“Complex, twisting, percussion-powered episodes are played like a rougher, brawling Brad Mehldau band... It's a shot-in-the-dark venture that turned into a world-class trio in a week.” CD Review in The Guardian ****
Trio Red features 3 innovators from 3 of the most vital jazz scenes in Europe. Between them they have played a key role in some of the most groundbreaking signature groupings in their home scenes over the last 15 years, as well as playing with a wide range of global music greats including Sun Ra, Peter Gabriel, Bugge Wesseltoft, Hamid Drake, Martyn Bennett, Geri Allen, Satoko Fuji...
Live performances feature the musical approach presented on the new CD, material like a mash up of Joan Armatrading and Ornette Coleman, a Jeff Buckley cover and some of Tom Bancroft’s original compositions mixed up with very accessible melodic and rhythmic improvised pieces where the focus is on interaction, empathy and compelling collective musical storytelling. Trio Red have played at the London Jazz Festival, Islay Jazz Festival,
Aberdeen Jazz Festival, Shetland Jazz Festival, toured supporting the Yellowjackets perfomed at many venues across the UK and will be featuring in the Made in UK Program at the Rochester Jazz Festival in the US in June 2015.
For more information contact Tom Bancroft on email@example.com or +44 7974 983701.
“riveting set... complex, twisting, percussion-powered episodes are played like a rougher, brawling Brad Mehldau band. Cawley is inspired.... Zanussi's majestic..It's a shot-in-the-dark venture that turned into a world-class trio.” The Guardian ****
“this great new trio... bursts with creativity... Cawley’s soloing is a delight throughout... slow deliberation... through to pyrotechnics... brings this beautiful album to a fitting conclusion...” BBC Music Website
"Trio Red, a simply stunning ensemble…..They are, in turns, challenging and accessible - master musicians and improvisers in true jazz style…….Astounding is the only word that applies however." Shetland News 16/2/13
“Trio Red were one of the outstanding acts booked for the Haddo Arts Festival 2014. Their playing was crisp and imaginative; stealing the show completely. They had our audience enthralled; both those experienced in the world of jazz and those comparatively new to the genre. The audience reaction stood testament to this - an overwhelmingly positive response in all our feedback. Trio Red were a delight to host; they responded quickly to emails and were helpful, polite and friendly at all times. I would recommend them unhesitatingly to other promoters - a great night will be had by all!” Alice Dennis, Haddo Arts Festival 13/10/2014From 2014 this group performed every fortnight for 6 years at The Outhouse Bar in Edinburgh featuring the core group of musicians: Martin Kershaw (sax), Graeme Stephen (guitar), Mario Caribé (bass), and Tom Bancroft (drums). In 2018 Martin & Playtime were awarded the Ginkhana Award for Innovation in New Jazz Music from New Music Scotland. Since COVID hit they have moved to either remote improv livestreams from their houses - with international guests - or livestream gigs from Pathhead's Village Hall - featuring the cream of Scottish musicians.It had grown since beginning in 2014 into essential listening on Edinburgh's live scene with a constant range of well attended creative gigs from entirely improvised concerts through to tribute nights to great composers like Charles Mingus and Kenny Wheeler. Most weeks there were guest musicians featuring established and up and coming musicians from the Scottish music scene and beyond which have included Steve Hamilton, Phil Bancroft, Laura MacDonald, Kevin MacKenzie, Pete Johnstone, Julian Arguëlles, Rachael Cohen, Chris Greive, George Burt, Phil O’Malley, Brian Kellock and more. Then COVID hit and everything changed - Playtime changed into an online live-streaming dynamo leading the way with what is possible with remote improvisations and live-streaming.Tom also does an Interval Interview every week with the guest musicians - see them in the blog on this site and here.Follow @ohplaytime on twitter for updates on the latest gigs or visit the website here ."The melodic and rhythmic progression in these excursions makes them very approachable and enjoyable. They way they twist and turn, moving from one form to another as the emphasis shifts from one musician to the next...The three musicians have a knowledge and experience of each other’s playing going back years. They take turns to lead, the music morphing from one form to another; almost as if different sections or tracks were evolving as one listens." London Jazz News"a beacon of original, ambitious and brilliantly realised music” - The HeraldThis new project is co-led by Tom Bancroft and Graeme Stephen and represents a joining of forces of two of Scottish jazz’s most individual bandleaders.Look out for new recordings and concerts. The Go Get It Trio features Mario Caribé on bass and is part of the Playtime Collective that plays fortnightly in Edinburgh.Vincent is an experimental/improv/noise project featuring Satoko Fuji (piano) Una McGlone (bass) and Tom Bancroft (drums, loops). Vincent + adds in Graeme Stephen on guitar.
