BEN CROSLAND BRASS GROUP
Steve Waterman and Martin Shaw - Trumpet/Flugelhorn
Mark Nightingale and Barnaby Dickinson - Trombone
Steve Lodder - Piano/Keyboards Ben Crosland - Bass
Formed in 2010 to record and perform Crosland's new set of compositions, An Open Place, commissioned for the 20th Marsden Jazz Festival and inspired by sculptures at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Brass Group has grown out of Threeway, Crosland's trio which explores the possibilities of a group without drums. This stellar sextet retains the same intimacy and subtlety whilst the larger instrumentation provides Crosland with a broader compositional palette to develop the colours and textures of his pieces with rich voicings and imaginative ensemble writing. The improvisational skill and creativity of these great soloists are a given.
Ben Crosland - Bass
Steve Waterman - Trumpet/Flugelhorn
Steve Lodder - Piano/Keyboards
Threeway combines two of the UK's leading players with one of the North's most experienced bandleader/composers.
After leading his Quintet, Octet and Quartet for 15 years, Crosland formed the trio in 2004 with Waterman and Lodder, two long term associates, in order to explore the subtle and open possibilities of a group without drums. The interplay between the players creates a natural intensity combined with an acute sensitivity to dynamics. The variety of the original compositions, contributed by all the group members, and the different tone colours created by the instruments ensure a satisfying and well rounded performance. The group also includes contemporary readings of choice standards in its repertoire. Threeway's music is heard to best advantage in the concert setting. Accordingly, this is an ideal group for 'listening' jazz venues, arts centres, music festivals and concert societies.
The group recorded its debut album, 'Conversations' JCCD 110, in 2005. The CD has attracted considerable critical acclaim and was featured on BBC Radio 3's Jazz Line Up on 15th April 2006. Threeway undertook a successful national tour with the support of Jazz Services in Autumn 2007 and was featured on BBC Radio 3's Jazz Record Requests on 20th October 2007.
Threeway's second album, 'Songs of the Year' JCCD112, was released in October 2009 with a launch at the 606 Club in London. It attracted four star reviews from several jazz writers and was featured on BBC Radio 3's Jazz Line Up on 21st June 2009 and on 6th December 2009.
The band's third album, 'Looking Forward, Looking Back' JCCD115, which features Jim Hart on vibes, was released in December 2013. It has also attracted a number of enthusiastic reviews. The new CD was featured on Jazz Line Up on 1st December 2013 and has been a regular feature of the Jazz FM Dinner Jazz playlists over the last few months.Threeway are showcasing the album during a series of concerts in 2014 and 2015, several of which include Lewis Wright, the star vibraphonist as special guest.
Having studied with Jeff Clyne, Crosland became a busy freelance bass player playing in a variety of contexts during the 80's and 90's with Northern based players including Nikki Iles, Mike Walker, Rod Mason and Peter Fairclough and working as a sideman supporting leading UK and American players including Dick Morrissey, Ronnie Ross, Ken Peplowski, Spike Robinson and Harry Allen. In 1989, he formed his Quintet, a band that worked extensively across the North for over 10 years, appearing with a number of guest soloists including Jean Toussaint, Peter King, Guy Barker and Gerard Presencer. During the 90's, the Quintet collaborated closely with Alan Skidmore and Steve Waterman, touring and recording. In 1999, Crosland formed his Octet, featuring Alan Skidmore, Mark Nightingale and Steve Waterman, touring with Jazz Services' support and recording 'Echoes in the Valley', an album that received excellent reviews: "Crosland's compositions range from brisk bustles to gentle chugs, softish shuffles to hard-driving jaunts, but whatever it's playing, his band sounds infectiously appreciative of the ease, grace and undemonstrative passion of the material" CHRIS PARKER, JAZZ REVIEW
Crosland formed his Quartet, featuring Steve Waterman along with Stuart McCallum and Dave Walsh, two of the UK's brightest new talents, in 2001. The Quartet recorded two albums, 'Heartland' and 'Last Flight Out', featuring Crosland's compositions, which attracted enthusiastic critical comment, and toured nationally with Jazz Services' support: "There are more ambitious bands around the British jazz scene today, but few which convey a distinct character with such crisp informality" DAVE GELLY, THE OBSERVER
Crosland was a member of Rod Mason's Quintet, featuring Steve Lodder, for several years. He has recorded with Jim Mullen and is a member of John Etheridge's Trio North and of the Rod Mason/Jim Mullen Quartet. In recent years, Crosland has worked with major UK artists including John Surman, Tim Garland and Andy Sheppard. He was nominated in the bass category of the British Jazz Awards 2011.
Waterman is acknowledged as one of the top jazz trumpet players both in UK and on the international scene He possesses a beautiful natural sound and an awesome technique. He began his career at Trinity College of Music and since then he has worked regularly on the British and European jazz scene. Steve leads his own Quartet and Quintet with which he has recorded two critically acclaimed albums of his own compositions. He has recently recorded a series of albums for Mainstem Records, featuring the music of the great jazz composers: 'Stablemates' (Benny Golson and Wayne Shorter), 'Our Delight' (Tadd Dameron and Herbie Hancock) and 'Night Light' (Gerry Mulligan and Chick Corea), all of which have attracted excellent reviews. Waterman was a member of John Surman's Brass Project and has toured Europe as part of the Carla Bley Big Band. He has worked and recorded regularly with a variety of artists including Mal Waldron, Tony Coe, Victor Mendoza and Alan Barnes.
