As Manchester Jazz Festival (mjf), Manchester’s longest-running music festival, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year 2015, the likes of Corinne Bailey Rae and yours truly gather in Manchester Town Hall to witness a new take on evolution.
Evolution: Seeds and Streams is a live audio-visual piece with music by John Ellis and visuals by film-maker Antony Barkworth-Knight. It was premiered at Manchester Jazz Festival in the Great Hall, Manchester Town Hall on the 7th of August 2015.
Line up included Helena Jane Summerfield on the Clarinet and Tenor Sax, Sam Healey on Alto Sax, Ellie Smith on the Trombone, Jessica MacDonald on the Cello, Jail Nyonkoling Kutayeh and John Haycock on the Kora, Rick Weedon on Percussion, Pete Turner on the Bass Ad Synthetizer, of course John Ellis going between Piano and Keyboards, and Jim Green for the projections as well as and artwork from Elle Brotherhood.
The addition of sound artist Jason Singh on beat-boxing, was ever so clever, the sax was exceptional, the kora inspired, the upright bass so entrancing… I loved hearing that take on evolution and the feeling it gave me throughout was one of opening my pores, giving the sense that many seek today in yoga classes and meditation centres, that simple and basic sense of breathing. So do not be surprised if you feel like sitting back, even yawning, because the relaxation that your skin is feeling, being in this way unclugged, is a magic that is rare in the middle of a working city such as Manchester, England. John Ellis deserved the award the 2015 Irwin Mitchell mjf originals commission he received to create this handsome work and we can only wish that the ensemble gets the chance to tour this oeuvre beyond the walls of the town hall.
All photos by Stuart Barkworth.