An CD is in production.
"the performers gave it their all, mixing Ghanaian rhythms, Scottish jazz, Afrobeat and brass in an explosion of music and dance...They even got us up dancing – an Embra audience, traditionally inclined to keep bums superglued to seats – ‘audience participation, eh no, that’s for the tourists ken’ – there they were, waving their arms and jumping about like no-one was watching.... a little bit of paradise" The Scotsman.
"A stunning performance commemorating the life and works of Ghanaian drum master Okoe Ardyfio ... a joyful celebration of human life, body and spirit" ***** EdFringeReview.com
This raised the (tented) roof on the final night of this year’s Edinburgh Jazz and Blues festival... djembe – whizz Ghanaian Thomas Annang brought a welcome rawness and at times, a mind-expanding complexity to the overall sound and dancer Adie Baako Elias had most of the audience on its feet,..... Judging by the expanding grins all around, the concert was a resounding success, let’s hope this band can continue to successfully negotiate the distance between their homelands, to keep producing together this wonderfully hybridised, joyous and sophisticated music." Scottish Jazz Space
This group was inspired by Okoe Ardyfio - the Ghanaian master drummer and dancer who died in 2021. Okoe met Thomas Annang and Adie Baako -Elias on the beach in Kokrobite , Ghana when they were young teenagers selling coconuts to tourists, and trained Thomas to be a master drummer and Adie to be the lead dancer of his group Akrowa.
Many years later Okoe also met Scottish jazz drummer and composer Tom Bancroft when he visited Kokrobite to study Ghanaian drumming. The very first thing Okoe said to him, when he discovered Tom was from Scotland, was 'Do you know Shooglenifty?' - a band Tom had played with and knew well, because Okoe had performed with them for Prince Charles during the Commonwealth Games in 1986. This meeting resulted in Tom going back to Kokrobite with his family for 6 weeks to study with Okoe in 2012, and then Okoe and Akrowa coming to Scotland and teaching thousands of Scottish children Ghanaian drumming and dance, and spreading a lot of joy!
Some of this music was composed for Okoe to play with Tom, Thomas, Adie, and the Edinburgh School Jazz Orchestra in the Edinburgh Jazz Festival in 2019, and Okoe came over to Scotland but was sadly too ill to perform. And then he passed away in 2021. This group was created to celebrate his life and music and international collaboration, music, dance, and song.
Thomas Annang: Kpanlogo/Djembe/Voice
Adie Baako-Elias: Dance/Voice/Drums
Tom Bancroft: Drums/Composition
Jon Green: Trumpet
Phil Bancroft/Martin Kershaw: Sax
Michael Owers: Trombone
Kevin MacKenzie: Guitar
Emma Smith: Bass
Gina Rae: Vocals/Keys
Heather Macleod: Vocals
Jennifer Ba/Raquel Ribos Miro: Dance
Plus occasional guests;
Claude Deppa (trumpet)
Subie Coleman (vocals)
Strip away the surface features and jazz, electronica, Scottish traditional music and Indian classical music all share:
- groove & rhythm,
- collective and individual improvisation,
- melodies and scales/raags,
- vocal rhythmic patterns.This project by Tom Bancroft started with the bodhran and the tabla and a drone,added Indian Classical Violin and improvising jazz guitar, folk song and jazz singers,and continues adding layers and voices from different traditions,
in a creative evolving project that focuses on the common groundbetween Scottish music, jazz, Indian music and electronica.Sharat Chandra Srivastava (violin), Gyan Singh (tabla), Tom Bancroft (bodhran & drums), Graeme Stephen (guitar & loops), Sophie Bancroft (voice),Gina Rae (voice).
