Stablefolk 'Unspoken Tales'

EP Launch

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Last Show: Thursday 29 th September 2022

The Pheasantry (Chelsea)

Stablefolk bring their resonant and reassuring sounds to the Pheasantry for their EP launch gig, following their debut release: 'Unspoken Tales'. This contemporary jazz band is fronted by James Pettinger, passionate composer and pianist, who gathers songs and sounds from folk, singer-songwriters, and music that falls between the cracks. In the midst of its sweeping arcs and epic builds, Stablefolk balances the joyful alongside the melancholy, creating musical moments that transcend genre. Touchstones for this ensemble include such diverse artists as Pat Metheny, James Taylor, Shai Maestro, and Dave Matthews Band – though truly this band forges its own path, playing warm, tonal music, with a strong sense of home.

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"they have a talent for playing really creative jazz that keeps firm hold of the folk music from which it is drawn"

Ian Maund,

Stablefolk has only a few previous gigs to boast of, one of which was at esteemed venue Kansas Smitty’s, earning a glowing review on the Jazz In Europe site. That was pre-pandemic – since then, they’ve had somewhat of a makeover: increased in size, have a more cohesive sound, updated pretty much everything, and have an EP, Unspoken Tales. This gig at the Pheasantry is their EP launch gig, and the first in London since the facelift.

The band is a quintet, four of whom are keen composers with their own bands. Tom Ridout on soprano has earned many accolades, amongst which he was named an upcoming artist to watch out for by Jazzwise in 2012, and was a finalist in the 2016 BBC Young Musician Jazz Award. James Maltby, the band's acoustic strummer – and newest member – was awarded the prestigious Sheriff’s Prize for achieving the highest overall mark on his course at Guildhall, and his band St Barbe accumulated over 200,000 streams with their debut EP Shapeless. Aram Bahmaie on bass has played around Europe, including at the Cheltenham and Trondheim jazz festivals. The final members of the band, Adam Woodcock on drums and James Pettinger on piano, have both played prestigious venues around London and beyond, with their own respective bands and as on-demand sidemen, at such venues as Ronnie Scott's, the Vortex, Kansas Smitty's, and Green Note.

Unspoken Tales is greatly inspired by bandleader James’ love of fantasy books, and how that genre in particular can hold such rich worlds for the imagination to unfurl. While the descriptions can be incredibly beautiful and detailed, it is often the unsaid – the implied, or what is only in passing referred to – that is the most fertile ground for the reader’s brain to form what becomes their own story. Music is one step more abstracted from words, and James’ desire is that the listener will form their own version of a story from the tracks found on the EP. The final track ‘Maymolly’ actually does have a specific story behind it – it was the name of James’ Grandpa’s house, which became synonymous with nostalgia and childhood, and was written on the out-of-tune piano there. It’s a look back to the past, to simpler times. Unspoken Tales invites you to do a little imagining, and fill in the rest.

Band Line Up

James Pettinger (bandleader/piano/accordion)

Tom Ridout (soprano saxophone/bass clarinet)

James Matlby (acoustic guitar)

Aram Bahmaie (double bass)

Adam Woodcock (drums)