In 2017 the EFG London Jazz Festival reached its 25th anniversary and Festival Director John Cumming and I decided to celebrate this by commissioning 25 pieces to be performed in two marathon days at Club Inégales.
We would also invite the composers to play with the resident band Notes Inégales, as is the Club Inégales tradition. In the end there were 22 pieces, and 20 of the composers played with us, overall, with John’s choices, a wonderful cross-section of UK jazz musicians. We asked for ‘one-page’ scores, just some distilled material, and a fascinating variety of ideas emerged.
With 22 pieces in 2 days, I decided not to rehearse anything, but to keep it spontaneous, everybody on the edge. A risk, and occasionally we fell off the edge, but much fun was had. I allotted ½ hour to each piece, agreed a few signals that I as director would give, then we dived in and played. The signals included general ones I use, such as ‘loop’, ‘solo’, ‘copy’, ‘sustain’, ‘go back to last section’, ‘stop’ (often with an indication for certain people to play through the stop), and finally, ‘go free, do what you like’.
There were four evolving big bands, over the four sessions, and some amazing performances, indeed, many unexpected moments as club players and guests met and took the music in new directions. I want to especially pay tribute to the club band, Notes Inégales, for their ever imaginative and fluid responses across so many pieces.
There were some amazing performances, and huge fun was had, with four evolving big bands over the four sessions, club players plus guests, nobody knowing what was going to happen. And I pay tribute to resident band, Notes Inégales for their ever imaginative and flexible responses across so many pieces.
“Peter Wiegold's category-defying, gently idealistic club-night ” - Philip Hogg, Jazzwise Magazine
“This melding was so successful you could have made a record out of it.” - Michael Church, The Independent
“I wish more concerts had this degree of openness and shared responsibility making music and art together. Admirable.” - audience member for Zena Edwards