NB You can skip to different tracks in the album by using the >> button.
Press for In Common 'Love & Stillness":“This fusion of jazz, Indian and occasional Scots traditional music… is vividly colourful music, the opening…somewhere between Indian chant and nursery rhyme...while the 9/8 pipe tune … is scarcely recognisable, subsumed into rich, Shakti-like guitar and violin deliberations over bodhran flurries…. a highlight is Flower Child, with its guitar and violin prelude shifting into Bancroft-beaty mode and powerful guitar work from Stephen.” **** The Scotsman - Jim Gilchrist“Fascinating cross-cultural project…is a very appealing listen – full of action and yet beautifully calm and reflective.....Master musicians...This is a CD to really listen to all the way through – the whole collection is a journey into somewhere else.Love & Stillness is well-titled. For all the speed and energy of the musicians, the whole thing has a beautifully restrained quality which presents us with a delightful opportunity to breathe in, feel the world in harmony and enjoy the moment.” London Jazz News"Its a rich mix with violin, tabla, guitar, voice and bodhran....It's also a trance piece, very yoga, something for the whirling dervish in you. At times it trips out, spaces out and expands all the way into the depths of the universe. Flavours of psychedelic soul and funk are sprinkled in." Vanguard Online
"Bancroft …. has created something extraordinary here….a truly intriguing
seventy minutes of mellifluous music." All About Jazz
“exquisite harmonies - tabla and bodhran take over with chanting in the background creating a feeling of
mysticism and meditation….full of interest and innovation.....very interesting and enjoyable…...wonderful.”
Sandy Brown Jazz
“Sometimes they smoulder….but at their most animated ...the group reach out across radically different traditions.
Echoes of Miles Davis and strands of Celtic folk are interwoven with Srivastava’s violin
and Singh’s tabla …and scat flavoured vocals add subtle shadings.” Sunday Times
“Bancroft makes joining the dots between diverse musical aspects seem effortless… he draws from the Indian classical tradition …discovers overlaps with his own Scottish folk heritage, jazz and contemporary electronica without falling into the trap of treating it as a fusion of parts… if you can imagine the Roches and Stereolab getting together to sing Sun Ra vocal mantras you’re on the right track.” **** JazzWise
PIE: Pathhead Improvised Experimental
PIE stands for Pathhead Improvised Experimental and is a series of concerts held in Pathhead village hall and curated by Tom Bancroft and Martin Green (Lau).
Guests have included: Satoko Fuji, Natsuki Tamura, Usurper Trio, Adrian Utley (Portishead), Raymond MacDonald, Brian Irvine, Yazz Seznec, Rhian Thompson (CKDH), Kate Young, Inge Thompson, amongst others…
To be informed of the next PIE, join the PMC mailing list
The Grit Orchestra is an 80 string orchestra founded by Greg Lawson featuring Scotland's leading classical, jazz, and folk musicians which was formed to play the music of the late Scottish musical genius Martyn Bennett.
Tom played with Martyn extensively in the mid 1990's - with Martyn playing in Tom's projects (including the Multi Story Karma Park where Martyn met Michael Marra) and vice versa.
Tom also played Martyn's compositions for many years in a wonderful project with Mr McFalls Chamber that also featured Greg Lawson and James MacKintosh.
This resulted in a CD recorded for Delphian Records.
Tom is a member of the 3 man drum and percussion section of the Grit Orchestra with James MacKintosh and Iain Sandilands.
"the most complete mix of invention and originality" - The Times
Trio AAB were formed sometime back in the late 1980’s when a bass player didn’t show up for a gig and twin brothers Tom and Phil Bancroft and guitarist Kevin MacKenzie decided to go ahead with no bass and enjoyed it.
