Engine Room’s skill and thrill

The Engine Room Favourites
The Engine Room Favourites
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Prepare for “pure jazz skill and thrill” when The Engine Room Favourites appear in Lancaster next month.

Led by Martin Archer, this nine-piece band has been influenced by the black American avant garde from the 1960s and 1970, from Pharoah Sanders and Alice Coltrane through to the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

It began as a one-off experiment to make some music for a solo saxophone and four percussionists, in which the four were asked to play as if they were one single entity without it becoming a sound storm.

Martin said: “After one initial gig in this format, I decided to expand the line-up to include a larger group of really great players who I’d wanted to work with for a while. Every player in the band is also a band leader themselves, and they really know how to deliver.

“What I’m aiming to achieve with the large group is to compose and play music which picks up and continues on the advances made by jazz musicians in the 1970s, which most modern players seem to bypass, or not know about, but do it in a way that any audience will enjoy listening to.

“It’s abstract music for sure, but that doesn’t mean it has to sound like hard work. You can just turn up and enjoy it.”

Martin said the band’s influences mean it is dealing with two almost opposites – abstraction versus the blues – but in a way that makes them complement each other.

He added: “We give the audience pure jazz skill and thrill which they will love to hear.”

The band features Martin Archer on saxophones and bass clarinet, Mick Beck on tenor saxophone and bassoon, Graham Clark on violin, Laura Cole on piano, Corey Mwamba on vibraphone, Seth Bennett on double bass, Peter Fairclough and Johnny Hunter on drums and percussion and Walt Shaw and Steve Dinsdale on percussion.

Tickets for the gig in the Olive Room, at The Gregson Centre, on April 4, are £6/4 on the door or in advance from www.lancasterjazz.com.

Doors 7.30pm.