Byron Wallen’s Four Corners ‘Portrait’

Album Launch

Event Has Passed

Last Show: Monday 3 rd February 2020

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

URGENT: Tonight's show is being moved to PizzaExpress Live Holborn (99 High Holborn, WC1V 6LF) - 8:30pm.

Byron Wallen is "one of the most innovative, exciting and original trumpet players alive" - Jazzwise Magazine. More than 10 years after his fourth album, Meeting Ground (2007), for which he received nominations for Best Band and Best Album in the 2007 BBC Jazz Awards and Best Jazz Act in the 2007 MOBO Awards, Byron Wallen releases his new album ‘Portrait’, featuring his dazzling Four Corners band, led by himself on trumpet and conches, Rob Luft on guitar, Paul Michael on bass and Rod Youngs on drums.

Supported by Help Musicians and the MOBO Trust.

The idea for this album was conceived in 2013, when Byron Wallen was sitting in the central square in Woolwich. He was struck by the community around him with its mixture of ages and nationalities, from Nepalese elders to young Nigerian men, and Somali mothers with young families, a new Eastern European contingent and descendants of families who used to work in the docks and at the Arsenal. A few years later, he was commissioned by PRS For Music Foundation to compose a suite of music celebrating his chosen hometown. 

This suite which became known as ‘Anthem for Woolwich’ forms the nucleus of his new album ‘Portrait’. Conceptionally, the album is a journey on which he explores issues of ancestry, diasporic journey and cultural roots. His music draws inspiration from contemporary and indigenous cultures. Byron’s passionate musical knowledge and his fascination with the human spirit is evident once again in the compositions on this new album. 

The music for this album is inspired from the timeless sound of the human soul from all corners of the earth. Landmarks of blues, mode and groove are explored and re-invented. Inspiration for the compositions was also drawn from early Renaissance music, Central and East African rhythm and polyphony and the music of Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and Thelonius Monk.

Widely recognised as a seminal figure in world jazz, he is constantly travelling the world recording, teaching and performing. He has been playing, live and on record, alongside legendary musicians such as George Benson, Andrew Hill, Chaka Khan, Hugh Masekela, Courtney Pine, Mulatu Astatke, Red Snapper, Jack Dejohnette, Cleveland Watkiss and King Sunny Ade. In 1992, Wallen formed Sound Advice touring the UK and playing in Syria in 1996 and the Czech Republic in 1997. The band also appeared at the North Sea Jazz Festival, gaining critical and audience acclaim. With his current band Byron Wallen’s Four Corners, he is a frequent guest at UK and international Jazz festivals. Their tour to Lithuania in July 2018, with guest artist ESKA, has been covered on Lithuanian radio and TV.

Band Lineup

Byron Wallen (trumpet, conches)

Rob Luft (guitar)

Paul Michael (bass)

Rod Youngs (drums)