The band has since gone on to make 3 critically acclaimed Cds and to develop a reputation as being a seriously fun band exploring a whole range of influences – post Ornette bop, ECM jazz, Celtic folk, drum n bass, house, the Sound of Music, and indie rock – as well as becoming a powerhouse live act.
The band have played in festivals across Europe including France, Holland, Morocco, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Germany.
After a hiatus pursuing solo projects and having babies Trio AAB are back with a vengeance with a great new set of music .
Trio AAB recently played at Alchemy Festival 2014 and Celtic Connections 2015 with Indian Violin stars Ganesh Kumaresh.
"Languidly beautiful" - The Herald
Wherever I Lay My Hat That's My Home
"If this is the best Scottish modern jazz has to offer, then let's have lots more please" - Yorkshire Post
Stranger Things Happen at C
"audacious and spikily engaging" - The Guardian Jazz CD of the week
Tom Bancroft (drums, bodhran) has played with Geri Allen, Martyn Bennett, Tommy Smith, Sun Ra, Marilyn Crispell , Satoko Fuji and many more. He has studied with Jo Morello, Joey Barron and Andrew Cyrille, He is a composer who writes for TV, radio and dance and leads his own big band Orchestro Interrupto. He is an active educator and artist-entrepreneur – forming the label Caber Music and the creative music education company. ABC Creative Music He won the Creative Scotland Award in 2005 and the BBC Jazz Award for Innovation in 2007.
Phil Bancroft (saxophones) is one of the UKs top saxophonists. He has played and recorded with with Hue and Cry, the SNJO, John Rae’s Celtic Feet, Karen Mathieson, and Carol Kidd, He has recently toured and recorded with his own international quartet featuring Reid Anderson of the Bad Plus, Thomas Strønen, and Mike Walker. Phil is an active teacher and co founder of ABC Creative Music.
Kevin MacKenzie (guitar) is in demand in both jazz and folk worlds in Scotland. He plays and tour with many folk groups including Fiddler’s Bid, Jenna Reid, & Keep it Up, and well as performing with his own jazz-folk 9 piece group Vital Signs and the Scottish Guitar Quartet. Kevin’s website is here.“Kidsamonium was one of the highlights of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival. Children of all ages had an extraordinary time, learnt about how music works but most importantly had fun. Children who thought they didn't understand music and perhaps didn't event want to try to understand it changed their minds in about an hour and a half! For both parents and teachers it was truly inspirational. “ - Alice Cooper, Development Director, Cheltenham Festivals"Warning: Kidsamonium can seriously strain your smile muscles. Tom Bancroft's fantasia aimed at introducing children between six and 14 to jazz picked up the Innovation prize at the recent BBC Jazz Awards, and it could convert non-believers of any age. Bancroft emerges in Elvis regalia - and hilarious wigalia - as, of course, The King. As he marshals his sextet through swing, blues and folk-jazz and gets everyone playing kazoos, banging percussion instruments and shouting at the invading chicken gang, he assumes various personalities. Sometimes he's King Bossy, other times he's just King Nuts, but he has a real talent for involving people. There are elements of pantomime: when guitarist Billy "the Aviator" Jenkins goes off in a huff because he discovers he can't fly, the band has no way of playing chords. So different lengths and colours of tubing are distributed and volunteers are invited on stage to conduct the audience by pointing at three different sets of tubes. Result? Harmony is taught, if not necessarily maintained. The whole thing is great fun, and if Harry Potter re-introduced children to reading, then Bancroft goes one better: he even convinces them that putting stuff back is hip." The Herald *****"A perfectly paced, beautifully structured and highly entertaining introduction to jazz improvisation" - Clare Williams, Llangollen Jazz Festival, 2007
Kidsamonium was a fun, magical musical event aimed at 6 to 14 year olds with a view to letting kids see the exciting power and freedom of jazz & improvised music up close in a format they can digest. Short contributions by a range of artists (including a join-in mass 'Percussion Discussion') combined with performances and interactive musical games by a crack(pot) troupe of musical characters including the mysterious trombone playing 'Chicken Gang', the madcap 'Aviator' Billy Jenkins, the ‘Big Tuba Kid’ Oren Marshall, the Princess Laura MacDonald, the Dutch Tourist Joost Buis or Monsieur Parp Patrick Charbonnier, and Judge Claude Deppa. It was all led by Tom Bancroft ‘the King’. The show also featured at different times - Phil Bancroft as Prince ‘Prince’, Buyron Wallen as the ‘Magistrate’, Brian Finnegan as ‘Cowboy Brian the BodyGuard’, and Chirs Greive as ‘the Surfer’.
