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Liam Noble

Professorial Staff - Jazz Piano, Composition


Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Faculty of Music
King Charles Court
Old Royal Naval College
SE10 9JF

Tel: +44 (0)20 8305 4444

Email: l.noble@trinitylaban.ac.uk

Liam Noble


After studying music at the University of Oxford and the postgraduate course at Guildhall School of Music and Dram, Noble became the regular pianist with Stan Sulzmann (in both duo and quartet settings) on John Taylor’s recommendation. He went on to work in the bands of Anita Wardell, Harry Beckett, Tim Whitehead and John Stevens as well as recording and touring with cult minimalist composer Moondog. During this period, he also performed with John Taylor (as part of Stan Sulzmann’s two piano quintet), Kenny Wheeler and Lol Coxhill.

Three years after leaving the Guildhall, Noble recorded the solo piano album Close Your Eyes, which featured free improvisations, compositions and interpretations of tunes by (amongst others) Ornette Coleman, Annette Peacock and Richard Rodgers. In 1997, he joined the Bobby Wellins Quartet, a band that combines a standard repertoire with a contemporary sense of interaction. A CD, The Best is Yet to Come is available on Jazzizit Records. He is also a member of the Christine Tobin Band and the Randy Brecker English Sextet, with whom he recently performed at Cheltenham Festival. A duo project with Paul Clarvis playing music from West Side Story combines well-known material with a “stream of consciousness” improvisatory angle.

In April 2002, a commission from Birmingham Jazz resulted in a song cycle based on Japanese Death Poetry featuring the contrasting voices of Kelsey Michael (vocalist with the High Llammas) and Christine Tobin, with Dave Wickens and Chris Biscoe. Noble plays keyboards and samples throughout, marking a new foray into electronica inspired by artists such as Aphex Twin and Arto Lindsay. He is also a regular member of the Julian Siegel Group and appears on Siegel’s much acclaimed recent album Close Up  (mactwo). In his new album, In the Meantime on Basho Records, Noble’s compositions are highly individual, quirky, sometimes humorous or intensely lyrical and demonstrate his continuing interest in combining unorthodox structural design with improvisation using an ensemble of highly contrasting players. Focusing on the multi-reed front line of Stan Sulzmann and Chris Biscoe (on the rarely heard alto clarinet), the rhythm section features Paul Clarvis and Mick Hutton. Four years of gigging have established a symbiotic relationship between written and improvised material, and an almost orchestral use of colour & space. Influenced by “downtown” New Yorkers such as Wayne Horvitz and Bill Frisell, the compositions also reflect an interest in longer forms derived from studying Stravinsky and other classical composers.

In 2004, following a Cheltenham Festival gig the previous year, Liam recorded the acclaimed Romance Among The Fishes on Basho Records with guitarist Phil Robson and the New York rhythm section of Drew Gress and Tom Rainey on bass and drums respectively. Cadence magazine gave a glowing review, saying: “…his compositions….manage to pack quite a number of striking ideas into the ten titles, of which no two were alike… In this day and age of Jazz retreads, it’s refreshing to encounter a genuinely original voice.” Liam’s working relationship has continued with Tom Rainey in the free improv trio Sleepthief with Ingrid Laubrock, with an album released in September 2008 on Intakt Records. The duo of Laubrock and Noble, Let’s Call This… came out on Babel records in 2007. Other new and upcoming projects include Too Young To Go Steady, the new Tim Whitehead recording, a project with Colin Riley and Tim’s Homemade Orchestra featuring Children’s Poet Laureate Michael Rosen, a new Christine Tobin album Secret Life Of A Girl and a forthcoming project with Mark Lockheart’s new group.