“In the old days, this band would have had the words “All-Stars” in their name. Every one of them is a leading figure in British contemporary jazz. Together, they create 10 evocative sound-pictures of places and times. It’s remarkable how just five instruments and voice can suggest space and depth as they do.” Dave Gelly, The Observer
The word supergroup is common currency, especially in the rock world. Jazz, of course, has its fair share of supergroups too. Sometimes, one supergroup comes along that really is very special indeed.
The Printmakers is such a group. The group formed at the instigation of Steve Mead at The Manchester Jazz Festival several years ago and since then has gone from strength to strength.
Award winning Nikki Iles is one of the heroines of British jazz. She has made an invaluable contribution to the jazz scene in this country and beyond, while also making a very personal musical statement in many groups, not least her own superb Anglo-American trio with Rufus Reid and Jeff Williams.
Grammy nominated and ECM recording artist Norma Winstone MBE, pioneering innovator of the voice, has been a leading light in European music for many years. She collaborated with Kenny Wheeler and John Taylor in Azimuth, described by Richard Williams as “one of the most imaginatively conceived and delicately balanced of all contemporary chamber jazz groups“. She has also worked with Fred Hersch, Steve Swallow, Jimmy Rowles, Mike Gibbs and Ralph Towner. She has had a resurgence recently, with three superb award winning ECM releases in collaboration with European musicians, Klaus Gesing and Glauco Venier.
Mike Walker is rightly regarded as one of Europe's most exciting guitarists. He has enthralled audiences for many years with his inspirational playing - always passionate, dangerous and highly inventive. He has worked with some of the most innovative musicians in the world including George Russell , Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Julian Arguelles, Bill Frisell, and Mark-Anthony Turnage. He is also a member of another jazz supergroup – The Impossible Gentlemen (with Gwilym Simcock, Steve Rodby and Adam Nussbaum).
Mark Lockheart came to prominence in the mid-1980s with the influential big band Loose Tubes. The collaborative band Perfect Houseplants (formed in 1992) proved to be one of Mark’s most important projects. In the mid-90s Mark toured with Django Bates’ Delightful Precipice and recorded with June Tabor, Anya Garbarek, Robert Wyatt and Radiohead. In 2003, he joined the ground breaking group Polar Bear (twice nominated for the Mercury Music Prize) and went on to collaborate with Mark Anthony Turnage, most recently in his opera, Anna Nicole. His most recent recording as leader is ‘Ellington in Anticipation’, a unique and original take on the music of Ellington.
Steve Watts has been the all important linchpin in many significant bands in British Jazz, not least Django Bates’ Human Chain, and with Kenny Wheeler and Stan Sulzmann. He has also worked with Iain Ballamy and Kirk Lightsey and Joe Lovano.
Drums to be confirmed...
'Right now, Norma is at the peak of her form... there is no jazz singer in the country to touch her'Alyn Shipton, The Times
'Iles is one of the most refreshing figures to have emerged in the UK in recent times, with a liquid sound and supple, obliquely resolved phrasing as an improviser"
John Fordham, The Guardian
'Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s pretty much the line-up of your dreams, and a band that sums up all that is finest in British jazz . A life-enriching album for sure, and an unmissable gig.'