Children listened to amazing feats of musicianship, as well as participated in a massed kazoo call and response session, improvised on a giant human piano, and created harmonies with the Three Circle Harmony Generator.
The show ended with the hilarious ‘Mum and Dad’s dancing” section.....
At Festivals Kidsamonium featured special cameo appearances from other musicians at the festival (who generally had a ball) including
Branford Marsalis, Ernst Rejsiger, Harry Becket, Byron Wallen, Paul Towndrow, Alyn Cosker, Karine Polwart, Inge Thomson, Pete Wareham, Huw Warren, Andy Sheppard, Brian Finnegan of Flook, Gilad Atzmon, Jason Yarde, Karen Casey, Siobhan Miller & Jeana Leslie, Eamonn Murphy of Beogas, Eric Boeren, to name a few.
As the Chicken Gang we had students from the Birmingham Jazz Conservatoire, National Youth Theatre of Scotland, Jambone, Kirkwall Grammar School, Brechin, and Kilmarnock High School Big Bands, and local primary and secondary pupils in various places.
Kidsamonium was originally commissioned by The Sage, Gateshead and Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
Kidsamonium won The Herald Angel in 2007.
Kidsamonium uses ideas that link with the ABC Creative Music range of music resources. For more information see www.abccreativemusic.com
“Kidsamonium” ensured that the centre was packed with excited youthful audiences early in the morning, many of whom stayed on for the free concerts that followed. Dressed as an outsize Elvis, Bancroft has a sense of spectacle. The guitarist Billy Jenkins flew across the auditorium on wires, then the band burst into the foyer pursued by a brass ensemble of giant chickens, only to continue back inside with the whole crowd playing along on give-away kazoos. On the concourse, Bancroft placed coloured discs on the floor. When anyone set foot on them, a brass band on an upper level played a chord. Branford Marsalis and Andy Sheppard were among the high profile disc-hoppers, jumping from colour to colour, and improvising to the chords from above. The result? Plenty of delighted shrieks and laughs from dozens of under12s, many of whom were hearing live music for the first time." The Times ****
A showcase of 3 of Scotland's leading jazz groups that cross-over into other genres including Scottish traditional music and Indian Classical music.
Tickets booking links below.
Tom Bancroft's In Common featuring Sharat Chandra Srivastava (violin) and Gyan Singh (tabla) from India,
and on vocals Gina Rae, and Sophie Bancroft
"this is vividly colourful music ****" The Scotsman
Graeme Stephen's The River featuring leading traditional fiddler Chris Stout from Shetland
"Brilliantly realised...outstanding success" The Herald
Fergus McCreadie Trio Scotland's up and coming jazz piano star
BBC YOUNG JAZZ MUSICIAN OF 2019 FINALIST
PLUS a pop up gig on 17th August at 8pm by
The Playtime Trio. featuring Tom Bancroft (drums), Graeme Stephen (guitar) and Martin Kershaw (saxes) playing one hour of continual improvised music in " Improvised Journey into the Beauty of Inner Space"
Hear tracks and see videos from each band below:
Between them these musicians have received 3 Scottish Jazz Awards, Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year, BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year Finalist,
BBC Jazz Award for Innovation, Creative Scotland Award, Herald Angel etc etc
The project will be at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival:
August 14th - 16th 1-4pm Pianodrome - Each band plays a longer set in separate concerts in a unique 100 capacity music venue built out of up-cycled pianos, beautiful, funky and cool. BOOK TICKETS HERE
August 16th & 17th 6.30-10.30pm Out of the Blue Each band plays a longer set in a cool 80 seat capacity space near the centre of Edinburgh. BOOK TICKETS HERE
This project has Made in Scotland funding from Creative Scotland.
