Jazz: James Owston Quartet
April 11 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pmFrom £13
Double bassist James Owston last appeared at the club back in December with saxophonist Alex Clarke, playing alongside Dave Newton and Clark Tracey, and has a growing national reputation both as a player and band leader. In 2019 James graduated from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with a first-class degree with honours, since when he has gone on to forge a prolific career, playing with many of the UK’s most highly regarded musicians, and has led multiple projects of his own. With roots in jazz and bebop, his work in contemporary and freely improvised music has given way to a playing style that is highly creative and receptive to the music happening around him. James is known as a virtuosic soloist, with ideas and lines that emulate a horn player coupled with a language that utilises the unique sound of the double bass. He has played and recorded with a diverse range of musicians including Paul Dunmall, Neil Yates, Xhosa Cole, Greg Abate, Dean Masser, Jay Phelps, Lekan Babalola, Martin Speake and in 2018 was a finalist in the BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year award, performing at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with Gwilym Simcock and Asaf Sirkis.
This project sees James lead his quartet playing music from his most recent project, ‘Songs from an Imaginary Childhood’. The music was written as part of the Jazz Central Mentorship programme in 2023, in which James worked closely with saxophonist Trish Clowes to create and develop this work. The music is inspired by the juxtaposition of seeing the world as it is now and as it was seeing it as a child. This quartet features a fine selection of musicians that James has collaborated with extensively in various ensembles.
Saxophonist Alex Western-King is signed to the Ubuntu label, and released his debut album SideSlip in 2021. A regular at Ronnie Scott’s Late Late Show, Alex is recognised as one of London’s finest young sax players. “Equally adept on alto and tenor saxophone, Alex reaches deep into the core of jazz thus refining a personal statement and unfettered connection with both his fellow musicians and the audience – a swinging and robust player when riding the tempo of a number, he displays a rare sensitivity on ballads” – Paul Pace, Ronnie Scott’s.
Pianist Nick Manz was a finalist in 2022 BBC Young Jazz Musician of The Year, and is also appearing at the club alongside Alex Merritt [14th March]. Drummer Matthew Holmes won the Tony Levin Drum Prize 2019 and subsequently graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire in 2020. He has performed with Soweto Kinch, Alex Hitchcock, Tony Kofi, Norma Winstone, Nikki Iles, Alan Barnes, Tim Whitehead, Percy Pursglove, Ian Shaw, Arnie Somogyi, Dave Newton, Liam Noble and Hermeto Pascoal!