Alan Barnes Octet - Requiem
Alan Barnes, Gilad Atzmon,Dean Masser - reeds, Mark Nightingale - trombone, Neil Yates - trumpet, Pat McCarthy - guitar, Dave Green – bass, Sebastiaan De Krom – drums, Josie Moon - narration
Requiem is an exciting and ambitious commission of new music following on from the outstanding success of Fish Tales. Alan Barnes is a prolific international performer, composer, arranger, bandleader and touring soloist. He is best known for his work on clarinet, alto and baritone sax, where he combines a formidable virtuosity with a musical expression and collaborative spirit that have few peers.
He's the ultimate man-about-British-jazz, a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and bandleader of such prolific abilities that he's rarely if ever off the road.
In fact, in a career that stretches back to the late 1970s, Barnesy has done it all – focusing his capacious energies on extolling the virtues of the jazz he loves: swinging, well-written and unpretentious, with more than a dash of wit to boot.
Although it's almost impossible to believe, this year marks his 60th birthday, an occasion commemorated by the release of a new album (Alan Barnes Plus Eleven) and the launch of a new work, a requiem penned in collaboration with poet Josie Moon, with whom he's already co-written the memorable Fish Tales suite.
As anyone who knows Barnesy will tell you, he's a man of uncommon good humour, never at a loss for a cheerful riposte to life's ups and downs. Requiem is a welcome reminder that, for all the gags and spontaneous rejoinders, he's a musician fully equipped to encompass a much wider spectrum of emotions, in this instance creating a series of vignettes based upon the experiences of those who've served in various conflicts over the last century. As is typical with Alan's writing (here with co-composer Pat McCarthy), a whole range of moods is touched upon, in this instance each representative of the human conditions to be found within that most inhumane of follies: war.
At the heart of this project though lays a strong jazz core: this is no shotgun wedding of mixed medias. And just look at that band: a North/South alliance which also includes that most incendiary of jazz saxophonists Gilad Atzmon.
'If you go to a gig where Alan Barnes is playing, you never get less than a whole-hearted virtuoso display of muscular jazz.' Sussex Jazz Magazine
Duration 75 mins