If you are an international festival or promoter this means that if you come and see the project in the fringe the bands can get travel support to come and perform for you in your country.
"The teaching skills of the Bigstix team were inspiring; to take a group of children and adults with little experience of making music and to create such a wonderful sound was impressive.” - Clare Sheridan, Cochlear UK
4 drummers from different styles.
4 great communicators and educators.
- exciting all music all age drum & percussion performances with fun audience participation
- drum workshops
- community & schools music events
Big Sticks are:
- Brendan Murphy
- Tom Bancroft
- Mehdi Ganjevar
- Rob Kitchen
Clandemonium was a unique, pure of heart, and slightly deranged attempt to get 1000 people doing a flashmob street drum/dance/body/percussion/jazzhorns/bagpipes and kazoo performance
A set of professional and volunteer leaders including Tom Bancroft, Allan Irvine, and Laura MacDonald welcomed members of the public to don a coloured clandejimmy hat and join in the fray.
For 20 minutes each group learned their parts while a groovy beat was pumped out of a large PA and then the whole mad, funky combination was performed together with jazz horns and bagpipes playing over the top.
Clandemonium took place in West Parliament Square, Edinburgh, in 2010.
Multi-Story Karma was an epic multi-media show that Tom devised in 1996 with collaborators Ruby Worth (dance), David Greig (drama), and Walter McCrorie (animation) and with the support of the Glasgow International Jazz Festival director Derek Gorman and the Scottish Arts Council. The show was inspired by recent events in Bosnia and Serbia and featured the Tom Bancroft Orchestra – with jazz musicians like Phil Bancroft, Oren Marshall, Rick Taylor, and Gina Rae and Dutch musicians Mischa Kool, Jorrit Dijkstra and Joost Buis, plus traditional musicians Martyn Bennett and Charlie McKerron (Capercaillie) and singer-songwriter Michael Marra. The show featured audience participation, all the musicians dancing, animation, use of footage of the audience, surround sound, and Michael area performing a monologue penned by future theatre great David Greig – at that time an up and coming new writer recommended to Tom by the legendary Tom McGrath – a renowned playwright who was also a jazz pianist. This show was the first time Michael Marra and Martyn Bennett met and worked together – who went on to collaborate on the legendary Grit album. Sadly Michael Marra, Martyn Bennett, Tom McGrath, and Rick Taylor are no longer with us.
it is hard to believe now but there is almost no record of this show apart from this grainy piece of video. If you watch it you can see that Gina, Tom’s wife, is pregnant – their son Sam was born just over a month later, and a year later Tom started the record label Caber Music – both of which events distracted him from this kind of work for a long time…
Many people remember the performance though….
And the after-party was also legendary…. with a VAT of Irn Bru and whisky and a ladle involved…On this page I will be adding some stuff from my career where I worked with collaborators in Dance, Theatre, Film etc. Through these experiences I made music I would never have made in other ways....
Life on the Planet's Surface
This is a piece I loved making with the amazing choreographer and singer Kelsey Michael. This toured round several venues and festivals in the early 90's. This performance features John Telfer on saxophone and Oren Marshall on tuba. It is in basically 3 parts - up to 30 minutes or so it is improvised music and dance. 30min-45min roughly we all dance together using body percussion ideas I developed with Kelsey, and the last part Kelsey choreographed to my music. which was composed on a Korg M1 keyboard (and all step programmed in using a 3 inch LCD screen - before I started using a computer!) I loved performing this show!
A Case for a Picnic Part 2
This performance was from the Dunoon sea front during the Jazz Festival in, I think, 1993.
We all made the piece together led by the amazing choreographer/deviser Ruby Worth, and the wonderful residents from Dunoon Key Housing Project.
I did the music and kind of danced.... had a ball!
Again with Ruby Worth, this was a project with a wonderful organisation called ACES whose work
is creating a network and projects connecting schools from a load of Central & Eastern European Countries,
including some who had recently been at war with each other.
