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Norwich Jazz Club's Jazz


Back for its third year, the Norwich Jazz Club’s Jazz Weekender from the 2nd to the 4th of September is yet again attracting big names from the jazz world. Expect everything from bebop, to swing, Latin, as well as some fantastic jazz workshops. With this three-day event rearing its head, we spoke to a couple of the jazzers soon to hit the stage at Open and other local joints.

Tom O’Grady Resolution 88

How long has Resolution 88 been going and how did you all meet? I started the band in June 2012, just as I left a Maths teaching job to become a full time musician. I already had an idea who I wanted in the band,

based on friends in the music scene in Cambridge. I was very lucky that they all agreed to play! Can you tell me a bit about each of the members, what instruments they play and what they bring to the quintet? Currently, our band is predominantly a quartet of permanent members along with a guest percussionist for quintet gigs. For this Norwich gig, we have Chris Brice guesting, an exciting up-and- coming percussionist – he's very much in the vein of our

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drummer, Ric Elsworth. Rounding out the permanent members of the band, we have Tiago Coimbra, a long-time friend and musical collaborator of mine, and Alex Hitchcock on sax, another good friend and rising star on the London jazz scene. In terms of what everybody brings to the band, Ric is a real musical force on kit – he’s a very spontaneous, powerful player and instigates dynamic changes and follows ideas freely. Tiago is very well known for being one of the grooviest bass players around and he also brings his Brazilian heritage to the music. And with Alex, the first time I ever met him was on a function gig and I was immediately taken aback by how fluent his playing was – not only that, I love his tone on the tenor. Since he joined, the band has felt much more close-knit and committed. Tat's why it's such a pleasure that with our second album Afterglow, we have a studio recording that features Alex's playing. What is your musical background? Have you always played the keyboard? I grew up with the piano and along with the Rhodes, it's what I love to play. I learned to play from the age of four with my Mum and then with a family friend who was a concert pianist. In my parents' house Dad would always be listening to or playing solo piano repertoire, whether it was Liszt, Ravel, Chopin, Brahms etc. I also played the trombone fairly seriously all the way through University, so I got plenty of experience counting bars' rest. I only really discovered jazz, funk and the Rhodes through hearing Jamiroquai and then Herbie Hancock – and that was in my early teens. I then began to teach myself jazz theory and pick up things by ear. What has been your most notable musical experience?

Te most memorable musical experience I've had so far was playing the piano solo from Heart's Desire on stage with Don Blackman – another of my heroes. Don sadly passed away a few years ago and I dedicated our first Resolution 88 album to him. Don was one of the most complete musicians I've ever heard or met – and he was a very warm, funny, humble man in person. We became friends over the course of a few years and then one year, at the Jazz Cafe, he called me up on stage to play with him. I didn't realise that it was the last year I'd ever see him. Are you looking forward to performing at the Norwich Jazz Festival? We're really looking forward to come to the Norwich Jazz Festival – Norwich is the hometown of our original saxophonist, George Crowley. I've played in Norwich once or twice before in different bands and, as much as this will probably grate with some people, I'm a big Alan Partridge fan!

James Tormé with the Tom

Dunnett Big Band

You live in the US but you seem to come over to the UK quite regularly? I spend my time 50/50 between the US and London/Europe. It all began four years ago when I was invited to do a concert on Radio 2 with the BBC Concert Orchestra in honour of the late Ray Charles at the

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