Monday 18 September 2023, 7.30pm
Inner Space plays Jazz of a rare warmth and immediacy - compositions for improvisers with roots in both jazz and free improv. Loz Speyer’s writing for the band creates space for the group to explore new areas and discover where the music might GO, while drawing deeply on the Jazz tradition, all the way back to New Orleans. Each piece evolves its own unique form, feeling and direction, with the five musicians working it all out in the here and NOW.
Inner Space re-emerged from the pandemic with a new lineup featuring star saxophonists Xhosa Cole and Dee Byrne. Already making waves with their own groups both in the UK and beyond, they bring fresh sounds to this long-standing project, building on a band sound developed through extensive touring in the UK - that live, interactive sound captured in the 2017 Leo Records album “Life on the Edge”.
Along with music from the album, Inner Space is now exploring some extended forms in a growing set of Jazz Portrait compositions, with titles such as “Innate Ornette”, “Chimes for Grimes” and “Sun the One Ra the Far” - An audacious attempt to characterise such seminal figures, but one that comes naturally from a lifelong relationship with their music, making sense of their legacy in our own TIME. The pieces inspired by actual encounters come with stories that emerge on stage, drawing on deep sources of inspiration.
“The integrity they bring to the emerging free jazz push-pull structure of ’Space Music’ pilots the musicians further towards destinations unknown.” - Philip Clark, Jazzwise
“Superb outing, that effectively highlights the leader's jarring and perceptively constructed compositions.” - Glen Astarita, All About Jazz
“Upon listening, I was hooked…. the contrapuntal moments when the horns venture just over the edge make me think that if ODJB had arrived 100 years later they may have sounded like this.” - Lance Liddle, Bebop Spoken Here
LOZ SPEYER’S INNER SPACE
Loz Speyer / trumpet, flugelhorn
Dee Byrne / alto sax
Xhosa Cole / tenor sax
Larry Bartley / double bass
Gary Willcox / drums
Loz Speyer (trumpet, flugelhorn) has become known as a trumpeter/composer pushing all boundaries with his own groups ever since the mid 90s. His free jazz quintet Inner Space, and his Cuban-Jazz 6-piece Time Zone, both running since 2002, have toured all over the UK and each released a series of albums, earning critical acclaim and international reviews. His music for Time Zone is a ‘deep fusion’ of Cuban music and Jazz, with clave rhythms in odd meters and unusual time changes. He also writes and arranges for big groups – such as two sets of Sun Ra compositions for Merseyside Improvisers Orchestra, and his own compositions for the 12-piece composers’ collective Rare Mix (with Jason Yarde, Ben Davis, Julian Siegel…).
Starting out with workshops at University of the Streets in NYC, Jamey Aebersold Jazz summer school, and improvisation workshops led by John Stevens and later Phil Wachsmann, Loz has always embraced both Jazz and free improv, with quartets delving deep into Monk’s music and Ornette Coleman’s, free improv for many years with maverick guitarist Hugh Metcalfe, and FreeTrio with the great free jazz drummer Tony Marsh. He continues to explore the openness of the Trio format in Tumbatareco, and large group improvisation with London Improvisers Orchestra and David Leahy’s Musicians in Space. In the wider musical field, Loz has worked with Simo Lagnawi, Yann Tiersen, Sarah-Jane Morris, Amancio daSilva, Alex Maguire, Test Dept, and the Happy End; and in Cuba with Orquesta Chepín-Chovén, veteran trumpeter Inaudis Paisán, and Proyecto Evocación - a collaboration with master percussionist Rafael Cisneros, featured in Festival del Caribe 2009.
Dee Byrne (alto sax) is a composer and improviser working in both jazz and experimental music (acoustic and electronic). Since 2019, explorating deeper into the area where structured, composed material meets with free improvisation, Dee came up with a bunch of new music, which has since been recorded with two ensembles: her new sextet Outlines, with an album on Whirlwind Records 2023); and UK/Swiss collaborative sextet MoonMot, with an album due for release on ENJA in 2023. Dee has been playing in mainland Europe as well as the UK, both with MoonMot and European quintet Ydivide (led by Swiss drummer Clemens Kuratle). She is also active with UK/Swiss trio Motherboard Pinball, long-standing duo electro-acoustic duo Deemer with Dutch sound artist Merijn Royaards; and with the London Improvisers Orchestra.
Since 2013 Dee has worked with improvising baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts under the Banner of LUME, a platform for improvised music based in London. Dee and Cath play in a regular duo and will be performing at the Summer Bummer Festival in Antwerp in August 2023.
Xhosa Cole (tenor sax) is one of the new rising stars of British Jazz. BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year 2018, Xhosa went on to win numerous awards and to appear onstage alongside jazz legends. He has performed twice at the BBC Proms, composed music for the Flatpack Film Festival, recorded saxophone for Mahalia’s debut album, and with his own quartet has toured the UK far and wide. Following his celebrated debut album K(no)w Them, K(no)w Us (2021), Cole’s new project and album release Ibeji features a series of saxophone and percussion duets, alongside pieces of conversation and interview between Cole and his seven collaborators, all eminent percussionists of African descent, all woven into the narrative of the album. Xhosa’s exposure to players from a range of different traditions, combined with his strong connection to his inner-city community in Birmingham (UK), has helped to develop a fiercely unique and independent voice.
“The 26-year-old tenor saxophonist/composer is a British sensation and proves that he’s here for blood with this release … He’s got technique, talent, artistry and a burning desire that shows throughout the set.” - Downbeat
Larry Bartley (double bass) has been a staple of the London & international jazz scene for the past 25 years, performing and/or recording in the bands of Byron Wallen, Chris Briscoe, Tony Kofi, Denys Baptiste, Ingrid Laugbrock, Jean Toussaint, Harold Mabern, Abdullah Ibrahim, Chico Freeman, Stanley Turrentine, Steve Grossman, David Murray, Orinn Evans, Gary Bartz. He has performed in various theatre shows & movies including the soundtrack for the 1999 Mike Leigh film Career Girls, and the theatre production of The Nat King Cole Story… As bandleader and composer, Larry’s debut album Along This Way (2003) was nominated in the category of Best New Work in the BBC Jazz Awards. His quartet Just Us! featuring Tony Kofi, released their debut album Beauty In the Hideous in 2014.
"Excellent Bassist, with a distinct Mingus-like drive to his propulsive bass lines" - Time Out
Gary Willcox (drums) has been active in the UK Jazz and Improvisation music scene since the mid 1990s, playing with Jim Mullen, Keith Tippett, Paul Dunmall, Chris Batchelor, Loz Speyer’s Inner Space , Iain Ballamy; and with Dele Sosimi's Afrobeat, Pinise Saul and dance label Nuphonic. This has led him to perform at all of the UK’s leading venues and Festivals. As well as being a sideman and a member of the musicians' collective Way Out West, Gary leads his own groups, composing music for his quartet that has appeared regularly at Ronnie Scott's and 606 Club, and lately touring his Drummer/Composers Project.
”A brisk, sensitive drummer capable of great dynamic and textural range…" - Chris Parker