At the beating heart of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and long since in residence with Thelonious at the Vortex in Dalston, Calum Gourlay is the John Ore of the UK scene and he is mining some rare gems on New Ears released on Ubuntu this week.
Gourlay says: “This project brings the experience I have gained from my two-and-a-half-year big band residency at the Vortex, London into my own quartet. This band has all the energy, sound and colours of a contemporary big band but with only four members.”
“The idea for the quartet came from my big band in residence at the Vortex Jazz Club. I write a new work each month for every gig. It’s hard to start a piece from scratch: I usually have a shell of an idea in place so I can write something. Occasionally, I workshop sketches hoping they will translate into an arrangement. With this approach, I experiment with form & instrumentation. With the quartet it was fun and easy to write things for trombone & tenor to play together. Helena [Kay, tenor sax], Kieran [McLeod, trombone} and James [Maddren, drums] have been important musicians in my big band so I began to think this could be a great band in its own right.”