Steve has a Big Band with which he has recorded 'October Arrival', an album of his compositions. He is a Professor of Music at the Royal Academy of Music and at Trinity College of Music.
Lodder is one of the most eclectic and original pianists working in jazz. An organ scholar at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Lodder became a major part of the vibrant London jazz scene during the late 70's and early 80's alongside the likes of Carol Grimes, John Etheridge and Harry Beckett. During the 80's he toured regularly George Russell's Living Time Orchestra, was a member of Brian Abraham's District Six and began a long term association with Andy Sheppard which included many tours as part of Sheppard's different projects and appearances on a number of Sheppard's recordings. He was a member of Inclassifiable, a trio which also comprised Sheppard and ace percussionist Nana Vasconcelos. He leads his own Quartet. He has recorded critically acclaimed albums including 'Above the Clouds' with Mark Ramsden, released on Naxos Records, and his first solo CD 'bout time 2'. He has produced albums for Ingrid Laubrock and Monica Vasconcelos.
Steve has performed and recorded with a diverse roster of artists, including Sarah Jane Morris, John Harle, Carla Bley, Annie Whitehead and Paul McCartney. He has been the musical director of the Zappatistas for several years.
Lodder has composed music for dance, TV and film and has worked in the field of contemporary classical music. He has recently written a book examining the '70's albums of Stevie Wonder.
Press Quotes for Ben Crosland
'Ben Crosland, bassist, composer and bandleader from the North East of England, who over the years has come up with some lovely stuff on CD', HUMPHREY LYTTELTON, THE BEST OF JAZZ, BBC RADIO 2, 1ST JANUARY 2007
"Ben is like a rock" JOHN ETHERIDGE
"Classy and underrated northern electric bassist and composer" THE GUARDIAN
" Fluid and inventive contemporary bassist" THE INDEPENDENT
"His compositions are colourful, beguiling and thoroughly musical" MARK GILBERT, JAZZ JOURNAL
"Bass player Ben Crosland is in many ways the perfect bandleader. He brings together great musicians and then sits in the background, an avuncular presence holding down a smooth, solid bass line while keeping an eye on the proceedings" THE OXFORD MAIL
BEN CROSLAND QUARTET
Crosland formed his new Quartet, his current working band, in 2006, bringing together three long term playing partners, Rod Mason (saxophones), Jez Platt (keyboard) and Dave Tyas (drums). Each member of the band is a leader in his own right and this relaxed joining of kindred spirits produces an open, mature and energetic performance in which there are no conflicting egos, only a desire to enjoy each others company, play good music and entertain.
The band's repertoire consists of Crosland originals and compositions by contemporary musicians including Don Grolnick, Mike Mainieri, John Scofield and Jaco Pastorius.
JOHN ETHERIDGE TRIO NORTH
John Etheridge Guitar
Ben Crosland Bass
Dave Tyas Drums
John Etheridge is one of Britain's finest contemporary guitarists with an awesome technique and an extraordinary diversity of playing experience, having worked with, amongst others, Soft Machine, Yehudi Menuhin, Andy Summers, Nigel Kennedy, Stephane Grappelli, John Williams and Pat Metheny. Ben Crosland and Dave Tyas are well known to northern audiences, having worked for many years with many of the UK's finest jazz musicians, as well as visiting American soloists in a variety of contexts.
The Trio began touring across the North in 1999 and has become an established part of the annual jazz calendar. Soloists including Ben Castle, Martin Shaw, Dave O'Higgins, Theo Travis, Ed Jones and Brandon Allen have appeared with the Trio on club dates and at festivals. The band plays an attractive and entertaining mix of standard tunes, rocky/bluesy material and original compositions. John invariably includes one of his engaging solo spots during a performance.
The Trio recorded its first album, 'Stitched Up', in 2006. Humphrey Lyttelton has said of 'Softly as in Morning Sunrise', a track from the album: 'John Etheridge is a versatile guitarist whose wizardry enables him to produce a whole anthology of unexpected sounds from a wide range of guitars. Here's a rattling piece that I find so exciting that I feel no need to apologise for calling its timbre 'the apotheosis of the curtain wire'.
Rod Mason Saxes
Kevin Holborough Trombone
Andy Chollerton Keyboards
Jez Platt Guitar
Ben Crosland Bass
Dave Tyas Drums
Following the enthusiastic reaction to the band's appearance at the 2007 Marsden Jazz Festival - see the Jazz Cat Blog on 5th November 2007 for more details - it is continuing to perform across the North, with Kevin Holborough coming in on trombone. Chain Reaction performs Crusaders music of the 1970's and the direct appeal of their funky grooves, as well as their sophisticated charts, is proving very popular.