The project brief was to make a dance, that one teacher and a student from each school could learn,
then take back and teach to the kids in their school and make a video, all of which could be
edited into a Youtube video compilation.
Ruby Worth was the choreographer again, and I wrote the music and the words -
under my electronica peudonym Tommy Banana! Gina Rae is on vocals.
BTW I also worked with Ruby on the Multi Story Karma Park - also in this archive.
Lands of Glass
In 2017 I wrote music for and performed in the amazing show 'Lands of Glass' which toured all over the UK. It was a delight working with musicians Brendan Muprhy and Beccy Owens, and actors Tom Walton and Hannah Biyde and director Annie Rigby. It was an amazing experience writing music inspired by the amazing novel by Alessandro Baricco and trying to bring his crazy world to life in a theatre.
Pop Up Duets
I played drums on this. Music composed by Pippa Murphy. Choreography Janis Claxton. Vocals Kathryn Joseph.
In 1996 I did the music for a lovely short film directed by Barry Ackroyd called The Butterfly Man which was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA.
You can see it here:
This project emerged from an informal meeting at Edinburgh Jazz Festival when legendary Italian bass player Furio Di Castri (ex Chet Baker, Paul Bley, Tony Oxley…) s sat in with Trio Red.
That chance meeting evolved into this group which has performed at Turin and Edinburgh Jazz Festivals and has a CD in production.
Featuring Tom Bancroft (drums), Furio Di Castri ( bass) Jacopo Albini (sax & bass clarinet) and Graeme Stephen (guitar).
UNST is an improvising group featuring Neil Davidson (guitar) Una McGlone ( bass) Sue McKenzie (sax) and Tom Bancroft (drums).
CD in production.
"Exuberant, witty and inventive... considerable verve... a wry commentary on contemporary life... sidesteps the two main obstacles that trip up many a jazz composer by ensuring that his pieces retain both a sense of humour and plenty of space for improvisation" - The Times
"an oddball risk that has paid off... real richness... an unexpectedly rewarding evening." - Evening Standard
Tom Bancroft Orchestro Interrupto with Geri Allen - Review by James Griffiths, Friday October 8, 2004, The Guardian *****
If the Scottish jazz scene is increasingly attracting international attention, drummer Tom Bancroft must be considered one of its leading lights. Listening to one of his compositions is like being lost in a vast magic box where hidden doorways, trap doors and optical illusions are all waiting to disorientate you.
His current British tour unites him with his own 12-piece Orchestro lnterrupto (so called because their career is always being interrupted by solo endeavours), and the brilliant Detroit pianist Geri Allen. The first half - minus Allen - focused on old Bancroft favourites such as Pieology and China Heart. The former featured some parping chaos from the front-line trombones, while the latter evolved slowly into a tangle of visceral textures supported by a dark swelling bruise of a melody.
A segue into a comical cutting contest between the two trombonists had the audience in an uproar, particularly when the two musicians began dismantling their instruments and playing them backwards. Wth the arrival of Allen, things got madder. The band provided an overture of chattering hi-hats over a hairy beast of a bass line, but when the piano entered, it sounded like a completely different instrument. There were preoccupied scrambles, ecstatic janglings and mind-bending tangential leaps, yet somehow Bancroft’s crew refused to be upstaged.
At one point they created an eerie backdrop of squawks, rattles and squeaks into which Allen poured a great puddle of piano textures. Set in the context of Bancroft’s tensely coiled orchestration, it was an inspired moment of abstract impressionism. As a contrast to the fireworks, the leader unveiled a new three-part suite which evoked languorous childhood summers. Featuring a folk-derived melody from guitarist Kevin Mackenzie, it reached rapturous heights when Allen’s single high piano notes entered into a dialogue with the fugal horn. With a back projection screen flickering with dreamy images, this was less a jazz gig than a blissful hallucinogenic experience.
Jazz gig of the Year 2004 City Limits Magazine, Manchester
Gigs of the Year Critics Choice 2004 Time Out Magazine, London
Top 100 Cultural Events of 2004 in The List magazine, Scotland