composer in me also wants to be involved in the proceedings so I have decided to set myself the challenge of writing a new piece of music inspired by each of the cities we visit. These will gradually be incorporated into the set as we go along so by the time we arrive at Town Hall in Birmingham on Wednesday 13 May 2015 we’ll be able to provide a musical account of the journey.
I’ll also be blogging as we go along so there’ll be ‘e-postcards’ appearing from time to time.
– Mike Fletcher, Town Hall & Symphony Hall nominated ECHO Rising Star 2014-15