Laban Theatre hosts unique jazz piano event

Six of the UK's leading jazz and improvising pianists will come together to form a unique piano relay at the Laban Theatre in Deptford tomorrow night.

This unprecedented event, featuring Matthew Bourne, Liam Noble, Robert Mitchell, Alcyona Mick, Pat Thomas and Kit Downes, will include duo performances and a 'relay' in which all six musicians will perform an extended, improvised piece in spontaneous combinations.

The event is being recorded for Jazz on 3 as part of BBC Radio 3's 'Piano Season'.

Brian Brady, Head of Theatre Programme, said: "Laban Theatre is becoming a favourite venue among the UK's most inspiring and adventurous musicians and dancers.

"Throughout the year our theatre is home to work by both major established artists and some of the next big things - and this innovative and explosive jazz piano relay is one of them."

"Jacques Samuels Pianos is kindly loaning two Faziolis for the event, and we are hugely grateful for their support."

'Piano Season' on the BBC is a major six week season exploring the piano's wide-ranging influence from the 1700s to the present day, as well as delving into the lives of the people behind the piano and the music created for it.

Date - Tuesday 9 October
Venue - Laban Theatre, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Creekside, SE8 3DZ
Time - 20.00h
Tickets - £6/£3 (conc) - BOOK NOW

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The artists (pictures and press tickets are available from Susie Haywood at Trinity Laban, [email protected])

Robert Mitchell (pictured above)

Robert Mitchell is an award winning Steinway Artist. He has released seven albums since 2001, and has completed a new solo recording, to be released and toured in early 2013. This is a new avenue for Robert, featuring original compositions for left hand only, inspired by the few who established this approach and the social history of left handedness. He has performed, recorded, and toured with internationally renowned artists such as Courtney Pine, Soweto Kinch, Greg Osby, Steve Coleman, Matana Roberts, Jose James, Norma Winstone, Omar Puente, Ernesto Simpson, Iain Ballamy, Django Bates, and Steve Williamson, amongst many others.Robert currently leads his long running group Panacea, and premieres a new duo with the great vocalist Jhelisa, later this month.

'Mitchell frequently turned jazz piano logic on its head, comping with his right hand and soloing with the left, and even embarking on a piece written solely for left hand which somehow didn't scrimp on melodic invention or variety. How many jazz pianists have done that? Mitchell seemed to be looking to surprise himself at every turn, in turn surprising his audience too. You can't ask for more from a jazz musician than that.' Jazz FM.

Alcyona Mick

Alcyona started playing piano at the age of 3. After training as a classical pianist, she went on to study jazz piano at Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music.

She is now an award winning composer, and performs internationally, working regularly with Arabic artist Natacha Atlas, and many other artists both in the UK and abroad, including her trio Blink with the infamous Paul Clarvis on drums.

She has released three albums, and received commissions for many years to score and perform live to silent film. Recently she studied composing for film at the prestigious National Film and Television School, and is now writing music for film and television.

Award-winning pianist and composer Matthew Bournehas been creating innovative music for over 10 years since his debut at the finals of the Perrier Jazz Awards in 2001. Since then Bourne has gone on to receive awards from the BBC and the IJFO (International Jazz Festivals Organisation), whilst continuing to build a highly individual body of solo work, collaborative live work and large-scale commissions and music for film, all at an international level. Visit for more information.

Kit Downes

After studying at both the Purcell School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music - Kit now plays regularly with his own Trio and Quintet, Stan Sulzmann's 'Neon', Troyka, The Golden Age of Steam, Julian Arguelles Quartet and Seb Rochford - he has also played with Django Bates, Lee Konitz, Paul Rogers, Leafcutter John, Micachu, Iain Ballamy, Gwyneth Herbert and Eugene Skeef. He has also performed with leading British bands Fraud, Asaf Sirkis' Inner Noise, Gilad Atzmon's Orient House Ensemble, Acoustic Ladyland, Nostalgia 77, 2000 and 2000 Black. He worked with composer/songwriter Micachu, with whome he recorded in Abbey Road for Matthew Herbert, recorded for BBC Radio 6 and played at the Sonar Music Festival '07 in Barcelona. Kit's work with Empirical took him to The North Sea Jazz Festival, The JVC Festivals in New York, Montreal and Newport, and Vancouver Jazz Festival. Empirical won 'Best Album of the Year 2007' in Jazzwise and the EBU Award at the North Sea Festival. Kit won the BBC 'Rising Star' Award in 2008 and was nominated for a British Jazz Award in both 2008 and 2009, he also won one of 'Yamaha Jazz Scholarship' Awards in 2009. In 2010 Kit's debut album 'Golden' was nominated for a Mercury Music Award. Kit is also a member of the F-IRE Collective, an initiative set up by Barak Schmool, which is a musician-led collective to encourage shared learning and sharing of resources. He enjoys the music of Bill Frisell, Bjork and Bela Bartok, the films of Jim Jarmusch and David Lynch and the artwork of Alberto Giacometti and Joan Miro.

Pat Thomas

Pat Thomas studied classical piano from eight years old and started playing jazz from the age of 16. He has since gone on to develop an utterly unique style - embracing improvisation, jazz and new music. He has played with Derek Bailey in Company Week (1990/91) and in the trio AND (with Noble) ñ with Tony Oxleyís Quartet and Celebration Orchestra and in Duo with Lol Coxhill.

"Sartorially shabby as Thomas may be, and on first impression even rather stolid, he has a somewhat imperious charisma that ís immediately amplified when he starts to play. Unlike other pianists whose virtuosity seems to be racing ahead of their thought processes Thomas always seems supremely in command of his gift, and his playing, no matter how free and ready to tangle with abstraction, always carries a charge of authoritative exactitude." The Jazz Mann.

Liam Noble

Since leaving the Guildhall in 1991,Liam Noblehas worked towards developing a personal style formed from his experience playing everything from standards, new composition, free improvisation and, most recently, electronics. His CD releases include "Close Your Eyes" (1994), "In The Meantime" (2001), "Romance Among The Fishes" (2004) and "Brubeck" (2007). In addition to his own projects, he has regular associations with saxophonists Julian Siegel, Bobby Wellins, Mark Lockheart, singer Christine Tobin and the improvising trio "Sleepthief" with Tom Rainey and Ingrid Laubrock as well as performances with many musicians from the UK and US. 

"A brilliant pianist who hardly plays a solo without at least one turn of phrase that brings you to the edge of your seat". John Fordham, The Guardian


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