Joe Downard 'Seven Japanese Tales'

Album Launch

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PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

Bassist and composer Joe Downard leads his debut project that features six of the most creative and inventive young musicians in London and Europe. This show marks the release of Downard’s debut album ‘Seven Japanese Tales’ that include 7 original compositions inspired by the sensual and lyrical collection of short stories by writer Junichiro Tanizaki. The line-up moves away from the traditional jazz sextet by introducing multiple synthesisers. The distinctiveness of the three melody instruments (trumpet, saxophone and synth) complements the intense push and pull between drums and bass that keeps the music full of momentum. Alongside Downard, the group features Alex Hitchcock on tenor sax, James Copus on trumpet, Will Barry on piano, Rupert Cox on synths and Felix Ambach on drums. The show will include a support act by Deschanel Gordon.

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£15.00

"His evolution has seen him move from this position as a respected session player towards becoming a composer in his own right. The Playing is outstanding"

Jazzwise Magazine

Book tickets for Joe Downard 'Seven Japanese Tales'

The current group was formed around a new suite of music named ‘Seven Japanese Tales’, inspired by the sensual and lyrical collection of short stories by the writer Junichiro Tanizaki. 

This project explores Downard’s recent interest in Japanese literature and the inspiration it gives him in his compositional process. The suite features seven compositions, each named after one of the seven short stories. Narratives and characters are expressed through interweaving melodies that echo both within individual pieces and improvised passages, and throughout the set as a whole. This creates a thread for the listener to follow over the course of the whole suite, making complex music accessible to a wider audience.

Joe has moved away from the traditional sextet lineup by introducing multiple synthesisers, which ground the compositions firmly in a contemporary soundscape and opens up exciting textural possibilities, both live and in a future recording environment. The distinctiveness of the three melody instruments (trumpet, saxophone and synth) complements the intense push and pull between drums and bass that keeps the music full of momentum.

The group was selected by renowned bassist Dave Holland (Miles Davis) to present his compositions as part of his ‘Shape Of Jazz To Come’ co-programmed by him and Evan Parker. London Jazz News praised the ‘sheer creativeness of the musicians’ and identified Downard as a ‘fluent soloist’ and ‘constantly inventive’.

Joe himself has received numerous accolades including being named ‘One to Watch’ in Bass Guitar Magazine, finalist in the Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Jazz Musician of the Year competition, receiving the Sir Elton John Scholarship at The Royal Academy of Music and most recently graduating from the latter with a foundation award for excellence.

He regularly tours the UK and Europe and features in acclaimed groups run by his peers including Jordan Rakei collaborators Waaju, US-born boundary pushing vocalist Judi Jackson, contemporary trailblazers the Alex Hitchcock Quintet, and LONO, an electronic studio production collective who have been playlisted by BBC Radio 1Xtra and Worldwide FM.

Band Lineup

Joe Downard (double bass)
Alex Hitchcock (tenor saxophone)
James Copus (trumpet)
Will Barry (piano)
Rupert Cox (synthesisers)
Luca Caruso (drums)