The Printmakers

with Norma Winstone and Nikki Iles

Event Has Passed

Last Show: Tuesday 9 th May 2017

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

The Printmakers set out to cross the boundaries that traditionally separate jazz, folk and the contemporary music world and are united by a love of song. The repertoire has the distinctive air of English song, including originals by band members, as well as exploring the relatively uncharted territory of Ralph Towner, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and Fred Hersch. This is an extraordinary group that has something that will touch everyone.

“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. 

It is difficult to find a modern British jazz album these days that doesn’t feature James Maddren on drums. He is hugely in demand, working with the leading lights of his generation such as Kit Downes and Gwilym Simcock. Brought together by their collective love of song, The Printmakers’ music defies category and sets out to cross the boundaries that traditionally separate jazz, folk and the contemporary music world. Westerly, released in May 2015 on Basho Records, has already attracted critical acclaim and its release ranks as one of the most significant jazz events of 2015.

Band Lineup

Norma Winstone (voice)

Nikki Iles (piano)

Mike Walker (guitar)

Mark Lockheart (saxophones)

Steve Watts (bass)

James Maddren (drums)