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Gene Calderazzo of the Jim Ratigan Quartet

Thursday 05 Oct.2006 onstage 8pm
Bonington Theatre
Tickets £9 concs.£7 students/children £5

Jim Ratigan Quartet

features Jim Ratigan:French Horn, Hans Koller :kbds Dave Whitford :bass,Gene Calderazzo :drums

A very beautiful and credible set of covers is how this quartet's programme has been described on the National Touring schemes notes with music from the pens of luminaries Billy Strayhorn. SteveSwallow. Johnny Mercer.Joe Henderson and Thelonious Monk .The music is mainstream, hard bop and cool jazz

"a brilliant jazz soloist on French Horn:Ian Carr Rough Guide to Jazz

PREVIEW - By Trudie Squires

THE French horn is a very rare instrument in the jazz world; with a turning circle about the size of a supertanker's, it can sound cumbersome. Players like Julius Watkins and John Graas and orchestrators Gil Evans and Miles Davis, have occasionally used the instrument, but it’s still enough of a novelty to raise an eyebrow. However, when Jim Rattigan, the UK’s finest exponent of the instrument, flexes his jazz muscles he coaxes out elegant, fast flowing lines with a lush, chilled tone. In his fleet-fingered hands the instrument sounds like a nimble, muted trombone. Rattigan fronts his all-star quartet for Jazzsteps, playing the Bonington Theatre, High Street, Arnold, on Thursday, 5 October 2006.

Jim Rattigan, pianist Hans Koller and bassist Dave Whitford have been playing together in various formations for ten years and the idea for this quartet was born when ace percussionist Gene Calderazzo, amongst others, joined the recording of Koller’s 2002 New Memories album. The Quartet has recently released its own album, Jazz French Horn and its repertoire covers a wide range of compositions; with music composed by such luminaries as Billy Strayhorn, Steve Swallow, Johnny Mercer and Thelonious Monk, embracing mainstream, hard bop and cool jazz.

While a student, Jim Rattigan was a member of the European Community Youth Orchestra and a founder member of the European Community Youth Jazz Orchestra (Eurojazz). On leaving college he embarked on a freelance career working with all the major London symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras and small ensembles. He joined the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra where he was a member for six years. During this time he also worked with the Bobby Lamb/Ray Premru Big Band and played on the Mike Gibbs album By The Way. Jim has played on numerous film scores, TV and radio, for which he has also written music. He left the RPO to concentrate on jazz and composition, forming his own group Pavillon. He recorded Unfamiliar Guise with Pavillon in 2000. He has played and recorded with Mike Gibbs, The Creative Jazz Orchestra, Julian Arguelles’ ensemble, The London Sinfonietta, Magic Mountain, Hans Koller’s New Memories and Mark Lockheart’s Scratch Band. He has also played with Django Bates’ Delightful Precipice, Michael Brecker Quindectet, McCoy Tyner Big Band, The Simon Purcell Octet and the BBC Radio Big Band.

Bassist Dave Whitford studied music at Middlesex University and the Guildhall. He has played many international festivals and worked with a wide variety of artists including Stan Sulzmann, John Taylor, Bobby Wellins, Marc Copeland, Henry Lowther, Jim Mullen, Phil Robson, Chris Biscoe, Martin Speake, Anita Wardell, Liam Noble, Nick Smart’s Black Eyed Dog, Hans Koller (with whom he has recorded several CDs, the most recent featuring the late soprano sax legend Steve Lacy) and Christine Tobin’s band with whom he has recorded and appeared regularly at Ronnie Scott’s.

In 1995, Gene Calderazzo relocated to the UK from New York and since then has established himself as one of the most in-demand drummers on the European jazz scene. Notable performances have been with Steve Lacy, Steve Grossman, Eddie Henderson, Sting, Radiohead, Benny Golson, Gary Husband, Wayne Krantz, Evan Parker, Randy Brecker and brother Joey Calderazzo, among others. Recent tours of the UK have included Partisans, Estelle Kokot, Zoe Rahman, Crass Collective, Gerrard Presencer and The Dave Green Trio. Gene is visiting professor at the Birmingham Conservatoire, The Royal Academy of Music, Trinity and The Guildhall.

The group’s pianist Hans Koller was born into a musical family in Germany in 1970 and first came into contact with jazz musicians in his teens while attending jazz summer schools run by Brian Abraham’s District Six in Ingolstadt. In 1991 he came to England to study music and started playing in bands with saxophonist Stan Sulzmann and trumpeter Chris Batchelor. He formed his own group, Neverland, and released his debut album Magic Mountain in 1997, which announced him as one of the leading new jazz composers in the UK. Hans also plays as a trio with Calderazzo and Whitford, plays piano in Mike Gibbs’ Big Band and is lecturer in jazz at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

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